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Extraordinary Woman Dawna Stone

Posted on: December 1st, 2013 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Dawna-Stone

Dawna Stone is a health, fitness and wellness expert and founder of Women’s Running magazine and the Women’s Half Marathon series.

An avid runner and Ironman triathlete, the St. Petersburg resident has appeared on numerous morning news programs, including Today, won The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, hosted Health and Fitness Talk with Dawna Stone on Sirius Satellite Radio and Healthy Living with Dawna Stone on FOX and her first book, Winning Nice, made Amazon’s list of top 100 business books. Her latest book, Healthy You!, has been on Amazon’s bestseller list since it debuted Oct. 15!

She was a financial analyst for Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley, a consultant for Deloitte Consulting, president of PR Nutrition, senior VP of operations at Active.com and chief marketing officer for a publicly traded company worth $700 million. She launched Women’s Running in 2004 and the Women’s Half Marathon in 2009, selling both companies in 2012.

An American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified health coach, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree from UCLA.

What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?

I think it all comes down to love and respect. I have a 6-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. I was fortunate to grow up in a family that was affectionate, and I think that makes a child feel loved and secure. I tell my children how special they are and how much I love them regularly. I’m constantly kissing, hugging and cuddling with them. I hope that the affection now will help them feel loved and secure even when they no longer want their mom doting all over them.

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is that I will never be satisfied with what I’ve accomplished. My husband constantly reminds me to be proud of all the things I’ve done, but I’m always so busy working on the next big thing that I don’t take the time to appreciate the things I’ve already accomplished.

What advice would you give to other women?

Go after what you want and don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve. In 2006, I wrote my first book. The most amazing part of writing the book was getting to interview a long list of incredible businessmen and women. A few weeks before the final manuscript was due to my publisher, my editor called and asked if I had given any thought to who I wanted to write the foreword of my book. I told my editor that I wanted Steve Forbes to write it. My editor’s reaction was one of pure excitement. I remember her saying, “Steve Forbes! That would be incredible! I didn’t know you knew Steve Forbes.” When I told her I didn’t know Steve Forbes, she became extremely quiet on the phone. She then asked how in the world I was going to get Steve Forbes to write the foreword of Winning Nice if I didn’t know him. I simply told her I was going to ask. It wasn’t easy getting a meeting with Steve, but he did agree to be interviewed for the book. After the interview, I asked him if he would consider writing the foreword. The book launched six months later and right on the cover it says, “Foreword By Steve Forbes.” Women are often afraid to ask for what they want. I’ve always believed in just asking — the worst thing that can happen is you get a no.

What is your proudest moment?

My most special moment was when I finally became a mom after years of trying to get pregnant. My proudest moment had to be selling my two companies, Women’s Running and the Women’s Half Marathon Series (five events in five states). Owning your own business is a wonderful experience, but it’s true that you work harder and more hours as an entrepreneur. When we received an offer for both companies, it made all the long hours and hard work seem worth it. I was proud to have built something that the industry leader wanted to acquire.

What makes you happy?

My children make me happy. I love watching them learn and explore new things. When they’re happy I find that I’m happy.

How do you relax and take time for yourself?

Running and cooking have been the best ways for me to relax and enjoy a little me-time. I recently started cooking a little with my 6-year-old daughter and she loves it. She keeps telling me that she’s going to write the next Healthy You book with me and help me cook during my TV interviews.

What kind of message would you like to give women in the community?

It used to be that women felt they competed against each other in business and, unlike men, they didn’t have as much support or camaraderie in the workplace. I think times have changed, but there is still room for improvement. Women need to encourage and support each other. Building a network of successful women is so important.

What else would you like to share with our readers? About being a mom? About your work?

I love connecting with other likeminded women and sharing ideas, stories, etc. This past year with the launch of my new book, I’ve jumped full steam into social media and found it is a great way to connect with other women/moms. If women want to connect with me they can do so on Facebook (dawnastonehealthyyou), Twitter (dawna_stone), Instagram (dawnastone) or Pinterest (dawnastone2).

How do you enjoy or draw information from the magazine?

The calendar of events is a great resource for parents! There are so many wonderful things to do in the Tampa Bay area, but it’s hard to know about them all.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in the area?

Both my son and my daughter love Great Explorations and the Glazer Children’s Museum. They would choose to go every weekend if it was up to them. They also love Fort Desoto Park, Busch Gardens and going to Bucs games. They like the tailgating!

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?

