This is Me!
Get to know me and find out why I wanted to do this podcast. Listen to my #handsomehothusband turn the tables on me. I get to answer the questions I will be asking my future guest.
Chelsea is a loving kind-hearted mom, artist, and spokesperson for people with Neuro Myelitis Optica, a central nervous system disorder that affects eye nerves and spinal cord.
I met Chelsey through our weight loss coach Corinne from the NoBS Program. She is the mom of 5 beautiful children and lives in Nashville with her loving and supportive husband. About 11 years ago, Chelsey was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In February 2019 she received her real diagnosis – Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder, or NMOSD, an autoimmune disease that affects your eyes and spinal cord. It’s not very common — only about 4,000 people in the United States have it.
Late in 2018, Chelsey went into the hospital for an allergic reaction to an infusion she received for the MS. After coming home, she began to lose her vision and went back to the hospital. Her neurologist convinced there was more going on with her, decided that more scans were needed and that’s when they discovered the NMOSD
Episode 3 & 4
Dr. Dawn Garzon Maaks
Confident Nurse and Teacher
This insightful conversation took us down memory lane. I first met Dawn at our HighSchool Youth Group New Life, in Miami Florida. Dawn is insightful, passionate, and has strong convictions, just like me. She shared tips on how to support our children at home during the COVID19 Crisis. We covered so much ground while we spoke. From joy to failure, from triumph to contentment. Join me as we speak to this Confident Dreamer and share the road that made her become who she is.
Confident Entrepreneur, Mom
I loved speaking with this Confident Dreamer. Michelle says: "I am on a mission to empower women to rock their direct sales businesses so they can live more freely, give more generously, and be completely present to the ones they love".
In this episode, we talk about how tough it was to grow up in a home with a single mom. Michelle describes how she lifted herself out of poverty, paid her way through college, and got her dream job as a top pharmaceutical rep. She soon learned, that successful women feel the fear and do it anyway. This mindset has helped her build success that leads to selling 8-figures in products and leading a team of over 1000 women.
She is now working daily to empower women to succeed in life and business. She lives confidently, she has a giving heart, she has two amazing children whom she adores. Michelle is teaching them also how to show up as the best version of who they can be.
Confident Director, Writer, Performer
Valerie Hager is a writer-performer, director, movement artist, and former exotic dancer. She’s written six solo shows that have been produced in the US, UK, and Europe. She has been profiled by and reviewed in The New Yorker, The New York Daily News, The Los Angeles Times, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Time Out New York, Time Out Chicago, and many more. Naked In Alaska, her autobiographical solo play about her experience stripping in Alaska, has received rave reviews and been performed over 65 times for over 6,000 audience members. Awards include Edinburgh Fringe (Pick of the Fringe), New York City Fringe (Best Solo Show Award), Chicago Fringe (Audience Favorite Award), and GendErotica Festival (Featured Headliner). She performed Naked In Alaska at the Conference in 2016, and in 2017 the show received a month-long run, produced by Jess Hanna, at Bootleg Theater.
Her earliest training came working with her father, renowned San Diego mime Jerry Hager, as his silent sidekick Punky the Clown. Later, she continued to train in mime and movement under Rick Wamer (protégé of Marcel Marceau). More recently, Valerie has been working with individual women to develop and direct their solo shows. www.valeriehager.com
Confident Speaker, Author, and Intentional Margin Maker
The first phone conversation I had with this lady blew me away. She asked me, " What is setting your hair on fire?" I was taken back by the funny yet poignant way of asking me what I passionate about these days was. In the quick half-hour initial conversation, I learned more about this amazing, driven woman. This initial called drove me to make sure I arranged for Katie Jefcoat to visit Casa DeConfidence. During our conversation for the Podcast, I learned more about INTENTIONAL MARGINS™ ((n): A buffer of space and time to create harmony between your to-do’s and your priorities).Katie, like me, is a coffee lover, supporter of women, and more delightfully, an online content curator. She is the founder of the internet's cozy virtual coffee shop group. Tune in to learn more about what drives this inspirational woman to support women and how she is "Going Confidently in the direction of her dreams."
Confident Business Owner and Executive
“For over ten years, I’ve wanted to open my own indoor cycling studio and decided in 2015 to continue writing my business plan (which I had started 10+ years earlier) to make that happen.”
Our guest this week on Casa DeConfidence podcast is Jocelyn DeMaio. She is the director of collaboration services within her company and has been there for 16 years in varying roles mostly in operations and technology. She is also the founder and co-owner of Empowered Indoor Cycling and Strength Studio in Glastonbury CT.
