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Four empowered and resilient female entrepreneurs have found innovative and creative ways to provide services, coaching, and sage advice to new clients – proving their mettle – at a time when nearly 200,000 U.S. businesses have permanently closed due to the global health pandemic. Although many of us are concerned about our personal finances and […]

The post Business 101: “How Female Entrepreneurs Have Successfully Pivoted During the Pandemic” appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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Four empowered and resilient female entrepreneurs have found innovative and creative ways to provide services, coaching, and sage advice to new clients – proving their mettle – at a time when nearly 200,000 U.S. businesses have permanently closed due to the global health pandemic.

Although many of us are concerned about our personal finances and the overall economy due to COVID-19 restrictions, these are women business owners who carved out a new niche, changed their business plans, and successfully pivoted during the current health pandemic.

These women have garnered a myriad of life lessons that they are eager to pass on to the rest of us. Highlighted here are Mindset & and Alignment Coach/Consultant Karem Zafra-Vera, Public Relations Experts Hope Horwitz and her mother Sharla Feldscher, Professional Food Service Design Consultant and author Felicia “Lisa” Middleton, and Certified Life and Weight Loss Coach Karen Schaible.

From Philadelphia and Marlton, New Jersey, to West Palm Beach, Florida, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, these resourceful business owners have clear game plans for a successful future, during a time when most of us need it the most. Let’s see how their plans can inform ours going forward.

[Mindset and Alignment Coach Karem Zafra-Vera]

Karem Zafra-Vera: Mindset & Alignment Coach/Consultant

Next Level Consulting, virtual and West Palm Beach, Fl. 

Two years in business; 12 years in personal development                                                                   

Links: Facebook, LinkedinYouTube

For Mindset & Alignment Coach Karem Zafra-Vera life is all about learning, studying, and expanding her knowledge on a deep level, beyond just what we can analyze. She strongly believes that each of us understands new knowledge when it is internalized and it becomes part of our being. “Every day I internalize one percent more and my favorite part is witnessing my clients experience this process and hearing about their successes, words of truth, and discovering their perfection within themselves.”

Zafa-Vera, whose clients call her “a truly gifted and insightful coach and mentor,” says she has long enjoyed helping and empowering people. “I have often been told that I have a gift of seeing more than others can see in themselves. My intuition helps me empower people to believe in themselves as I believe and see their potential.”

This helps her clients understand and have control of themselves. “I want my clients to understand the basic idea that we can create and manifest anything if we have a clear understanding of the power within ourselves – this means that our thoughts, feelings, and actions create the results we have. So, take a look at your results and it will be aligned with your thoughts; it doesn’t lie.”

While there are certainly other mindset coaches and consultants around the U.S., what makes her business stand out are her gifts, talents, and personal experiences. “It is all about my unique experiences and life lessons,” explains Zafra-Vera. It is also about my dedication to and belief in my clients and my passion for helping them figure out their goals and aspirations and find a path to reaching them.”

When COVID-19 transformed the way most of us operate our businesses, Zafa-Vera knew, within her heart, that it was the time to both “step up and show up.” She sees her life lessons as to how we feed our garden (mind) is what dictates the flowers we bloom (the results that we create).”

As such, this season has taught her a lot. “It has empowered me to not only practice even more what I preach but to understand and connect on a deeper level with my clients and the clients I continuously attract. I am able to relate through my own experience with COVID-19 and empower others that we all have a choice in everything in life. We have a choice on how to perceive, we have a choice about what we focus on, we have a choice of every thought allowed into our conscious and subconscious mind. I understand that there is something good even through the worst experiences of life. The question is –what are you choosing to SEE?”

In addition to being able to pivot during the health pandemic, Zafra-Vera sees many ‘Silver Linings’ during COVID-19. “I see the opportunity for so much expansion. The individual that didn’t have the time before, now has time to create that dream-seeking expression. I see the quality time of rest, unity, and appreciation of each other and our surroundings. I see an increased appreciation of kindness and giving more than ever before. I see the quality time of self-growth. I see opportunities for new adventures. I see the opportunity of creativity all around us.”

She adds: “It’s amazing the creation of ideas and surroundings we create when placed in uncomfortable circumstances. This is the universe getting all of us out of our comfort zone, to wake us up and begin to live life on a different level.”

How does she help her clients not just survive, but thrive, especially during the pandemic? “I am that coach that is reachable. I tell my clients all the time. Do not linger or simmer in a negative state of mind. I’m always available when needed. They know, I will touch back with them as soon as I can. Shifting and becoming aware of our energy is very important.”

When times are tough this coach says her faith keeps her going. “I understand that every obstacle is teaching me something, no matter how horrible it is. Yes, we go through the emotions. It’s important to acknowledge them. The critical question is how long do you let it consume you, take over your thoughts and emotions? We refocus on what the client wants to feel, be, and of course through a number of exercises to help them shift.”  

So how does it feel when she hears from a client who made a major leap based on her advice? “OMG, that is the biggest reward I can experience. Understand, it’s not because of what I said. It’s because they have shifted and now have internalized, they are worthy of their success,” she said.

“Every quantum leap we can look back and recognize is only because you internalized your worthiness and clearly lived that version of the role model you want to be. I don’t think we ever get there, because we are always upgrading our self-worth.”

[Well-Regarded Publicists Sharla Feldscher and her daughter Hope Feldscher Horwitz]

Sharla Feldscher and Hope Feldscher Horwitz                                     

Sharla Feldscher, President/Partner

Feldsher Horwitz Public Relations

Marlton, N.J.

Vice President/Partner                                                                                     

Hope Feldscher Horwitz, Vice President/Partner                                              

Years in business: 36 years                                                                                         

Links:  Facebook, Linkedin, Linkedin

Publicist Sharla Feldscher was a kindergarten teacher who retired at the tender age of 25 to have a family. After both girls were born, she volunteered at Please Touch Museum, and, soon after, her volunteer work turned into a dynamic public relations business and passion that is not only going strong but has ebbed and flowed during this ever-changing landscape.

While volunteering at Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum, she learned an entirely new field and loved it. In less than a year, she was hired as the museum’s first PR director. After four years, she was recruited to become the PR consultant for Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA., the nation’s only theme park based on Sesame Street, a position she held for 26 years.

“When I said ‘yes’ to Sesame Place it meant that I had to start a consulting business in 1984, an entirely new venture. While having a business was new to me, I was confident in my ability to publicize programs for children,” explains Feldscher.

Fast forward to 2020, Feldscher has the pleasure of working side-by-side with her daughter Hope Horwitz. This formidable team raises the profile of their clients, so they have more significance in the communities that matter to them, as well as increase their profitability by increased positive visibility.

Feldscher and Horwitz readily admit that their business has changed a great deal in the past five years, with a much larger focus on social media. For Feldscher, it has been fascinating to watch the changes in the field of public relations. “No more is a TV hit a one-time opportunity, and the same goes for print visibility,” she explained. “Everything is repurposed. Everything is placed on multiple outlets so that the life of a publicity hit is much longer and has so much more value.” There is a different strategy for social media, and we support clients by working with experts who have experience in engagement through social media.”

Watching her mother in action while Horwitz was growing up was always a high energy day, a great deal of fun, and is what led Horwitz to want to follow in her footsteps. Hope and her sister, Amy, worked at many of the events of which Horwitz has fond memories. “When school was out and my mom’s office was in Philadelphia, I would bring a friend with me and when we were old enough, we’d get a hot dog, pretzel, and a soda from the street vendors. We had a lot of fun back then. It’s a different world now.”

Horwitz worked for 15 years as an event planner and fundraiser and saw the importance of being able to give back to organizations in need. “As life progressed, I took a leap back into PR, and I felt like I was home. I enjoy the creativity, and I get to plan small events while working with clients. I can’t think of a better way to spend my day.”

What does this dynamic mother-daughter duo love about their business? “I love that I get to do a little bit of everything. I’m a partner with my clients and then use my creativity to find the newsworthy story to pitch,” Horwitz explained. “Following up with the press and working with them to coordinate stories allows me the opportunity to constantly meet new people and be a part of a team.”

Her mom added: There are many things I love about doing public relations. Firstly, it’s very creative – we are always thinking about new ways to get press coverage. Secondly, I love working with clients – being part of their strategic team, being trusted by them to guide them in a way that always keeps their positive image in the forefront, and then, thirdly, I love making things happen! It is so rewarding when an idea we have works – and brings in revenue and builds constituencies for clients through publicity.” 

While business owners near and far have been looking for innovative ways to pivot during COVID-19, these public relations experts quickly realized that their business could not only continue, but it could thrive. “Our work can be done remotely, with no problem, since we don’t need to see our clients in person to get the job done,” Feldscher says.

“I am sorry to say that we don’t have events, shows, or programs to attend right now. But, since our job is to communicate about clients’ stories, we can do that from anywhere. We can arrange zoom interviews and our clients are still available to be resources to the press. Most of our clients have publicity opportunities, just different than we originally expected,” she adds.

“In some cases, we’ve been put on “hold” especially if our clients are festivals that can’t take place, but we have filled in with others whose events and publicity-stories are virtual or timely related to COVID-19. We help to strategize their businesses and how they can move forward in alternative ways.”

Horwitz and Feldscher have discovered ‘Silver Linings’ both in their personal and professional lives during this global health pandemic. “I have really learned about what’s important in life and what’s not. And I will never take advantage of being able to hug someone again!” explains Horwitz.

Feldscher added: “I think I’ll always use Zoom. I have saved a lot of time and expense by doing remote, virtual interviews and some clients say that will continue. Most of our clients are either in Philadelphia or New Hope, PA, which is 30 to 60 minutes away, and now we meet with them more easily. Personally, like Hope, I value, even more, the close relationships I have, and I will never take them for granted.”

After several decades in the business, Feldscher says that what sets her company apart from others in PR is crystal clear to her and her clients. “Many have been colleagues for years and years. Many knew Hope when she was younger. These relationships are a real standout. In addition, Hope and I both have an excellent eye for detail, and we share a natural enthusiasm about life. We incorporated a sparkle in our logo and that “spark” seems to be clear to many people. I am very proud – and everyone knows it – to be working side by side with my daughter. I think people admire that and like being part of our PR team for that reason, too.”

The optimistic pair stays “creatively productive” and timing is key. “I was always planning to have another book published in late summer. I wrote it before the pandemic. With the pandemic now, I have had much more time to work on the publicity and marketing of KIDFUN: 401 Easy Ideas for Play. I’ve been writing creative ideas to do with young children since I taught kindergarten, but now, more than ever, it’s so important. I love that I have this creative outlet now,” Feldscher says.

While Horwitz says she initially found the pandemic “trying and horrifying” since she is an outgoing and energetic person. She juggled work with homeschooling her seven and nine-year-old daughters, being someone who not only survived, but clearly thrived. “We have more family dinners now and so as a couple, my husband and I can demonstrate love and interest in others on a regular basis,” she explains. “It’s helpful to know that we are showing our kids that we can survive everything as long as we stick together.”

Feldsher loves having her daughter as her work partner and sees it as a clear advantage going forward. “Hope brings a whole new vitality to the business and thinks strategically about marketing us. She has the perspective of a younger generation and that is very important as we plan for our clients. I know our clients love getting both of our perspectives. The business is her future and its growth is as important to her as it to me. I am blessed!”

Says her appreciative daughter: “We are a family business and we often connect to our clients on a similar level. We enjoy getting to know the people who make up a company as much as we do the company. When we truly join their team, we’re able to succeed in a much higher and stronger capacity. We also have fun at work, and I think that shows through to our clients. We smile and laugh as we work, whether it be together, with our clients, or with the media, we build relationships with.”

