Friday, September 30, 2022

WOMEN IN BUSINESS 2022

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Annually, Toledo City Paper spotlights women who help shape our community by being entrepreneurs. Our subjects discuss their businesses, their lives, their struggles, their efforts to break through in a male-dominated space. Though these individuals come from diverse backgrounds, they all share a common drive for success and act as trailblazers, showing young women that if you can dream it, you can do it.

AJ Archery

Audrey J. Berning-Matell, Owner and President of AJ Archery

Explain to our readers what your business does?
At AJ Archery, we teach the archery rules and technique, create confidence, patience, focus, increase the archer’s ability to shoot, while having fun.

How has your approach to business changed over time?
My approach hasn’t changed, I’ve always felt that being honest, upfront, thrifty and having integrity is the best way to do business.

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of?
Every professional woman should remind herself to always be professional whether while handling business or out with friends. Also, remember to be positive, smile and don’t let the little things control you.

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively?
In the beginning, it was a struggle to be taken seriously by most. Many times, I had to demonstrate my knowledge or skills to prove my merit. I have found that as time went on and people saw my success, that I have been more fully accepted. Frankly, I just move past any resistance/disbelief and do my thing without letting it bother me and that has worked for me. Never let someone tell you that you are not allowed or can’t do something that you want, especially if it is your passion.

What advice would you give to another woman who plans to enter your industry?Learn as much as you can from others in the field. Read books, watch videos and study them along with acquiring personal “hands-on” experience. You can’t know too much.

What gender-specific assumptions do you encounter, and how do you respond to them?
Most people are amazed that I do what I do, especially as a woman. Since I was very young, I’ve always participated in outdoor activities. I just do what I like and have fun doing it. Most are curious as to my knowledge and ask questions which I gladly answer. When someone says that “Women can’t do ____ (an activity)” then I find myself either explaining that we can or showing them my skills. Curiously enough, many of my students are thrilled when they hear that I am a woman. Some have even sought me out because of it.

What has changed most about your business in the time you’ve been operating?
In the beginning, it was a struggle, but as word grew about my ability as a coach and an archer, there was an increase in the number of students and now my business is overflowing.

How do you stay motivated?
Coaching students and seeing their progress is my passion and motivation.

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
My family – daughter, son and their families, especially my granddaughter (19) and three grandsons (3, 5 & 6). I am very fortunate to have them all live within minutes of me.

Where do you go when you need to get away from everything?
Into my music CDs, and music is a huge part of my life, whether jazz, hard rock, heavy metal, classical, pop, blues, folk, contemporary.

Best advice you’ve ever received:
“Be yourself, and be that well.”

Which local business do you enjoy supporting most?
I have supported the Farmers’ Market for decades. There are so many awesome local businesses that are featured when I shop at both the Downtown and the Secor Road locations.

What’s the most recent book you read?
Most recent book that I’ve read is A Parent’s Guide to Archery by Steve Ruis.

Bella River Boutique

Jackie Stark, Owner

Explain to our readers what your business does?
We help women recycle beautiful, gently used designer handbags, clothing and accessories. We are an upscale ladies consignment shop.

How has your approach to business changed over time?
The pandemic changed the way ladies shop. We have focused on advertising merchandise through social media (Facebook/Instagram), third party e-commerce sites and private parties.

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of?
She is smarter and stronger than she gives herself credit for.

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively?
I relate to my customers (95% are women). Women are naturally amazing at multi tasking.

What advice would you give to another woman who plans to enter your industry?
Make sure it’s what you want to do. Running your own business is a “labor of love.” It’s like anything else. You get out of it what you put into it.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Don’t be afraid to try new things. I have definitely stepped outside my comfort zone.

What has changed most about your business in the time you’ve been operating?
Online shopping. I’ve learned many women still want to touch and feel fabrics in person. From a consignment standpoint, approx. ⅓ of items coming in still have tags! Not all women are diligent about returning items.

Something most people don’t know about me is:
I was a licensed optician and worked full time through college.

How do you stay motivated?
Loving what I do and working out daily keeps me motivated.

Who do you most admire in the Toledo area?
My dad, who passed in October of 2020. He wore a brace on his left leg from contracting polio as a child. He did everything from golfing, coaching softball to owning his own business. He didn’t allow his handicap to impede his life, whatsoever.

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
Family vacations with my adult children.

