Game Changer Interview: Rachel Kaczynski

Game Changer Interview: Rachel Kaczynski

Name of Your Business Healthy Chicks How Does Your Work Enable You to Connect to and Fulfill Your Life Purpose/Passion? As a Certified Health Coach, freelance writer and creator of the Spark Your Bliss affirmation card deck, I am able to combine all my passions into one: empowering women to love their bodies, writing, and creating. By wearing multiple hats, I never get bored and thrive off that entrepreneurial spirit! Who Is Your Ideal Client and Why? Women who are looking to ditch dieting (for good) and discover joy around food! If you’re struggling with body image issues, scale obsession or simply not feeling your best self, I’m your girl. Why? Because I’ve been there and totally get it! You can get through this. I’m here to hold your hand and motivate you. What Unique Offerings Do You Provide? I run seasonal self-care challenges for women which can be done from the comfort of your own home. You receive weekly emails, seasonal recipes, self-care tips and support through a private Facebook group. These challenges are so fun and a great way to connect with other like-minded women while prioritizing your self-care (SO important)! I also created the Spark Your Bliss affirmation card deck, which you can purchase from my website. The deck has brought so much joy into my life, and enables me to run inspiring workshops and women’s circles highlighting the cards. There’s nothing like the energy of a group of women coming together! If you’re trying to break the diet mentality, you’ll love my 28-day e-program “Ditch Dieting, Discover Joy Around Food,” which outlines the exact steps I took to overcome a lifetime of diet obsession and food fear. Growing Up? How Did That Person’s Actions Impact You? My dad is a big role model for me, as he radiates positivity! He taught me to look on the bright side, and see the positives even in the setbacks. Because of him, I have a “I can do it” attitude which has carried me far! Favorite Place to Escape and Refuel? I love Kripalu in the Berkshires! Also, there’s nothing like spending time in nature, particularly a long walk outside or the beach. “Vitamin Sea” is good for the soul! Top 3 Ways to Treat Yourself to Self-Care? Essential oils, meditation and cooking nourishing in-season meals. How Do You Express Yourself Creatively? Through my writing! I love writing, and find great joy in writing blog posts for my website, Healthy Chicks. Last Memorable Book You Read and Why? Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was wonderful. I love that it discusses creating to create, not necessarily to make money or because you have a particular expectation. We’re all creative in our own way! Unleash that magic. Favorite Movie and Why? My Girl and Now and Then were always my favorites growing up. Great coming of age stories that also tell the story of sisterhood and growing up! “Go to” Quote or Mantra that Grounds You? “She believed she could so she did.” Accomplishment Are You Most Proud of? Launching my affirmation card deck, Spark Your Bliss. It’s a 36-card deck of positive affirmations designed to set your soul on fire. The deck comes in a beautiful illustrated mandala tuck box, and each card is complete with a positive word, mantra, journaling prompt and recommended action steps. Best Lesson Learned in Life So Far? 1.) You are so much more than the number on the scale! I want all women to realize this. It’s not about the scale, your pant size or how many kale salads you eat. It’s about how you FEEL. Do what nourishes you and makes you feel alive. 2.) Launch and then learn. If I had waited for everything to be “perfect,” I probably never would have started my business or launched my affirmation card deck. Do it and then figure it out along the way! Advice to Younger Self? You are enough. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are loved. What Do You Love Best About Yourself (physical trait or personality characteristic) and Why? I feel I bring positive, bright energy into any group! I love my creativity, passion for life and “good vibes.” Physically, I love my dimple because it makes me “me.” Any Advice for Women Considering Joining the SheBreathes Collaborative? If you’re looking for sisterhood and new connections, SheBreathes is your space. The relationships I’ve built there are invaluable. Message for the SheBreathes Community? Being a part of the SheBreathes community has been so rewarding for me. I hope that I give as much support to other members as they have given to me.
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Game Changer Interview: Beth Knaus

Game Changer Interview: Beth Knaus

Name of Your Business
That’s A Spade Copywriting Services

How Does Your Work Enable You to Connect to and Fulfill Your Life Purpose/Passion?
I have always loved writing, and how it can be used persuasively to open peoples minds to other perspectives. I love to find the best crisp and descriptive language for my clients and my own personal writing.

Who Is Your Ideal Client and Why?
My ideal client wants to be seen in writing as realistically and individually as possible. They trust in my ability to come up with the right things to say, and they like to collaborate on their projects with me.