My biggest inspiration and one of the things that keeps me striving to succeed is the hope that my children — when they’re are old enough to understand business — are proud of me and what I’ve accomplished while still being a great mom.

Extraordinary Woman – Kelley Parris

Posted on: November 1st, 2013 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

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Kelley Parris, executive director of the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, has spent much of her adult life working to prevent child abuse and neglect and domestic violence, helping individuals diagnosed with a mental illness and the incarcerated and working with at-risk youth. Helping others and developing systems of care that meet the tailored needs and culture of the consumer base is her passion.

There is no discounting what you can learn in the most unique settings. While working with individuals diagnosed with a mental illness, Parris was amazed at what she learned on a daily basis. “The honesty in which an individual with developmental delays can simplify an obvious problem or issue that we all too often struggle with never ceases to amaze me. We on the other hand search for ways to be politically correct or maintain a professional demeanor and it always makes me reflect, smile and laugh aloud at our educated ineptness.”

Her son is a doctor in Alabama and has recently expanded his family. Liv-Maxine, (named after Parris’ mother) was born in October. “I am amazed at the role he immediately and effortlessly assumed as a father. He makes me so proud. Being from a divorced family is so stressful on children and it is all the more gratifying to know he has embraced this partnership with co-equal responsibilities, sacrifice and commitment.”

What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?

I grew up with a father that believed a girl should be just as good at everything as her male counterparts so I was expected to hunt, fish and target shoot with the best of them. My father would always tell me, “Your skills need to be equal or better in order to survive in a man’s world.” It was that sense of you can do anything! My dad cooked and my mother was nontraditional, but there was communication.

Fast forward to today, where family is defined much differently. Whereas two parents with extended family and cousins operating as best friends, was once the model for the optimum family. Today, family may be defined as a single mom/dad with a support system of friends that are very close and committed to providing that nurturing environment every child needs. Whatever works to provide a safe, healthy, nurturing, educational environment for our children is now defined as family. We are a child’s first teacher and they are our first real students. They see how we handle love, negotiate differences, treat others and, most of all, treat each other. The greatest advice my mother gave me was, “Watch how a person treats those individuals providing a service to them; that is the way they will ultimately treat you.” Therefore, I always watch how the waitress, waiter, bellman, are treated. It is very telling if you really want to know the worth of a person.

What is your biggest fear?

That I will die last.

What advice would you give to other women?

Make your children strong, follow your faith and have faith in yourself. Always take up for your children because you cannot count on anyone else to do the job! Make sure you are honest (as appropriate) with your children. Do not confess your sins to your children! Know you are the first teacher and they will love you forever.

What is your proudest moment?

Every milestone my child has crossed has been my proudest moment. Graduation from high school, college, medical school, husband, father — it keeps going. I adore him.

What is your biggest achievement?

My son.

What makes you happy?

Children, my faith, my friends, animals, the elderly, art, nature, the vast abyss of west Texas…

How do you relax and take time for yourself?

I transport rescue animals (dogs, cats, pigs). It is pretty neat to volunteer with a doggie underground to reach a foster home, forever home or no-kill shelter. I also paint, but I am not very good.

What kind of message would you like to give women in the area or in this community?

You can make a difference. Find your niche to change your world, not the universe, but your world. The child next door may need support. The shelter down the street may need someone to sort donations. You may not have time but you have money to donate. Everyone has a role to play in making their world a better place.

What else would you like to share with our readers? About being a mom, about your work?

On a voluntary basis, I have been working with women in prison who are survivors of severe domestic violence. These women never give up on being a mother and they never stop loving their children. All children are born innocent, and we are the ones that should shape their lives. We are the teachers. We are the primary influence on a child’s most basic characteristics — honesty, integrity, the skills necessary to be productive, contributing citizens in our world and, most of all, to be good and nurturing parents.

Unfortunately, there are many children who are not afforded responsible parents so there are programs in place that the Children’s Board funds that provide services and support to those children and families. We know the first and formative years shape a child’s world forever. We know that adverse exposure to violence, drugs and unhealthy neighborhoods contributes to the overall health and well-being of our children. One of the major reasons for my relocation to Hillsborough County and The Children’s Board was the tremendous support from the community and child advocates. We are making a difference everyday in the lives of Hillsborough’s children and families and building healthy communities together.

My child saved my life when he was 5 years old. Children are our future and our salvation. Save one, that’s my motto.

How do you enjoy or draw information from the magazine?

It is informative and supportive for the parents in the Tampa Bay area.  If I had children right now (considering a recent move to the area) Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine would be the go to place for information to entertain, learn, and provide safe environments for my children.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in Tampa Bay?