Where do you go when you need to get away from everything?
The gym. I workout almost every day.

What’s one item on your bucket list?
Italy. I would love to travel more outside the country.

Best advice you’ve ever received:
In the heat of the moment, use the 24 hour rule.

Which local business do you enjoy supporting most?
Levi & Lilac’s. Amazing burgers and wonderful atmosphere. I am there at least once a week.

Your theme song:
Anything 70s! Absolutely love music!

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
If I’m being honest, lipliner. My sister once said when I was asked for a pen, “She probably doesn’t have a pen but for sure has lipliner.” Lol!

What’s the most recent book you read?
“Wild.” It was given to me by a friend at a crossroads in my life.

Boudoir Photos by Yvonne

Yvonne Moryc, Owner & Photographer

Explain to our readers what your business does?
Boudoir Photos by Yvonne is a Luxury Boudoir Photography Studio located just over the line in Lambertville, MI.

What are some commonly held misconceptions about your business?
There are so many misconceptions about boudoir photography that I want to clear up. Boudoir is for EVERY type of woman. Numbers do NOT define you. You can NEVER lose your sexy, no matter what age you are! Trust me. We want our clients to leave our studio appreciating their bodies NO MATTER what. Recognizing that they’ve NEVER lost their sexy. EVER. Boudoir is for documenting her beauty & growth even if she hasn’t hit her milestone! Boudoir is to celebrate yourself for a change. It is also for remembering that you don’t have to be so hard on yourself, we truly are our own worst critics. It’s okay to live a little, splurge a little, and feel drop dead gorgeous every once in a while!

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of? 
Every professional woman should remind herself that she is a Goddess and a driving force to be reckoned with. Self confidence is the key – even on hard days!

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively?
Being a woman, doing what I do is why I do it. I was put here to show women how gorgeous they really are.

What gender-specific assumptions do you encounter, and how do you respond to them?
Often people assume that Boudoir is about seducing men, but it’s really about empowering you and owning it.

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
I love sugar cookies. Strawberries, blueberries and whip cream. Riding my bike. Taking pictures of my kids on the beach. Hiking. I love hiking! Gardening & coloring. Making my clients happy. I love my clients! Did I mention sugar cookies? The smell of my tomato plants in August along with the sounds of the crickets. The smell of my sweet handsome man. Cuddles! My sweet handsome man. Late night chats with my son. Eucher, Othello and Risk. Looking back on pictures after a few years have gone by. And sugar cookies…with frosting!

What’s your mantra/words that you live by?
There is nothing more rewarding than making my clients feel as gorgeous as they really are!

Which local business do you enjoy supporting most?
I love supporting local restaurants, local music, visual artists, local boutiques and art studios.

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
Other than my phone, I always have a hair scrunchie on me at all times – I never know when I have to tie my hair up and get to work 😉

Your theme song:
“Broken & Beautiful” by Kelly Clarkson

BOXHOUSE

Tina Miller, Owner/ Wellness & Fitness Director

Explain to our readers what your business does?
BOXHOUSE offers contemporary safe, fun & effective instructor-led, music-driven, boxing-inspired group fitness, corporate wellness, team training and private fitness development & rehabilitation. Although we do not hit each other,  our slogan is “WHERE FIGHT CLUB MEETS NIGHT CLUB” because our studio incorporates dim lighting, performance lighting, and concert sound. Classes are held seven days a week and are booked through our branded BXHS app, and we are also found on the national MINDBODY platform. Our clients can find class descriptions, schedules, select pricing options, and maintain their accounts on any device any time of day.  Our app puts the power in our clients’ hands and allows us to maintain direct contact with push notifications, class schedule changes, inclement weather adjustments, deals, and other important information on short notice.

How has your approach to business changed over time? 
Originally I planned a small studio with the expectation I would instruct a few times per day to a small interested group while maintaining my day job. I underestimated the demand and quickly understood and accepted that I needed to train and mentor instructors, develop additional formats, class standards, and policy since I also manage the administrative aspects. It all happened much sooner than expected.  Delegation has not always been my strong suit, but it was inevitable. Conveying your vision and hoping someone latches onto it and invests emotionally can be risky, but luckily, we accomplished this. We have grown from 1 instructor to nine in 3 years, developed 14 formats which also include yoga, Zumba and other non-boxing formats, diversified to group rowing and relocated to our newer, larger 3000 sq foot studio which accommodates it all very nicely. 