———————

[Certified Life and Weight Loss Coach Karen Schaible]

 Karen Schaible                                                                                                                                             

Karen Schaible Coaching                                                                                                                       

Retired Registered Nurse, Certified Life and Weight Loss Coach, and Certified Psychology of Eating Coach                                                                                                                                                                          

Edmonton, AB. Canada                                                                                                                                         

Started business in August 2019 using 27 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in many areas such as ICU/CCU, Psychiatry, Homecare, and lastly at the Bariatric Clinic

Links: https://karenschaible.com                                                                                       

Facebook: Women Losing Weight For The Last Time                                                     

Linkedin                                                                                                                                                             

Instagram

Karen Schaible can teach each of us how to take our gifts, experience, and passion and turn it into a rewarding service-oriented business. This is exactly what she did as a virtual certified life and weight loss coach.

With the best intentions in mind, the retired registered nurse started her now burgeoning business because it was disheartening working as a nurse at a Bariatric Clinic. At the one-year mark following many patient’s surgeries, their weight loss had stalled or they had gained back some of the weight.

The problem, she explains, is that there were not enough resources to help with the underlying reason why these patients overate before their surgeries. “My passion is to teach women how to lose weight for the last time. Women who want to end the beating themselves up, the frustration, the sadness, the feeling controlled by food by learning a unique approach to weight loss,” says Schaible.

Why is this so important to this caring medical professional? “This is my passion because I know what it feels like as I struggled for more than 20 years with the food and weight battle, and 10 years ago, I lost 100 pounds and I have successfully kept it off,” she says. “It is so rewarding to watch my clients use my system to lose weight but, more importantly, gain self-confidence, feel sexy, have more energy, have better relationships, and live the life they have dreamed of.”

Clients come to Schaible because they realize something more is going on than just knowing what to eat and how much to eat, and they need help finding these answers. “After following my system, my clients learn and shift what has been holding them back from losing weight, and as a result, they not only change their relationship with food, they are eager to refer their family members, friends, and colleagues.”

When the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders resulted in working from home, and isolation, she said more women she encountered were eating to deal with all the stress and overwhelm that was going on in their lives. So, they were doing more emotional eating.

Therefore, a ‘Silver Lining’ with COVID is that the women that worked with me no longer need to turn to food to deal with any challenging situation that comes up for them.”

One of the reasons she believes that she is successful in helping her clients is her passion. “Personally, I believe in being the best version of myself that I can; being a role model for my children and my granddaughter. I am always eager to be present and compassionate to everyone that needs a listening ear.”
During the past nine months since we have been working and isolating at home, and this has led to baking and cooking as a hobby, which for many has led to an unwanted weight gain. So, how did Schaible dramatically changed her coaching process during COVID-19.

“I changed by talking and teaching more about emotional eating, which was happening for a lot of people,” she explains. “People were stressed, bored, lonely, frustrated, and looking for comfort, and food was definitely the go-to.”

She well understands that stress plays a major factor in being isolated, missing our former lives, added demands, and juggling so many new responsibilities.

“Stress has such a significant effect on our bodies and how and what we eat. Many people, because of everything changing in their life do not know how to deal with stress and because of this they are living in a reactive state that affects their food choices,” Schaible said.

“Stress has them emotionally eating to provide them with comfort because feeling stressed is uncomfortable. Also, stress makes it much harder to lose weight. When our body is stressed, it will hold onto the weight, so no matter how healthy they are eating, they will not lose weight or have minimal weight loss.”

Added to all of this, many gyms were closed and even those people who are diligent about healthy eating and working out gained weight, so what is Schaible’s advice for exercise and weight loss during the pandemic?

“If the gyms are closed, get out and go for a short walk, which is easy to do. Exercise is for self-care and looking after yourself. It is about finding something you enjoy and then committing to doing just that,” she advises.

“Regarding healthy eating, while being at home it helps to start with just one meal in the week that is healthy and make it. From there, add another meal and another. It is not about stopping it all right away if that is what you have been eating; it is about planning your week and being realistic about what you will choose to eat. You have to allow yourself comfort food because if you don’t, you will feel deprived and restricted and end up quitting eating healthy.”

As COVID-19 continues she has sage advice do you have for those of us who gained weight during the lockdown and want to have a healthy lifestyle and lose that extra weight and more.

“Start by not beating yourself up for gaining weight! Next, decide do you want to get back to a healthy lifestyle and lose weight, and if it’s a YES, then start small. Do not go looking for a diet to follow; start by writing out daily realistic food plans on foods that you are eating right now and then each day challenging yourself to level up in one small way,” says Schaible. “Get back to doing something that is moving your body in a way that you enjoy. Drink your water, get your sleep, and work on shifting how stress has been affecting you.”

When it comes to her professional passion, she is committed to “helping women end this struggle by seeing that there is nothing wrong with them. The problem is that they have not been shown another way, and that is where I come into play; to show them that they are worthy!”

So, how is she different from other virtual weight loss coaches? “What sets me apart: I do weight loss with a wholly unique approach. I go beyond the food and work on shifting their beliefs and no longer needing to stuff their emotions down. They also learn how to eat, not by following a diet, but by learning how to start where they are and build from there.”

When she hears the successful results, her heart soars. “They are so excited when they make a major leap that they let me know right away because they feel so proud of themselves!”

———————-

[Author and Architectural Design Professional Felicia “Lisa” Middleton]

Felicia “Lisa” Middleton                                                                                                            

Author, Architectural Design Professional                                                                                       

Food Service Design Consultant                                                                                                           

Urban Aesthetics Brands: The Foodie Builder / Aesthetically Speaking – specializing in home maintenance and improvement                                                                                                                       

Location: Philadelphia                                                                                                                                             

Years in business: 12                                                                                                                                             

Author of:  A Complete Guide To Creating Tasty Spaces

Homeowner’s Guide to Renovations and Maintenance                                                  

 

Felicia “Lisa” Middleton has several great loves – architecture, writing, and people – which is why she is so successful as an author and restaurant designer, home building expert, and entrepreneur.

“Educating my clients and helping them are my primary goals. The majority of my clients are business owners. Even when I design residential projects, most of the time I work for investors or contractors.”

Middleton says her business has improved because of the way she utilizes social media, especially videos. She has also used her go-getter personality and drive to start a podcast, and hired videographers and a video editor as part of her time.

Urban Aesthetics specializes in mid-sized commercial projects including Commercial Kitchens, Day Care Centers, Salons, Retail Establishments and Offices, Sign Permits, and Adaptable Design.

Urban Aesthetics, LLC is a full service, committed green business, EPA Certified Renovators, and a certified W/MBE design and project management firm located in Philadelphia. We provide design and permit services.

Her company is the top on many lists because her clients, who have been with her some five to 10 years, value her and her experience and are eager to refer her for subsequent jobs. “They trust me and they know that I am good and I know what I am doing.”

Since COVID-19 Middleton has been networking online and expanding her connections outside of the Philadelphia geographic area. Now since the pandemic started, she has done work in Maryland, Illinois, and Delaware and has agreements for future projects in Texas and Washington, D.C. She has also been networking in Denmark and Vancouver and she is thrilled that her new book Homeowner’s Guide to Renovations and Maintenance is being marketed in two countries!

“I am seriously thinking in terms of working globally as opposed to my local area or a few select locations in the U.S,” says Middleton.

One of the reasons that clients consider Middleton trustworthy is because of her ethics and standards. “We always seek to work with and subcontract with trustworthy individuals who have shown integrity and a dedication to quality work. We thank all who we have worked with in the past and all who we will continue to work with going forward.”

Her experience with COVID-19, both personally and professionally, has involved both celebrations (the ‘Silver Lining’) and sadness. “Unfortunately, I lost 10 or more loved ones, friends, and family members during the last six months, one of them to COVID-19. The celebrations have been amazing. Personally, my design business has been doing well. I published a book; a few additional articles, and I have been featured on several Podcasts.

This Pandemic has allowed her to slow down and be creative, something that this business author and businesswoman had missed quite often over the years. In addition, she has achieved three certifications in the foodservice industry and she is enrolled in additional certification classes to solidify her expertise in Restaurant Design and Planning. All of this, as well as productive networking, has led to book sales and new clients.

What sets her apart from others who operate similar businesses? “From the beginning, I decided to do two things: focus on what I love and where I have the most knowledge and experience,” she explains.

“I have utilized the specific niches that I have worked in throughout the years and incorporated the type of work. For example, I have many years of experience in Residential New Construction, working for large firms like Toll Architecture. I also have experience working in Food Service Design and Planning.”

If you are interested in joining the ‘Silver Linings’ journey, please contact Debra Wallace at https://www.facebook.com/1wallacemediaservices.

 

The post Business 101: “How Female Entrepreneurs Have Successfully Pivoted During the Pandemic” appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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How Artistic Collaborators Karen Saillant and Mi-Kyoung Lee Are Changing Our World! https://popculturepress.org/2020/09/how-artistic-collaborators-karen-saillant-and-mi-kyoung-lee-are-changing-our-world/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 21:15:57 +0000 https://popculturepress.org/?p=791

  One day, some 16 years ago, opera director Karen Lauria Saillant was walking by the University of the Arts and was drawn in by the riveting display windows.   She walked inside and mentioned that she was looking for help with an upcoming opera she was working on to take from Philadelphia to Italy.     Soon after, in […]

The post How Artistic Collaborators Karen Saillant and Mi-Kyoung Lee Are Changing Our World! appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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One day, some 16 years ago, opera director Karen Lauria Saillant was walking by the University of the Arts and was drawn in by the riveting display windows.
 
She walked inside and mentioned that she was looking for help with an upcoming opera she was working on to take from Philadelphia to Italy.  
 
Soon after, in addition to meeting professor Mi-Kyoung Lee, the Head of the Fibers/Textile program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, she also found several interns interested in her work. This started a life-long friendship in which Lee has collaborated as a costume and set designer, and art director on many of Saillant’s International Opera Theater.
 “As an international artist, Karen has been determined that every year she would have a premiere opera with global cooperation,” Lee said. “I kind of predicted that she couldn’t travel due to the pandemic, but I knew that wouldn’t completely stop her.”
 
Karen and Mi-Kyoung at Kultur Fest.jpg
 
This year in the fall of 2020, the picturesque town of Città della Pieve is returning all the affection and dedication received by Karen in all these years with a 20-day tribute: ′′Traveling Opera Images 2020, ” in which the stages will be retraced of the work done to date by International Opera Theater, through the shots of Ornella Tiberi, the cinematography of Diego Parbuono, and the designs of Francesca Tiriboco, a musical and photographic journey, from September 10 to September 30, along the streets and windows of the old town.
 
Compilation audios, with photographs from Karen’s operas, performed in Citta’ della Pieve over the past 16 years will be incorporated throughout the Italian town from Sept. 10 through Sept. 30 via opera worn clothing displayed in various store windows, photographs, from opera productions (with QR codes in the storefront windows) that can be viewed by the Italian city locals, as well as Philadelphians and those throughout the world, via YouTube.
 
“I knew this has been her baby for a long time,” Lee continued, “so it was wonderful to hear how the town was able to celebrate her legacy and dedication by having this special festival there.”
 
Lee fondly recalls that the community in Italy was so “warm and welcoming to my family. We would love to go back. It was such a special town,” she said. “All of the aspects of the traditional and non-traditional culture there were very interesting. In fact, my husband is practicing his Italian every day now so he is ready for our next trip there.”
 
Lee and Saillant discussed that instead of making the lotus flower that was the essential props for Opera Shim Chung, the children who participated in the opera would become the flower. “The children also portrayed symbols for the water, animals, clouds, and other expressions of nature — the prosperity of Korea,” Lee explains. “They became an integral part of the experience.”
 