My child is grown, but if he were small, I imagine we would frequent Glazer Children’s Museum, learn Spanish as a second language, fish, and volunteer at Metropolitan Ministries.

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?

My grandmother Sara. She was a graduate of Montevallo University (college at that time) and had the most direct, loving, down to earth, honest and humbling advice and love anyone could ask to receive. My father was an inspiration. My mother was a grand mystery. My father represented hard work, my mother grand aspirations.

Extraordinary Woman Kimberly Guy

Posted on: October 1st, 2013 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

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Kimberly Guy is president of both St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa. She moved to Tampa in 2005 to begin her career at St. Joseph’s, which is part of the BayCare Health System.

“I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to have a positive impact on the health and well-being of two different sets of patients – women and children of all ages,” Guy says.

Both hospitals have been a significant part of the Tampa Bay community for decades.

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital is the third largest children’s hospital in Florida and provides more acute medical and surgical pediatric care than all other hospitals in Hillsborough County. St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital is the largest provider of health care services exclusively for women in Florida and runs the busiest maternity unit in the Tampa Bay area and the second busiest in the state.

Kimberly grew up in Rochester, NY, and one of her earliest goals was to move south, away from the snow. She graduated from the University of Richmond with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and went on to obtain a master’s degree in health administration from Duke University.

She’s been married to her husband Allen for 22 years and has two children, 19-year-old Danielle and 16-year-old Devin.

 

What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?
Our faith, sense of humor and love of life. We really love hanging out together, and since we all have busy schedules, we make the most out of the moments we do have with each other. We also make a point to have dinner together as a family as much as possible.

 

 

What is your biggest fear?

Disappointing others. I don’t like letting people down and worry that I might not meet someone’s expectation or follow through with something I committed to doing. That and snakes — yuck!

 

What advice would you give to other women?

Commit to keeping a good balance between family life and your career. My family keeps me grounded, and helps remind me of the need for a good balance. It’s definitely a challenge, but such an important thing to do. When you’re with your family, make the most out of your time together — be present, engaged and involved and have fun. There’s no denying that today’s technology makes it easier than ever to multitask, but I think it’s so important to unplug during family time. I really want my family to know that they have my undivided attention. And don’t be so hard on yourself. There will always be more things that need to get done at work and at home, and chances are, you’ll probably be the one expected to get it done. Realize that most of the time you won’t get everything on your to-do list done, and be OK with that.

 

What is your proudest moment?

The thing I’m most proud of is my family and all that they do to positively impact the lives of others every day. My husband is a long-time volunteer for several nonprofit organizations that support underprivileged kids, special needs students and other families in need. My children are following in his footsteps, and have not only spent countless hours volunteering with my husband, but have started some of their own outreach projects. My husband and kids give their time so selflessly and joyfully, and I just love who they are and who they are becoming. They are great role models to me and all who know them.

 

How do you relax and take time for yourself? 

I love to travel, eat at good restaurants, and spend time with my family. When I really need to unwind and de-stress, going for a swim or chasing after the dogs usually does the trick.

 


How do you enjoy or draw information from the magazine?

I enjoy finding out about activities and events happening in the Tampa Bay community. It’s a great resource for parents who are looking for ways to keep their kids healthy and safe, ideas on how to become more involved in their community, inspirational stories and more.

 

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in Tampa Bay? 

Going to the beach or eating out at our favorite restaurants. We make it a point to eat dinner together as a family at home, but occasionally we treat ourselves to a night out at a nice restaurant.

 

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?

I am most inspired by those who choose to change other people’s lives for the better. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by people who are dedicated to helping others, from my family to the team I work with at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. Our caregivers are there day after day delivering babies, performing open heart surgery on children born with congenital heart defects, helping kids battle leukemia and other childhood cancers and women who are fighting breast cancer. They are there for families during some of the best and worse times in life. I don’t have what it takes to do all these things, but I think it’s so cool that I get to work and live with people who do.

Extraordinary Woman – Bethenny Frankel

Posted on: September 1st, 2013 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

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From a natural foods chef to best-selling author, reality TV star to self-made businesswoman and animal rights activist, Bethenny Frankel is many things, but what she prides herself on most is her job as mom to daughter Bryn.

Adding to her list of duties, Frankel is bringing her uniquely honest, unfiltered and playful perspective to daytime television this month on Bethenny. Her new show is expected to become the go-to destination for women to learn, laugh, feel inspired, be transformed and, ultimately, in Bethenny’s words, “Always go for it.”

