Reproductive Fertility Center Explains Ways Women Over 50 May Become Pregnant

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — For the past several weeks, the Reproductive Fertility Center offices have been bombarded with phone calls inquiring about Janet Jackson and how she was able to get pregnant, even though she is over 50 years old.

While we cannot disclose specific information about any of our patients in particular, due to HIPPA compliance, in general there are several ways a woman 50 years or older can get pregnant,” says Dr. Peyman Saadat, Medical Director of the West Hollywood-area Reproductive Fertility Center.

1) The first way is through natural pregnancy. The chance of this happening in a woman over the age of 50 is extremely rare. Statistics show an actual rate of less than a 1 in 1000.

2) In vitro fertilization (IVF) for a patient over the age of 50, using her own eggs. Again the chance of this happening is very unlikely.

3) An IVF cycle, using an egg donor. An egg donor is usually a healthy woman under the age of 30.  The egg donor will undergo IVF treatment, and her eggs will then be given to the intended mother for the purpose of achieving pregnancy.

a) The egg donor alternative has a very high rate of success, and very low rate of congenital complications, such as Down Syndrome or other anomalies, since the eggs are harvested from a healthy young donor.

b) The women receiving the eggs will undergo a comprehensive evaluation of her heart and lungs, numerous blood tests and other diagnostic testing, to insure it is safe for her to undergo treatment, and to safely carry a baby to term.

c) Although there are complications that are more common in women who become pregnant after 40, these complications are usually managed well by the patient and her physician. These complications include a higher chance of pregnancy induced hypertension and diabetes and increased risks of c-section and operative delivery.

4) Pregnancy can also be achieved at age 50 or older if the woman has frozen her eggs at a younger age, preferably at age 30 or under, as the quality of a woman’s eggs starts to decrease around age 30.

When patients call the Reproductive Fertility Center with questions, the office usually recommends the following: if you are young, and not ready to have children, freeze your eggs. If you are past the age when good quality eggs are produced, consider using eggs from a young egg donor for a higher chance of a healthy and successful pregnancy. Above all, before becoming pregnant, make sure your doctor evaluates your health to insure you are a good candidate to become pregnant using one of the above methods.Visit

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New Site for Women Facing Life After Divorce Is Spreading Positive Message, Building Strong and Encouraging Community

NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — “What now?” is a question many women ask during and after a divorce, but there haven’t always been good, practical answers. Chapter2Club (, which bills itself as a “smart woman’s guide to divorce and everything after,” is now ready to provide answers from women who have “been there, done that” and emerged as stronger, wiser versions of themselves. The site’s optimism is embodied in its name; as co-founders Matana LePlae and Mary Beth Leisen, Ph.D., explain, divorce is not only an end; it’s also the beginning of life’s next chapter.

When I went through my divorce five years ago, I was really searching for a site where other women have been through divorce and could guide and encourage me,” says LePlae, “but there was nothing except for blog posts or lawyer sites. I wanted to create something for women that felt like, what if your five best girlfriends have already gone through divorce? They would give you the inside scoop, help you emotionally, share practical advice – all with a kick-ass, you can do it attitude!”

Chapter2Club’s content is organized into topical and thematic areas like “Law and Financial”; The Kids”; “Moving On”; “Soft Skills”; and “Stuff We Love.” The law and financial section covers everything from how to interview and select an attorney to getting back on one’s feet financially after a divorce. In the section on kids, women can get ideas about how to talk about divorce with their children and how to best navigate a co-parenting arrangement, among other things.

A community forum – “The Club” – is where women can ask burning questions, offer practical and proven tips, or simply provide support to those who may be struggling. LePlae and Leisen ask only that members maintain a positive, respectful and helpful mindset.

“Divorce is challenging on so many levels – physical, emotional, spiritual, home, and even identity – and it’s our vision to help women not only move through the process and heal but also to write an amazing next chapter for their own lives.  Women get so much from community and support; it’s one of the main ways we cope with stress.  We want to provide the tools and resources and connect women with each other so that everyone benefits,” co-founder Mary Beth Leisen explains.

As experienced marketing consultants and entrepreneurs LePlae and Leisen have big plans for growing Chapter2Club’s influence. The site will soon be launching podcasts and webinars, along with interviews with professionals, such as therapists, attorneys and financial planners.  Plans are also underway to include live events, classes, meet-ups, workshops, & retreats.

Matana LePlae and Mary Beth Leisen created Chapter2Club as a place where women could get advice and support, share stories and perspectives, and be part of a great community. If Chapter 1 was your marriage, Chapter 2 is what comes after.  This is your story; we’re here to help you write it.

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Do Women Face Greater Retirement Challenges Than Men?

If so, how can they plan to meet those challenges?

By Rebecca Bar-Shain, CFP®, Cedar Brook Group

Why are women so challenged to retire comfortably? A woman may spend less time in the workforce during her life than a man due to childrearing and caregiving needs with a corresponding interruption in both wages and workplace retirement plan participation. A divorce can hugely alter a woman’s financial outlook. As women live longer on average than men, they face the risk of eventually outliving retirement savings. There is also the gender wage gap, narrowing, but still evident.

What can women do to respond to these financial challenges?

