During the second half of the 20th century, women joined the U.S. workforce en mass, changing America’s economic landscape. While the fight for equality is hardly over, we want to celebrate progress. Meet these local business leaders who honor and admire all the women who paved the way for them.
Nahrain M. Shasteen, OD, MS, FAAO
Modern Heritage Eye Care
5150 Chappel Dr, Perrysburg
419-873-7446 | perrysburgeyedoctor.com
An early experience I’m grateful for: Shortly after graduating optometry school I returned to The Ohio State University College of Optometry and completed a 2-year Advanced Practice Fellowship. This experience is one of the most valuable to my career. By participating in clinical research, I learned how to review and analyze current studies and provide the best evidenced based care to my patients. I was also a clinical instructor. This was perhaps the most rewarding part of the fellowship. Teaching expanded my knowledge and experience in ways that would have taken years in private practice. I was able to consult with some of the greatest minds in optometry.
My current top three priorities: I would say my top three priorities are providing the best patient care experience possible, educating the community about the importance of eye care and vision therapy, and, as a newlywed, being a good wife.
My first job: My first job was at Sauder Village in Archbold. I started out as a volunteer and later worked in the Ice Cream Parlor and Sweet Shop. I think that’s where my approach to patient care comes from. Sauder Village was a literal “step back in time.” The staff always made you feel welcome and loved to share their knowledge with you.
Most people don’t know: I love music. Listening to it, playing it, even arranging pieces. In fact, I edited and arranged the bridal processional for our wedding.
Open Arms Wellness Center
2300 Navarre Ave. #204, Oregon
419-720-8604 | Openarmsmassagestudio.com
An early experience I am grateful for: The support I have received throughout my career, but my earliest experience would be my clients that supported me in my move and expansions.
When I was a child, I wanted to be: An artist, and everyday I believe I accomplished that!
Ten years ago, I wish someone told me: Don’t be scared; just do it! What will happen, will happen!
When I self-doubt: I take a little time for myself. Meditation, yoga or massage.
2934 Central Ave.
419-535-7837 | Opticalartsinc.com
An early experience I am grateful for: Working for my father in the family business (Optical Arts) as a receptionist from junior high through college. This gave me the opportunity to watch and analyze situations which gave me the knowledge to run an efficient office.
A recent victory: Winning Best of Toledo, of course! My three secrets to success: Always strive for perfection. Honesty with customers employees and vendors. Hard work.
My first job: Helping my dad with the family business (Optical Arts) doing all kinds of impressive things, like cleaning floors, when I was 8-years-old.
Dr. Christy Lorton
Dermatology Associates Inc.
Perrysburg: 12780 Roachton Rd.
Sylvania: 7640 W. Sylvania Ave.
419-870-0777 | daohio.com
Ten years ago, I wish someone told me: To start following my current anti-inflammatory diet, because it can really help so many patients with inflammatory diseases.
My current top three priorities: My family, my health and my patients’ good health.
How I consider my gender in my professional life: Frequently, female physicians are not regarded with as much respect or authority as their male counterparts.
Most people don’t know: I was a physician in the Air Force, stationed in Germany.
Lighting Showroom & Electrical Supply Counters
Toledo: 2807 N. Reynolds Rd., 419-537-1818
Ann Arbor, MI: 2232 S. Industrial Hwy.,734-665-8676.
Electrical Supply Counter only: 2521 Woodville Rd., Northwood, 419-698-1818
I got my start: Besides working stamping brochures when I was young, then working as a cashier in high school, I started full time because there weren’t any decent jobs available when I graduated from college, so my dad said, “I’ll hire you for more than that…” I started in the advertising department, then worked other office jobs, and then, finally, sales!
How I consider my gender in my professional life: It used to be much more of a factor. Now I only think about it when I’m in an “old boys” group, which is much rarer.
When I was a child: I must have wanted to work for the company because I have a drawing in my office from when I’m about 5 of me at Gross Electric.
My first job: I was the first girl newspaper delivery person for The Blade when I was in high school, but that doesn’t count the Putt Putt courses, haunted houses, lemonade stands as a kid.
Mary M. Cianci
1242 W. Sylvania Ave.
419-478-5455 | sew-n-such.com
I got my start: Because of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. She was headstrong and forged a path for women in a man’s world.
An early experience I am grateful for: When I got my divorce I received only enough money to buy a blind stitch machine. I had gone to area tailoring businesses, but they wanted to pay me very little and under the table. So, my next step was to start a business. With constant perseverance and dedication, here I am.
A recent small victory: I am a early riser! I like to get up and get going. I can tell when it’s time to quit. I start running out of energy.
My current top three priorities: The fewest things I need to do my work: a thread, a needle and a good light!