She lives in the Hartford CT area with her fiancé who she met at over 13 years ago. They have two gorgeous rescue dogs, Bella and Doni. Jocelyn and I forged a friendship through the United Way’s Women United (WU) group. Jocelyn and I both serve on the Steering Committee for the WU signature event Power of the Purse.
While visiting the Casa DeConfidence, Jocelyn and I speak about her journey in leadership, philanthropy, and resilience from a personal trial that would have sent many people into a permanent state of fear. Jocelyn talks about taking steps forward despite a scary incident with a stalker, and how she lives her life fully. This empowering woman leads by example She is motivating and most of all has a heart of gold.
Grab your drink of choice, tune in for what promises to be a conversation that will motivate you you be “empowered” to “Go Confidently” in the direction of your dreams.
Confident and mindfully Meaghan
My guest for our latest episode of the Casa DeConfidence Podcast Meaghan Doherty. I first met this dynamo of a young woman this past summer in Boston as we embarked on our certifications for Social-Emotional Learning Facilitator and as 200-Hour Yoga Teachers from Breath for Change
Our training was over the course of three weeks, six days a week, eleven hours per day. Meaghan along with 7 other amazing women are who made up my “community group.” This group is designed to create a supportive environment where we would debrief our experiences and support each other through the process of digging deeper into our feelings and testing our limits physically thought the practice of Yoga for several hours thought the day.
Motivated Meaghan, AKA Mindfully Meaghan is on a journey of self-discovery, growth, and recovery. She was born and raised in Charleston MA as the oldest of three children. She is a natural athlete, but swimming is her jam. In this episode, this wise 25 year old opens up about her struggles with addiction and journey to sobriety and how she is helping others along the way. She shares how although she may seem happy put together from the outside, she struggles to feel confident and loved like all of do.
Join our journey as we speak about the importance of mindfulness, vulnerability, and as Robin Roberts from Good Morning America says: “Make your mess your message.”
On today’s show, my guest asks the question of women: Are you a runner? I know I am. I learned that being a runner has nothing to do with looking a certain way. It is about lacing up your shoes and hitting the road. Like many other women, I am not your average runner.
My guest in the latest episode of the Casa DeConfidence Podcast is my friend and running coach Jill Angie. Her site is #NotYourAverageRunner
Jill is the founder and Head Rebel of Not Your Average Runner. She first started running over 20 years ago. Her goal was to lose weight and burn calories. In 2009 she switched her mindset and began using it as a means to build her confidence and become stronger. Since then she has written a book about running, became a life coach, and is on a mission to help women become runners and more confident in their own skin. Jill and I talk about her journey, finding love the second time around, good bras for running, and much more. Tune in for a fun conversation, as always, inspiration and tangible steps to starting your journey as a runner. Jill offers a 30-day guide to start you on your running journey (here)
You can find Jill on the socials and her website:
Get Jill’s book HERE: Not Your Average Runner: Why You’re Not Too Fat to Run and the Skinny on How to Start Today
Sport’s bra by Enell Code Jillship for a the offer we talked about on the show.
During a long-ago trip to Paris, I first stumbled on the famous Patisserie Ladurée in Paris, France. I remember falling in love with a delightful cookie called Macaron. Not to be confused with Macaroons, which contain coconut.
Now, before I can talk further about Macaron, I must talk lemons.
In the summer of 2018, I first met this week's podcast guest. Katelyn McCraken. Like me, Katelyn is a member of the #noBSweighloss program from Corinne Crabtree. Like me, during her weight loss journey, she was looking for accountability. Katelyn and I, along with nine came together. We became the group known as the lemons. The group's purpose is to check in daily and be held accountable for doing the things you said you would as they relate to our weight loss journey.
Over the 22 months we have been in our group, we have become a tight-knit group of ladies who come from all walks of life and backgrounds. We encourage and support each other. We challenge each other and, at times, call out the BS we come up with and try to believe.
Being accountable to others is not easy. We first have to be accountable to ourselves. Second, we must learn to be vulnerable and know when to ask for help. Third, we must use grace to hear the things we may not want to hear.
The #lemonmafia has proven to be a group that can circle the wagons around their members. Katelyn, the young one, as we called her, has grown to be the BOLD one. She is a marathoner, a crafty lady thoughtful friend, and mom to two boys. She married her college sweetheart and is proving by her life, that although you may not always feel confident, you can write the rules for your life, seek to have more, and move ahead despite the uncertainty.