Before quickly coming to assumptions about her rise to business mogul status, it’s important to note that successes have not come easily for this mom of one. Her early life, part of which was spent in Florida, has been described as difficult with her father leaving the family early in her life. She’s described her father as “always drinking” and often argued with her stepfather. After graduating high school, Frankel moved to New York to attend New York University.

After earning a degree in psychology and communications, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting, which only produced small roles in films like Hollywood Hills 90028 and Wish Me Luck. When describing her life in L.A., she told Forbes, “I didn’t know what I was doing; I was broke.”

Once Bethenny returned to New York, she attended and completed studies at the National Gourmet Institute for Healthy and Culinary Arts. Soon after BethennyBakes was established with the idea that, “I would be the next Mrs. Fields, the next Famous Amos, but the healthy version,” she explains in her book A Place of Yes.

Frankel first came to national recognition after appearing on NBC’s The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, completing the season as runner-up. She later leveraged her appearance on the show into an endorsement deal and monthly column in Health magazine.

Network executives saw a personality they couldn’t ignore so they put her center stage on Bravo’s hit The Real Housewives of New York for three seasons. She emerged as the star of the series, with a huge network of fans, which led Bravo to create a spin-off series, which premiered with the highest ratings in Bravo history.

Soon after appearing on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City, Skinnygirl was launched. The company is described by People as “a food and lifestyle brand catered to healthy living.” In April 2011, Frankel sold Skinnygirl cocktail company to Fortune Brands’ Beam Global for a reported $100 million.

Last year, Frankel checked novelist off her list with the release of Skinnydipping, which was an instantNew York Times best-seller. Her book Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting debuted on the New York Times Best-Sellers list and remained on the list for an impressive 18 consecutive weeks.

Frankel has also penned The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life, The Skinnygirl Dishand A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out Of Life, which spent 13 weeks on theNew York Times Best-Sellers list. Skinnygirl Solutions, released this summer, includes tips on wellness, career building and more.

Frankel’s uncanny ability to engage with audiences through her books will leap onto TV screens nationally this month with the launch of Bethenny. The show will cover the topics that women care about most — from love and relationships to celebrities and pop culture and beauty and fitness — all through Bethenny’s own relatable personal and professional life experiences. From fun and spontaneous celebrity interviews to informative takeaways on health and relationship issues, Bethenny is sure to become the go-to destination for women every day to learn, laugh and feel inspired.

Here’s what Bethenny had to say about her fears, achievements and inspirations.

What do you think is the secret to your success?

Saying things that everyone’s thinking.

What is your biggest fear?

Not getting a good night’s sleep.

What advice would you give to other women about balancing a career and motherhood?

We plan and you’ve got to laugh. Just roll with it. You’re going to strive for balance and that is probably the best you are ever going to get. Just strive. 

What is your proudest moment?

Giving birth to my daughter.

What is your biggest achievement?

Writing Naturally Thin and being able to effectively communicate with women about their food issues.

What makes you happy?

My daughter, yoga and sleep

How do you relax and take time for yourself?

My daughter, yoga and sleep

What kind of message would you like to give women?

Be open, be truthful and be fearless to achieve things you never dreamed possible.

What else would you like to share with our readers? About being a mom, about your work?

That it’s possible to have both. You just have to be organized, efficient and make sure you have quality time with your family. 

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?

Women.

 After so much success so fast, how do you stay grounded?

Don’t believe the hype.

Extraordinary Woman Jana Radtke

Posted on: August 1st, 2013 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

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Relocating to Tampa from Dallas almost 15 years ago, Jana Radtke made a career change on a leap of faith. After more than 20 years as a chief executive officer, chief information officer and chief operating officer with major financial and insurance companies in Texas and Florida, she went in a new direction. Confronted with the reality of finding trustworthy child care and long waiting lists for high quality options, she built her first Primrose School in 1995 in Texas.

“Like all parents, I wanted my children to have the best possible experience and one that focused on early education in a warm, nurturing environment,” she says. Opening our Primrose School “was absolutely terrifying, but the best decision I’ve ever made! We sold that school when we relocated to Florida.”

But early education was in her blood. She now owns several Primrose Schools in Florida, including in Cross Creek, Tampa Palms and South Tampa. Husband Richard is a commercial general contractor and builds all of the schools and handles the business operations and facilities maintenance. The entire family (five children and four grandchildren) is involved in the family business. “Each has in some way contributed to the success of our schools,” she says.

What is the secret to your family’s success?