What Unique Offerings Do You Provide?

I really enjoy doing “About” pages, bios, and “read aloud” bios. People are too close to themselves to write confidently about their strength and valuable qualities. It’s rewarding to bring that out when writing about someone.

Growing Up? How Did That Person’s Actions Impact You?

My Dad. He was honest and hard working, generous and kind. He taught me how to live in the moment and how to deal with difficult decisions.

Favorite Place to Escape and Refuel?
It’s a balance of the beach and the city.

Top 3 Ways to Treat Yourself to Self-Care?
Facials, massages, time with friends

How Do You Express Yourself Creatively?
I like funky clothes, writing, cooking and singing .

Last Memorable Book You Read and Why?
The Separation by Tova Mirvis. It’s a memoir about how the author not only left her husband but her life of Orthodox Judaism.

Favorite Movie and Why?
About Last Night. Rob Lowe, Demi Moore’s Sweaters, and the soundtrack. Need I say more?

“Go to” Quote or Mantra that Grounds You?
Everything in moderation.

Accomplishment Are You Most Proud of?
My three respectful, responsible and talented kids.

Best Lesson Learned in Life So Far?
The right thing is rarely the easiest thing.

Advice to Younger Self?
You’re capable of doing and being whatever you set your mind to.

What Do You Love Best About Yourself (physical trait or personality characteristic) and Why?
I love my smile because smiling has a powerful effect on people. And my sense of humor- I shoot from the hip.

Any Advice for Women Considering Joining the SheBreathes Collaborative?
This is an awesome place to connect with other women and with yourself. There’s an abundance of support here, both personal and for your business. When you get there you will relax and when you leave you’ll be rejuvenated. Every time.

Message for the SheBreathes Community?

Being a part of the SheBreathes community has been so rewarding for me. I hope that I give as much support to other members as they have given to me.

 

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I would like to offer SheBreathes members 20% off of my hourly rate for any writing services they need. Click here to visit Beth’s website – That’s a Spade.

Game Changer Interview: Mary Dealy

Game Changer Interview: Mary Dealy

Name of Your Business
Beautox Etc.

How Does Your Work Enable You to Connect to and Fulfill Your Life Purpose/Passion?
My new practice of cosmetic dermatology allows me to help women put their best face forward in all ages and stages of their life. It’s a perfect blend of science, art, and service – my three life passions! My clients are happy – that makes me happy too.

Who Is Your Ideal Client and Why?
From soccer moms to supermodels, empty nesters and re-inventors, Botox and dermal fillers offer something for everyone. My ideal clients are all ages and stages of life. Moms with young kids like Botox, millennials love lips, newly single or re-entering the job market smooth lines or plump cheeks.

What Unique Offerings Do You Provide?
I offer Botox and dermal fillers in a lovely private space within an established day spa in Medfield. I perform a complete evaluation and consult along with education regarding products and pre and post treatment care. I have flexibility in my schedule and space and able to schedule appointments off hours and on weekends.

Who Was Your Role Model Growing Up? How Did That Person’s Actions Impact You?
I didn’t have a specific role model growing up. Throughout my life I have reinvented myself professionally several times and each time I had a professional role model who inspired me.

Favorite Place to Escape and Refuel?
My bed with a cup of tea and a good book.

Top 3 Ways to Treat Yourself to Self-Care?
Yoga, Yoga and Yoga

How Do You Express Yourself Creatively?
Creating and nurturing this business has been a great expression of myself – everything from evaluating and treating a client’s face to producing marketing materials. It’s so rewarding and fun to watch the business grow.

Last Memorable Book You Read and Why?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – the main characters grew up in very trying times and in poverty however did not look at life that way and found joy and success despite these circumstances.

Favorite Movie and Why?
It’s Complicated – I want to be Meryl Streep!

“Go to” Quote or Mantra that Grounds You?
Life is messy – embrace it!

Accomplishment Are You Most Proud of?
Besides my children? This business for sure.

Best Lesson Learned in Life So Far?
Life is messy – embrace it

Advice to Younger Self?
Everything works out the way it’s supposed to.

What Do You Love Best About Yourself (physical trait or personality characteristic) and Why?
My silver hair – silver is the new blonde.

Any Advice for Women Considering Joining the SheBreathes Collaborative?
Lots to take advantage of here.