“My family was engaged in the whole production intensely – singing, movement, creation of costumes and sets and artistry,” Lee continues. “To be there in Italy with the children from here and opera singers from around the globe practicing and bonding over it, was truly wonderful. My children, who are bi-lingual, taught the other children performing in the opera about Korean music and traditions including origami workshop and tea ceremony.”
 
After performing in regional opera houses in Italy and the U.S., in 2003 Saillant founded International Opera Theater, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, where she has continued to nurture her passion for art and life, and spread this cultural joy in the U.S. and abroad.
 
All of this is vital to Saillant. “When the artists performing are in harmony with nature, then the audience experiences catharsis and the expansion of their frame of reference,” she recently explained.
 
“I believe that the audience comes into the theater, and as a result of their interactions with these deeply harmonious artists, they have an experience that when they leave, has changed their world view,” Saillant continued. 
 
“This opens audience members to new ways of thinking. The great powers of music, theater, art, and opera have the potential to truly expand our frame of reference,” Saillant said. “This is about an extraordinary expression of communication that goes beyond speaking.”
 
When Saillant and Lee first met in 2004 they began talking about Lee’s artwork and sharing ideas.
 
“We started talking a lot about collaboration, and it was a natural ebb and flow. Karen was extremely excited about the nontraditional approach of making costumes,” explains Lee.
 
Here is a link to a brief musical excerpt from one of Saillant and Lee’s magnificent operas: Buffalo Soldier

 
“At the time I knew very little about the opera world, and my practice was not very traditional back then – I was working with mundane materials to create my sculptures and textile work. Karen was fascinated by a lot of what I delivered to her – working with different materials such as kitchen towels, pipe cleaners, and other items which were different from the traditional approach to opera garments and costumes.”
 
This led to the start of many other lengthy conversations about the possibilities of the extraordinary collaborations. Their first opera in 2005, Il Racconto D’Inverno was based on Shakespeare’s “AWinter’s Tale.”
  
Lee’s affection for the arts and textiles began as a young girl watching and admiring her grandmother make her clothing, purses, and blankets.
 
“It was natural for women of her generation to make all of this, and so I was always fascinated by costumes, fashion, and textiles and began studying fiber arts in my native South Korea,” she said. “This is where I started learning about tapestry, dyeing, papermaking, weaving, and all sorts of broad mediums. I have no regrets; it is a remarkable medium, and I am still discovering and still learning.”
 
Here is a link to another brief musical excerpt to Saillant and Lee’s opera:  Romeo e Giulietta
 
The magic that Lee weaves, using such ordinary objects such as plastic bags from supermarkets and department stores and tissue paper, is complemented by Saillant’s vision; together they have made stunning works of art.
 
One such outstanding collaboration was Opera Shim Chung, in which several of Lee’s students participated, including Vaira Zarli of Philadelphia. There were 25 cultures represented in Shim Chung Opera, as each opera singer and each instrumentalist came from a different culture. 
  
Zarli, a 21-year-old senior at the University of the Arts who loves studying fibers, textiles, and other mixed media, calls Lee “not only a great professor, but a great friend. Professor Lee is extremely resourceful and doesn’t talk or act like she is above you – she is one of the main reasons I joined the Fibers program.”
 
Lee asked Zarli if she was interested in working on Opera Shim Chung, because of her eye for fashion, and Lee was right. She definitely enjoyed it.
 
“It was the first Italian lyric opera set in Korea. We spent 3-4 months creating the background, costumes, and props,” Zarli recalled. “I improved my hand-sewing and enjoyed working with Karen when she came to the studio. It was a truly memorable experience.”
 
Lee says that working on Saillant’s operas was a gift for her students. “As a costume designer, it is important that you understand the relationship the visual garment has to the story, so that is the challenge for the artist, it is not only about your own artwork,” she said.


“This experience gave our students an opportunity to truly understand the art of collaboration, and how that costume he or she is making is affected by the way the opera singer moves, and sings, and interacts with the lights,” explains Lee.
 
“It also exposed them to not only Shakespeare and the other topics, but to a variety of cultures,” she says. “This really expanded our students and opened them up to different worlds to engage and prosper.”
 
For further information go to International Opera Theater’s YouTube Channel Here

The post How Artistic Collaborators Karen Saillant and Mi-Kyoung Lee Are Changing Our World! appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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How Coaches and Guides Help Us Find Our ‘Silver Lining’ and Pivot Successfully During COVID-19 https://popculturepress.org/2020/09/how-coaches-and-guides-help-us-find-our-silver-lining-and-pivot-during-covid-19/ Sat, 19 Sep 2020 18:11:16 +0000 https://popculturepress.org/?p=735

We all need coaches and guides when it comes to our careers, finances, personal lives, wardrobes, and images; especially during difficult times. Having just the right coach or mentor can make the difference between floundering and succeeding to meet even your most lofty goals. This is why professional athletes keep trusted coaches in their corner […]

The post How Coaches and Guides Help Us Find Our ‘Silver Lining’ and Pivot Successfully During COVID-19 appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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We all need coaches and guides when it comes to our careers, finances, personal lives, wardrobes, and images; especially during difficult times.

Having just the right coach or mentor can make the difference between floundering and succeeding to meet even your most lofty goals. This is why professional athletes keep trusted coaches in their corner and also why these four remarkable female business owners have not only pivoted during COVID-19, they have expanded their reach and not just survived, but they have clearly thrived!

Inspiring business owners — Marina StamosDawn SantorielloFelicia Shanken, and Brigid McGrath Stasen — are true role models who have many vital life lessons for us on how to find the ‘Silver Linings’ as we continue to navigate the choppy waters of COVID-19.

For many of us, our families and business lives were put on pause or lockdown at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in mid-March. Now, after nearly seven months, we are still dealing with social distancing, wearing masks, virtual learning for our children, and numerous Zoom calls and webinars that have temporarily replaced in-person workshops and conferences; the way we were formerly accustomed to connecting with colleagues and prospective clients.

With an estimated 160,000 U.S. small businesses permanently closing their doors since March, these female entrepreneurs used their gumption, determination, fortitude, and moxie to find new ways to serve current, new, and future clients.

Their ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, creativity, tenacity, and hard work, are sure to help us as a blueprint for our own personal and career journey.

Please take inspiration from their stories and use their journeys as a roadmap for your success in business, and in life!

Marina Stamos

CEO, Marina Stamos Business Coaching

Founded in 2017 – 19 years of overall business experience

[Business Coach Marina Stamos]

Business coaching is clearly a labor of love for Marina Stamos, who has been encouraging entrepreneurs and business owners for nearly two decades. She enjoys every step of the process, even the more difficult aspects. So much so that she has been able to help clients who have been stuck for months, and even years.

I love taking my clients from feeling overwhelmed, stuck, and wondering when their life is really going to start — and guiding them to a new understanding of how to make money in their business,” explains Stamos.

“When a client of mine has just had their first financial win – one that had eluded them for months or even years, there is no better feeling. I get an email that is exploding with smiley faces and exclamation points.”

She also appreciates that her clients who represent a wide range of financial backgrounds. “I love that I do this for people who are having their first $10,000 year as well as people who are already having a $2 million or $40 million year, but have hit a snag and need a new strategy on how to monetize their idea.”

She discovered business coaching 15 years after working for others or in a traditional consulting capacity and knew it was time to start her own business.

“From the moment I heard about [business coaching] I loved how it allowed me to productize my knowledge, have a mostly laptop lifestyle, and make my knowledge more accessible and affordable to business owners,” she says. “I knew I could serve so many more people with this model!”

She is a testament that each of us can use our gifts and talents to pivot and reinvent ourselves during good times and bad. Stamos had a rich background in real estate and is an Emmy-nominated former TV news producer.

“I have fulfilled my dream that I get to use these skills to serve self-employed women, (and men), and turn their dreams and passions into a profitable business that serves people at such a high level.

So, exactly how does it help her clients?  They have a new understanding of what really makes them appealing to their clients,” she says. “When they understand this, they attract clients who really get them and are excited to work with them.”

For those who may be uncertain about exactly what business coaches bring their clients, Stamos is ready to clear the air.

“I teach my clients the right thing to say, and who to say it to. I teach them the power of using their personal stories,” she explains. “It is also about how to make their value known in one minute or less. This is key. It’s not an elevator pitch. It’s a way of going from zero to a new client in one minute. Today’s hyper-saturated markets demand this kind of laser communication skill.”

“Finally,” Stamos added, “I teach clients how to stop being afraid of the word “sales.” I had to overcome my own issues with ‘selling’ so I completely understand their struggle!”

She said she received numerous referrals from happy clients because “they start making money within weeks of fully implementing my methods. And, because I am so high-touch, very intentionally holding my clients’ hands through their journey.”

When social isolation, closings, and lockdowns began in Philadelphia, and around the country, Stamos was ready to pivot, an action that kept numerous business owners around the U.S. in the game.

“Prior to COVID-19, I relied on in-person speaking events as my main source of income. When COVID-19 hit and all my events were canceled, I was scared! Really scared,” she reveals. “I didn’t know if I would make any money. Would anyone be buying coaching? Was it even OK to ask? I pivoted to all online events. I ran my own and became a paid sponsor for other events. And it worked! I’m on track to have one of my best years ever.”

In addition, she has helped her clients “find new ways to monetize their expertise. They are selling high ticket packages, in ways they never had before, and they are ecstatic!”

While we are all sympathetic to the heartache caused by COVID-19, Stamos has found a ‘silver lining’ that she is eager to share. 

“The silver lining of COVID 19 is that it forced me (and my clients) to get even more laser-focused on communicating their value well. When everyone is ‘Zoomed out’— the person who wins during COVID-19 and beyond is the person who gets out there with a powerful, profitable message that makes people drop their info in the chat-box and say ‘let’s talk.’ ”

Here is a tip: Go to virtual networking events and have a 1-minute talk ready to deliver. Coaches, pro service providers, consultants, and others–you can find high-dollar clients right now if you use your time in front of others wisely!

Please click below to find out how to create your own 1-minute talk. https://freegift.stamoscoaching.com/oneminute/

 ——————————-

Dawn Santoriello, CFP® | President

DS Financial Strategies

Founded in 2015; Certified Financial Planner since 2019

King of Prussia, PA 19406

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnN1ouX_Ew_hfqEfXlAGGkQ/videos?view_as=subscriber

Check out Santoriello on Linkedin 

[Certified Financial Planner Dawn Santoriello]

When Certified Financial Planner™ Dawn Santoriello is not advising clients on how to manage their finances, grow wealth and implement her sage advice, she loves being out in nature and discovering new trails, either hiking on foot or on her mountain bike.  

Especially during COVID-19, many people have been floundering, both personally and professionally. Santoriello appreciates that she “gets to wake up and do what I love every day. I love my clients, helping people, and the freedom that comes with running your own business.”

Initially, she did not see herself wanting to be a business owner, in fact, she remembers in college being offered an entrepreneurial class, and, at the time, it held no appeal to her.

“Yet, here I am today loving it. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  In my field you are brought up as a business owner. You pay your own expenses including rent, health insurance, you have to bring your own clients to whatever firm you are working for,” she explains. “If you are lucky you are given some prospects to call on that won’t give you the time of day. So, once it really sunk in that I was already running my own business and I let go of the fear I just went for it.” 

Santoriello is more than a typical financial adviser, she is a coach and a guide. For many business owners and individuals, this is an extremely confusing, complicated, and daunting process, and she helps them “reach their financial goals with peace of mind. I simplify financial topics for my clients including budgeting, investments, and insurance, educate them, and help them create a flexible financial plan that changes as they change,” she adds. 

“I also help them implement the solutions I recommend for them. Money doesn’t have to be a scary or taboo topic. I am passionate about helping people gain confidence and clarity around their finances.”