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of?
No is a complete sentence. Not everything can be supported when you have your own business to operate and maintain. Secondly, feeling obligated to participate in events or giving into the pressure of attempting to please every client should be well thought out and ultimately measured by the return value. Ask what falls into the company mission. Operate within those parameters. Lastly, be selfish with your time. Usually in addition to managing a business and it’s resources, we have homes and family responsibilities. The balance of energy and effort is important. Being busy is not the same as value-added productivity. Once time is spent, you cannot get it back. Lastly, remember to take care of yourself, meaning, an enjoyable non-business related activity where you are receiving, not giving. Do it all with a clear conscience.

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively?
Women are under the impression that to be influential they must be flawless. My experience has been that despite how we see ourselves, relatability surpasses that. Me choosing to lead and influence despite being “imperfect” has given other women a comfortable place to express themselves. I’ve experienced humiliation from a tactless previous employer, had a health scare or two, some weight fluctuations, lost a parent and gained additional responsibility as a caregiver of sorts, and other situations that may have temporarily weakened my reserve but I kept going. I know women are empowered by that despite a self-script that warns us about appearing “too human.” Being consistently “human” — vulnerable and transparent, yet creative and resilient —  has benefited me more than it has not. It has also allowed me to experience new relationships, both personally and professionally, where respect and acceptance are unconditional. What makes all of this easier, is to have a sense of humor and I am definitely equipped there.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
I know it can be counterintuitive, however, to build a strong team I have had to decide I don’t want to be the best alone. Pouring everything I have into my instructors and making my knowledge and experience accessible has allowed my job to be easier. It also gives them the confidence to explore other directions  and become leaders themselves, which really describes their job function quite accurately. I keep myself open to the suggestions of my co-workers and encourage them to seek professional development opportunities and determine what they truly ENJOY instructing. I want our clients to identify with any of us and I realize the impact that skill, talent, and personality diversity have on inclusivity, growth and positive overall experiences. We are not only serving and providing, but building relationships. Relationships build loyalty. Being a consistent, demonstrative leader will attract the right people, both co-workers and clientele. 

What gender-specific assumptions do you encounter, and how do you respond to them?
I have had people assume my business is “sponsored” or otherwise co-owned with my spouse. I built BOXHOUSE and developed the business model while simultaneously working my day job. I built this concept from the ground up based on my interests, skills set, research, and the expressed public interest. I converted my 24-year hobby as a fitness instructor and combined it with my marketing, accounting, promotion, and human resources experience. I continue to operate and manage my business 100% as sole owner without the input, financially or otherwise, from my spouse. We are both self-employed, and although his experience as a Professional Mechanical Engineer has come in handy, the risk is all mine as are the concepts, expenses and responsibilities.  

What has changed most about your business in the time you’ve been operating?
Covid continues to challenge our business model dramatically. We initially did a quick pivot to virtual instruction during the March 2020 quarantine and resumed in-studio instruction in July 2020 although mandates were lifted in May. We have had to survive despite our business model, which fortunately, although interpersonal, is socially-distanced by design. Competing with perceptions and statistics as they changed and evolved required us to learn as much as we  could about operating safely. Unfortunately despite all of this, we have experienced less membership although our financial obligations remain. Our lease in our small studio ended during quarantine and postponed our relocation. Finding a suitable space was challenging but after 10 months of failed attempts we found our current space. We also share this space with The ROW Studio, owned by one my mentees, Jessica Lundy. Group water rowing offers a separate studio fitness experience under the same roof as BOXHOUSE, yet are separately owned. We are now looking to expand and diversify  in other ways which complement boxing and rowing, and are in the process of gaining the knowledge and expertise to do so. We are determined to continually adapt because we are still as passionate about our service as day one.

Something most people don’t know about me is:
I’m very shy, yet confident. No one ever guesses I have a shy bone in my body. I have a very public persona as a result of the extent to which I utilize social media to promote my business. If I didn’t have BOXHOUSE I personally would not see a need to have a social media account. I am the most private, yet perceivedly-public person. I appreciate this and I work hard to keep it that way.