Message for the SheBreathes Community?

Follow your passion – there will be roadblocks and walls but go over and around them. Success is all about perseverance .

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Consults are always free but I will offer $50 off Botox and $100 off filler for first time clients from SheBreathes. Click here to visit Mary’s website – Beautox Etc.

Game Changer Interview: Julia Peneda

Game Changer Interview: Julia Peneda

Name of Your Business
Julia Peneda, JP Bookkeeping Services

How Does Your Work Enable You to Connect to and Fulfill Your Life Purpose/Passion?
I help small business owners get back to what they love by taking the bookkeeping and payroll burdens off their shoulders.

Who Is Your Ideal Client and Why?
Small business owner who is looking to grow and would like help sorting out their finances to help them get there.

What Unique Offerings Do You Provide?
We offer ADP payroll services at discounted prices as well as QuickBooks platforms at discounted prices for our bookkeeping clients. We also offer training to staff and quarterly reviews for clients who aren’t ready to have someone else handles their books completely. Our ‘packages’ are solely based on each individual clients specific needs and not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Who Was Your Role Model Growing Up? How Did That Person’s Actions Impact You?
Teacher: Mr. Sweeney. He was the person who got me into accounting and showed me a path to something that I found exciting and challenging. After taking classes with him my first “real” boss in the accounting world – Bob – helped me realize my potential and gave me the room to grow and explore the different aspects of finance and accounting.

Favorite Place to Escape and Refuel?
Tropical beach – anywhere!

Top 3 Ways to Treat Yourself to Self-Care?
Occasional over-indulging with a great bottle of wine, Meditation

How Do You Express Yourself Creatively?
Decorating the office or my home

Last Memorable Book You Read and Why?
All Nicholas Sparks books are my favorites – love the escape, the drama, the passion, and that you never know what the ending will bring.

Favorite Movie and Why?
Way too many to pick from…Breakfast Club, Notebook, etc

“Go to” Quote or Mantra that Grounds You?
Do something you love today

Accomplishment Are You Most Proud of?
Starting my business on my own from scratch

Best Lesson Learned in Life So Far?
You are only 1 person and will never be able to do everything you want alone

Advice to Younger Self?
There is no shame in asking for help.

What Do You Love Best About Yourself (physical trait or personality characteristic) and Why?
Work ethic – I thrive on watching my clients dreams come true and knowing that all the hard work I’ve put in to helping them has paid off.

Any Advice for Women Considering Joining the SheBreathes Collaborative? SheBreathes is a wonderful place to recharge. Every class I’ve taken has left me walking away feeling empowered and motivated to take on the world.

Any Message You Have for Our Community?

Take some time for yourself to recharge. Everyone needs a moment for themselves to re-evaluate what their purpose is, what drives them, what inspires them. SheBreathes is a fantastic place to do just that. I encourage anyone who is looking for a community, for a place to take a breath to stop in and just breathe.

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50 half marathons in 50 states by the time I am 50

50 half marathons in 50 states by the time I am 50

That was the goal.  50 half-marathons in 50 states by the time she was 50.  When Sue Ledwith challenged herself to it she was 45 and she completed all 50 states by the time she was 47.  Three years earlier than she expected.  So she kept going and this weekend crossed the finish line of her 97th, she’ll have 100 half marathons in the books before she’s 50.   She never considered herself a runner, she was looking for something to do that was “hers” and she found it in running.

Sue is the youngest of four, when her Mom was pregnant her two older brothers hoped for a boy while her sister wished for a girl.  A self-proclaimed TomBoy and Jock, Sue likes to think they all got what they wanted.

The first thing I noticed when I met Sue was her tattoos.  I was stretching, getting ready to work out and so my gaze was about calf-height and I saw two calves, each adorned with its own tattoo.  On one was the name Erin in a shamrock and on the other was Emma in a heart made of puzzle pieces.  I wondered who they were and then Sue turned and I saw the Boston Marathon logo and the Boston Strong logo.  This woman has a story that needs to be told was my first thought, so I went from staring at her calves to introducing myself and asking her about her tattoos.  Two weeks later we met at Starbucks and I heard the whole story.