Diana M. Spiess
Essence Mind • Body Studio
725 Ford St. B, Maumee
419-873-6463 | essencembs.com
I got my start: My journey in health and wellness began as a two sport all-state athlete and I began teach fitness classes in college at the age of 19. From there, I went on to teaching many different classes, personal training, and then I became the director of the largest fitness department in the Greater Toledo Area.
A recent small victory: My studio was voted both #1 yoga studio and #1 Pilates studio in the Toledo area, This, of course, is not a “small victory,” but it means so much to me, the Essence staff, and to all of our clients who’ve been on this journey with Essence over the past decade. It’s especially humbling and empowering at the same time because the votes came from our amazing clients and this powerful community.
I start my day with: Meditation, intention setting, journaling, reiki, crystals, and Pranayama (breathing practices).
My definition of success: Is based on the feedback of my family and clients. When people say to me, “I don’t know how I’d get by without you,” it melts my heart and drives me to do more. Through the years of doing what I do, I’m amazed at how many deep, heartfelt connections I’ve developed with people as they travel this powerful human journey. That, to me, defines success.
Green Options for Autism of Lucas County, LLC (G.O.A.L.)
1660 Amesbury Rd.
419-250-0401 | barbsabin.wixsite.com/goalforautism
I got my start: With my son Patrick, who inspired me to start a great program for young people with autism where they could learn functional, communication and vocational skills. As a special education teacher, I wanted to create a place where the individuals felt safe and valued. In 2012, I started G.O.A.L. with two participants in Central Christian Church at 1660 Amesbury Rd. in Toledo. G.O.A.L. is a provider for the Ohio Board of Developmental Disabilities as well as an Ohio Department of Education Autism Scholarship Provider. Now, in 2018, we have 28 school-aged children with autism ages 5-22 and 20 young adults with autism. I have talented and caring individuals on my staff who create a wonderful learning environment for our kids everyday.
My three secrets to success: Do your research, work hard, and keep the faith.
When I self-doubt: I remember my father telling me I can do anything I put my mind to.
4895 Monroe St. Ste. 101,
419-474-9119 | atlasbridalshop.com
I got my start: When I was attending Mercy School of Nursing, to get my RN degree. I started working at the shop. It was owned by a very good friend’s parents.
A recent small victory: Winning The City Paper’s Best Bridal Shop in Toledo for the second year in a row.
My three secrets to success: 1) You have to put in the hours. 2) Surround yourself with an amazing team. I have an awesome team of women working with me. I could never do this by myself. I also have a super supportive husband who is also super handy with repairs and remodeling. 3) Love what you do!
The app I can’t live without: Overdrive through the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. You can borrow books to read or listen to on your phone.
Laura’s Framing Place & Gallery
4400 Heatherdowns Blvd. #9
419-893-7263 | facebook.com/laurasframingplace
I got my start: In picture framing in November 1983. I trained and worked for a shop in downtown Maumee until October of 1991, then opened Laura’s Framing Place in November 1991 at Parkway Plaza in Maumee. In January of 2015, I moved to my present location in South Toledo.
An early experience I am grateful for: I feel I was trained in framing by the best in the area. She didn’t particularly like the bill-paying side of the business, so that was a learning experience for me, too.
My three secrets to success: Pay attention to details. Have a sense of humor when dealing with the public. Be fair and honest with people.
How I consider my gender in my professional life: When I started my own place in 1991, people seemed surprised that the owner was actually in the store AND doing the work. I hired a guy
part-time, so customers would feel comfortable with either gender
“cuttin’ on the saw, or nailing the frames.” Well over 25 years later,
people are still surprised the actual owner is waiting on them, but the gray hair lets them know I know what I’m doing.
Vice President, Beacon Associates
1755 Indianwood Cir. Suite 200, Maumee
419-482-0280 | beaconexperts.com
An early experience I am grateful for: As a young woman, I had
a family member who owned his own business. Watching him
navigate small business ownership lit an entrepreneurial fire within
me. By the age of 19, I owned three small businesses, with
dreams to expand my capabilities. I was then blessed to meet my
husband and best friend, Steven Wise. He, too, had an
entrepreneurial drive. His belief in me fostered my confidence and
passion, and together we are living out our dreams of owning our
My three secrets to success: Positive energy. Passion. Integrity. How I consider my gender in my professional life: I don’t. Being a woman has not affected my ability to succeed as a small business owner. I was raised to believe I could do anything I set my mind to. This isn’t to say I haven’t had setbacks, because I have. However, being confident, without being arrogant, has allowed me to opportunity to take risks and grow my business.
