41 episodes

Women STaRs (Struggles, Triumphs, and Reflections) shares the stories of professional women and the journeys they have taken. Join us as we explore the amazing stories and struggles of modern professional women like you.

Women STaRs Shanti Harkness

    • Business
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Women STaRs (Struggles, Triumphs, and Reflections) shares the stories of professional women and the journeys they have taken. Join us as we explore the amazing stories and struggles of modern professional women like you.

    Women STaRs with Jenice Contreras

    Women STaRs with Jenice Contreras

    This week on the Women STaRs Podcast, we have the pleasure of talking with Jenice Contreras, the Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development. Jenice was born in Puerto Rico, is bilingual, bicultural and is proud of her heritage. Through her key involvement in CentroVilla25, an adaptive reuse of a vacant warehouse and office building, Jenice is a driving force around the neighborhood redevelopment efforts in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood, the most densely populated Hispanic enclave in the state of Ohio. She has many achievements to commend her, such as features from prominent publications like Crain’s, other awards and community involvements, as well as her advocacy for others and dedication to helping her community.
    Listen to this fantastic episode and glean some stunning advice, great stories, and the inspiration you just might be missing in your life. Jenice shares with us the experience of being a young mother and raising children while building a career; how she learned to give herself grace; finding people in her she-tribe who fill her cup; and meaning it when she says “no.” You’ll not want to miss hearing about her greatest success that she’s currently going through: helping to strengthen the neighborhood she grew up in and making it more equitable.
    If you’d like to contact Jenice, you can visit her profile on hbcenter.org.
    Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.

    Quotes
    “Oftentimes women feel like they have to choose one or the other: if you want the career, you can’t have the family, if you want the family, you can’t have the career. And I think there are many stubborn women who refuse to believe that that is the case. And so, I challenged myself to do it all. It wasn’t perfect and it was very messy most days, but I’m happy I was able to get through it.”
    “Plan, but also give yourself the flexibility to know that life happens. Give yourself the grace to say, ‘Hey, that didn’t happen today, it’s okay and we will manage.’”
    “Just to have the opportunity to play a leading role into creating something that’s transformational in a community, that’s going to live for generations to come, it’s pretty wild and pretty invigorating to me.”
    “I spent a lot of time on things that are not important. I would go to evening meetings or weekend events. In retrospect, now that I don’t have a lot of time and I’m super busy, I would analyze how a meeting or event fulfills my personal or professional goals. And if I couldn’t answer that clearly, I would tell people to walk out of that meeting.”

    • 28 min
    Women STaRs with Sara Jo Smith

    Women STaRs with Sara Jo Smith

    On this week’s episode, we sat down with Sara Jo Smith, Vice President – Senior Relationship Manager, Institutional Real Estate Group, KeyBank. Beyond being successful in her career, Sara Jo is dedicated to using her voice, being involved in her community, and finding balance in all aspects of her life.
    Our conversation with Sara Jo and her perspective on finding balance through her struggles and triumphs are inspiring and engaging. Tune in as she discusses working in a male-dominated field and being more boisterous to be seen, surrounding yourself with the right people, doing life with purpose,  and being more present to make fewer mistakes. There’s something for everyone in the wisdom she shares, such as her advice to serious people like herself: don’t be reckless, but try to have more fun. 
    If you’d like to contact Sara Jo, you can reach out to her on Linkedin.

    Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.
    Quotes
    “I’m a huge proponent of self-care. I’m not an absolutely disciplined person when it comes to these things, but every day, I try to eat well, exercise, laugh, and get good sleep.”
    “I remember sitting in my sophomore year English class and we were asked what was most important to us. Even at that age, my biggest goal was to achieve balance in life. I have a fulfilling career, a relationship with a partner that’s everything and more than I could have ever wanted, I have friends who are interesting and challenging, and I’m giving back to my community. My biggest triumph is curating a life that I’m proud of.”
    “Task number one is to find something to do with the majority of your day that rings true to you.”
    “I consider myself a cerebral person. I’m in my head a lot. And, as I’m going even through simple things, I’m like, ‘Am I giving this my all? Am I paying attention to this? Am I present?”

    • 26 min
    Women STaRs with Catherine Bosley

    Women STaRs with Catherine Bosley

    This week on Women Stars, we’re ecstatic to bring you a wonderful episode with Catherine Bosley, owner of CJB Productions LLC and award-winning journalist. Catherine worked for many years as a news anchor in Akron and Cleveland, earning her prestigious honors such as Associated Press Awards and Emmy Award nominations. She is also known for her battle with online humiliation after images of her were spread online, resulting in struggles both mentally and legally.
    With accomplishments like a TedX talk, our conversation with Catherine was bound to be filled with great wisdom, and it surely is. Tune in as Catherine discusses overcoming her health issues with both heart disease and lung disease, facing the overwhelming and isolating struggle that is being humiliated online, and how she uses acronym like PACT (People, Abandon, Connect, This Too Shall Pass) to help herself and others get through hard times. She also discusses inspiring topics like taking back her own power through legal avenues after her online incident and learning to step aside from work to preserve her work/life balance.
    If you’d like to get in touch with Catherine, you can find her on most social medias, or you can visit her website, catherinebosley.com, where you can also buy her book, Forever and For All to See. 
    Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.

    Quotes
    “We need to be so cautious about what we do online and off. There is so little room for that ‘What was I thinking?’ moment before something becomes part of your forever and for all to see.”
    “How many of you have gone through something and you feel like you’re never going to survive it? And you do. We’ve all been through those types of situations, and you survive it. And not only do you survive it, you’re stronger, you’re wiser, and you’re more equipped to help other people.”
    “Be mindful that what think is just for the moment, it’s not just for the moment anymore.”
    “Be very aware of the necessity to step aside, to set time aside…No more ‘one more thing’ when you’ve made a promise to spend time with your family or even yourself.”