It’s a balancing act! We live together, work together and play together, which can be hard but is also rewarding. Our whole family has made preschool education a way of life. We have learned to shut off business discussions after working hours so that we can find that separation of business and family. We have a no business allowed rule when our whole family visits our condo at Treasure Island. And my grandchildren live in the same neighborhood so it’s always fun to hear them in the pool on weekends.

 

What is your biggest fear?

I always worry about whether I’ve been the best mom I could be. Being a mom is the most important job I’ve ever had. While each one of our children is successful, I hope that I’ve given them the foundation to balance happiness, family, marriage and careers. I’ve tried to instill in each of them the right values, character and work ethic. I’ve tried to teach them that it is not just about the destination but the journey. But I wonder if I could I have done more.

 

What advice would you give to other women? 

It is possible to have it all — family and career — but you have to work hard at balance. There have been times when the quantity of time I’ve spent with my family and children was less than I wanted, but I learned to make the time we had together absolutely the best in quality. We’ve learned, with our children scattered from Boston to California to Miami and even one in China, that family holidays and a family vacation every couple of years is time that really matters to us. We get away to meet somewhere and spend a week just doing nothing but having fun and going on adventures.

 

What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment happens every day when I see all of our Primrose children arriving with excitement and anticipation of what they’ll do and accomplish each day. It’s also those times when a parent expresses a heartfelt thank you for giving them peace of mind. That’s when I know that 18 years ago, I made the right decision with a major career change.

 

What is your biggest achievement? 

I hope I haven’t had the “biggest achievement” yet! I feel that my biggest achievement thus far has been reaching the point of being able to balance life, family and my passion for children’s education during their early years. I am proud that we are able to provide peace of mind to parents, a fabulous work environment for our teachers and to contribute to our community. It feels good to positively touch so many lives.

 

What makes you happy?  

There are so many things that make me happy — a weekend at the beach wiggling my toes in the sand, spending alone time with my husband, our family barbecues and holidays when everyone comes home, waking up with new goals and dreams about something small I can do to make someone else’s life a little better. I just try to find joy in every day.

 

How do you relax and take time for yourself?  

I don’t! Actually, I have to work at being able to really relax and take time for myself. Usually I can unwind at the beach, shopping with my daughter and granddaughter, or just getting away with my husband for a long weekend. We are looking forward to semi-retiring in the next year and traveling more!

 

What kind of message would you like to give women in the area or in this community?

You can have it all but it takes work. Don’t hesitate to call on your family and friends for small things they can do that help you find balance. We like to think that we can do it all (and we can) but it sure is easier when you realize that it’s really OK to ask for help, support or feedback (and it doesn’t mean you’re less than perfect).

 

How do you enjoy or draw information from the magazine? 

I love to read. I’m constantly in search of anything related to early childhood, children’s growth and development, community service activities and events and family values. I always find resources and articles in Tampa Bay Parenting that give me inspiration, new ideas, philosophies and encouragement about ways to become more involved in anything that improves quality of life or our communities in the greater Tampa Bay area.

 

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in Tampa?  

When our children and their families come home for holidays, we always book a group event to see Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays and/or Bucs games. We’re a big sports family. We also love going to the beach and family barbecues — anything that gets us all outdoors.

 

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model? 

My mother was always my biggest inspiration. As a single mom, she instilled in me and my three siblings a work ethic, deep family values and social responsibility — giving without expecting. She modeled enthusiasm, a positive attitude and approaching each day with joy.

Extraordinary Woman – Vicky Westra

Posted on: July 1st, 2013 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

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At age 4, Vicky Westra emigrated to Tampa from Cuba with her family with the goal of starting a new life and living the American dream. Fast forward, Westra is a college graduate, wife, mother and community activist who is helping others achieve the dream.

She met husband Pier by accident, literally. She had a minor accident and he was her claims adjuster.  They recently celebrated 26 years of marriage.  The couple adopted their daughter from a Romanian orphanage when she was 2. At age 4, she was diagnosed with autism.  “We struggled for many years with our daughter’s behavior and went through the many stages of uncertainty and grief about the diagnosis and her future until our journey brought us to the point of completely embracing our daughter just where she was at as well as the diagnosis.”

In 2006, Westra left a senior level role at Tampa Electric and started a coffee company.  In 2007, she founded Art for Autism, a 501(c)(3) social enterprise, to develop programs and services for people diagnosed with autism.  In 2010, these two organizations came together to form Artistas Cafe. The cafe serves premium gourmet beverages and foods — that is where the similarities to other cafes end. All the team members at Artistas have autism.