Katelyn is a prime example of tenacity, boldness, and ingenuity. She started a cottage baking business in her home. Katelyn began this side hustle to make a few extra dollars to pay off her son's hospital bills, and maybe in the distant future have enough money to put a down payment in her dream farmhouse. After paying the hefty hospital bill with the profits from her Marigold Macaron business, she is getting closer than ever.
One of the things I love about this woman is how she keeps growing and striving for excellence. She has perfected the art of Macaron baking. She does this while caring for "littles." She makes her business work for her. She offers a monthly selection of carefully crafted flavors and themed macarons. The key here is that she sells out within minutes of opening up the order for the month.
She is defining her life and designing a business that works for her. Check out this conversation and find how you can work towards your dream and be present to those you love. It takes a bit of commitment, hard work, and a vision.
Make sure you check out Katelyn and Marigold Macaron on. She is working on expanding, you want to make sure you find out when she will be making her delightful macaron creations more widely available.
In today's episode of the podcast, I have the incomparable Angelica Soto. Angelica is a dynamic Latina, first-generation college student, mom of two, and wife to Tommy.
I had the honor of mentoring Angelica as she participated in the Launch Your Leadership Journey Program held at Tunxis Community College. This program was sponsored by the Aurora Foundation for Women and Girls.
Angelica graduated from the LYLJ last April. She graduated from Tunxis CC this past May. She is now a junior at the University of Hartford Barney School of Business majoring in Business Management with a minor in Marketing.
In this week’s episode, we talk about her growing up in Bridgeport, CT, being a navy wife, balancing school, work, children, and how sometime you must say no to one thing to say yes to what matters.
Angelica was featured at the Aurora's Foundation’s Luminary Luncheon. This event is Aurora's primary fundraiser and the proceeds are invested into enhancing the lives of women and girls in Greater Hartford. During her speech last November, she shared her personal story of growing up in the city, overcoming challenges working hard toward her degree. She has faced challenges and continues to build the life she wants for her self and her family.
If you want a Sprinkler Unicorn, you can get it here.
Be the Bridge book by Latasha Morrison I made reference to at the end of the episode, go here.
Our church is meeting at the Ballpark. This is not the first time attending a “religious” service at a sporting venue. Growing up catholic I was well versed in attending masses in large venues. In 1993, I traveled to Denver for World Youth Day. I was 23 at the time, and along with my former Youth Minister Ralph, myself and other young adults were chaperones for this trip. This trip along with many others with my church and youth group has had an impact on my life. Perhaps I can deep dive into these experiences later.
So, what does this have to do with my church meeting at the ballpark you ask? Well, it will be the first time I get to see some of my church community members since we went into social distancing protocols here in Connecticut. I am super excited about this! As an extrovert, the current protocols have hit me hard. I love social interaction and most of all hugs.
Well, I have had hugs… from Dan… However, for as much as #handsomehothusband gives great hugs, I miss other people. As of right now, we are not sure if we will be at the Ball Park. Dan is very protective of me and my health. I have an autoimmune disorder called Sjogren’s. I was first diagnosed in 2008 and over the years I have learned to keep most of the symptoms at bay. With this disorder, the body's immune system attacks its own healthy cells. In addition to dry eyes and mouth, my disorder attacks my lungs. For this reason, I work hard on eating healthy and moving my body daily.
At any rate, even if we hold off a week or so to return to in-person church services, I have been fortunate enough that our church is tech-savvy and has taken their services online. I have also had the privilege of leading a home fellowship group to stay in the community and share the nuances and sometimes struggles that have arisen during this time. If you don’t have a faith community, I encourage you to look around and find one. They are a blessing in good times, bad times, and the in-between times too. Our Church is Calvary Harford. Our motto is “NO PERFECT PEOPLE” Check them out here.
Speaking of Church, my guest in today’s episode of the podcast is someone I met thought church. Annmarie Sirotanak is a wife, mom, and talented graphic designer. I got to know Annmarie because her husband and I traveled together to Haiti on a mission trip through Praying Pelican Missions. Later on, in my past role as Chief Innovation Officer, I hired her to develop, design, and create marketing collateral for the organization I worked for. I wanted someone who is not only talented but had a great eye for details. She is a freelance graphic designer with over 20 years of experience. Annmarie specializes in print and web designs loves the flexibility of working on projects with clients from all different fields. In working with her, I felt at peace knowing that her expertise and creativity would support my needs and she would offer her expertise and knowledge to ensure I had a beautiful finished product that was cost-effective and met our needs.