    • 41 min
    Women STaRs with Erin Eurenius

    Women STaRs with Erin Eurenius

    This week, we’re excited to bring you a great episode with Erin Eurenius, Certified Elder Law Attorney and owner of her own firm, Erin C. Eurenius Attorney at Law. After her experiences with her grandmother having dementia and a stroke, and navigating guardianship and Medicaid, Erin left her career in accounting to help others. Erin helps seniors, individuals with disabilities, and their families in elder law, estate planning, and special needs planning. She is also a dedicated community member, serving on boards for All Faiths Pantry, Padua Franciscan High School, and the Consortium Against Adult Abuse. 
    Join us in enjoying Erin’s episode as she shares the struggles that inspired her passion for helping others through her law practice and so much more. From stories of her feisty grandma rearranging wet floor signs in her care facility to the flexibility and hard decisions that come along with owning a small business, Erin has an infectious personality and a lot of wonderful advice to share.
    If you’d like to get in touch with Erin, you can reach her via email at erin@westsideelderlaw.com, by phone at (440) 253-8800, or on Linkedin, Facebook, or Instagram.

    Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.


    Quotes
    “After I realize I’m in a mode where I’m trying to push through and it’s getting to a breaking point, that’s when I stop and listen to my mind and body and figure out what’s the next best thing.”
    “Take a step back and say, ‘I may be going through a rough patch right now, but based on my history, I’m still going to do more good and do more things in the future.’ It’s hard to look at your achievements and remind yourself of that, but it’s appreciation for yourself.”
    “I left a very toxic work environment when I initially became an attorney. One of the phrases they liked to use a lot was, ‘We’re a family.’ Now, years later, I know that’s one of the biggest red flags…One day I walked in and realized I couldn’t take it anymore. And a month later, I opened my own practice.”
    “I work with a lot of senior clients, and a lot of times I have no idea what they did for work, because when they come through my door, they’re talking about their family, friends, and hobbies. They’re not talking about an award they won at work. And for me, it’s an everyday reminder that these people have been through a lifetime and their job is not what they focus on.”

    • 46 min
    Women STaRs with Julie Cruz-Blair

    Women STaRs with Julie Cruz-Blair

    On another great episode of the Women STaRs podcast, we have a wonderful conversation with Julie Cruz-Blair, the Executive Director of Leadership Lorain County. Julie is dedicated to giving back to her community and providing resources that help people reach their goals and thrive. She also serves on the Board for the Elyria YWCA as the Vice-Chair, is a member of the Elyria Sunrise, and is on the Board Development Committee for Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio.
    Our episode with Julie is emotional, inspiring, and filled with humor. Join us as Julie discusses walking as a way to collect her thoughts, the importance and necessity of community, and even going through a divorce and being a single mom of three amazing kids. She dishes out great advice, such as getting over your FOMO and saying no when you need to recharge, or assessing people for who they are to determine who is a lesson and who is a blessing. She especially talks about the importance of family, blood or not, and even how your workplace should feel like a family as well. You won’t want to miss all of these great moments in our conversation—and so much more!
    If you’d like to reach out to Julie, you can email her at jb4plus1@gmail.com, or call/text her at (440) 396-2394.

    Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.
    Quotes
    “Family has always been important to me, and learning that family doesn’t always have to necessarily be blood, that was huge for me. When I was [going through a divorce], my sisters were there for me, and I knew they would always have my back.”
    “Where I feel most celebrated is when all three of my children climb into my bed all at once and we talk…At a very young age, I was told I have endometriosis and I was not going to have children. So, my children, they are the best thing in my life. And watching them, after what we all went through, they are so open, so trusting, and so loving.”
    “If anything, this pandemic has taught us that folks are very capable of getting what they need to get done, done…The whole mentality of 8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours, that needs to be thrown out of the door.”
    “You don’t have to accept every invite. You don’t have to say yes to every task. You need time to reenergize. Be okay with saying no.”

    • 43 min
    Women STaRs with Inez James

    Women STaRs with Inez James

    On this episode of Women STaRs, we have an inspiring conversation with Inez James, Supervisor at the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission. Beyond her career, she is also the President of the Lorain Club of The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, and she was also appointed by the Ohio Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, to serve as the first African American and first female to hold the Democrat Party seat on the Lorain County Board of Elections.
    Join us as Inez gives moving advice and dives into everything from grief, to divorce, to giving back to the community and even more. Inez’s perspective on her struggles and triumphs contains valuable wisdom we all can gain from. She covers many topics, such as drawing on her support system while processing her father’s battle with AIDS, the power of forgiveness during her divorce, and so much more! Inez’s emphasis on community and living your truth is truly introspective and carries throughout the episode—listen in!
    If you’d like to reach out to Inez, you can find her on Facebook under Inez James.

    Thank you to our sponsor, On Technology Partners for their support, guidance, and ongoing encouragement.
    Quotes
    “Community support is so important when going through trials…I learned how to listen and help other people dealing with grief because of how I was able to walk through my journey with support.”
    “That’s the way I worked through my trauma: I got connected. I got involved.”
    “When you serve others with the purest of heart and for the reason of the mission—besides it coming back to you in so many different ways, I get so much joy from doing that.”
    “The power to forgive…knowing that you have it in you to do that, to truly forgive, I think that’s a big triumph. That has given me so freedom and liberty and has opened so many other doors.”

    • 33 min

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