What value does she bring to new and long-time clients? “The value I bring to new and existing clients is my advice and expertise. As a Certified Financial Planner™ I have gone through extensive training.  I listen to them and their needs, concerns, and goals.”

As a result, they are eager to refer Santoriello to their colleagues. “They trust me and are happy with the work that I have done for them.”

Like many service-oriented small business owners, she has had to pivot during COVID-19 but was aided by the fact that she already had the infrastructure, and the best technology in place, which allowed her to operate virtually with many of her clients’ pre-COVID-19. “COVID-19 made it more acceptable to operate a virtual business.  The pivot I made was doing more webinars and refining my message.  I also engaged in a lot more networking.”

When it comes to ‘silver linings’ during COVID-19, Santoriello says that she feels like a positive personal transformation took place for her during the past seven months that continues today.

“I let go of fear and I let my mess be my message.  I am a spiritual/metaphysical person so I’m not afraid to show that and it has actually become my niche.  Combining spirituality and money.  I created my new signature talk, “Releasing the 5 Biggest Money Blocks That Are Holding You Back: How A Prayer For Abundance and Real-World Investment Strategies Changed My Life And Can Change Yours Too!”

Personally, she appreciated slowing down the pace of her busy life. “I had more quality time with fewer distractions with my loved ones. I stopped worrying about things I normally would have,” she explains. 

“It is pretty ironic in a time like this. I just let go of fear, and had faith that everything would work out for the best.  The prayer that I teach in my webinars, I just kept saying it to create how I wanted my life to be and clear any blocks where I was struggling.  This time has been a wakeup call for all of us to get rid of the things and people that no longer serve us in order for us to achieve our dreams.   They have tried to instill fear in us with this pandemic but it doesn’t work for people who are in their heart space and come from a place of love in everything that they do. Love operates at a higher frequency than fear.” 

What sets her apart from others in the financial planning industry is clear. “I am passionate as anyone who has spent 10 minutes with me can attest to,” she explains “I am committed to the success of my clients and I put my whole heart into what I do.  This is why I don’t require you to have a minimum amount of money to work with me.  Many people don’t have $500,000which many advisors want you to have before they will help you. These are the people who can truly benefit from financial planning.  It’s a common misconception that only rich people need financial planning. I also help clients with their money mindset and give them the tools to clear any of their money blocks.”  

When Santoriello hears that a client has made a major leap based on her advice, she is over the moon. “OMG, I get so excited.  I am so happy for them and my heart swells with joy,” she explains. “It is one of the greatest feelings. It’s as if it was my own achievement.  Such a great feeling when others achieve something based on your advice.”

She is known for being there for her clients, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic, “by being accessible.  I put out numerous videos on the market to calm those fears which weren’t really a major concern because I educate clients and prepare them for times like this.  The most important thing is calling them and just checking in to see how they are feeling, and how they and their families are coping with everything.  For me, it’s about letting them know I am here for them as well.”

When times get tough, it takes the right mindset and tools to keep going with great gusto. These are qualities she is known for having.

“I am one of those unique people who is just naturally motivated.  We all have a story and that story has taught me how to be strong and survive no matter what.  I cry like everyone else and have a pity party but then I pull myself together and harness my inner warrior self, who some call Delta Dawn, and I go and kick some butt,” Santoriello says.

“The tough times are there to challenge you so you can grow to become the person you were destined to be,” she adds. “So, the key is to change the way you think of a challenge and be grateful for it showing up in your life.  It means you’re one step closer to achieving your goals!”

——————————

Felicia Shanken, Founder of Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection, LLC.

Founded in February 2018; PWNC Foundation, Inc. was founded in October 2019.

Check out her Linkedin here 

Check out her website here

[Felicia Shanken, founder of the Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection, and TV host on RVN-TV]

Felicia Shanken is an expert at networking and building relationships, especially with the women in the Corporation Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection, LLC.

She started PWNC for “selfish reasons” after attending networking events that really didn’t meet even her most modest expectations. “The music was too loud. A lot of people hung out at the bar; which is fine if there is one since we all have to decompress. But then I would get some business cards and maybe there was a follow-up and I left unfulfilled. I felt something was missing.”

She began pondering what she actually learned from the event; if there was anything that she could apply to her business to help it grow, and the answer was a resounding no.

“So, I had a vision of doing something different in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, which was to start a networking group that not only offered networking events but provided women entrepreneurs with speakers who would talk about the tools and techniques of their businesses on various subjects that the attendees could implement right away,” explains Shanken.

Her aim was to offer different types of events, including fashion shows, hair and beauty events, sip and shop nights, breast cancer awareness events, and more. She also quickly saw how PWNC was able to make a major impact.

“PWNC helps solo entrepreneurs and business owners to know that they are not alone in handling their business affairs. If PWNC can offer a course, workshop, or event to help others grow their businesses then why not? If we have the resources to share, then I am all for sharing the ‘wealth of knowledge.’ ”

“It doesn’t matter how much you make in your business, if you don’t know how to continuously grow it, then you are already behind. Every person that owns a business or calls herself an entrepreneur knows how challenging it can be,” she explains. “PWNC offers the support that she needs to help her succeed if that is what she wants.”

What value does PWNC bring to participants? “PWNC builds relationships and forging quality connections, whether they are new or long-time clients. Our motto is ‘Business, Connections, and Resources.’ ”

Shanken is proud that all of the workshops, events, and courses offered to the community are from business owners who are experts in their fields, are established in their business and they get results.

When COVID-19 caused in-person events to go virtual, including those planned by Shanken and PWNC through November. Some of the events were canceled, but others were offered virtually. “The beauty behind that is where before networking events and workshops were done locally, we now have the opportunity to extend our reach nationally and globally, which I am extremely excited about.”

In addition to all of her work for PWNC, in September 2019 Shanken received the opportunity to host her own show on RVN-TV, a digital television platform. The show is called “Power Up Your Passion” and is the opportunity for her to bring guests on to talk about their passion in life and how it led to where they are now in their business and their career. “What I love about this platform is that it gives individuals the opportunity to share with the audience who they are as a person first (not their brand) so others can relate to their story.”

Like many women business owners, Shanken appreciated having more quality time to spend with Paul, her husband of 11 years. “Before COVID-19 I was so busy attending events, workshops, and building my brand that I didn’t spend too much time at home. The only time it seemed that my husband and I were able to connect was on the weekends and we all know how fast that goes.”

During COVID-19, one ‘Silver Lining’ is that they are able to eat both lunch and dinner together, ask one another about their day, since both of them are currently working from home.

“Another silver lining is that I can really focus on building and marketing my business more. I have the time now to give it a ‘tune-up.’ I can focus on where the gaps are and begin to fill them.  I am more conscious of my boundaries when it comes to my personal and business life and happy to say that I am staying very firm on them. I am more comfortable with saying “no” and definitely focusing more on self-care, which is huge for any business owner.”

What sets her apart from others who operate similar businesses is simple.  “The authenticity and relationships that PWNC builds with others,” she explains. “Is that my ladies amazingly like one another and enjoy each other’s company. They also love helping one another, and collaborating, when possible. We cheer one another on because we know how challenging running a business can be; especially if you have a family to take care of.”

When she wonders if she is doing a good job at supplying what PWNC needs, Shanken is thrilled to hear from PWNC members about how her programs and events spurred them to new heights.

“I will then receive a call or a text letting me know that something I posted on social media motivated them to either start a business, step up their game in their business, inspired them to do more or be more, whatever it was that they needed in order to be encouraged and successful in their business,” Shanken says. “The best feeling to me in this world is when someone tells you that you made a difference or inspired them in their life!”

There are many ways PWNC helps its community, especially during COVID-19, so much so that she becomes highly emotional when sharing about it. The corporation is continuing to bring great content, speakers, and connections.

“We have made our workshops and events more cost-effective because of the country’s current financial situation. We know a lot of small businesses will be closing because they haven’t received any financial assistance from the government and keeping a business going with no revenue coming in is hard.”

Among the well-attended programs was a recent six mini-workshop series on topics such as Growing your Business on LinkedIn, Public Speaking, Leadership Training, Learning Canva for Graphics, Managing Stress, and Podcasting. All of these topics are crucial in growing your business.

The donations for these workshops were $10 each which included a digital copy of the workshop. Some of the proceeds are going towards our PWNC Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund. We are awarding two community members mini-grants to assist them financially.

On October 6, there is a workshop on alternative ways of funding a business.  PWNC is in collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Commerce’s, 36th annual event called MEDWeek (Minority Enterprise Development). MEDWeek, which is a national event, is also hosted in Philadelphia. For one full week, there will be 42 events that are free to attend, to help owners grow their business. http://bit.ly/pwncevents.

For more on MEDWeek go to https://www.phila.gov/spotlight/philadelphia-minority-enterprise-development-week-2020/

PWNC has been asked to participate in the Virtual Philadelphia Small Business Expo, on October 27. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/philadelphia-virtual-small-business-expo-2020-registration-110513721516

Says Shanken: “We are looking forward to all of it!”

—————————

Brigid McGrath Stasen

CEO, “Bridge Your Style”

Founded fall 2018 – 25 years of luxury retail sales experience

Website: www.BridgeYourStyle.com

Check out Stasen on Linkedin: Brigid McGrath Stasen, Elite Image Stylist, Bridging Style To Your Lifestyle at Bridge Your Style

Check out Stasen on Instagram BridgeYourStyle

Bridge Your Style is an umbrella company for the following brands:

Lafayette 148 Atelier Direct – The latest styles with luxurious fabrics, outstanding craftsmanship & a modern sensibility, sophisticated, clean-lined clothing, expertly engineered for effortless dressing. European fabrics, effortless style, stylish looks, designed in New York.

Lafayette 148 New York has announced the launch of AtelierDirect, a new division of the business. The company has enlisted a group of select stylists and brand ambassadors in key markets around the country to offer a new, private selling and styling service to clients craving a more curated, intimate shopping experience. “We’ve handpicked stylists who embody our values, business ethos, and philosophy, added Paul Lechlinski, VP of Direct to Consumer Sales. “Wherever our clients are shopping, it should always feel like one voice, one look, and one vision of Lafayette 148.”

Ellie Kai – Made-to-Order ~ Reinvented. Thoughtful Design, Fashion that is Made-For-You, Ethical Manufacturing. We introduce the silhouette, fit, and the design details, and empower you along with our Brand Stylists to create the look that works best for you.

Freida Rothman Jewelry and Accessories – A luxury collection of earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, sunglasses, and leather goods. Freida Rothman is a Brooklyn-based jewelry and accessories designer. Her handcrafted and intricately detailed pieces are made for effortless elegance. The brand’s signature mixed metal look combines feminine embellishments with edgy designs for a unique, contemporary aesthetic. (Original & Unique Design, inspired by the grit and glamour of Brooklyn. Designed in Brooklyn by Freida Rothman)

[High-quality clothing, luxury jewelry and accessories stylist Brigid Stasen]

Looking at how stylish and well put together Brigid McGrath Stasen is — from head to toe — it is easy to discover her passion for her new business Bridge Your Style.

Since the fall of 2018, the time when she retired, this nurturing mother of three grown daughters, Stasen loves helping people. She is most expert at helping women of diverse ages purchase high quality, wearable clothing, luxury jewelry, and accessories in her private and virtual studios.

She started “Bridge Your Style” because she has always loved beautiful quality clothing and jewelry. “I wasn’t interested in going back into a retail boutique environment full-time,” she explains. “I love that I am able to work from home part-time and entertain clients once a season to enjoy the luxury of a private shopping experience, while still offering a great value.”