Over the past two years, our focus has been on developing a replicable training model that will teach team members social, communication and multitasking skills and improve their self-confidence. Through a partnership with USF St. Petersburg, Westra has developed an assessment tool that validates the significant growth experienced by Artistas team members.

Westra recently opened a second café at Jabil Circuits in St. Petersburg and will be opening three additional locations  by the end of the year.  In addition, Artistas is launching a culinary program using the same training methodology as the cafe program. Her long term goal is to serve individuals with autism globally.

What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?

Unconditional love.  Our daughter Gabbi taught us that.  When she came to us, she didn’t fit our model of the daughter we had always envisioned.  It was challenging.  After experiencing a lot of pain, I realized that I truly wanted to love Gabbi for the wonderful being that she already is and be happy right where she’s at on the journey.  It was a pivotal point in our relationship and allowed me to see so many positives about her talents and abilities as well as the diagnosis of autism.  That lesson in unconditional love has helped us as a family to live a more joyous life.

What is your biggest fear?

To not live life to my fullest potential.  I believe that everyone was brought here with a purpose and mine has become clearer and clearer.

What advice would you give to other women?

Live your purpose.  As women, sometimes we get caught up in what people want for us versus what we want for ourselves.  Some women are called to be stay-at-home mothers and others are called to be CEOs — whatever you were called to be and do live and do it fully!

What is your proudest moment?

We have created an environment at Artistas of acceptance and unconditional love.  For many of our new team members, it’s something that they have seldom or never had. On the first day that they enter our program, we let them know that they are wonderful right where they are and we are going to give them the skills and abilities to discover that for themselves.

What is your biggest achievement?

The Artistas program has not only been transformational for all the team members but for me and our whole team.  Developing a program that has already transformed lives and has the potential to positively touch so many people around the world is very rewarding!  However, I still feel like my biggest achievement is yet to be.

What makes you happy?

My goal is to find joy in whatever I am doing. I love the times when I am just hanging out at home or at the beach with Pier and Gabbi, when I am at work with my wonderful team, with extended family during Sunday dinners or just going to dinner or hanging out with friends.  It’s all good!

How do you relax and take time for yourself?

My favorite thing to unwind is to go to the beach and sit under an umbrella with a good book.  There is nothing better than being by the water.  It’s so cleansing and refreshing!

What kind of message would you like to give women in the area or in this community?

Embrace your own power.  I know so many amazing women and I find that the thing we as women have in common is that we sometimes don’t see the powerful, unique and talented beings that we are.  We either give our power to someone else or criticize ourselves for not doing a good enough job in one or all areas of our life.  I take this very personally now because I see that in order to teach empowerment to our children or our employees, we must first live it.  In other words, our actions speak louder than our words.

What else would you like to share with our readers? About being a mom? About your work?

One of the lessons that I learned with our daughter is to not make your happiness dependent upon what your children (or anyone else for that matter) are doing and not doing.  Another lesson I have learned is to tell your child how wonderful they are and to envision all the possibilities for them. Since Gabbi was little we’ve told her that she could achieve anything that she wanted. We even created stories around professions because I subscribe to the philosophy that we can create our own reality.  The steps are to first identify what we want, second believe that it’s possible and then take inspired action to achieve it.

How do you enjoy or draw information from the magazine?

Sometimes when we have a challenge in our life, whether it’s with our children, at work or in our family life, we are so close to the situation that we don’t see a way around it.  Magazines like Tampa Bay Parentingand other inspirational sources help us to expand our viewpoint, give us new ideas or just help us to be thankful for our own lives.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in Tampa Bay?

Our favorite place to visit is the beach.  We also enjoy the public parks (Gabbi’s  favorite thing is still going on the swing), Busch Gardens, MOSI and the Aquarium.

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?

I have many people that I greatly admire; however my biggest inspirations are my parents.  They left their homeland and everything they knew to make a better life for their family. They accomplished amazing things and to this day we have a very, very close and loving family.

Extraordinary Woman – LTC Marne L. Sutten

Posted on: May 1st, 2013 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

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Marne Sutten and her husband met in Germany during a military exercise and have been married for almost eight years.  They were married in Reykjavik, Iceland, in a civil service to ensure they would be stationed together upon moving back to the United States.  Their official wedding with friends and family took place at the Old Post Chapel in Arlington Cemetery.  The couple has two children, a 4-year old son and an almost 6-year old daughter.  Sutten has been in the Army for 17 years, moving nine times and serving in Iraq and overseas in Korea and Germany. She now serves as the commander of the 2nd Joint Communications Squadron of the Joint Communications Support Element. The unit, which jumps out of airplanes or helicopters, is comprised of personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?

