A big NABBW welcome to new member Talek Nantes, Cuban-American author and founder of the travel blog, TravelsWithTalek.com.
When I looked up her blog, I was very impressed. Talek covers topics many travel bloggers don’t deal with. For example, a recent – and very useful – post covered a number of common travel scams, giving tips on how to avoid them.
As I learned more about Talek, I was astounded by the number of countries she’s visited. And as she purposefully chose a career in international business in order to have opportunity to travel, I was reminded of the book Dr. Seuss-penned children’s book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 
As Talek points our in her answers to our standard blog questions below, travel has been a central theme of her life and her interest in travel led her to study international business in college, and learn several languages. She says she believes that traveling outside your comfort zone helps you hone practical skills used in your day-to-day life like problem solving, goal setting and communication.
I totally agree. On my last international cruise, I frequently found myself accidentally separated from our tour group. Twice, they totally left me behind. Once I realized that I was alone in a city I’d never been in before, those were the skills I used to calmly – and timely – get myself back to the ship!
During Talek’s first career, she traveled to over 110 countries, and lived in Colombia, Spain, The Dominican Republic, Mexico and the UK.  She also worked throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and South America in places as diverse as Nigeria, China and Argentina.
Talek’s love of travel is what led to her hobby – now second career – as a travel blogger, and eventually to writing books designed to help others enjoy a better travel experience. Her two books:”Don’t Just Travel to Cuba, Experience Cuba Like a Local” and prior to that, 110 Best Travel Tips: Save Time and Money, Stay Healthy and Safe, Have Fun!
With the books, her focus is always on cultural immersion and encouraging interaction with local people in order to help travelers create their own unique travel experiences. But Talek hasn’t limited herself to book authoring. Her writing work has also appeared in several publications, including Reader’s Digest, Atlas Obscura and BostonHerald.com.

These days, Talek has stepped beyond authoring travel content, to conceptualizing and creating her own tours. She reports that she has a small group cultural tour to China for boomer women travelers in April 2020. As you might expect, cultural immersion will be a part of the trip. Those who join her tour will experience the opportunity to:

  • Share meals with local Chinese families.
  • Learn how to make authentic Chinese dumplings from an expert cook.
  • Sleep in a Chinese guesthouse near the Great Wall of China.
  • Explore Beijing’s Forbidden City
  • Walk the Great Wall of China
  • Experience Old Shanghai
  • See Xi’an’s famous Terracotta Warriors
  • Stroll through 1000 year old, winding “hutong” alleyways
  • Sample amazing food at China’s famous night markets
  • Visit multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Experience travel in an overnight train from Shanghai to Xi’an
  • Visit Tiananmen Square, the heart of China
  • Explore a 2000 year old water town with its curved bridges and winding canals
  • Travel at over 250 miles per hour on China’s fast train
  • Explore the legendary Muslim Quarter in Xi’an, the original start of the ancient Silk Route
  • Experience China’s nightlife in its many clubs and music venues

But enough of me telling you about Talek. Here, in her own words, are her answers to our “Voices of Baby Boomer Women” questions.

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Talek Nantes, author, digital content creator and founder of the travel blog, www.TravelsWithTalek.com.  I’m a native New Yorker of Cuban immigrant parents who instilled in me a love of this great country that gave us so much opportunity. I’m am a passionate travel enthusiast and enjoy sharing my travel experiences with others. I guess you could say travel has been a central theme in my life. As a student I determined that whatever professional I choose, travel would have to be a part of it, so I studied international business, obtained an MBA and learned foreign languages.

My corporate career as an international business professional led me to travel to over 113 countries, five of which I lived and worked in. I live with my husband in New York City and Miami. My most recent book, is “Don’t Just Travel to Cuba, Experience Cuba: The Ultimate Cuba Travel Guide.”

Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

My husband and I just celebrated our 35th anniversary. We have no children but many nieces and nephews that keep us busy. Both our families are large and loud and love getting together frequently.