While many of her clients are fashion savvy, there are many others who know how they want to look but are unable to achieve that goal on their own. “I’m able to seasonally curate a beautiful wardrobe for my clients, so they may dress with the confidence that they deserve. I will also work with them to purge styles in their closets that are no longer fashionable and to pair what they own with pieces in my collection to give them a great value and return on their investment.”

In addition to selling beautiful clothing and accessories, she is always researching ways to expand her education when it comes to trends, fabrics, and product knowledge. “I don’t only sell once per season, but I am there for my clients all year; I am always available to assist clients with their needs,” she explains. “This is a great way for me to get to know dynamic women and women business owners to help them raise their profile, expand their reach, and attract new clients.”

While most of us have had to pivot during COVID-19, and it has not been an easy transition, especially because a great deal of Stasen’s business included in-person showings and trunk shows. But as anyone who knows Stasen will attest, she is always eager and willing to find a new way.

“I have taken advantage of Zoom calls in a big way to virtually sell to my clients,” she explains. “I have also acquired additional clothing and accessory lines that work well with the new lifestyle we are all living right now. Many of my professional clients are often on Zoom calls, so I am selling them blouses, jackets, and tops, along with some fun jewelry which helps them tremendously.”

Stasen found herself on these Zoom calls as the president of FemCity Philadelphia, a noted 10-plus -year-old women’s networking group with over 2000 active members in the Philadelphia market.

FemCity is more than a women’s networking group ~ it’s business for your soul. FemCity is a members’ only organization with local and online gatherings for women launching and growing businesses or growing business within a corporate or institutional setting. “We welcome all women from all walks of life. We have retired professional women and stay-at-home Moms as members as well. We want to support and lift up all women,” she explains. 

She officially became the President of the Philadelphia Chapter of FemCity in the first quarter of 2020. As she was just getting to launch programming for the year, Covid-19 hit and all face to face gatherings came to a screeching halt.

“Talk about a pivot! I had to react quickly. I immediately had members reaching out to me for support. Many of my Ladies are isolated. They needed me, they needed each other and needed time to share their thoughts and vent with like-minded members going through the same challenges,” she explains.

“I started our Zoom meetings for an hour or so twice per week to bring the members together to talk about their professional and personal issues as well as just having the camaraderie of each other to support. It has been quite heartwarming to see how the support of each other has kept our members going through these unusual times. I like to say that we straighten each other’s crowns.”

Finding the ‘Silver Lining’ in a difficult time is also something that Stasen is grateful for. “I appreciate being able to spend more time with my family. Meeting many clients through networking virtually has also helped me immensely.”

To fully understand Stasen one has to look at her close-knit and loving family. She and her husband George – who she considers to be her biggest cheerleader — have been married eight years, and as part of their blended family, she inherited six “awesome” grandchildren, two step-sons and their wives. My heart is full and I am grateful every day. Life can be hectic with our gang but I’m used to it coming from a family of 10. We have a lot of fun. As I am currently planning weddings for two of my daughters, I look forward to adding two amazing sons-in-law to the mix. 

Professionally, she is most passionate about being able to service her clients in a convenient way. “I love when a client calls me and tells me that she has received many compliments on an outfit that she purchased from me,” this savvy entrepreneur explains.

“I love hearing how good the clothing feels on them, and that they love that I am able to coordinate jewelry and accessories to work with their purchases. One-stop shopping is what they love and this makes me happy that they trust me to guide them.”

If you wonder what sets Stasen apart from others who operate similar businesses? “I have more than 25 years of experience selling luxury retail. I’ve learned from the best of the best. I will provide service to my clients by going the extra mile. If they need a shoe or another piece that I cannot offer them from the collections that I represent, I will find it for them.”

Keeping in mind the overall advice to “dress for the job that you aspire to have,” most often she hears from satisfied clients that “my outfitting gives them more confidence, and they are taken more seriously in the workplace!” I also am often told that when my clients wear the lines that I represent, their husbands/partners always comment favorably. What’s not to love about that?

Do you want to share your own “Silver Lining” story? Please contact Writer/Publicist Debra Wallace on Facebook or Linkedin

 

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash]

 

 

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How Opera And Arts Lover Karen Saillant’s Life’s Work Is Bringing Us Joy When We Need It The Most! https://popculturepress.org/2020/09/how-opera-and-arts-lover-karen-saillants-lifes-work-is-bringing-us-joy-when-we-need-it-the-most/ Fri, 11 Sep 2020 21:32:16 +0000 https://popculturepress.org/?p=718

Every summer for the last 16 years, the picturesque town of Citta’ della Pieve, (located between Rome and Florence) has hosted Karen Lauria Saillant’s opera festival where guests were treated first-hand to beautiful world premiere Italian operas; a staggering 16 operas in 16 years. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the structure of the 17th world premiere Italian opera […]

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Every summer for the last 16 years, the picturesque town of Citta’ della Pieve, (located between Rome and Florence) has hosted Karen Lauria Saillant’s opera festival where guests were treated first-hand to beautiful world premiere Italian operas; a staggering 16 operas in 16 years.

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the structure of the 17th world premiere Italian opera had to be changed, because Saillant is not permitted to travel to her beloved “second home” in Italy, where actor Colin Firth and musician Ed Sheeran have homes.

Finding a creative outlet during a global health pandemic is no easy feat, but it is something that opera and arts lover Saillant is able to accomplish with great aplomb, especially with the creative genius of her beloved Italian town. So much so that they are celebrating 16 years of creating remarkable works of art that are ceremoniously praised around the world.

Her cultural collaboration, passion for the arts, and inability to give up on even her most lofty creative endeavors are truly unique, as is her story, which involves a glorious tribute: ′′Traveling Opera Images 2020,” taking place from Sept. 10 to Sept. 30.

Saillant, a loving mother of two grown sons, was raised in the Philadelphia foster care system in which she faced many emotional difficulties. She didn’t meet her biological mother until age 13 and met her father as an adult. Yet, despite these humble beginnings she grew up to be an opera singer and is now a distinguished opera director in Italy and Philadelphia. When her beloved husband was in a coma for a year and a half, she compassionately cared for him in the living room of their home and learned the power of unspoken language. All of these experiences have informed her creative process.

After performing in regional opera houses in Italy and the U.S., in 2003 she founded International Opera Theater a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, where she has continued to nurture her passion for art and life, and spread this cultural joy in the U.S. and abroad.

Saillant’s story is a celebration of not only Saillant, but scores of Philadelphia-area children, costume makers, set and lighting designers, librettists, composers, educators, and families, in addition to artists from 75 plus countries who have taken this extraordinary journey with Saillant, fueling our collective love for opera, and arts.

In fact, more than 70 local children have performed in 11 of the operas, raising their sweet voices in Italian after instruction from Saillant and native Italian professors here in Philadelphia and in Italy. Their parents credit Saillant for giving the gifts of opera, music, and the arts to their children, starting a life-long love for the arts and culture, while at the same time building their confidence.

One of her collaborators is another unique artist, Mi-Kyoung Lee, the Head of the Fibers program at the University of the Arts, who has designed costumes and sets for many of the 16 operas, and was joined by her proteges and UArts interns in these projects. Other interns have come from UPENN, Rowan University, Drexel University, and dozens of other notable universities throughout the US.

For the first time, this local Philadelphia opera director, as a way to pivot during COVID-19, will have excerpts from her 16 years of world premiere Italian operas brought into our living rooms, coordinated with love by the Italian town where her new operas have premiered. 

What Saillant strongly believes is of significant importance is to consider how transformative opera, music, and the arts are to those who participate, as well as those who witness a performance.

While this year Saillant can’t physically be in Città della Pieve, tradition must triumph over any and every obstacle set in its place, and, as in all the great love stories, if one of them can’t take a step, the other will meet him and shake his hand.

This year, therefore, the picturesque town of Città della Pieve, will return all the affection and dedication received by Saillant in all these years with a tribute: ′′Traveling Opera Images 2020,” in which the stages will be retraced of the work done to date by International Opera Theater, through the photos of Ornella Tiberi and the creativity of videographer, Diego Parbuono and designer, Francesca Tiriboco, a musical and photographic journey, taking place from Sept. 10 to Sept. 30, along the streets and windows of the old town.

Compilation audios, with photographs from Saillant’s operas performed in Citta’ della Pieve over the past 16 years will be incorporated throughout the Italian town from Sept. 10 through Sept. 30 via opera worn clothing displayed in various store windows, photographs from opera productions with QR codes in the storefront windows that can be viewed by the Italian city locals, as well as Philadelphia natives and those throughout the world via YouTube.

Karen Lauria Saillant took some time to talk to PCM about her many passions:

What do you believe audiences get from attending the opera?

When the artists performing are in harmony with nature, then the audience experiences catharsis and the expansion of their frame of reference. I believe that the audience comes into the theater, and they have an experience that when they leave, has changed their world view. This opens audience members to new ways of thinking.  The great powers of music, theater, art, and opera truly expand our frame of reference. This is about an extraordinary expression of communication that goes beyond speaking.

Why is all of this so vital?

The future of world peace is in the hands of our children. The opportunity to not just see an opera, but to be part of the creative process in harmony with nature — in a town that retains its connection to the roots of Italianita’ — that is a powerful experience. Opera was created during The Renaissance, in Italy, not far from our town. Opera was believed to have the power to heal their tainted society. These children who sang in front of Italian audiences had never spoken Italian before they participated in one of my operas.”

What effect did this have on their parents?

The parents felt their children were transformed by this experience. We need people to understand that this is not some frivolous activity. Instead, it can be powerful for character building and the potential for healing. In ancient China, one of music’s earliest purposes was for healing, as it was believed that music had the power to heal the heart, enrich the mind, and harmonize a person’s soul. The Chinese character for “medicine” (藥 yào) stems from the character for “music” (樂, yuè). I liken it to the original symbol for medicine in Chinese, within that is also a symbol for music because it is a cathartic experience for healing and we need that, especially now. 

Why are so passionate about the arts? Why does all of this mean so much to you?

It is natural to me, from the time I was a child, I was always singing, dancing, and creating.

Please tell me about how all of this deepened later in your life.

 After my son and I were attacked by a homeless person my husband came to our rescue and he had no pulse for 27 minutes. He was revived, but remained in a vegetative coma until his death.

What was the life lesson here?

That we need more compassion in our world. Tragedies occur as a result of misunderstandings. Many of our operas have social justice themes, starting with Shakespeare.

You are so devoted to and so in love with opera. Tell me about this?

Opera combines, all of the art forms: dance, theater, music, poetry, prose, fine arts, and architecture. In my opinion, opera is the most complete art form. I believe it has the power to heal. If the artist is able to be in harmony with nature, using their body as an expressive element and conduit for non-verbal communication, creating pictures, and self-organizing on the stage, then the audience is able to witness the harmonious interactions of the stage performers and they become inspired, unconsciously, to go into the world and live a more harmonious life. 

How did being in the foster care system inform your life and art?

I aged out of foster care at age 18. I was never adopted. I was lucky because many foster children end up in prison and that did not happen to me. But, as an outsider, I lived through a lot of conflicts, and a lot of emotional problems. In those days, social workers were not as actively involved with foster families and their children as they are today.  Parental threats and brutal punishments were a part of my daily life. It was a fear-based childhood. I believe that this created a lot of sensitivity, and to this day, I utilize this in my understanding of arts and people.

It may have started from fear but it allowed me to develop a vibrant imagination. I would make up stories about my real parents. I met my real mother when I was 13 and my real father at age 52. Before meeting my mother, I had a whole imagined history that I had created about who my parents were and why they gave me up.

Please tell me more.