How do you stay motivated?
Anytime someone shares with me how BOXHOUSE or one of my instructors has changed their lives, I’m reminded to keep going. Honestly, they accept us as imperfect as we are. We are passionate, knowledgeable, and caring. When someone trusts you, it’s an honor. I’m okay disappointing myself but I’m certainly less happy if I disappoint someone else. That is the ultimate motivation. 

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
I know this is cliche but my kids are pretty awesome. They are 24, 19 and 13 and their relationship dynamic is that of best friends. Two of them are away at college but we stay close through group phone chat throughout any given day. When we are all fortunate enough to be home it’s a really great energy. It’s both exciting and scary to navigate the world with them as young adults, yet we enjoy a comforting, loving close-knit bond.

Where do you go when you need to get away from everything?
Home. Yep … my home. Fortunately, my kids aren’t babies anymore so I have a lot of “alone time” at home. Very rarely do I feel the need to escape, but more so the desire for peace. Quiet. Ignoring my phone is hard because I use it to run my business and clients reach out frequently, but turning it off (although not easy) is like taking a mini vacation, unapologetically.  

Best advice you’ve ever received:
The best advice I ever received was from a friend. She said “Just be yourself. There’s nothing better.”  

Your theme song: 
“Sorry, Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.  Listen, if you see me without a Fanny pack something’s wrong! I’ve been wearing them since before they came back in style but they are so practical and keep me moving handsfree. I don’t like “carrying” anything, not even my keys and especially my phone, which is why I am always misplacing them both.

 

Boyd’s Retro Candy

Pamela Lloyd-Camp, Owner

Explain to our readers what your business does?
Boyd’s provides a candy shopping experience to revive old candy memories and to develop childhood candy memories for the current generation.  If the candy is still made we do our best to have it available for your purchase.  We watch for new candy as well and provide the TikTok generation with their loves.

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively?
Because I’m a multitasker, I’m able to juggle the many needs of the business.  I think most women are multitaskers as we need to cook dinner and do the dishes and laundry at the same time as we pay attention to what kids and animals are doing.

What advice would you give to another woman who plans to enter your industry?
Get a well rounded education as you will need skills in writing and communication as well as in business.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Find what each person’s strengths are and give them tasks they can do based on those strengths.

Something most people don’t know about me is:
I’m very shy and have had to learn to overcome that.

How do you stay motivated?
The joy our customers express in finding a sought after candy sends me searching to provide pleasing candies.

What’s one item on your bucket list?
To visit a Maple Sugaring event.

What’s your mantra/words that you live by?
God is in control.

What’s the most recent book you read?
Pleasant Valley by Louis Bromfield who was involved in turning bad farming practices around with Malabar farm in Mansfield, OH.

Essence Mind Body Studio

Diana Spiess, Owner/Founder

Explain to our readers what your business does?
Essence Mind Body Studio, Essence of Yoga Teacher Training School, Essence of Pilates Teacher Training, and Essence of Wellness Health Coaching are all businesses that help folks live their healthiest, most joyful lives. The studio offers many classes and private sessions, the teacher training schools offers yoga, Pilates, sound therapy, reiki, and soon to be crystal healing training, and my health coaching covers functional, holistic, integrative, and diagnostic nutrition, health, and life coaching.

How has your approach to business changed over time?
Over time I have only added more layers to all I do and offer. It’s important to stay not only up to date on all I have trained in but to continue my education and experience as the industry and lives evolve.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
A leader and a boss are not the same. As a leader, I do all and do not just tell others what to do.  It’s super important to me that anyone who works for me sees me doing all that is needed to run the business…taking out the garbage, teaching classes, working with clients, and studying to learn more.

Something most people don’t know about me is:
I have worn many hats working in my adult life. Retail, modeling and teaching classes in a modeling school, makeup application and skin care, bartending, serving food, caring for and setting up fish tanks, and I even was accepted onto the Toledo fire and police departments before my oldest son was born. I also absolutely love photography.

How do you stay motivated?
I remind myself each day that I don’t have forever here. Now or never. Get it done. Do the things and stay my course. Love deeply and passionately and I remind myself that I never know the last time I’ll see someone.

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
Hands down…my family.  

Where do you go when you need to get away from everything?
The Metroparks or somewhere in nature with my camera.

What’s one item on your bucket list?
A photography trip with a National Geographic photographer somewhere in the states…like Yellowstone or Alaska.

Your theme song: 
“I Could Not Ask for More”

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
Crystals.