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

I have so many childhood memories; hanging out on the stoop of our apartment building, enjoying our beautiful NYC parks, checking out the clubs on Second Avenue. In the summertime, the cops would open up the fire hydrants and the kids would run through them squealing with delight. I was one of those kids and that’s one of my favorite memories.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

The women of my generation caused enormous, important changes in civil rights. It wasn’t easy to protest and march for what we believed in. I strive to continue that legacy of fighting for equality for all.

What inspires you?  

Stories of people overcoming adversity inspire me. I am especially moved by stories of immigrants that arrived with nothing and had successful, productive lives contributing to this country’s growth.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

I enjoy everything travel related; the planning of a trip, getting there, the trip itself and writing about it later.  I also enjoy getting together with family.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?

My travel blog, TravelsWithTalek.com was initially a hobby which turned into a full time job.  I always enjoyed writing so that — and travel, my other passion — led to my travel blog.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

My favorite book is George Orwell’s 1984 because his writing is so clear and descriptive from a technical aspect. The subject matter, a dystopian future, is a fascinating topic and he created it so well. It’s just a little gem.

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

Travel is my passion. Always was, I guess it always will be. I enjoy traveling with my husband and small group tours.  I can’t think of one country that I’ve been to that I didn’t find something to like.

  • Having worked in China on and off for about 8 years, that country is certainly one of my favorites.
  • I also enjoy Spain.
  • Cuba has a special place in my heart because of the cultural connection, my family being Cuban. It is an amazingly beautiful place with a rich culture.

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate. 

I do my best to eat right and exercise. I do yoga once a week, try to walk at least a mile each day and do weight-bearing exercises at least twice a week. I hope to stay mobile as long as possible to be able to continue traveling.

What do you stress about?

Social inequality stresses me because I believe it is such an important topic that I feel we as a society need to do so much more work to improve.

From a personal perspective, not being able to sleep for a straight 7 or 8 hours a night without waking up stresses me.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

I’ll color my hair and wear moisturizer but that’s about it.  I do fitness training but that’s more to stay healthy than to retain youthful looks.  I’m happy to say that’s not one thing I obsess about.

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

When I left the corporate world, I decided to become a travel blogger and have been happily toiling away at the profession ever since. That certainly was a total reinvention.

Do you plan to retire?

Fortunately my second act as a travel blogger allows me to continue to work at it as long as I can or want to.  So, no, I have no plans to retire. And even if I did, I’d still do the same thing I’m doing now.

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

I live in a big city where the big opportunity to go green is recycling which we do.

 

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

I’ve got several turning points that led to my life’s work/play.  When I was a kid, no one in my family could speak English except me. We wanted to enjoy movies together so we went to see Mexican and Argentinian movies that were in Spanish.  That early exposure to different cultures instilled in me a voracious curiosity about other cultures. Later my mother opened a travel agency which had a huge map covering one wall.  I’d stare at it for hours and imagine what life was like in places like Fiji, Japan and Argentina. I just assumed I’d visit those places when I grew up.

As a teenager I found a book one day titled Ali and Nino about a Muslim boy and a Christian girl in Baku, Azerbaijan.  The book did such a good job of describing Baku that I fell in love with the idea of that city. I eventually did visit, and that book was certainly a driving force.

Just about everything else in my life; education, career, the type of person I married (another travel fanatic) and now my travel blog, has been the result of that travel passion derived from those turning points.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

I have more unfulfilled dreams than I care to think about:

  • Photo safaris in Kenya and Tanzania
  • Train traveling throughout India
  • Crossing Asia on the trans-Siberian highway
  • Experiencing the Galapagos Islands

Little by little I’m crossing these places off my travel bucket list.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?

I like to think that I inspire others to enrich their lives through travel by providing them actionable travel tips and advice and thorough destination guides. Through my blog, I try to communicate the joys of travel, I debunk myths that keep people from traveling and help people create their own unique travel experiences.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

My mother who instilled important values in me by her example and helped me gain the skills I needed to have a productive, independent and happy life. Also my husband for his constant support.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

I have several but my favorite is: Try and you might fail, but don’t try and you’re guaranteed to fail.

Susan Santangelo

by Anne Holmes on September 26, 2019

I’m delighted to introduce author Susan Santangelo and share with you this Voices of Baby Boomer Women blog post – in which she answers our celebrated questions.  You see, Susan and I go way back. I first ran into her when I bought the NABBW.