Now, all that is important, however, what we talked about during the interview went deeper than graphic design. Annmarie was candid about how she doesn’t always feel confident. Like many moms and wives, she feels that there are times she is not doing it right. She juggles the needs of her family, building a small business, her faith, and her needs. Annmarie like many other women tends to ensure others are taken care of before she takes care of herself. During our chat, she explores the dreams she has for herself in the future. We talked about her philanthropy work with a phenomenal organization Love 146.
Annmarie is dedicated to stepping out of her comfort zone to advocate for victims of human trafficking and although she may not feel confident at times, she continues to give forge ahead in an effort to be who she is called to be a woman, daughter, wife, mom, friend, small business owner, and community advocate.
Sometimes, it is important to step out in faith, fight the fear, and in the process learn that success and confidence are built through our everyday actions.
Check out my conversation with my friend Annmarie. May this conversation inspire you, fill you with joy, and remind you that thought out everyday life we have great opportunities to love and support others.
Additional Links from the website:
I use cliches… a lot more than I would like to admit. I think it has something to do with my being an auditory learner and remembering what I hear.
Then again, sometimes I find that cliches say just what you want to say.
I am not going to lie, my new guest on this week’s podcast made me a little nervous. It takes a lot to make me nervous.
I was a bit nervous because Lee Pierce, this week’s guest in the podcast is known to hate cliches. After speaking to Lee on a couple of occasions, I realized that we are very like-minded strong, intelligent kind, driven, and loving individuals.
I connected with Lee through my Coach Corninne’s noBS Community. Like me, Lee is a successful podcaster. Lee describes their podcast RhetoricLee Speaking like this: “If Ben Stein and the Kardashians had a baby that was raised by Janeane Garofalo in a recording studio, you’d have RhetoricLee Speaking.”
As Assistant Professor of Rhetorical Communication at SUNY Geneseo Lee is committed to banishing banality, one speech at a time. They have taught thousands of students about public speaking, politics, and culture. Lee is a Safe Zone Trainer through the OUT Alliance of Rochester, NY, a #blacklivesmatter ally, and an advocate for neurodivergent and high needs learners.
Speaking to Lee was a fun conversation for me. My guest is both books smart and street smart. My kind of people for sure. In our conversation, we talk about a quest to banish banality. What does it mean to be intersex, how using pronouns can be a simple way of being an ally, and what is the meaning of being non-binary?
The conversation is fast-paced for sure. Lee brought the New Yorker out of me. Find Lee in the socials below.
Ep15 Tanya Miller Unapologetically on Purpose
Unapologetically on Purpose
It looks like the Fourth and July is come and gone. It looks like summer is in full swing and Dan and I are discussing how the many ways in which we are making the best of everything. In this episode, we talk about Dan is doing to improve his golf score. We introduce you to the term Passy Agressy (Which we learn from Urban Dictionary).
As always Dan and I really share a few chuckles with each other. Lately, we have been loving fresh produce from Modern Milkman. If you are in Connecticut, you should check them out. They have superb local to us products that you will love and enjoy! If you want to order a box of your own, do so here.
I am super excited about today’s guest. She introduced me to a phrase I am loving! Tanya J. Miller
“Unapologetically on Purpose” is how Tanya encourages individuals to live their lives. From the first time I heard her say this, I was inspired. In the last few weeks, there has been so much on the news. Rather than being overwhelmed, I am committed to finding ways in which to learn more, listen more, and use my actions to serve, and support others on purpose.
Tanya is full of wisdom, insight, and inspiration. She reminded me that we will not get a chance for a redo of 2020. Her challenge to me was what will I do to continue to make this the best year ever. This is a wonderful challenge I pass on to you. Will you look back at this year and see that you lived it on purpose and made things happen for yourself as opposed to letting the year happen to you? We always have a choice. What do you choose?
To check out Tany’s many books, check out books I love on my website.
Tanya is also offering our listeners a couple of her courses for FREE here.
Connect with Tanya here:
We hope you enjoy today’s episode. We would love it if you gave us a review if you have not already done so. Your review and subscription help others find our show. Remember to have a good week, live on purpose, and make the best of the year 2020. Go Confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Ep16 Mindy Henderson Speaker-Writer-Coach
Well, I am delighted to introduce you to the delightful Mindy Henderson. Mindy is from Austin Texas (I love it there). I am not 100% sure how I found Mindy, however, once I heard her speak and share her positivity, I know I wanted to learn more about her and her life journey.
I was so EXCITED that she agreed to be my guest on the show!!! I am still on cloud nine at the honor of speaking with her.