Frankel Dentistry

Pamela Weitzel, Marketing Director, Dental Concierge

Explain to our readers what your business does?
Frankel Dentistry literally changes lives a smile at a time. The correlation of dental health to overall health is well-established. My career is dedicated to making people feel and look better.

How has your approach to business changed over time?
My personal joke is that I live in “Pam-Land,” population one! My approach hasn’t changed in over 20 years. I don’t compete, I create.

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of?
Know your natural instincts. The KOLBE index is a valuable tool toward enhanced productivity and streamlined communication. By the way, I am a 7373.

What advice would you give to another woman who plans to enter your industry?Be yourself.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Be generous with your time, ideas and knowledge.

What has changed most about your business in the time you’ve been operating?
Technology has blasted dentistry into the future from paperless charts to same day tooth replacement options to scheduling your appointments online. Flipping to the totally human-factor, Dr. Jonathan Frankel has selflessly gifted Frankel Dentistry to the employees. It is the first 100% employee owned dental practice in the United States.

Something most people don’t know about me is:
REM is my friend. I analyze my technicolor, bilingual dreams. It is an invaluable resource for clarity and understanding.

How do you stay motivated?
I wake up happy everyday by letting go of what I cannot change and viewing problems as opportunities to learn, re-contextualize, and move on!

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
There is an insatiable need and inexplicable joy in observing art, nature, and my five grandchildren.

Where do you go when you need to get away from everything?
It is more what I do than where I go. Squared breathing centers and balances my inner and outer realities.

What’s one item on your bucket list?
New Zealand calls me.

What’s your mantra/words that you live by?
I am that. That is all there is.

Which local business do you enjoy supporting most?
Food feeds my soul at Leaf and Seed vegan restaurant.

Your theme song:
“Pamela” by Toto.

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
I carry an unbending sense of gratitude for being.

What’s the most recent book you read?
I bought The T-Shirts I Love by Haruki Murakami at the airport during an extended layover. I could be heard repeatedly laughing out loud.

Georgette’s Grounds & Gifts

Tiffany Regent, main staff

Explain to our readers what your business does?
Georgette’s Grounds and Gifts is a café and gift shop owned and operated by Sunshine Communities in Maumee, Ohio. We support and employ individuals with developmental disabilities who work alongside job coaches to build skills.

How has your approach to business changed over time?
In business, change is necessary, and most definitely in the last couple of years. Being flexible and open to new approaches is a must. Within the last two years the changes to the economy and supply chains means small businesses are struggling. It’s important for us as a small business to work together with other small businesses, and order products from them. Since then we have shifted to purchasing more produce from smaller, local producers when larger suppliers didn’t have what we needed. We’ve seen that we’re not only getting better quality products, but also supporting our community. We’ve felt that shift not just as a purchaser, but we are hearing from our community that when they go out to spend money, they want to support small businesses.

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of?
Be genuine.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Encourage! One word, yet very meaningful in our line of work. Encourage staff to grow, to build on their skills and encourage them to try new things.

How do you stay motivated?
I surround myself with positive people. I like to set goals for myself and as I accomplish them and get to check a box off, I get motivated to continue to set more, sometimes larger goals for myself.

Who do you most admire in the Toledo area?
Do I really have to pick just one?…I admire a bit of something from so many people in my life. My mother’s kindness, how much she loves everyone, and her ability to make anything grow. My Dad’s love for his family, his ability to say what’s on his mind without a thought, and his talent for woodworking. My sister Lori, she is a warrior in many ways.

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
Family, that is my joy. We have family game nights, mommy and Phoebe bake nights and try a new recipe for work nights. It’s a great way to decompress after a hectic day to be with my husband and daughter and laugh. I don’t always have time to sit down on the couch, but when I do, I’m reading a book by myself.

What’s your mantra/words that you live by?
“When enthusiasm is driven by confidence any goal can be attained.” – Robert Regent (My dad had this quote published years ago.)

Best advice you’ve ever received:
Stay true to yourself and always be honest.

Which local business do you enjoy supporting most?
Zingo’s.

Your theme song:
My staff would say, “It’s a marshmallow world,” because I am always humming it.

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
Chapstick and little notes my five-year-old daughter sticks in my bag.

What’s the most recent book you read?
“Clanlands.”

