"The desire to explore my more creative side"
"I have a desire and a passion to create something out of nothing at all, to take a negative and transform it into a super-positive."
Your background leading up to Wonder Women has been very diverse, with a seasoned career that spans Insurance and Financial Services to high-end custom publishing with a co-produced corporate gift book on the top 40 chefs in NYC and as a Director of Development for a French based company... Why the jump from Financial Services to Custom Publishing?
I enjoyed having had the opportunity to work with companies like the Mass Mutual Financial Group and HSBC Bank, both in a leadership capacity as well as other smaller companies in the Wall Street area. However, during those 15+ years the desire to explore my more creative side commanded my attention. The financial crisis, post 911 and its effects on an already weakened economy provided the turning point for such exploration.
"The possibilities that could exist "
How did you get from there to creating Wonder Women?
During my professional career I contributed my time and efforts as a member and a volunteer to organizations that held diverse missions. Two that I would mention is the Women’s Federation for World Peace International, a humanitarian organization with a global focus, where my efforts supported the NY Chapter, and the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, an organization dedicated to supporting its local community with a focus on business and civic leadership, where I served on the board of directors. Volunteering for these and other organizations over my professional career helped to shape my understanding of the dynamics at play when working within the For-Profit and Non-Profit areas. I began to identify similarities, differences and the possibilities that could exist in a structure beyond such entities. But perhaps, more than the culmination of my professional experiences that got me to Wonder Women's creation were my personal life experiences...
"I lived a secret life"
What specific personal experiences helped to shape the path to Wonder Women?
Well...the empowered woman you see before you today is vastly different from the woman I once considered myself to be. One specific experience that I would encapsulate and share is that like so many women in this world, I am a survivor of domestic violence. This physical and emotional violence occurred during the majority of my marriage to my daughter’s father, my high school sweet-heart, my first love, a person I trusted and thought I knew well. I felt ashamed, carried feelings of despair, anger, hurt and self-blame, yet hid it all from everyone. I lived a secret life. By all appearances - to my family, friends and work colleagues, we appeared to be a happy and fulfilled family. That appearance was very far from our reality, behind closed doors. As I reflect on that experience, I consider myself and my daughter who was not yet 6 years old at that time, to have been very fortunate to have escaped that scarring experience.
Then opportunity knocked and I made a crucial life-saving decision...
I accepted an excellent employment opportunity overseas that was born out of my own incredible hard work and success, despite my personal domestic experiences. This opportunity provided a new start and safety away from my abuser, even if the cost was to take me away from my family, friends, homeland. This was the best choice available to me and my daughter at that time. A new start carried the usual challenges such as adapting to a new residence, job/school, city. My long and drawn out divorce and custody battle instilled a fear that my daughter could be kidnapped and taken from me and I could still recall how uneasy I felt in public walking around with her...always looking over my shoulder. I finally gained full custody of my daughter 7 long years later and began the process of healing.
Sadly my own domestic violence story is far too familiar to many of us. Yet we (the survivors and thrivers) are the lucky ones - the ones who somehow found our strength, resilience and the wherewithal to seek a way to safety regardless of the sacrifices we would make. The hardest part for me, was to separate myself from my already aging parents.
As we got adjusted to a New York City way of life, I would often use statements to describe or motivate myself, such as “I must be a Wonder Woman”, for I cannot believe I was able to accomplish that...“I am a Wonder Woman” as an acknowledgement of my own strength, power and results or at times to my daughter “You must think I am Wonder Woman!” when she might be requesting some impossible thing of me. Though perhaps, I may have brought that on myself with always referring to my favorite quote by Lewis Carrol which lives on my refrigerator...
“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”or perhaps it was my tales about my Wonder Woman ability to know everything she was up to. Now my grandkids actually believe I am Wonder Woman and that I can fly...even if it was only under certain conditions:)
"Whatever challenges we face, there is always a choice"
Inspiring, and you still have your sense of humor! So would you consider the creation of Wonder Women to be a natural progression of your own life experience?
Yes.There are many choices we can make every day, even when we think we do not have a choice. I choose to find a positive outlet and to give new energy to my past difficult experiences even as I acknowledge that there were several moments when I felt like giving up on myself and at times, on life itself. I know that my choices have shaped and molded me into the woman I am today. A woman I am proud of.
In creating Wonder Women, I am reminded of my own power and choices and this motivates me to be a better human being, living my life with purpose. Owning it.
Whatever challenges we face, there is always a choice. It would be easy for anyone to understand if I had made less empowering choices for me and my daughter and not judge me for it. However, I believe that every one of us is born with a special something that is waiting to be activated so that we can get out of our own way, and make better choices for a happier and healthier life experience.
I would love to share this idea throughout the Wonder Women community to help to facilitate the growth of a collective vision for what is possible. When we are inspired by other wonder women amongst us to make the changes we most wish to see in ourselves, not only are we filled with gratitude and appreciation we are also energized to pay it forward.
"Each girl is born with the DNA of a Wonder Woman"
What makes Wonder Women so different from anything else out there?
