Saturday, April 25, 2009

Powerful Panel Discussion in Beautiful Ventura

I have just had the privelege of helping to organize and facilitate a panel discussion event for Soroptimist International of the Americas Camino Real Region's Spring Conference being held (right now!) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura, California.

Yesterday afternoon at 2 PM, approximately 150- 160 women (some of whom attended the conference only for this event) had the privelege of hearing the following fabulous women speak as panelists in our event:

HEIDI FLOYD, Development Ambassador, Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer is committed to eradicating breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by providing financial support for research and research-related projects. Nearly $8 million has been raised since the Foundation began its efforts. Heidi’s job, simply put, to spread awareness across the nation about the Foundation and its commitment to the research it funds.

RENEE WHITE FRASER, Ph.D., Fraser Communications. Renee Fraser is the founder and CEO of Fraser Communications, a well-known LA-based advertising and public relations firm. Fraser Communications has represented United Way and many other nonprofit and corporate clients for fifteen years. A research psychologist, Renee teaches graduate courses at the Annenberg School at USC, and focuses her teaching, her business, and her volunteer efforts in ways that help to improve the lives of society, especially women and minorities.

ADRIENNE HOREN, VP/Investments, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. Founded in 1832, Janney is an integral part of the United States’ financial history, holding the second oldest continuously operated membership in the New York Stock Exchange. ADRIENNE HOREN, a Soroptimist member since 1995, is an experienced financial consultant with Janney. She is the trusted advisor to Soroptimist International of the Americas.

TERRI CADIENTE, Author, Life Coach, Stuntwoman. Terri, an Associate Certified Life Coach helps restore dignity to women and girls through her company Strength and Grace, Inc. the Ragdoll Restoration Foundation; a new documentary ‘Stuck in Traffic’ that addresses the issue of sexual slavery; and the ‘Raising the Bar’ program that provides girls with a parent in prison opportunities to better their circumstances. Terri has generously offered a portion of the proceeds from her new book, Live Courageously: Choose to be the Real You, in which Terri shows readers how they hold the power of choice in their own lives, to SIA.

TRISH GRINNEL, Marketing Executive with Melaleuca, The Wellness Company.
Ms. Grinnel joined Melaleuca after 20+ years in Corporate America, 15 in Telecommunications. Melaleuca is a 24-year-old, Idaho-based, INC 500 company that manufactures safer, more cost-effective products for everyday use. Melaleuca's commitment to quality and giving back is exemplified by the 2005 BBB Hall of Fame award, the prestigious Circle of Humanitarians" Award given by The Red Cross, 2006, and "The Others" award given by The Salvation Army, 2007.

Wow! Their credentials and their own businesses and organizations are exciting in and of themselves. But just imagine what can happen when you put those five women on a panel together.

Not only did each woman have a story that inspires and engages, but together, their combined energy, excitement, emotion, and hope filled the room and brought us to our collective feet. We want some of that electricity to rub off on us and power our lives. It already has -- those of us who attended were enlightened and empowered. Each woman represents a different professional background and each woman gives back in a unique way, but each of these women is fueled by her passion and that passion, individual and collective, was palpable and contagious. We were greatly touched.

The discussion was captured in a digital film and hopefully can soon be posted in its entirety for the benefit of all.

I am honored to know each of these five amazing women and look forward to to the privelege of working with each one again in future.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hurray for Crocs

No, not the reptiles.

The shoes I always swore I'd never be caught dead wearing...

Until I found a pair of Croc flip-flops that are absolutely the most comfortable footwear I have ever experienced.

I was nosing around a discount shoe store the other day and found a display of Crocs. Huh, I sniffed to myself. They're as ugly as ever. But I do need a pair of flip-flops, and their flip-flops look more comfortable than most.

First of all, the sizes run big. I had to keep trying on smaller and smaller women's sizes until even a size 5 was too big for my normally 6 to 6 1/2 size feet.

So I moved to the children's sizes. 4 was still too big, but 3 (Boy's 1), that fit perfectly.

I found a pair of brown and khaki flip-flops, bought them at half of the (gasp!) price of $30. plus tax, and took them home.

And have been wearing them ever since!

Until I went back to the store and tried on a few more styles. Meanwhile, I did some research and found out that nurses wear Crocs for 14-hour shifts on their feet, as do waiters. What better shoe to kick around the house in, run to to the store in, walk the dogs in? Who CARES if they are comical looking?

I was going to get another pair of flip-flops in pink, but after some thinking decided to try red Mary Janes. These worked in a size 5 as they are closed toed and needed a bit more wiggle room; plus, you could conceivably wear them with socks. (What happened to my fashion sense, you ask? Sometimes comfort trumps fashion.)

I wore the Mary Janes with my jeans running errands the rest of the afternoon and they are almost as comfortable as the flip-flops, though when I got home, the flip-flops went back on.

I live in Southern California. I've rediscovered heels and wear them with just about everything now, including jeans. I like to look pretty and feminine.

But when I wear my Crocs, I feel comfortable and like a kid again.

I guess that's the idea.