Having a supportive husband, amazing grandparents and a relationship built on a deep mutual respect for one another is the key to our family’s success.  My husband also serves in the Army, and we are both stationed at MacDill Air Force Base.  He not only understands the sacrifice it takes to serve in the armed forces, but also serves as a sounding board and provides me invaluable advice.  Additionally, Grant and I have extremely supportive parents that help out if we are deployed or traveling.  Grant and I would not be able to continue our profession without them.

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is that I don’t have enough time in my day to provide my children all that they deserve.  I remember when returning from my deployment to Iraq and I was concerned that my children would not remember me.  My daughter, who was 3 at the time, knew who I was immediately and had no reservations about giving me a big hug and kiss.  My son was a little timid initially but warmed up quickly.  The first couple of days it was difficult to hear them only ask for daddy when they got hurt or went to bed at night.  The rhythm in the household returned back to normal quickly. I have learned that it truly is not the amount of time but the quality of the time we spend with our children that matters.  Children are resilient, and it is important to balance what they want and what they need and to provide them an example of positive and involved citizenship.  I am proud of my children and would do anything for them.

What advice would you give to other women?

It is acceptable to not be perfect as both a mother and a professional all the time.  Too often, women walk away from a profession they love because they are afraid their children will not get the quality time that they need and deserve.  I believe women try so hard to be perfect at everything when, in reality, perfection is not the goal.  You can concentrate on certain aspects of your life and make compromises on others.  I like to have a clean house but struggle to keep everything clean.  Hiring someone to help clean is one of the best investments we have made.  I would rather spend the weekend playing with my children instead of mopping floors and wiping countertops.  Healthy, home-cooked meals are always the goal in our family, but I have come to understand that carry-out or pizza makes life a little less stressful.  Balancing a family and a profession takes time and dedication, but the happiness that I get from our family is worth all the hard work.

What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment is when I followed in the footsteps of a long lineage of my family who served in the Army.  I am a third generation signal corps officer, with my grandfather serving in World War II and my father serving in Vietnam and Desert Storm.  I have also deployed overseas for my country, having served two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  My husband and I both love our country and believe in the importance of serving.

What is your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement is having such wonderful children that are kind and respectful. I feel a sense of pride when our kids say that they want to be soldiers like their mommy and daddy.  They also are proud to salute the American flag and stand at attention on base as the flag is retired at the end of the day.  The military life is a rewarding profession and I feel honored to serve with so many amazing people.

What makes you happy?

Traveling the world and moving to new cities with my husband and children is an amazing aspect of military life.  We have met so many wonderful people from all walks of life and experienced so many great areas of the United States and abroad.  Seeing my children experience new cultures and creating new family traditions make the challenge of moving worthwhile.  Our children are young, but they are extremely flexible about moving and adapting to new situations and environments.  Quality family time definitely keeps our family ties strong and we are all closer to each other for sharing the experience of moving.

How do you relax and take time for yourself?

Admittedly, finding time for me has been difficult while working and taking care of such young and active children.  My favorite time is getting up early and having a cup of coffee on our back porch.  Everything is so peaceful and it gives me time to reflect on the day and everything that has to be accomplished.  Also, I take time to exercise, run and swim.  I find exercising gives me time to think about how fortunate I am to have so much happiness and good health. 

What message would you like to give women in the area or in this community?

I love that so many people are involved in our community.  Public service and volunteerism is such an important part of what makes the city and our country great.  For example, I am amazed at how many people volunteer at my daughter’s school (Roosevelt Elementary) to make the school a better place.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in Tampa Bay?

We love living in such an amazing place with so many fantastic things to do.  Tampa has a festival, market or event every weekend that we can enjoy with our family and friends. The kids enjoy visiting the zoo, aquarium or children’s museum while my husband and I are amazed at all the incredible restaurants. We love Tampa so much that we have considered retiring here after our military service is over.

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?

My husband is my biggest inspiration and makes me want to be a better and more patient person.  He has always supported me serving in the military and is an amazing father to our children.  We have both deployed several times to Iraq and he did an amazing job as a single father during my last deployment.  He made sure that I received pictures and videos of the kids to keep me from being too homesick.  He managed to balance the children and his military job with ease.