According to Susan, she’d already written the first two Carol and Jim Andrews Baby Boomer Mysteries – the two that have now been updated and reissued as the boxed set Milestones Can Be Murder –  by that time. I’m sure she’s correct. The thing I most remember about the first time we spoke, is that we had instant rapport. It seemed like we’d been friends for ages. After all, we had a lot in common:

First, we were both Baby Boomer women who successfully worked from home – as did our husbands.

  • Most people who hear that both my husband and I work from home wonder how that can be possible. They insinuate that if they had to spend life “24/7/365” living and working with their spouse, a murder would likely ensue.
  • I’m guessing Susan heard the same story, because in her first book, “Retirement Can Be Murder,” protagonist Carol Andrews learns that her husband Jim – who works for a marketing company in NYC –  is thinking of taking early retirement and coming home…to spend all of his time together with her in their lovely Fairport, Connecticut home.
  • As you might expect, Susan writes of how much Carol dreads Jim’s upcoming retirement. She likens it to being “worse than a root canal without Novocain.” She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it — except interfering in the day-to-day activities of their household and driving her crazy.
  • Like me, she had worked as a magazine writer during her her earlier years, though her articles were published in Helen Gurley Brown’s Cosmopolitan magazine, and I’d chickened out on the NYC lifestyle. My work was published in newspapers and magazines catering to a less cosmopolitan female audience.

Second, apparently neither of us spend much of our at home work time interacting with our spouses.  

  • I loved – and could totally identify with – the story she told me about how she started writing her first Carol and Jim Andrews Baby Boomer Mysteries book:  It seems she and husband Joe – also an author – were going to write a series of three books together. From what she’s told me, I imagine the plan was for sort of a “he said/she said” story, because the plan was for each to each contribute chapters.
  • But, says Susan, she actually wrote her chapters – while Joe never got around to his…
  • So eventually Susan just wrote the first Carol and Jim Edwards book herself. And finding an eager audience, she kept going. Currently she’s working on book nine in the series.

Third, we both have a strong interest in assisting women with Baby Boomer related issues. And why not? We’re both Baby Boomers, and demographically, there are a lot of us. Plus, it’s always been suggested that authors choose their subject based on writing what they personally know about. As Susan and I know:

  • There were an estimated 74.1 million Baby Boomers living in the United States, according to the 2016 census figures. (76 million of us were born here in the US, but apparently between deaths and expatriations, we’re now down a couple million.)
  • Every day more of us “senior” Boomers, are hitting the traditional retirement age of 65. (In fact, the oldest Boomers are now 70+ while the youngest are 55.)
  • More importantly, much of what is written about Baby Boomers deals with the financial piece of growing older – taking care of your IRAs and 401Ks, and/or working beyond retirement age, etc. Of course, this is important, because so many Boomers are not financially prepared to retire.
  • But as Susan clearly realizes, very little is written that addresses our emotional issues. Like: how do couples who have been married for years, raised a family, and been leading fairly independent lives, now cope with the fact that the husband and the wife are no longer working daily from 9 – 5 job? Instead, they’re often home, frustrated and getting into each other’s way as they struggle to re-define their roles.
  • And most importantly, Susan understands that it’s often a lot easier to make a point that actually sticks with people if you can tell a story. Especially a story with a bit of humor thrown in… And that’s why she’s been so successful with books on topics like In-Laws, Class Reunions, Marriage, Moving, Second Honeymoons, Funerals and even that sancrosanct topic, Dieting. 

Now that I’ve shared with you why Susan has often been generous enough to autograph my copies of her books with a phrase like, “For Anne, a partner in crime,” I’ll leave you with the proud disclaimer that I have also, on a couple of occasions, enjoyed the opportunity to write a blurb which has appeared on the back and/or inside covers of Susan’s books.  So I am clearly a dedicated fan of Susan’s writing.