Allstate Insurance Agency
6616 Monroe St. Ste. 10, Sylvania
419-885-3061 | agents.allstate.com/jamilynn-fox-sylvania oh.html
A recent small victory: Winning several Allstate national awards for our work in 2017 including Honor Ring, National Conference as well as being awarded the Sylvania Small Business Excellence Award and being recognized on several occasions by The Ohio House of Representatives for our work in the community. My agency has also been responsible for arranging funding for several nonprofit organizations through the Allstate Foundation by obtaining Good Hands Grants. I am a firm believer in giving back to the local community through service and charitable giving.
My three secrets to success: Put the needs of the customer first by giving them the very best in professional advice and prompt courteous service. Value your employees and treat them with dignity and respect so that they will give your customers the same dignity and respect. Last, but not least, work harder than how you expect employees to work.
When it comes to business, the most important skill is: The ability to improvise. The pace of change is accelerating rapidly; the pace of change will never be slower than it is today, so the ability to change your plans rapidly as well as to anticipate change has become increasingly important.
6600 Sylvania Ave. Suite 240, Sylvania
419-882-5510 | janetamid.com
I got my start: Through a fluke. I was only 18 and a friend asked me to look at her and her boyfriend’s astrological charts, so I picked up my Astrology Book, did a compatibility chart, and told her what I found. A week later she confessed that it was true and gave me $2.00 for the reading. I knew then that I was destined to do this. I loved astrology. Then in 1980, my friend Sharon Everitt asked me to be on the radio with Mark & Wendy on 105.5. I did, and I have been doing it ever since.
Ten years ago, I wish someone told me: To set healthy boundaries for myself and my clients and to invest better financially. When you start out young, you’re not as prepared emotionally and mentally.
My three secrets to success: Firstly, consistency. Being there and available for my clients. People love consistency. Most of us are creatures of habit. When I change anything, they notice. Secondly, being honest, in a heartfelt, tactful way. Thirdly, I am a workaholic. I work a lot. Being available and flexible.
Most people don’t know: I am a loner, very introverted; I have tons of acquaintances and many close friends, and I still crave isolation.
Health Foods by Claudia
3904 Secor Rd.
419-474-2400 | healthfoodsbyclaudia.com
An early experience I am grateful for: Being raised in a family and culture that embraces the importance of food and how it brings people together. I’m also grateful that my mother cooked everyday and I have wonderful memories of coming home from school and the lovely aroma of food that filled the air when I opened the door.
My current top three priorities: My husband and our three beautiful sons, our health, and our business. I’m grateful to be self-employed and to the many customers over the years that trust our guidance on their journey to reclaiming their health, naturally and safely.
My three secrets to success: First and foremost, believe in what you do and do it from your heart. Second, know your numbers and understand margins; they are essential for making a business successful and profitable which is a positive thing. And third, treating people with respect and appreciation is paramount because it’s people, both employees and customers, that are an important component of any successful business. Positive business practices make it all worthwhile for everyone!
Co-owner of Soto Signature Salon and Spa
When it comes to business, the most important skill is: The ability to execute. If you have strong foundations to execute, the ability to improvise will come naturally.
When I was a child I wanted to be an: Architect. I was always loved design and the aesthetics of buildings. Being an Esthetician, I am able to work the physical aesthetics of my guests
Co-owner of Soto Signature Salon and Spa
Ten years ago, I wish someone told me: To celebrate all wins. In the beginning of owning a business everything is a whirlwind and instead of focusing on all the things you do not know and need to learn, celebrate the growth that you have whether it is sales, employees or your own confidence! Now celebrating all wins is a big part of our culture as a company to celebrate all wins!
My current top three priorities: Guest care. The continuing education of our employees. Community Outreach
Co-owner of Soto Signature Salon and Spa and Summit Salon Academy Perrysburg
How I consider my gender in my professional life: In business relationships people have tried to push me over, talk over me and not take the time to listen. I didn’t think of it as related to my gender, but when I had my first child I noticed a change: I was expected to be a devoted mother and dedicated business owner. Fast forward ten years, and I still see our female team members experience the same pressures. Being a business owner and raising a family is both gratifying and terrifying simultaneously.
Co-owner of Soto Signature Salon and Spa and Summit Salon Academy Perrysburg
My three secrets to success: Anything worth it is gonna be hard. Having willingness to grow in any circumstance. Enjoy everything you have to do.
When I self-doubt: I remember that knowledge IS power! When I’m struggling with something, I know someone out there has had the same struggle somewhere. Reading personal growth books, having a mentor or great friend to help be your mirror.
Soto Signature Salon and Spa: 580 Craig Dr. #6, Perrysburg
419-872-5555 | sotosalonspa.com
Summit Salon Academy: 116 W. S. Boundary St., Perrysburg
419-873-9999 | summitsalonacademyperrysburg.edu
De’Lisa T. Moore
4225 Monroe St.,
567-393-3764 | facebook.com/FrogTownFinancial
I got my start: Learning how to prepare taxes during my junior/senior year at Rogers High School. I was taught by my business instructor Attorney Roger K. Zimmerman, who I can still call on if I need assistance.