Extraordinary Woman – Dr. Sharona Ross

Posted on: April 1st, 2013 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

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Sharona Ross, MD, describes herself as “a 43 year old woman who wanted it all!”  All included becoming a surgeon and having four children. Born and raised in Israel, she had to join the military immediately after high school.  She says her military service prepared her well for her life today. “I learned to be independent, focused, organized and think outside the box.  I learned how to lead people and developed problem-solving skills.  All in all, my military service provided me with the necessary tools to build and shape my future.” So does Dr. Ross have it all? Read on.

 

What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?

I believe that communication, realistic expectations, and planning are key in any relationship.  I met my husband Jack in Israel on the first weekend following my military service.  We lived together for two years and decided to get married and build our lives together. From day one, I told him and his mother that I’m going to medical school to be a surgeon. I also told them that I don’t cook, clean or do laundry, setting the expectations from the beginning. During college, medical school and residency, I had my four children. Despite all odds, Jack and I managed to successfully complete both medical school and law school while having children.

 

The key to having a successful relationship with my children is centered on spending quality time with them. Weekends are dedicated to my kids. I spend time with each one of my kids individually. This allows me to appreciate them for their uniqueness and everything that is going on in their lives. Their ages’ span over 11 years so one-on-one time is especially important. Pursuing my dreams professionally does come at a price. Fortunately, technology has allowed me to experience some of my children’s highlights from afar. Having videos of a good shot during a sports game or a song at a music recital allowed me to stay involved, even if by proxy.

What is your biggest fear?

Growing old! I am fortunate enough to have achieved many of my life goals and, in a way, this makes me feel old. To circumvent this fear, it is essential to develop new goals and dreams to work toward.

 

What advice would you give to other women?

Pursue your dreams! Make them a reality. As Golda Meir once said, “Trust yourself.  Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.  Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”

What is your proudest moment?

One of my proudest moments is when my eldest son got into college. He independently worked through each one of his applications and got accepted to all of the schools to which he applied. I couldn’t have been prouder as his mother.

 

What is your biggest achievement?

One of my greatest achievements was doing my first operation as an attending surgeon. This was the culmination of so much hard work: learning English as I worked toward my undergraduate degree, graduating top of my class in medical school and completing a surgical residency and two fellowships – all in all 15 years of training. The operation was an anti-reflux operation and I knew that I would be able to improve my patient’s quality of life. I remember celebrating this achievement with my family that same night. They too celebrated the work and the sacrifices that they had also gone through to help me get to that point.

 

 What makes you happy?

A productive day at work!  When I’m able to help a patient, I feel fulfilled. Surgery for me is a calling. Actually, when I go home after a productive day and hang out with kids, now that is the perfect day.

 

How do you relax and take time for yourself?

Between work and family, I don’t have much time for myself. I do try to work out every Sunday.  I would like to relax with a weekly massage, riding my Harley or simply read a book but that rarely happens.

 

What else would you like to share with our readers? About being a mom, about your work?

Maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced, low-fat diet and exercise. Health is the most important investment you can make. I also think that it is important for other women to know that it is possible to achieve your personal goals and have a family. Being a surgeon was my goal from a very early age. I did everything in my power to be the best surgeon I could possibly be. This same passion carries over to my family. Having such veracity for both my family and job has helped me achieve a fulfilled life.

 

How do you enjoy or draw information from the magazine?

I have at times felt guilty for having such a demanding career with four kids at home. Seeing other people highlighted in your magazine who have the same demands in their lives has made me feel part of a community of hardworking parents.

 

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in the Tampa Bay area?

There are so many — play sports, visit museums, enjoy the theater and go to amusement parks. Clearly to achieve what I have, you must have a competitive nature. My children have this same competitive spirit. Family sport days always prove to be lots of fun!

 

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?

My biggest inspiration is my patients. At my surgical practice, Southeastern Center for Digestive Disorders and Pancreatic Cancer, we see patients that have acid reflux, achalasia and cancers, mostly of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver and gallbladder. The fortitude that our patients have is truly inspirational. Often, as they are under my treatment, I get to know their families very well. Seeing families come together during this trying time helps me also appreciate my family.

One of my role models is my partner Alex Rosemurgy. His dedication, commitment and, most importantly, his excellence in the field of surgery are all qualities I strive to emulate. Unfortunately there are not many women within the field of surgery and, for this reason, I have created the International Women in Surgery Career Symposium. This year will be our fourth annual conference. Through this conference, I have met many other incredible women.

Learn more about the International Women in Surgery Career Symposium at www.women-in-surgery.com.