Sue is humble and kind and determined.  As she started out her story she was quick to begin by telling me how grateful she is that she has the support of her family and the means to do the things she has accomplished.  She started and ended our conversation by saying the words, I didn’t get there on my own.  She’s 49 and she says that if you had told her 9 years ago that she would be telling someone the story of how she was just about to achieve the goal of running 100 half-marathons, she would have told you that you were insane.

Most of us face milestone birthdays with some trepidation – as we turn 25, 30, 40, 50 – those markers give us time to reflect on what we have done and on where we are going.  For Sue, hitting the 40-year mark had her feeling like she had lost herself a bit.  “Listen, being a Mom is the most important thing I will ever do, but I was feeling like I needed something for me.”  She had always been an athlete.  She played every sport she could, most of them at a highly competitive level, making it all the way to the Junior Olympic Softball team. Turning to athletics seemed to be the way back to herself.  She joined a gym but quickly tired of the treadmill and longed to be outside.  She started out walking which quickly turned to running and although she never thought of herself as a runner she found herself signed up for a 5K.  Sue has always been goal oriented and she loved the 5K races, “you know where the finish line is.”  Soon she was running a 5K every weekend.  Again, she paused to tell me how supportive her husband was as she continued to sign up each weekend for another 5K.  “It was ME time.” And she no longer felt lost.

Sue has two girls, Emma and Erin, they are currently 14 and 13.  In 2009 when Sue was 40 and starting to run, they were 5 and 4.  Emma is on the autism spectrum and Sue has been an incredible and tireless advocate for Emma.  Running became Sue’s therapy, her time to work things out in her head.  She said running gave her the feeling that she was taking back a piece of her life.  I love being a Mom but I am also a human being and this was for me.  After a year of 5K races she ran some 10K races and while still not considering herself a runner, she loved the training and the finish lines.

Close your eyes and picture a runner.  That’s not what Sue looks like.  She’s shorter in stature that you would imagine.  She’s not chiseled out of  sinewy muscles.  And, she will tell you, she has used this to her advantage.  “Sometimes, the greatest thing would be that someone would think that I couldn’t do something because I was a girl or because I was short. And then I would go out and do it.”  She lights up and tells me the story of when she was playing in a softball tournament – she was the only woman and they underestimated her, putting her at catcher when she likely should have been at first base.  During the final game of the tournament with the top spot on the line for her team, a 200 pound man rounded third and headed for home.  His run would win the game for the other team.  She knew she had to make the catch and tag him out.  She also knew that the man barreling toward her was likely making the short-girl assumption she had faced her whole life.  He was probably thinking that she would either moved aside when he reached the plate or drop the ball if he ran into her.  She did neither.  Using all of her past softball experience she held the ball tight to her chest, squared up the runner, braced for impact and just held on to the ball at the plate.  He ran right into her and was tagged out.  A bigger win for Sue than winning the game, she says; “you can’t look at the package and determine what’s inside – just cause I am little, don’t think I can’t do it.”

She felt some of this same skepticism from people when she decided to sign up for her first half marathon two years after running her first 5K.  She signed up for The Chilly Half in November of 2011.  She trained differently, there were days that were hard but she wanted to show her kids how to set goals.  She wanted to share with them what it feels like to achieve them, especially when people are underestimating you.  One time while running a local race in Walpole Mass, she was behind a guy with flame tattoos on his calves.  She loved them and spent the rest of the race thinking about what she would put on her own tattoos.  Again, if you had told her 9 years ago that she would have even one tattoo she would have told you that you were nuts, she now has multiple.  She started by putting her girl’s names on the back of each of her calves.  She wanted people to see them while she was running.  She runs for “me” time but she also runs to show her girls what can be done when you put your heart into it.

She completed three more half-marathons over the next 6 months and then while on a girls weekend in New York she stepped out to grab a coffee and found herself in line at a Starbucks behind a gentleman wearing a NYC Marathon jacket.  They got to talking and he said encouraged her to run a marathon.  She said, “I only do 1/2s” and he chided,  “You can do it – it’s just more miles.”  By the time she got back to the hotel room she had decided to run the Boston Marathon.  Her friend replied – What. Is. In. That. Coffee?!