My foster sister was paralyzed and my foster father was missing fingers on his hand, so it was difficult when my handicapped father or sister would come to school. That helped with my sensitivity and empathy, as well as appreciating sacrifice and suffering in others. Even though it made them short-tempered I believe that part of my survival mechanics was being empathetic. Empathy and compassion and understanding are important parts of being an artist and a human being.

I know you are proud of all of your operas, but tell me about an experience that was not operatic that really touched you?

I went to Italy for the third opera and I did a theater piece with a group of severely handicapped young people in Umbria, Italy, after spending a year and a half with my husband. Only one of these young people could follow directions. Their parents sobbed when they saw their teenagers create a work of theater. It was a great triumph. I was able to create a theatrical event that celebrated the characteristics that had been considered aberrant of the teens in the show. I validated the behaviors that set them apart, rather than making it a problem, I made it an asset. That made each family really cry because in life we all need validation and they saw before themselves, on that stage, their sons and daughters having that much-needed support.

How did caring for your husband continue to impact you?

One of the keys to understanding this is in a process that revealed itself to me after caring for my husband. I was to stumble upon the validation of this experience in a book which the famed Australian conductor, Sir Charles Mackerras, called it ausstrahlung which means emanations or charisma. It involves the ability to share large bodies of information that are passed on quickly and can be communicated non-verbally through your energy. That communication is essential for a performing or directing artist.

Finally, what should we know about arts and culture in your view?

I believe that music is far more than what is written on paper. As a conductor, I had to be able to communicate beyond speaking and the written music. I’ve developed exercises so that I can create an opera in one month, complete with orchestra, staging, and costumes.  To be cathartic there has to be expansion and change, then you know you are in the presence of a beautiful work of art. In the end, it has such a beautiful benefit because we all have the ability to communicate in these ways with one another. We have these extraordinary abilities from the moment we are born. If we want world peace these abilities must be encouraged and allowed to develop. They must be heightened and strengthened. How can we do this? Art is the answer.

Please check out: https://www.youtube.com/user/internationalopera

 

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Children’s Author Presents: “Ferdy The Fish: The Fish That Could Not Swim” — A Tale For Our Times! https://popculturepress.org/2020/08/childrens-author-presents-ferdy-the-fish-the-fish-that-could-not-swim-a-tale-for-our-times/ Thu, 20 Aug 2020 18:25:26 +0000 https://popculturepress.org/?p=648

What can we learn from a rainbow-colored fish that could not swim?  More than we could ever imagine, in Ferdy The Fish: The Fish That Could Not Swim, the charming tale with vital life lessons for both young people and adults. Written by Don Levenson, Ferdy The Fish, is the perfect story for these troubled […]

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What can we learn from a rainbow-colored fish that could not swim?  More than we could ever imagine, in Ferdy The Fish: The Fish That Could Not Swim, the charming tale with vital life lessons for both young people and adults. Written by Don Levenson, Ferdy The Fish, is the perfect story for these troubled times of the Coronavirus pandemic. “One of my inspirations for Ferdy was a dog that I saw,” the creative author explained. “The dog was missing one of his front legs, yet he was walking the best he could and playing with a canine pal.”
 
This started the kind-hearted Levenson thinking that, “when Ferdy gets up in the morning he doesn’t focus on not being able to swim, so I am going to have a bad day. He gets up and does the best he can with what he has.” The important message here is “that friends can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The audience for my book is parents, grandparents, teachers, and the children that will sit on their knee, or connect another way, and read to.”
 
At a time when our differences have divided people in small towns and big cities, this book emphasizes values of acceptance, of ourselves as well as others.
 
“Although he cannot swim, Ferdy does not let that bother him and uses his brain to help everyone around him,” Levenson said. “Ferdy finds a way of using his disabilities to his advantage. It teaches all of us that we can usually find a way to help someone and it can be as simple as smiling at them to brighten their day.”
 
You can learn from Ferdy that even though he cannot swim – an obvious challenge for a fish — he still loves his life in the sea. He will do whatever he has to help his friends have a great day.
 
The Ferdy stories all end with, “This was a great day for Ferdy the Fish – The Fish That Could Not Swim. Everyone wants to have a great day but you have to do something to make it a great day!”
 
 
Levenson sees COIVD-19 as a great example of the kind of struggles that we have to deal with. “As the stories continue you get to see how great a friend can be. Ferdy and Jake form a great friendship go on many journeys,” he said. “In life, there are always going to be struggles that we have to deal with. This COVID-19 pandemic is a good example. You have to be ready to handle what life gives you. A good friend can always help.”
 
A major life lesson for children and adults is that “you should never pre-judge anyone. You never know when you will need their help. It can be something as small as helping someone find a lost object or as big as saving someone’s life!”
 
To order a copy of Ferdy The Fish; The Fish That Could Not Swim click HERE 

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Dynamic Female Entrepreneurs Find the Silver Linings That Will Inspire All of Us!   https://popculturepress.org/2020/08/dynamic-female-entrepreneurs-find-the-silver-linings-that-will-inspire-all-of-us/ Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:15:50 +0000 https://popculturepress.org/?p=609

Four dynamic Philadelphia and South Jersey area female entrepreneurs have tapped into their strengths, figured out how to pivot, and are seeing some “silver linings’ during COVID-19 that can inspire each of us as we move forward.   This positive outlook comes amid reports that more than 100,000 small businesses in the nation, (or 2 […]

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Four dynamic Philadelphia and South Jersey area female entrepreneurs have tapped into their strengths, figured out how to pivot, and are seeing some “silver linings’ during COVID-19 that can inspire each of us as we move forward.  

This positive outlook comes amid reports that more than 100,000 small businesses in the nation, (or 2 percent), have permanently shut their doors as a result of the lock-downs since the Coronavirus pandemic was declared in March.  

These grim statistics are according to a study from economists at the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago.  

While so many of us are grappling with a myriad of issues from COVID-19 –medical concerns, job losses and cutbacks, concerns over finances and more – business experts agree it is always wise to take a deep breath, find some positivity, think ‘out-of-the-box’ and establish a plan to help you not only survive, but also to thrive.  

These experienced women have found innovative ways to offer their products and services to new and existing clients in a meaningful way.  

They are also successfully pivoting, inspiring others, and eager to share what they have learned personally, and professionally, during this global health pandemic.  

Here is a window to how they operate and what we can learn from them:  

[Renee Patrone Rhinehart of Party Host Helpers]

Renee Patrone Rhinehart  

Owner, Party Host Helpers  

https://www.partyhosthelper.com/.  

Philadelphia, PA.  

In operation since 2014  

Renee Patrone Rhinehart’s Party Host Helpers and these other innovative business owners were able to change gears and provide their current and future clients with exemplary products and services. This is according to recent studies from Harvard University and other noted colleges.  

“Like many businesses, mine has definitely taken a hit. Throughout it all, we are focusing on our clients’ needs by posting recipes and upbeat, light content,” she explained. “We are staying COVID-19 compliant while staffing their smaller, more intimate gatherings.  

For the past 12 years, the Philadelphia-based Rhinehart has been in the event planning business and realized the need for party host helpers when her wedding clients kept coming back asking for bartenders and servers for smaller gatherings. So, starting her national business, Party Host Helpers in 2014, was the natural next step, and expanded her business to include helpers, bartenders, servers and staff who do everything from soup to nuts at parties of all sizes.  

“Our clients have done a lot of work to plan their parties and hiring a Party Host Helper allows them to breathe a bit and enjoy their party and their guests,” Rhinehart explained.  

What does Rhinehart, a newlywed who recently had the pleasure of planning her own wedding, appreciate most about her party hosting business? “I love that we allow hosts to enjoy being the host.” It also allows them to focus on their loved ones instead of running out for ice or other last-minute items, serving, clearing, dishes, and clean-up.  

Rhinehart, like these other inspiring entrepreneurs, has also found several “silver linings” to stay-at-home orders and other restrictions imposed since March. “I am a newlywed so it has been nice to slow down a bit and enjoy married life,” she said. “It also makes me appreciate the hard work that I have put in to build my business while taking the time to look back over the last six years.”  

What value does she bring to new and long-time clients? “We are their trusted party staffing source. They can rely on us for whatever their needs are. Our corporate clients and catering partners know they can call us at any point in their planning to ensure their staff will be covered!”  

Why do clients refer her to their colleagues and friends? “Our reputation for responsiveness is what sets us apart. We are committed to making our clients happy and that means responding to emails, texts, calls quickly, and getting the job done to their satisfaction.”  

What sets her apart from others who operate similar businesses? “Responsiveness, the quality of people, and savviness.  

What keeps her going when times are tough? “Remembering how much we help our clients and how happy they are after their parties. I also love being able to give people from all walks of life an opportunity to work as a “Party Host Helper.”  

[Party Host Helper Renee Patrone Rhinehart surrounded by beautiful party decorations]

Lori Diamond  

LoriDiamondArt  

Owner/Designer  

In business since 2015  

Dresher, PA.  

https://loridiamondart.com/  

[Artist and designer Lori Diamond of LoriDiamondArt]

Lori Diamond is a true visionary who has combined her passions for art and philanthropy to create a line of products that are helping to change the world.  

Once her three children were grown, Diamond, of Dresher, Pennsylvania, (Suburban Philadelphia) paired her artistic vision with the missions of several nonprofits in order to raise money and awareness.  

As such, through LoriDiamondArt she has helped children with Leukemia and autism and helped others feel empowered by wearing her designs on a variety of products, including sneakers, scarves, flip-flops, and masks.  

“I love that I can use my unique gifts to leave an impact on this world,” Diamond explained. “My messages, in my product designs, are always about love and its power in this world.”  

Diamond said she started her company to help small businesses stand out from their competition, something that is a necessity during the current challenging business climate. “So many companies are scrambling to pick up the pieces of what remains of their once-successful businesses,” she said.  

“Reaching people is easy, but how they react after they see your product is a totally different story. Being an ‘out-of-the-box thinker’ is a great skill right now.  It is my hope that my existing clients see that I genuinely care and will go the extra two miles. After establishing relationships with new clients, they will find that I love to connect people after I feel confident that they are the right fit for that marriage.”  

She has watched many companies she works with ways to pivot during COVID-19, including a successful bandanna company, hire a sewing team and go into the mask business to help serve a national need for face protection.  

At the same time, Diamond created a fabric line she had planned to use for home décor items such as pillows, but instead, she found new opportunities to use her art to make masks.  

“I try extremely hard to see the ‘silver lining’ in all experiences in my life,” Diamond explained.  

“This Coronavirus forced us to see how we are all connected, which means that if one company fails it could set off a domino reaction and we could all begin tumbling down,” she said. “So, we are beginning to help our neighbors like never before in our history. It gave me a clearer perspective on what is important to me in this life: the love of my family and what I can do to help others in pain.”  

What sets Diamond apart from other companies? “I am very picky and want to have affiliates that offer my clients the very best products and services. I am constantly repeating what I am grateful for and finding others with inspiring stories that I can help. The Coronavirus forces us to stay in the present and not look too far ahead.”  

She said that while we all want to know when our lives will go back to the way they were before the Coronavirus and will our loved ones be forced to reschedule their weddings for the second time. But through it all, “I learned that you can live a happier life when you realize some things are out of your control. I focus on what I can do to make a difference that day and I urge others to follow this advice.”  

[Design by Lori Diamond]

Doreen McGettigan
President of Intrepid Marketing, Inc.  

In operation since 2013  

Brookhaven, PA.  

doreenmcgettigan.com  

[Author and Writing Coach Doreen McGettigan]

Doreen McGettigan, who has always had a special way with words knew from the tender age of 10 that she wanted to become a published author and is thrilled that she has made that dream come true for herself three times.  

Not only did she write Bristol boyz Stomp, The Stranger in My Reclinerand most recentlyRealize Your Writing DreamsMcGettigan is helping others fulfill their dreams of becoming writers. “I love seeing my clients smile when they’ve realized their own writing dreams.”  