Take it away, Susan…

 

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m proud to be an early member of the Boomer generation. I’ve had a long feature-writing career with magazines and newspapers in the NYC area, including a stint at Cosmopolitan back in the Helen Gurley Brown days. Now I’m writing the Baby Boomer mystery series, humorous cozies about Carol and Jim Andrews, a typical Boomer couple navigating life’s rocky road toward their twilight years, with a dead body thrown in just to add to the mix.

I split my time between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the Gulf Coast of Florida, and share my life with my husband, Joe, and two very spoiled English cocker spaniels, Boomer and Lilly.

 Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

Joe and I have been married 52 years, and we were married on April Fool’s Day. (No kidding.) Two sons, Mark (married) and David, who’s still living the bachelor life in California. Plus a terrific daughter-in-law and two teenage grandchildren.

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

My family eating dinner together! Everyone is on different schedules today, and there’s no opportunity for the families to sit down together, share a meal, and talk.

 What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

I like to think that I speak my mind when appropriate, but know when to be quiet and just listen. I think it’s important for women at any age to know how to do both. And when. I’m lucky that I’m able to give opinions through the chief character in my book, Carol Andrews. She’s very opinionated!

What inspires you?

I’m a 21-year breast cancer survivor. The realization that life can be cut short without any warning inspired me to finally start writing mysteries.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

Writing! I’m having more fun than I ever thought possible. And I love it when I hear from readers that they love the books.

 Do you have any interesting hobbies?

Writing is more of a passion than a hobby. But I’d put retail therapy at the top of my list. Or, maybe that’s another passion? I love interacting with Boomer and Lilly. They give me such good advice.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

My favorite movie of all time is High Society with Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, Celeste Holme and Frank Sinatra. I love the music, and the peek at Newport “high society.” And Grace Kelly is so beautiful in it.

 Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

I love to go to Italy, especially with family.

What inspires you?

I’m a 21-year breast cancer survivor. The realization that life can be cut short without any warning inspired me to finally start writing mysteries.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

Writing! I’m having more fun than I ever thought possible. And I love it when I hear from readers that they love the books.

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate.

I try to eat right and watch my weight. And walk a mile every day.

What do you stress about?

The state of our country today!

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

I haven’t seen my natural hair color in years, and use a little makeup, especially around my eyes. Daily moisturizing with Oil of Olay, which one of my sons calls Oil of Old Lady. That’s about it.

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

I’ve morphed into a published author. I’ve been very lucky.

Do you plan to retire?
No. Book one in the series is Retirement Can Be Murder. I don’t want to tempt fate!

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

Recycle, reuse whenever possible. Cut down on the use of plastics.

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

My cancer diagnosis.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

Well, I’d like to win a Pulitzer Prize for my books but that’s probably not going to happen. But my dog Lilly’s AKC name is My Pulitzer Prize, and she’s enough for me.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community.

I use my books, which contain quite a bit of humor, to discuss problems that Boomers face today. Like retirement, downsizing and selling the family home, destination wedding of an adult child, high school reunions etc. And at the end of each book I provide helpful websites for further information. I often do book talks for nonprofit organizations and donate a portion of book sale to support the organization that’s hosted me.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

I have far too many to choose only one.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

Live every day to the fullest, and don’t sweat the small stuff!

 

 

 

A huge NABBW welcome to Jennifer Hipkiss, one of our newest members. Jennifer is the founder of Vidyavest, an independent, fiduciary advisory firm dedicated to coaching clients toward their unique life purpose. Jennifer tells us she founded Vidyavest in order to add an oft missed value to the financial services industry.

Why take the risk of starting her own firm? Part of her answer is found in her firm’s unique name: Vidyavest. In Sanskrit, VIDYA means “science, learning, philosophy, and education. The pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and continued growth.” With VEST coming from the word “invest.”

Jennifer explains that her firm’s goal, is to assist her clients to align their finances with their personal life values.  To do this, she asks her clients what she refers to as “the deep questions.” Their unique answers to these questions allow her to develop a plan for their money and future financial needs that meshes with their personal beliefs. She has a very personal reason for this focus:

“My first investment experience was when I was in my mid-20’s. I understood that it was important to save money for my future but I did not have the experience and knowledge as to how to invest and when investing was appropriate. I reached out to a well-known company I had heard about to get advice. I opened an account and the advisor invested my $500 deposit. This was a very well-known firm that I felt was trustworthy. The advisor invested my money and, at first, the investment grew. Within months, the investment began to drop and finally, after a few years, this $500 investment became worthless.”