Like everything else she had done once she set her mind to it she wasn’t going to do it half-way.  She knew she wasn’t going to be fast but she knew she could finish.  She looked at the charities offering numbers in exchange for fundraising and decided to run for the Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center in Hopkington.  She committed to raising $3500 in exchange for the bib and approach the training with a “one and done” attitude – I am just going to do this one marathon. Just like the one half, the one tattoo.  She raised $9000 for the center which offers respite care to families who have children with disabilities.  As she puts it, she did everything she was supposed to do.  She trained.  She raised the money.  She has the memory of running along the historic route but she didn’t get to finish.  It was 2013.  She was stopped at Mass Ave and told something had happened.  Her family had watched her run by in Ashland, then in Wellesley and again at mile 20 in Newton, they were parking in Boston to watch her cross the finish line when they felt the explosion.  Sue started to walk back down the route with 5000 other people, runners and spectators, who were all walking away from what we now know was the 2013 marathon bombing.  She happened to look up at the Mass Ave bridge at just the right moment and there was her family.   They all walked back to mile 24 in silence.  The next day she woke up with the determination to run in 2014.  She was angry that someone would take away something that she had worked so hard to achieve and so deeply saddened for everyone in the city of Boston that it fueled her and she worked hard for 2014.  She remembers that MEB Keflezighi crossed the finish line before she had started out from Hopkinton since she was running for charity again but that didn’t take anything away.  The crowd along the route bouyed every step and she completed the goal she had made 2 years earlier in that Starbucks in NY.   She added the Boston Marathon and the Boston Strong logos to her calves.

One and done?  Not quite.  Once she had finished the marathon she went looking for the next challenge.  While searching for races on her computer, up popped the 50 State 1/2 Marathon challenge.  She was now 45 and she thought – I think I can do that by the time I am fifty.  Again she pauses to tell me how grateful she is that she has the family support and the means to accomplish such a feat.  She ran Connecticut in June of 2014 and then one race month for the remainder of the year – San Francisco, Baltimore, Philly.  In 2015 she was sometimes doing back to back weekends – Jackson, Missippi on Saturday and Mobile, Alabama on Sunday.  Other runners began to recognize the woman with the calf tattoos of her daughters’ names.  She loved that part of it, meeting other people but she would always come straight back home after the race.  She was known for the tattoos of her daughters and everyone also knew that she was flying back home right after the race, she wasn’t hanging around to celebrate.  She calls them drive-bys, she was there to run and come home.  In May of 2015 she had an epiphany while running.  While her daughters and husband were supportive, she didn’t want to miss out on much more, she didn’t want to be in Nashville instead of Norwood when one of her daughters really needed her so she decided to accelerate her goal. Rather that 50 states by the time she turned 50 she decided she could get it done in 2 years and finish in 2016.  She shared this plan with her girls and they a reed as long as the last state could be Hawaii.

In June of 2016 they made the family trip to Kona and she ran her 50th half marathon in her 50th state, well before she was 50.  Running through the scorching hot lava fields was tough, she didn’t put up her best time but she did think about all of the people that helped her reach her goal.  The most present thought she had while she was running in Kona was “I didn’t get there by myself, I was part of a team.”  With Adventure of a Lifetime by Coldplay in her headphones she crossed the finish line.  Not a drive-by this time, she celebrated with her family.

Each time Sue finishes a goal. She creates a new one.  It keeps her running.  Her friends suggested that she might be addicted to running.  She likes to think it is what is keeping her healthy.  She is almost at the end of her most recent goal – 100 half marathons.  This weekend Sue ran her 97th half-marathon in Newport, Rhode Island.  On May 27th of this year, Sue will complete the 100th half marathon.  And then what?  Her next goal?  A marathon in each of the Canadian provinces.  She’s got Ottawa in the books.

Sue never considered herself a runner but I spotted her license plate in the parking lot as we left Starbucks – I think she has come to accept the idea that she is not only a runner – she’s an avid runner.  She runs with one headphone in and often it’s Pink that’s playing as she goes, Sue considers it her anthem:

So look I came here to run it
Just ’cause nobody’s done it
Y’all don’t think I can run it
But look, I’ve been here, I’ve done it
Impossible? Please
Watch I do it with ease
You just gotta believe
Come on, come on with me

I am so grateful to Sue for letting me share her story.  Here’s what I got from Sue.  No one gets anywhere alone.  You never know what’s in the package so don’t underestimate anyone.  It’s good to set goals and then watch yourself crush them. When someone assumes you can’t do something you can square off against them, hold on to the ball and brace for impact. And lastly, when something gets in your way, even when you have done all you can do, wake up the next day and start again.  You just gotta believe.