When I self-doubt: I call on my mother, Angela Rivers. She is the force behind me, my sounding board, my comforter in the physical form. She motivates me with her encouraging words and then she refers me to God. “Pray about it,” she says.
When it comes to business, the most important skill is: The ability to improvise, because tax law, bank rules, processing returns are forever changing and you have to be able to jump right in and apply the changes. Things do not always go as planned so you have to be able to improvise and get the job done.
Dr. Amber Puhl
Frankel & Puhl Dentistry
4359 Keystone Dr., Maumee
419-893-0221 | jonfrankeldentistry.com
I got my start: While attending the University of Dayton for undergraduate school, I worked for a female dentist in Dayton. It confirmed I loved helping patients smile! I then went on to Ohio State University for dental school.
My three secrets to success: Remember: today is a good day for a good day! Always have G.E.T.— gratitude, encouragement, thankfulness.
How I consider my gender in my professional life: When I first graduated from dental school, patients commented on a daily basis that they had never met a female dentist. This always shocked me because my dental school class was 40 percent female. We now have two female associate dentists and the comments occur less often.
When it comes to business, the most important skill is: The ability to execute! You can have an idea and a plan but you still need to be able to execute those things to make it a success!
Dr. Jennifer Ludwig
Sylvania: 6407 Monroe St., 419-882-1017
Lambertville, MI: 7928 Secor Rd., 734-854-6221
Maumee: 4359 Keystone Dr. Suite 200, 419-887-1247
An early experience I am grateful for: The economic downturn was pretty early in my career. So much is learned from a tough economic environment. I believe in the end we are a more resilient business because of it.
When it comes to business, the most important skill is: The ability to improvise. Humans and their teeth are unique. My job requires improvisation every minute.
In my professional life, I consider my gender: Rarely. I thank the women that were the ONLY female in their dental class for paving the way. But, this has absolutely changed over time. Many times it wasn’t assumed that the female was the doctor.
When I was a child I wanted to be a: Firewoman and veterinarian. Doesn’t everyone?
Mobile Bonds LLC
445 Earlwood Ave., Suite 103.
419-376-7713 | facebook.com/horner007
My three secrets to success: Believe in yourself and your ability. I used to doubt my ability to do certain things because I didn’t believe in myself but as I started to surround myself with positive people, then I began to think positively and I started to believe that the things that I once thought were impossible became very simple. A long time friend once told me that “can’t means won’t.” I have always carried that with me. You can do anything in life that you want, you just have to set goals and execute.
Secondly, Always make sure you’re honest because integrity is everything. It builds the foundation for trust which is very important when you’re dealing with society and trying to build your business. At the end of the day, your credibility is built on honesty and trust.
And lastly, Knowledge. As the good ol’ saying goes, knowledge is power. I believe in that. Knowledge is your gateway to opportunity. So educate yourself!!
My current top three priorities: Work: I’m a workaholic. I spend a good portion of my time trying to navigate more ways to success.
Family: I have three beautiful children whom I absolutely adore and they have been the reason that I push myself to be the best me. They need me. Health: Without health you can’t take care of the first two.
To feel successful, I need to: Be consistent. I wake up every morning grab my coffee and start answering phone calls and emails. In this business not answering the phone or missing a call is detrimental. My clients are calling for a reason and I make sure that I’m always on the other end of the line to help them.
Bar manager, Georgjz419 Fun Food & Spirits
1205 Adams St.
419-842-4477 | facebook.com/GeorgjzToledo
I got my start: Bartending at the recently closed, historic Bretz Nightclub the year I turned 21 (2006). The owner at the time realized if I didn’t come out, none of the UT students came out so he asked if I’d like to learn how to bartend.
An early experience I am grateful for: Going to Columbus Pride as a young teen really shaped the way I viewed the LGBT community. It was really the first time I felt comfortable in my own skin. I think about those times often and how it felt to be young and not really sure of yourself. Now in my life, those experiences translate into being able to help other young people who walk through the doors of Georgjz419. Making sure they feel welcome and safe is very important to me.
How I consider my gender in my professional life: The LGBT bars tend to be a bit of a “boys club” so when I first started out some people would be like “what is SHE doing behind the bar?” It didn’t take long for them to get to know me and see me as an equal. I can think of a couple of guys that had a big problem with me at first because of my gender who have since become some of my closest friends.
Ten years ago, I wish someone told me: To not take things so personally. If other bars are doing the same thing you’re doing or have been doing you should feel flattered instead of attacked.