Jennifer Hipkiss, founder of Vidyavest and one of NABBW's newest members.

“My initial experience, thankfully, was a relatively small amount of money in the big picture of my life. But, for me, at 26 years old, the loss was significant.

“I quickly began to read and learn all about investing. This experience led me to realize there is a significant difference between investing and financial planning. My first financial advisor never asked me important questions like, “Will you need this money within the next year,” or “What other money do you have available for your needs.”

“This experience, while certainly not ideal, was an excellent foundation for my passion. My passion has evolved to make sure my company looks at your “big picture.” Where are you today and where do you want to go?

“We use these questions like these to help educate and guide you as to how you can best allocate your financial resources towards YOUR goals,” she explains.

As a result, “We invest with you to build and preserve your personal wealth with specialized attention and guidance. We provide you with one-on-one attention to create comprehensive planning that helps manage your risk, implements valuable tax strategies, improves performance, and ensures your wealth is helping you fulfill your unique life goals.” This is especially important  because a financial plan’s true value only becomes evident with implementation.

“We understand the financial worries that keep you up at night. The economic landscape is ever-shifting, whether due to anticipated market downturns, proposed legislation, tax law changes or even natural disasters that stress the financial world without warning.

“Partnering with our team removes the mystery of how to plan today to mitigate the unknowns of tomorrow. Whether you’re concerned about having enough to retire comfortably, saving for your child’s college education, or caring for ailing parents, we assure you that we have felt similar worries and are here to guide you through. We understand the strategies needed to launch you over these hurdles. No matter the issues surrounding your personal financial situation, our team will craft custom plans tailored to unique needs and ambitions.”

Once we understood Jennifer’s focus, we asked her to answer our famous “Voice of Baby Boomer Women” questions, which she kindly did below.

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

Greetings – My name is Jennifer Hipkiss. I enjoy travel, people, diverse cultural experiences and the great outdoors. I like to be active with hiking/walking, biking, swimming and yoga. I enjoy volunteering with women and children. My work passion focuses on education, empowerment and serving tax and financial advice.

Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

I have been married to my husband, Victor, for 22 years and we have two sons, Hayden and Logan. We have been through many challenges and, thankfully, been able to partner and work through the terrain together. My father has lived with us over the years but currently he is living on his own.

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

My favorite memories of childhood revolve around roller skates (I was like Tootie from the Facts of Life TV show, always had skates on my feet). If I was not roller-skating, I loved swimming or biking. I always dreamed of being an Olympic ice skater but that never came about. I do own ice skates and enjoy skating periodically in the winter.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

I want to share my experiences and knowledge with other women so we can lift each other up, help each other succeed and be powerful in our lives. I enjoy being around caring, genuine women where we each share and contribute ourselves for mutual betterment.

What inspires you?

I am inspired when I am around loving, energetic women who laugh, smile and support each other. It’s important for me to see beauty in looking at nature, each other and the wonder that’s in our hearts. We can all get bogged down with the negatives and fears that surround our lives, but when we look at nature and potential instead we can lift each other towards that good energy and love.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

I get most pleasure letting the true me evolve, live and be seen. I have hidden myself behind fear, people-pleasing and societal expectation for so long that there is such energy in being myself and that energy is giving me a pleasure that is catapulting me to better things and feeling deeper.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?

I enjoy being active and getting outside as much as possible. Fresh air and movement makes me feel my best. I enjoy biking, walking/hiking, swimming and yoga. I love people and learning about differences in cultures. I enjoy travelling and hope to see more of the world as time continues.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

I really enjoy reading and my two most recent top picks are The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith and  Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant (with a foreword by Sheryl Sandberg).

The Power of Meaning is extremely moving and discusses how we can either choose to get stuck or be propelled by the challenges and devastating events that happen in our lives. Author Smith discusses how we can choose to use these events to find our meaning and purpose in life. It is a truly inspirational book.