Gross Electric

Laurie Gross, Owner

Explain to our readers what your business does?
Gross Electric is celebrating it’s 112th year as the preferred local source for decorative lighting, door and cabinet hardware, casual furniture & home accessory and electrical & safety supplies. Established in 1910, Gross Electric is known as the local source of expertise for both retail customers and the building and electrical trades, offering exceptional service at a fair price. 

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of? 
Stay in touch with why you do what you do. I am passionate about what we offer. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I go out onto the showroom floor and spend the day waiting on customers. It reinvigorates me. 

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively? 
When I got in the electrical industry, I was one of 3 women who attended national meetings. I earned the respect of male peers over time by my willingness to learn and by making them rethink their expectations of women in the industry, I have used that experience to help other women develop in the industry. The lighting showroom industry has always been more accepting of women and now has a strong women’s network. 

What advice would you give to another woman who plans to enter your industry?
Have a thick skin and a good sense of humor! 

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Calm resolve. We set the tone for the business and it’s important that people see that we’re not panicking, no matter how stressful the circumstances. 

What gender-specific assumptions do you encounter, and how do you respond to them? 
That I don’t know what I’m talking about. I just keep talking with more & more technical information so they have to listen!

What has changed most about your business in the time you’ve been operating?
The sheer quantity of product & how technical everything has become. Also the variety of ways you have to “advertise” your products, it’s not just the Yellow Pages & the newspaper, it’s 5 different social media platforms and everywhere else, including a great internet presence.

Something most people don’t know about me is:
I love to drive and love fast cars.

How do you stay motivated?
I come to work every day & have a good time!

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
Going to UM Football games, going on a great trip with my kids hiking in the mountains. Going on vacation up north & sailing.

Where do you go when you need to get away from everything?
A walk in the park with my dog, Or a trip out of town, or sailing my laser on a lake.

What’s one item on your bucket list?
Go into space.

Which local business do you enjoy supporting most? 
Sautter’s Grocery Store. Any Mancy’s restaurant. From donations, Sight Center of NW Ohio, UT Family Business Center.

Your theme song:
“Singin’ in the Rain.”

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
Something dark chocolate.

Health Foods by Claudia

Claudia K. David-Roscoe, Owner

Explain to our readers what your business does?
Our business empowers those that are looking for a different perspective for their health needs and one that makes sense to them through natural and effective approaches. My team and I are grateful to share our collective years of heartfelt knowledge and firsthand experience with individuals seeking to reclaim their health safely, Lovingly and from a whole perspective, not simply a symptomatic approach.

How has your approach to business changed over time?
We are blessed to be celebrating our 32nd year in business and over the years my husband and I have learned the importance of being willing to critique our strategies in business and to fine tune them to meet the challenges and needs of operating a brick and mortar in a rapidly changing world. Being willing change with the times and do what is best for the business is essential to running a successful one.

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively?
When I began the business in 1990, I never considered myself a woman in business but rather I was a person starting my own vision, following my Heart, and keeping the Faith that I would succeed.

What advice would you give to another woman who plans to enter your industry?The advice I’ve given over the years to anyone wanting to open a health food store is to first make sure they live the life, walk the talk, and believe in the benefits of natural health, otherwise they’re going into business for the wrong reasons. I think more consumers are beginning to understand…there are many outlets to purchase supplements these days but very few that have the heartfelt knowledge or care about the products they’re selling and that’s a sad thing really, because it demeans the value of what supplements truly represent for human wellness.

What has changed most about your business in the time you’ve been operating?What has changed the most in the years we’ve been in business is, of course the availability of natural products through mass market and internet outlets; both channels simply selling bottles without any true knowledge about the products or the quality. We have customers coming to us daily, often with several bags of supplements that they purchased here and there and now have no idea what to do with them, what they’re for and usually feel totally overwhelmed with all of it. Like anything of value in Life…when it’s demeaned to just be about profit, it loses the true value it’s meant to be.

What’s your mantra/words that you live by?
The mantra/words that I live by is to always live from my heart, always keep the F\faith, take one day at a time, do the best I’m able each day and feel good about the accomplishments. My mother raised me with this beautiful wisdom and lived it by example. I’m eternally grateful too, because when our oldest son left this earthly world suddenly, six years ago at the age of 22…her teachings became even more powerful and valuable to me than ever before. So, every day I hear myself sharing her wisdom with our customers and I know it means a lot to them because often they tell me those words give them Hope…and that’s a precious thing to have especially in this day and age.