Mindy spent many years in the corporate world growing through the ranks of her organization. She is a leader and a positive influence on those around her. Mindy shares the lessons of her journey along with some amazing anecdotes about some remarkable stuff she has done and accomplished. Her challenges have made her stronger and I Love how she is living her life to encourage and support others to grow and learn.
Connect with Mindy here:
My niece turned 7 last week. These past few days I have been visiting with her and my sister. I did not intend to travel but an opportunity came up and I made it work. Spending time with her has reminded me of the importance of believing and dreaming.
I have very fond memories of being seven once upon a time. At the time, I lived in El Salvador, my parents were divorced yet I had all the love of attention from the adults in my life. I remember living in her large home with endless rooms to play at being a teacher, pretend to put on a theatrical production, or just lead my sisters and cousins in playing KINGDOM. In those pretend times, I was not the Queen of our kingdom but the Prime Minister. After all, as my grandmother had reminded me, in most countries, the PM had more power than the Royals and they were trusted advisors.
Many years later, I still like to be in charge, teach and love the weather.
Do you recall being seven? What dreams did you have for yourself? I would love to find out what you pretended to be on those days? Is it close to what you are doing today?
As you listen to today’s podcast, stay tuned to my final conversation with Dan (#handsomehothusband) after my interview with today’s guest. We have a special guest join our conversation. It promises to be a charming exchange.
In my absence, Dan continues to enjoy fresh products from Modern Milkman. If you are in Connecticut, you should check them out. They have superb local to us products that you will love and enjoy! If you want to order a box of your own, do so here.
Ep17 Bill Birlidis Confident Author
There are so many things I want to talk about today.
However, I will keep this brief. In this week’s episode of the Casa DeConfidence Podcast, I am honored to introduce you to our first male guest. It was a few weeks ago that I realized that I wanted to not only bring you stories of phenomenal females but all the amazing people I find in my life.
As I made up my mind to include gentleman in my guest list, I immediately knew who I wanted to be the first male on the show other than #handsomehothusband.
My guest is someone I have known for over 30 years. (Yes, I am that old).
OR Bill as I know him. Bill and I attended high school at Miami Palmetto Sr. High, home of the Panthers. Palmetto HS also boasts of having other notable alumni like Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, Camilla Cabello, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Bob Marley’s son Rohan and a few Olympians, and NFL players.
During our conversation, it was easy to fall back into an easy rapport with Bill (VC). He is funny, insightful, sensitive, and fierce. He grew up in a deeply religious, Greek Orthodox family. He is a lover of books, an activist, philanthropist, and supporter of people and their dreams. Sounds familiar, I know… Perhaps you can see why we continue to foster a friendship after all these years.
Bill and I met in first-period French class. We loved seeing each other in the hallways of our alma matter and practicing our French. These days, my friend has a critically acclaimed book called Muse Unexpected which has been touted as “a delightful romp and epic adventure” by Outlook News Maganize.
Bill is using his creative juices to put out a delightful and irreverent podcast of his alter ego Dr. Sebastian Brackenridge. Check it out .
I am hoping that in the next few months, we can have a little high school reunion of our own. I need to learn all I can from him regarding gardening and more wisdom about life in general.
If you want to connect with VC, you can do so on the socials:
Ep18 Yolanda Fontanez-Coleman
My conversation with today is with Yolanda Fontanez-Coleman ( I love a woman with hyphenated last name BTW). If I had to describe her, it would be passionate and dedicated. Yolanda’s passion for educating children and inspiring them to achieve was the driving force behind her decision to develop Team Tutor. An expert in her field, She spent more than ten years with the School District of Philadelphia. During her tenure with the Philadelphia School District, Yolanda was first exposed to the wide-spread need for accessible one-on-one instruction. With no assistance in sight, she decided that she would become the solution by matching students with tutors who could truly address each child’s individual needs. Yolanda’s mission is to offer the highest quality of educational instruction in an accessible manner. She believes all children can learn and should be given the opportunity for academic success. Though she may not be currently teaching in the traditional classroom setting, her goal is to help one child at a time through her company Team Tutor. Yolanda is a mom and has built a successful organization. Her husband now works with her as the companies CFO, and they are both enjoying the benefits of enjoying their business and being present for their children full-time. Yolanda LOVES Peleton, and she is a runner. Her daughters play basketball, and I love watching them grow up through the years since I met her. If you want to connect with Yolanda, you can do so on the socials:
One-on-one tutoring in all academic subjects for students in Pre-K through College. Flexible schedules and in-home tutoring available. Free consultations.
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