Originals is also a fabulous book. This book talks about how our uniqueness can be used to change the world. If we choose to “fit in” with the crowd, we may be comfortable but we leave behind our best unique impact in the world.

The two books together really complement each other and help provide you with energy to apply your uniqueness to the world. I like these books because they’ve helped me in my midlife as I have changed from being a person wanting to hide in the crowd to allowing my uniqueness to show through and get applied to the world in everything I do.

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

Awesome shot of Jennifer and her husband Victor, backed by one of the Black Forest's famous waterfalls, near Triberg, Germany.

I enjoy travelling and would like to do more. I enjoy nature and enjoy different scenery and cultures. I have traveled most with my husband and children but would like to explore trips with women only. I have a goal of doing a health retreat in 2020 with a group of women in Europe.

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate

Yes, I practice preventative medicine. I was pre-diabetic and had lots of health and fertility problems before age 30. I had a European doctor recommend I change my lifestyle and food choices. I did and lost 100 pounds and was able to naturally get pregnant. That sold me on a healthy lifestyle! I try to eat healthfully and be active but it is a daily balance!

What do you stress about?

Ironic that I am a financial advisor, but I have a fear of security and money. I think that is a main reason I became a financial advisor to be able to earn how to become secure. I was on my own very young and it was frightening on top of a few very scary events. I felt learning how to manage my money will help protect me from those things ever happening again. It has, to an extent, and as I age, I have become more secure, but I can get stressed about money even today and I can relate to clients that have insecurities with money.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

I would love to keep my youthful appearance, but I have yet to have any surgery to do so. At this time, I haven’t gotten there yet, but we will see as time changes. I hope eating healthy and keeping active will help my youthful appearance. There are amazing role models at my gym.

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

I would say that I have been evolving each year. Life challenges, changes and circumstances has caused me to change and evolve over time. I would say that last 5-7 years I have begun to come out of my internal shell. A natural introvert, I tended to shy away from people and be more behind the curtain. However, as I have aged ore recently, a new part of me is evolving to be able to better connect with other women and enjoy more social elements to life. I think my early life caused me to be more cautious and that is definitely lessened more recently and I have thoroughly enjoyed deepening connections with other women.

Do you plan to retire?

I enjoy my work and appreciate the flexibility and balance of owning my own company. I do not plan to retire soon. I hope to live healthfully, travel and continue to raise women up and empower their financial success until the day I die – whether in a paid capacity or volunteer.

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

I respect the beautiful nature that was created for us to enjoy. I am an outdoorsy person and love fresh air and sunshine. Our current social structure is burdening our nature and that makes me so sad. I want it preserved for our children and future generations. I certainly have room for improvement, but I do try to assimilate green choices in my daily life.

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

Absolutely, being on my own very young and having to learn about money and tax skills certainly has applied to my career and life purpose. I feel my experiences are better shared with others than kept within. As I have aged, I feel that my purpose is more clear and I am letting it shine brighter.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

I want to travel more, meet people all over the world, experience different cultures and live in different parts of the world.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?

I enjoy volunteering with children, women and seniors. I was very close to my grandparents so I naturally align to help seniors. I also feel that children need the best footing for a solid foundation and I wished I had mentors to direct me. I also see the wonderful nurturing, creative and compassionate powers us women have and enjoy supporting women in all ways that I am able. Being a woman, there are many vulnerabilities that have been abused by others in my life. That has created a deeper meaning and need to protect myself and other women from some of the evils that lurk in the world.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

I would say my grandma was my biggest influencer in my life. She was strong, yet nurturing, loving and caring with me. She was balanced in her life as she worked hard yet took good care of herself. I wish I had more time with her and was able to know her as an adult.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

Balance is a key word throughout my life. I seek to achieve balance with the 4 main focuses in my life – Health, Family, Service and Security.

  • Health, to me, means physical and mental health which includes adding things that bring me joy, like travel.
  • Family includes my husband, sons, friends and community that supports and nurtures each other.
  • Service includes my work and volunteer activities, which all add my unique self to others. Finally,
  • Security means physical and financial well-being so I can have a good platform for which to apply my energy.