After her first book was published in 2011, people began asking McGettigan for help with writing their own books and for assistance in getting published – no easy feat. “I realized there were very few people offering entrepreneurs, professionals, and writers any assistance with writing their own books, publishing them, and marketing those books. I saw a great opportunity to make a living doing what I absolutely love.”  

She said that her affordable services through Intrepid Marketing saves clients valuable time and money and her company stands out because she works on her client’s specific time frame, and assists each of them in producing a book of which they can be immensely proud.  

Since most of her clients come to her via referrals, social media, or LinkedIn and she has always worked remotely, she did not have to do a major pivot.  

But when her third book, Realize Your Writing Dreams was released in March it came at a time when all the author events, book signings, and speaking engagements were canceled due to the pandemic. “I had to utilize social media, a newsletter, friends, family, and a blog to get the word out about the book.”  

She has been busy during the past five months with so many business owners and other professionals deciding to write their first or second book. “The shutdown has given people that have always said they could write a book the time to sit down and write those books.”  

On a personal level, her husband, John has been home instead of his usual 12 hours a day in car sales. “We normally have little time with each other. During the shut-down, we were blessed with three months of time spent together. We missed our children and grandchildren all the time, but it was good practice for my husband’s retirement taking place next year.”  

She said that what sets her apart from others who guide the process of writing a book, is that she “works with her clients personally, one-on-one and only works with those whose project I believe in, which leaves me wanting to give them 100 percent.”  

What keeps her going when times are tough? “Positive book reviews, emails, and social media posts from people that have read one of my books saying they couldn’t put it down, that my words helped them immensely or my stories affected them in a positive way,” she said. “The memory of placing a client’s published book in their hands for the first time is pure joy!”  

[Cover of Doreen McGettigan’s new book, Realize Your Writing Dreams]

Leslie Blau Berlin  

Owner/Creative Director  

LBB Design, LLC.  

In operation since 2016  

Cherry Hill, N.J.  

https://leslieblauberlin.com  

[Owner/Creative Director of LBB Design, Leslie Blau-Berlin]

Leslie Blau-Berlin is a visual thinker, and as such, she is using her myriad of skills to help entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits clarify their marketing needs with logos, website design, brochures, booklets and more.  

After freelancing for various clients for several years and leaving a job as a newspaper graphic artist in 2010, she turned her passion into a business when it became an LLC a few years later.  

One impetus for starting LBB Design was a self-survey from AARP which indicated that she would be happy being self-employed in her 50’s and 60’s, rather than working at a job or retiring.  

With a strong background in art and advertising design, she is also a teacher.  Although many of the web design agencies are purely technology-oriented, she eagerly embraces being called “an artsy geek.”  

With some of her clients having limited digital skills, like her landscaper client Mike Larkin, who feels like a dinosaur with a computer, she explains that he had to “get with the 21st century and get a website. It took a while to prove it, but I’ve seen a noticeable uptick in views to his Facebook page and website. If he gets more calls and new clients, I believe I’ve helped.”  

Blau-Berlin helps new clients clarify their brand as she delves into designing their logo and choose their color scheme after a thorough discovery session. “I help entrepreneurs move up from their “DIY” website and branding to look as professional as the more corporate brands they may be competing with,” she explained.  

“For long-time clients, I offer updates to their websites like a custom ‘Before & After’ portfolio slider, and always push for promoting their businesses on social media. I also offer ongoing website maintenance which many non-techy and/or busy folks appreciate.”  

When Blau-Berlin heard that nearly everyone would be in lock-down during the start of COVID-19, she jumped on the chance to register for designers’ boot camp, an online course, and also found ways to network and build her business.  

While many people may complain about all the Zoom meetings rather than in-person get-togethers, she has found a ‘silver lining’ that makes it an advantage. “A lot of conferences, networking meetings, and book clubs are now all online. Although there may still be a fee to ‘attend,’ the geographic barriers to getting there are now eliminated. As long as you have a good internet connection, you can connect with individuals across the globe.”  

As a self-employed home-based graphic designer, she has been able to continue to work on projects during this on-going crisis. “As long as I have my iMac or laptop, Adobe Creative Cloud, and a number of other cloud-based platforms, I am able to work from home.”  

Even though she eagerly looks for ‘silver linings,’ she admits there have been tough times during this pandemic. There is so much uncertainty about the virus and when it will be over. She has drawn on her faith and meditation, as well as checking in with friends and family for emotional support. Leslie realizes that “You can see who your true friends are when they reach out during times of trouble.”  

She believes that this pandemic could forever change the economy and how people do business. Previously, numerous corporations were reticent about allowing employees to work remotely, but since its success, during the pandemic, a lot of companies are considering more remote work arrangements. Also, Zoom and other digital conferencing platforms have become the norm for meetings.  

“I believe there are opportunities to change and flourish for those who think outside the box,” says Blau-Berlin, “which I encourage all of us to do going forward!”  

[Leslie Blau-Berlin]

Do you want to share your silver linings story with a regional and national business community? Please reach out to Debra Wallace on Linkedin or Facebook.

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Sharon Lia’s Timeless Music Inspires Us To Remember: “Every Single One Of Us Matters!” https://popculturepress.org/2020/05/sharon-lias-timeless-music-lift-us-up-and-heals-us-during-troubled-times/ Fri, 29 May 2020 18:06:31 +0000 https://popculturepress.org/?p=576

Sharon Lia is an inspiring example of how despite major difficulties in our lives we can take our passion and come out even stronger on the other side. Lia’s latest work, The Sum of Us is a timely new song about resilience and unity. She explains that it is about “the conflict within ourselves, the […]

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Sharon Lia is an inspiring example of how despite major difficulties in our lives we can take our passion and come out even stronger on the other side.

Lia’s latest work, The Sum of Us is a timely new song about resilience and unity. She explains that it is about “the conflict within ourselves, the tragedy of giving up, the victory of rising when we fall, the symphony of realizing our potential, and the philosophy that every single one of us contributes to the sum of us all.”

The newly released song reminds us: “Like water in an ocean, each drop touches the next, creating an enormous body of water. Without every drop, there is no ocean.” In fact, she has heard from front line medical workers, teachers, and others who are eager to be sharing the song — and her video — and the message of never giving up. 

Recently, she was contacted by a nurse who was taking off her protective gear in her garage, heard the new song, and wept because it resonated so much with her, and made her realize that each one us matters and that we should never give up.

The unique power of music is summed up by Lia this way: “The nostalgia of the past, enjoyment in the present, and hope for the future.”

Recently, PCM had the pleasure of talking to Lia about her music, her resilience, and why music can transform us, especially during times of unrest, such as the current global health pandemic.

“Share a song or even a smile,” she says, “you never know what someone is going through and how much we can help one another.”

[Songstress Sharon Lia]

Why is The Sum of Us currently resonating with everyone?

When I wrote the song, I didn’t have a crystal ball so I didn’t know we would be where we are now. I finished the song during the pandemic and with the various scenarios and all of us being hunkered down trying to achieve something together for the common good. So, it is a timeless song and certainly very timely right now. The example of the artists involved coming together is part of that. It is also a thank you to the people on the front lines to whom we are grateful; grocery store workers, and those who work in hospitals and deliver the mail, etc. They have kept the world moving so we can stay safe hunkered down in or homes.  I see this music as a little bit of a sign of hope.

How are you doing during the quarantine?

I had an unfortunate accident in which I broke my right hand and suffered a brain injury. It makes things very difficult and upsetting for a piano player and graphic artist, so I have been at home for two years of healing. I try to be strong for my friends, family, loved ones, and fans, because ironically, I am uniquely prepared. Not going out is something I had to adapt to and my husband Rick has had to help me through it all, like he is still doing during this pandemic.

Is there a silver lining to this pandemic?

My husband, Rick Jannotti, who is a gifted guitarist, my engineer, and co-producer, and my partner in everything, continues to be supportive. When he is not running to the store to pick up groceries or supplies, we know we are in this together and that we can create our art together.

Tell me more about how Rick came into your life?

We met in 2013 when he auditioned to be my guitar player. I am so fortunate to have Rick in my life. I always wanted to have a partner who understands my passion for music. I found someone who didn’t mind schlepping my equipment, and has always been so supportive We developed a bond and have shared everything. I have had other love interests in my life who didn’t share my passion or want to dive into the nitty-gritty of things, but when you do it is magical.

So, tell me, why do you want my readers to listen to your music?

I feel like I have a story to share that people can identify with and that will touch them. Obviously, there is a part of me that wants to leave something positive for the world. I feel music can influence people and bring out so much creativity in others. When people get together at a concert or at a temple or church there is communion about it; I hope that someday we get back to that. 

What do you think the new music scene is going to look like?

I am not sure. It’s funny, I have a graphic artist friend who works for a Broadway company, they are facing people not coming to shows and wondering what everything will look like in a continuing COVID-19 world.

How can music help us during these very difficult times of COVID-19?

I have closed my eyes and absorbed the melodies and notes and meditated.  I waltzed with the vibrations and dreamed of a day when we would all feel like dancing again.

What is your take on what the “new normal” will look like?

I have faith that we are going to come back stronger and smarter. I feel that we are going to be healing from the losses and remembering those who have gone during this time. I believe that it’s human nature to learn from experience, but go back to normal with a more enlightened outlook.

Maybe we will all wash our hands a little longer. It is my hope that we get back to normal and we get back to those personal relationships we have with one another that is so important. It’s interesting because we are all doing what people do best — we are adapting. We are doing the best that we can and at the same time finding new ways of doing things. So, maybe we will have even better ways of doing things in the future.

I was extremely touched by some of the virtual concerts going on that are sharing a wide range of music.

Yes, that is a true gift to the world for musicians to share their uplifting messages. Even with our video – we have artists from around the world who came together to contribute their time and talent. Music is absolutely a gift and it’s amazing how many people with so much talent are willing to give of themselves. I am seeing it everywhere. My hat goes off to everyone who is giving of themselves, in whatever way they can, during these difficult times.

Why is music so important to you?

It’s the only thing that helps me process life. When I’m sitting and thinking about something and I am deep in thought, my next reaction is to sit down and play the piano and a chord progression emerges and that space where the music is, it becomes like a flowerbed for the music to grow. Music has a healing effect on me and for other people. Ever since I was a young child I wanted to write and be involved in music. It’s a calling. I can run, but I can’t hide.

Please tell me more.

Some music is too painful for me to listen to. I find that I have to shut out a part of my life that is too painful. But blocking myself from those emotions is not enabling me to feel that part of my life and address it. So, making music helps me address some of these issues. I try to make music about ordinary people’s extraordinary experiences. Some things are very unique. This pandemic is universal but we are all experiencing a different effect. I try to write about these individual experiences. My song Anomie, for example, is about suicide, but there’s a deeper meaning for people to connect with these feelings.

Why do you feel that music has so much power?

Music imparts vibrations, and, people associate music with episodes in their lives… eliciting memories and associations, both good and challenging.  It can make a person or a crowd rowdy, somber, calm, excited, empowered, and/or united. It creates invisible bonds. Music is about the nostalgia of the past, enjoyment in the present, and hope for the future.

What songs and music transport you to a different place and time?

Songs with an ethereal feel, anthems, strong, emotive melodic and chordal progressions, instrumental or with meaningful lyrics, catapult me into a different realm. It’s so overpowering that it can alter what I am writing like social media posts, a letter, or an email.  It makes me very introspective and usually emotional.

Do you feel we will come out of this health pandemic changed both personally and professionally?