Inside the Five Brewing

Katie Fields, Co-owner

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of?
Always be yourself. Be confident. Don’t change who you are to fit a job description.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Lead by example.

What has changed most about your business in the time you’ve been operating?
The number of employees I oversee. We started with a dozen employees and we are now close to 100. It’s a challenge but also a blessing to have so many great employees.

How do you stay motivated?
I surround myself with great people. Watching and encouraging my friends and family to be successful, inspires me to do the same.

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
Playing, watching, and coaching sports. I grew up playing sports and I have always enjoyed going to all sorts of sporting events. Now I have the opportunity to coach my young kids and watch them grow.

Which local business do you enjoy supporting most?
All of the 419 Breweries. I started in this business because I enjoy craft beer and brewery hopping. Each one is unique and I enjoy visiting them all whenever I have the opportunity. 

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
Chapstick!

Majestic Oak Winery

Laura Rufenacht, Co-Owner

Explain to our readers what your business does?
Majestic Oak is a small farm winery & brewery located in Southwest Lucas Co. near Neapolis, Ohio. We have vineyards and plenty of room to relax.

How has your approach to business changed over time?
I have become very aggressive about how I budget my time. If I want any time to myself, I have to be efficient.

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of?
You are enough.

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively?
Our customer base is predominantly women so I find it to be a positive.

What advice would you give to another woman who plans to enter your industry?
Use the resources available and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

What has changed most about your business in the time you’ve been operating?
Not a lot about my specific industry, I see the most change in technology such as point of sale options, apps, social media, etc. It’s a continual learning process.

How do you stay motivated?
I am often complimented by a customer for all the expansion and improvements. I view it through their eyes and why they enjoy it. There is always more to do, but I step back and look at how much the winery has grown.

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
My family & my dog.

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
My calendar/task list, I have one on my phone but I need to see the entire month.

Mobile Bonds

Sarah Stuart, Owner

Explain to our readers what your business does?
We allow our clients an opportunity to reunite with their family and friends until their case is over.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
One key leadership lesson I’ve learned, talk less, listen more and be authentic.

What’s your mantra/words that you live by?
Forget the day’s troubles and remember the day’s blessings. 

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
One item other than my phone that I carry with me at all times is my calendar. I would have absolutely no direction without it. There’s so much going on every single day with kids and work that if I didn’t carry one, I’d be lost.

Last book you read:
“Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth” by T. Harv Eker. Great read!

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
I enjoy hanging out with my four kids and going on our little adventures.

Mock Law, Co. LPA

Rose Mock, owner

Explain to our readers what your business does?
I own and operate two companion businesses: Mock Law, Co. LPA  and Elder Care Concepts, Inc. Mock Law is a law firm that focuses on Elder Law and Family Law which encompasses Probate, Estate Planning for asset protection. I am a licensed Social Worker and VA certified attorney. I assist with Medicaid and VA applications. My sister company—  Elder Care Concepts, Inc.— assists with Level of Care assessments and Long Term Care Placement.

How has your approach to business changed over time?
I started this business to help people. We go above and beyond to make sure our client’s needs are fulfilled. We have a compassionate law firm that focuses on making lives better.

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of?
Self care. Take your lessons from the flight attendant! If the cabin loses pressure, put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. If you faint from lack of oxygen then you are no good to anyone. Life on the ground is the same.

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively?
Both. I love being a Woman and would not want to be anyone else. The glass ceiling has been obliterated.

What advice would you give to another woman who plans to enter your industry?
Be a lawyer with a twist. There are tons of lawyers. Be a lawyer but also have another specialty. Focus on bringing value to the marketplace.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Lead by example.

What gender-specific assumptions do you encounter, and how do you respond to them?
Lawyers cannot date their clients. Period!

What has changed most about your business in the time you’ve been operating?
I have more high income earning Women than ever! I now have to protect women from paying spousal support. Also, Medicaid and VA law has changed exponentially since I have been in practice.

Something most people don’t know about me is:
I have my Captain’s License, Motorcycle License and am a private pilot. I also hang glide.

How do you stay motivated?
Gratitude. Being thankful and counting my blessings every day helps me stay positive and motivated.

Who do you most admire in the Toledo area?
Julia Bates, Lucas County Prosecutor. She is by far the most caring, compassionate person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
Spending time with my family and pets.