We believe, each girl is born with the DNA of a Wonder Woman who is self-realized, understands love, and knows how to use her power for good. Our mission is to focus our efforts and activities on guiding women to realize and activate their personal power in their daily lives and to contribute their talents and capabilities to move the world forward.
We produce events that foster awareness, positive action, and empowerment. Past events brought attention to issues surrounding rape, assault and domestic violence. We celebrated the uniting of cultures and religions through art, food and music. We focused attention to our individual role in ways we can help save our planet from the ravages of pollution. And we showcased talent on a local community level with a programmed event called Summer Songstress where we celebrated women singers from different genres of music.
Our Empowered Networking and Interview series “Wonder Women in Action” encourages active networking, inviting women to bring their products, services, portfolio, upcoming events info, etcetera to share, converse and do actual business. I interview real Wonder Women in the community from diverse backgrounds, select topics of relevance (Being Fearless, Breaking Gender Stereotypes, more) and encourage active participation. For example during our Q&A segment of an interview two volunteers are selected from the audience in succession, are asked to switch places with me and role play as the guest interviewer. This is not only a fun and engaging exercise, it also puts women in leadership roles as an interviewer, instills confidence and calls upon one's ability to take action when the opportunity presents itself. We follow this exercise with spotlighting two women from the audience who come up to the stage area, introduce themselves and are welcomed to promote upcoming event or perhaps share their positive thoughts about Wonder Women.
We created an Online Membership Platform called SPOTLIGHT to accelerate and boost our efforts. Each SPOTLIGHT member has their own custom created Member Profile Page that includes a core statement “I AM a Wonder Woman because I am (using adjectives like brave, intelligent, beautiful, strong, loving, fearless...) these declarations have a deep, powerful and positive emotional impact on the way we define and re-define ourselves daily. We have made it possible for anyone (male/female/entity) to participate and provide supportive ways to promote women’s empowerment and honor the Wonder Women they know.
Another platform we utilize to build awareness in women, is to promote and encourage them to realize and activate their personal power via WONDER WOMEN MEDIA WORLD a space where we invite women to participate either as viewers of our 12 collections of curated and created video collections or to contribute their own video creations to a collection. The 12 collections build awareness, provide advice and celebrate the positive power of media and people.
"Encourages the "I AM A WONDER WOMAN" mentality"
If you had all the financial resources you needed today what would you be able to do now and what would WW look like in another 5-7 years?
Wow, what an exciting thought! I would be happy to discuss in detail, but here it is in a nutshell:
Launch an ongoing branding and marketing campaign, both on-line and off-line to build a strong active and vibrant SPOTLIGHT membership community that is a core function of the Wonder Women Organization. Put systems in place to continuously improve our offerings and efforts to advance SPOTLIGHT, stay ahead of the curve and continue to trail-blaze that "I AM A WONDER WOMAN" attitude.
Take immediate steps to plan the next annual Summer Songstress event by securing the venue, selecting diverse artists to work with whose collective music selections would span various genres with attitudes, movements and lyrics that personify the voice and power of a Wonder Woman.
The next annual Wonder Women in Action Series which comprises of 3 live interview events would be planned for the months of September thru November. We would select and contact inspiring women to interview, contact possible partners and sponsors, secure the venue/s and manage the timeline to a successful event inclusive of the promotional efforts.
Promote our VIP Wonder Women in Action Private Events Initiative. This initiative was created to aid companies and organizations that recognize the importance, advantages and benefits of progressing equality in the workplace. Our VIP themed event presents an empowered opportunity to demonstrate to their key employees, clients and relationships the position that they (continue to) hold on women’s equality and leadership. Events take place at their location, we interview a key employee or other key individual and this filmed interview can be shared with our SPOTLIGHT community and join our living video archive.
Wonder Women Media World is our living media archive. We would reach out to female filmmakers, producers and enthusiast to participate in building an expansive online media archive. Inviting Gender Studies Groups to consider this a go to place for video footage research, learning and exposure. We would create an internship program to help support this initiative and keep the living archive current.
Wonder Women Jewelry Armor for sale. We would use our Wonder Women Jewelry Armor to launch ongoing campaigns that are specific to helping raise funds for initiatives and organizations we would like to support today!
The events, programing, platforms and products I have mentioned thus far are all ready to act upon today. My hope for what we will achieve closer to the 5-7 year mark is to obtain the necessary funding for a building that would house Wonder Women's headquarters.
We would invite and develop WW Chapters in other cities.
"A rebel with a cause "
How can anyone help?
Wonder Women can be described as a rebel with a cause. We are a self-funded organization. If you are curious to learn why we are not a non-profit organization then visit us here. The majority of our funding sources originate from SPOTLIGHT membership and offerings, VIP Wonder Women in Action Private Events and Sponsored Events. Many of these expenses can be considered a business expense, however we recommend that you confirm with your accountant if this is of interest to you. We also have described several opportunities to get involved as an individual, organization or company on our website. Please visit.
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