I do.  Like a seed beneath the horizon, when we poke our heads out from under this blanket on the earth, we will grow toward the sun with vibrant abandon.  It will be liberating.  We will enjoy things we took for granted… we may even go out and do more than we ever did before with our new appreciation for the freedom “To Do.”

What inspires you to be the most creative with your music?

It’s visceral. I would say what stirs in my heart comes out my fingers. The inspiration comes from God, I believe.  To create is like this force I cannot fight against.  When I write, if I tear up while doing so, (even if it’s not a sad song), I know it’s going to be a great song for me.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a music or entertainment career? 

If music is in your soul, and you know it’s what you want to do, do not abandon it. Like anything else in this life, anything worth fighting for, is truly worth fighting for.  You will have to work hard, pay your dues, wear a lot of hats, and ultimately, you will need to learn to balance your music with your critical “me” time since the commitment takes so much time.  Enjoy the process, do it because you love it, not for fame or money, and always remember to nurture yourself along the way!

What are your goals for the future?

I want to be a Rock Star one day. [She said with a wide smile.]

 

 

 

 

The post Sharon Lia’s Timeless Music Inspires Us To Remember: “Every Single One Of Us Matters!” appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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Stay-at-Home with Neflix’s June 2020 Releases https://popculturepress.org/2020/05/stay-at-home-with-neflixs-june-2020-releases/ Sat, 23 May 2020 20:25:35 +0000 https://popculturepress.org/?p=562

How to Get Away with Murder, 13 Reasons Why, and Fuller House are just a few of the highly watched TV series coming to Nexflix this June. Do your part to #flattenthecurve by staying at home with family and binging from the full list below. June 1 Cardcaptor Sakura—Season 1 Dear My Friends—Season 1 Juwanna […]

The post Stay-at-Home with Neflix’s June 2020 Releases appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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How to Get Away with Murder, 13 Reasons Why, and Fuller House are just a few of the highly watched TV series coming to Nexflix this June. Do your part to #flattenthecurve by staying at home with family and binging from the full list below.

June 1
Cardcaptor Sakura—Season 1
Dear My Friends—Season 1
Juwanna Mann
My Shy Boss—Season 1
Priest
Revolutionary Love—Season 1
The Disaster Artist
The Healer
The Help
The Show
The Stolen

June 2
Fuller House—Season 5b (Netflix original series)
True: Rainbow Rescue (Netflix original series)

June 3
Lady Bird
Killing Gunther
Spelling the Dream (Netflix original movie)

June 4
Baki—Season 2, Part 3 (Netflix original series)

June 5
13 Reasons Why—Season 4 (Netflix original series)
Queer Eye—Season 5 (Netflix original series)

June 6
The Night Clerk

June 7
365 Days

June 8
Before I Fall

June 10
Lenox Hill—Season 1 (Netflix original series)

June 11
Pose—Season 2

June 12
Addicted to Life
Da 5 Bloods (Netflix original movie)
Don’t Crack Under Pressure
Don’t Crack Under Pressure II
Don’t Crack Under Pressure III
F is for Family—Season 4 (Netflix original series)
Jo Koy: In His Elements (Netflix original movie)
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts—Season 2 (Netflix original series)
Magnetic
Pokemon: Journeys (Netflix original series)
The Woods—Season 1 (Netflix original series)

June 13
Alexa & Katie—Season 3B (Netflix original series)
How to Get Away with Murder—Season 6

June 18
A Whisker Away (Netflix original movie)

June 19
Father Soldier Son (Netflix original movie)
One Way for Tomorrow (Netflix original movie)

June 23
Eric Andre: Legalize Everything (Netflix original movie)

The post Stay-at-Home with Neflix’s June 2020 Releases appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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What’s Coming to Hulu in June 2020 https://popculturepress.org/2020/05/whats-coming-to-hulu-in-june-2020/ Thu, 21 May 2020 20:25:09 +0000 https://popculturepress.org/?p=565

Hulu has a ton of options to #stayathome with and watch in June! From 90s flicks like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Green Mile, and The American President to newer favorites like Women and Sometimes Men, The Appearance, and Intrigo: Samaria. June 1 Celebrity Family Feud: Season 6 Premiere (ABC) Press Your Luck: […]

The post What’s Coming to Hulu in June 2020 appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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Hulu has a ton of options to #stayathome with and watch in June! From 90s flicks like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Green Mile, and The American President to newer favorites like Women and Sometimes Men, The Appearance, and Intrigo: Samaria.

June 1
Celebrity Family Feud: Season 6 Premiere (ABC)
Press Your Luck: Season 2 Premiere (ABC)
Match Game: Season 5 Premiere (ABC)
Children’s Hospital: Complete Series (Adult Swim)
Mike Tyson Mysteries: Complete Seasons 1-3 (Adult Swim)
10 Year Plan (2014)
4th Man Out (2015)
Above & Beyond (2014)
Almost Adults (2016)
Born to be Wild (2011)
Casino (1995)
Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)
Cliffhanger (1993)
Constantine (2005)
Dave (1993)
Digging for Fire (2015)
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
Equilibrium (2002)
Fair Game (2010)
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)
Futureworld (1976)
Grown Ups (2010)
Happily N’Ever After (2007)
Happily N’Ever After 2 (2009)
Honey (2003)
Honey 2 (2011)
I Am Legend (2007)
I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009)
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
Incident at Loch Ness (2004)
Joyride (1997)
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story (2014)
Kingpin (1996)
Losing Isaiah (1995)
Meet Me In Montenegro (2014)
Meet the Parents (2000)
Mo’ Money (1992)
My Girl (1991)
My Girl 2 (1994)
Nate and Hayes (1983)
October Sky (1999)
Quigley Down Under (1990)
Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
Sex Drive (2008)
The American President (1995)
The Cookout (2004)
The Marine 3: Homefront (2013)
The Pawnbroker (1964)
The Scout (1994)
The Tuxedo (2002)
The Wood (1999)
The X-Files (1998)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Trade (2007)
Treading Water (2013)
True Romance (Director’s Cut) (1993)
Undertow (2004)
Up in the Air (2009)
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2007)
Women and Sometimes Men (2017)
Wristcutters: A Love Story (2007)
You Don’t Mess With The Zohan (2008)
Zardoz (1974)

June 2
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
Released June 4
Miss Snake Charmer (2020)

June 5
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme: Documentary Premiere (Hulu Original)
Shirley (2020)
Intrigo: Dear Agnes (2019)

June 6
The Appearance (2018)

June 7
Where’s Waldo?: Complete Season 1 (Dreamworks)

June 8
My Absolute Boyfriend: Complete Season 1 (Rakuten)
Radiant: Complete Season 1 (Rakuten)
From Paris with Love (2010)

June 9
The Best of The Bachelor: Series Premiere (ABC)

June 10
Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots: Complete Season 7

June 12
Crossing Swords: Season 1 (Hulu Original)
Into the Dark: Good Boy (Hulu Original)
Don’t: Series Premiere (ABC)
Intrigo: Samaria (2019)
Child’s Play (2019)
Awakenings (1990)
Fools Rush In (1997)
Poetic Justice (1993)
Seven Pounds (2008)

June 13
Eye in the Skye (2015)
Dragonheart (1996)
Windtalkers (2002)

June 15
Pan (2015)
Breakup at a Wedding (2013)
Dustwalker (2020)
The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006)

June 16
Brockmire: Complete Season 4 (IFC)
Larry Crowne (2011)

June 17
Nostalgia (2018)

June 18
Buffaloed (2020)
Crawl (2019)

June 19
Love, Victor: Series Premiere (Hulu Original)
Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi: Series Premiere (Hulu Original)
Bean (1997)
Gigli (2003)
Hart’s War (2002)
La Bamba (1987)
Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007)
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Out of Sight (1998)
The Peacemaker (1997)
Tears of the Sun (2003)
Zoom (2006)

June 21
The Chi: Complete Season 3 (Showtime)

June 22
Clemency (2019)
XX (2017)

June 25
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (2020)
Charlie’s Angels (2019)

June 29
Carrion (2020)

June 30
The Gallows Act II (2019)
One For The Money (2012)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
6 Souls (2013)
That’s My Boy (2012)
Last call

June 30
Aeon Flux (2005)
Bangkok Dangerous (2008)
Bend It Like Beckham (2003)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Blue City (1986)
Demolition Man (1993)
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who (2008)
Dr. T. and the Women (2000)
Foxfire (1996)
Get Smart (2008)
Gods and Monsters (1998)
GoodFellas (1990)
Grown Ups (2010)
House of D (2005)
I Am Legend (2007)
Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
Kingpin (1996)
Let Me In (2010)
Monster House (2006)
Phone Booth (2003)
Repentance (2014)
Romancing the Stone (1984)
The Boost (1988)
The Conjuring (2013)
The Eternal (1998)
The Full Monty (1997)
The Green Mile (1999)
The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2010)
The Mexican (2001)
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)
The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)

The post What’s Coming to Hulu in June 2020 appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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Disney+ Quarantine Choices for June 2020 https://popculturepress.org/2020/05/disney-quarantine-choices-for-june-2020/ Tue, 19 May 2020 20:24:56 +0000 https://popculturepress.org/?p=569

Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy, Schoolhouse Rock, and Avengers: Infinity War are just a few of the fun choices for you and the kiddos to watch this June. Check out the full list of what’s coming to Disney+ and don’t forget to do your part and #flattenthecurve. June 5 Alaska’s Grizzly Gauntlet (S1) America’s […]

The post Disney+ Quarantine Choices for June 2020 appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy, Schoolhouse Rock, and Avengers: Infinity War are just a few of the fun choices for you and the kiddos to watch this June. Check out the full list of what’s coming to Disney+ and don’t forget to do your part and #flattenthecurve.

June 5
Alaska’s Grizzly Gauntlet (S1)
America’s Greatest Animals
Chasing the Equinox
Howie Mandel’s Animals Doing Things (S1-2)
Secrets of Wild India (S1)
The Greeks (S1)
Weird But True! (S1-2)
Wild Hawaii (S1)
Women of Impact: Changing the World
Be Our Chef: Episode 111, “The Spectacular”
Disney Family Sundays: Episode 131, “101 Dalmatians: Onesie”
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, Episode 106, “Visualization”
It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer: Episode 104, “Disaster Rescue Dogs & A Dog Mayor”
One Day at Disney: Episode 127, “George Montano: Plasterer”
Disney Insider, Episode 106, “Artemis Adventure, Taste of Disney, Runaway Railway”

June 12
Mighty Med (S1-2)
The Liberty Story
The Story of the Animated Drawing
Walt & El Grupo
Artemis Fowl
Disney Family Sundays: Episode 132, “Winnie the Pooh: Bag Toss”
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, Episode 107, “Score”
It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer: Episode 105, “The Surfing Corgi & Bee Dogs”
One Day at Disney: Episode 128, “Scot Drake: Imagineering Creative”

June 19
101 Dalmatians (1997) (S1)
Big Sur: Wild California
Muppet Babies Play Date (S1)
Schoolhouse Rock (S1)
Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy
Disney Family Sundays: Episode 133, “Monsters, Inc. Water Bottles”
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, Episode 108, “Connections”
It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer: Episode 106, “Stunt Dogs & Water Rescue Dogs”
One Day at Disney: Episode 129, “Candice Valdez: Radio Disney Host”

June 26
Avengers: Infinity War
Man in Space
Mars and Beyond
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Raven’s Home (S3)
Tarzan
Tarzan II
Disney Family Sundays: Episode 134, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”
It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer: Episode 107, “Detective Dogs & Truffle Hunting Dogs”
Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2: Episodes 1-6
One Day at Disney: Episode 130, “Marc Smith: Story Artist”

The post Disney+ Quarantine Choices for June 2020 appeared first on Pop Culture Press, part of the Pop Culture Madness Network.

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