Where do you go when you need to get away from everything?
My home away from home. North Cape Yacht Club.

What’s one item on your bucket list?
I hope to someday obtain my rotorcraft endorsement.

What’s your mantra/words that you live by?
Less is more.

Best advice you’ve ever received:
Express gratitude every moment. How you think impacts how you feel.

Which local business do you enjoy supporting most?
All of them! It is so important to shop local. When you buy something from a local business owner you are helping pay for their kid’s ballet lesson, music lessons etc. We have no idea where our money goes when we just do online shopping.

Your theme song:
Not sure I have a theme song but if I did it would definitely be from Green Day or Blink 182.

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
Exhibit stickers. I get teased a lot about this but I always have exhibit stickers just in case I have to throw down!

What’s the most recent book you read? 
How to Win a VA Appeal.

Needle Masters

Lisa Gordon, Owner and CFO

Explain to our readers what your business does?
I am the new owner of a body art business that has been in operation in the city of Toledo since 2000. I own and operate the business with 2 of my 4 sons. Working with my children in a business that we are passionate about has been such a blessing! We have really leaned into roles, utilizing our unique and different strengths, creating a team and culture that encourages the ongoing growth of creative artistic expression.

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of?
She is VALUABLE! She is worth more than she can ever know and that she should never discount herself or sell herself short!

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
I have definitely learned that the best thing we can ever do in leadership roles is to treat the people that we work with, with respect, dignity and grace. Every person that we encounter every day has a purpose, has a place, and deserves to be acknowledged as such.

How do you stay motivated?
I look at the people that I work with every day! They are all so inspiring in different ways, everyone is so creative and talented that I am motivated to do the very best I can to keep their workplace running smoothly, to support them in any way that they need.

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
I am so blessed! I get to truly work in my passion every day, on the weekends, my husband and I are music ministers for our church! Music and worship of God who has blessed me with the second greatest source of my joy is my family! Working with them daily and witnessing the fine men that they have become is incredible!

Where do you go when you need to get away from everything?
To the barn! My other joy and passion! We have a small hobby farm, horses, mini goats and dogs. This is the place where I can be quiet, pray and meditate.

Best advice you’ve ever received:
Best advice I was ever given was initially directed towards marriage, but truly has been apropos in every aspect of my life and every relationship, “Never argue for the sake of argument.” Pure and basic, straight to the point.

Your theme song?
“Bluebird” by Miranda Lambert

Sew-N-Such

Mary M. Cianci

Explain to our readers what your business does?
We sew for the customer— they bring it in, they have ideas, we do it. We do alterations, you name it, the only thing we don’t do is upholstery.

How has your approach to business changed over time? 
Still the same. Anything that walks through the door, we’re going to try and fix it for you.

What’s one thing every professional woman should remind herself of? 
You gotta give it your all. You can’t take off for a busy weekend— if you own a business, your number one priority after your family is business. 

Has being a woman impacted your career, either positively or negatively? 
You gotta be a little sharper. A lot of people think they’re going to pull it over on you, because you’re a woman, and you gotta punch ‘em when you can.

What advice would you give to another woman who plans to enter your industry?
You have to make it clear that you are the business, and you have to dedicate your life to get that business going.

How do you stay motivated?
It’s like the emergency room— I can’t wait for the next thing to come in, to see what we got. I always correlate my business with what walks through the door like M*A*S*H— whatever comes and gets on the table, you don’t know what you’re going to do. 

Outside of work, what gives you the most joy?
Gardening. I have a huge garden. I have an English garden, and I have many, many, many plants, and I have a raised bed vegetable garden.

Where do you go when you need to get away from everything?
I hole up at home and I don’t answer the phone!

What’s one item on your bucket list?
I always wanted to sew for the Pope, but that’s getting kinda farfetched. The other one is, I would like to go to Australia and meet my pen pal that I got in fourth grade.

What’s your mantra/words that you live by? 
If you look good, you feel good, you do good.

Best advice you’ve ever received:
Keep your nose to the grindstone.

Which local business do you enjoy supporting most?
We work with Pasquale [and Sons Shoe Repair].

Your theme song:
“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…”

Name one item (other than your phone) that you carry with you at all times.
My iPad.

What’s the most recent book you read?
The Keto Diet.

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