Invest early & consistently Women should realize that on average they may need more years of retirement income than men. Social Security will not provide all the money they need. Accumulated retirement savings will need to be tapped as an income stream. So saving and investing regularly through IRAs and workplace retirement accounts is vital, the earlier the better. So is getting the employer match, if one is offered. Catch-up contributions after 50 should also be a goal.

Consider HSAs An HSA (Health Savings Account) is funded with pre-tax dollars, so an HSA owner can potentially get tax-deductible contributions as well as tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals. HSAs are used with high-deductible health plans and HSA savings must be withdrawn to pay for qualified health expenses in order to be tax-exempt. One intriguing HSA detail: after attaining age 65 an HSA owner can withdraw HSA funds for non-medical expenses (these types of withdrawals are characterized as taxable income). That fact has prompted some journalists to label HSAs “backdoor IRAs.”

Work longer in pursuit of greater monthly Social Security benefits Working even two years longer means two years less of retirement to fund and for each year she refrains from filing for Social Security after age 62, her monthly Social Security benefit rises by about 8%.

Find a method to fund eldercare Many women are going to outlive their spouses. While many women may not need months of rehabilitation, in-home care or hospice care, many other women will.

Today, financially aware women are planning to meet retirement challenges. They are conferring with financial advisors and strategizing to take greater control over their financial futures.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Rebecca L. Bar-Shain, CFP, MBA, Financial Planner & Partner
Cedar Brook Group
Cleveland, Ohio 44124


An Attitude of Gratitude

Attitude is EVERYTHING As much as some of we (me included) would like to be able to control every aspect of our lives…we can’t! But what we can control is our attitude towards what does happen to us. We all experience and continue to experience “trying” times in our lives. The WHAT in these situations is less important than the HOW.

How we react and move through these particular situations will determine their affect on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Up to 40% of our happiness comes from how we choose to approach our lives. Especially during “trying” times we focus on all of our problems. We then get in the habit of focusing our attention on all the negative
things happening in our lives.

What would happen instead if we switched that focus to all of the good things that happen to us each and everyday? What if we took time daily or weekly to reflect on things we are grateful for in our lives?

Increasing Happiness Gratitude is the forgotten factor in happiness research.

Grateful Individuals
• Report higher levels of positive emotions
• Have greater life satisfaction
• Experience greater vitality
• Are more optimistic
• Are healthier
• Build strong relationships
• Handle adversity better
• Experience lower levels of depression and stress

People who have a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspective of others. They are also rated as more generous and more helpful. Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated, and are less envious of others.

Gratitude is Good for Your Health A study done by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami showed that those individuals who practiced weekly gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. During the study, one group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had upset them. While a third group wrote about events that had affected them, but there was not an emphasis on being positive or negative. The fi rst group who wrote about what they were grateful for also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor than those whose focused on daily irritations.

After starting a gratitude journal, people begin to look at people and things differently, seeking out the positive in each situation or interaction. They appreciate the “little things” and don’t take them for granted. A shift in the mindset happens and they notice when they are not as consistent with journaling, they can easily fall back into a mindset focused on all that is lacking.

Examples entries from a gratitude journal:
• I am so grateful for my knowledge of how to live a healthy lifestyle and help others
do the same.
• I am so grateful that I devoted time to my strength training routine today.
• I am so grateful for my family and friends that are in my life.

Ideas for Promoting Gratitude
• Write a thank you note
• Thank someone mentally
• Keep a gratitude journal
• Meditate
• Count your blessings

Jeff Tomaszewski, owner of MaxStrength Fitness in Westlake, is a certifi ed athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist. He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and holds a master’s degree in exercise physiology. Jeff is also a personal trainer and professional body-builder committed to helping clients achieve their health and fitness goals. Visit or call 440.835.9090.



L’Oréal USA Announces The 2016 For Women In Science Fellows

U.S. Female Scientists to be Awarded $60,000 Each to Advance their Postdoctoral Research; Visit White House, National Academy of Sciences, New Jersey Public School and L’Oréal Headquarters

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-35-56-amPRNewswire/ — L’Oréal USA today announced the five recipients of the 2016 For Women in Science Fellowship, which awards $60,000 grants to exemplary female scientists to advance their postdoctoral research. Over the last 13 years, L’Oréal USA’s For Women in Science fellowship program has awarded 65 postdoctoral women scientists over $3 million in grants at this critical stage of their career.

From neurology to astrophysics, the five 2016 fellows are being honored for their groundbreaking research across a broad range of  fields: Carolyn “Anela” Choy, a postdoctoral fellow in biological oceanography and marine ecology at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI); Shruti Naiki, a postdoctoral scientist in immunology and stem cell biology at The Rockefeller University; Amy Orsborn, a postdoctoral scientist in neuroscience at New York University; Laura Samson, a postdoctoral fellow in physics at Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA); and Moriel Zelikowsky, a postdoctoral neuroscientist in the Department of Biology & Biological Engineering at California Institute of Technology.

“We are proud to recognize this group of exceptional female scientists for their innovative research and dedication to inspiring the next generation of women in STEM,” said Frédéric Rozé, President and CEO of L’Oréal USA. “By providing support at a pivotal moment in their careers, we hope to empower them to further their work, continue on a path to become future leaders in their fields and perhaps one day join our previous Laureates and win a Nobel Prize.”

Created in 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards identifies and supports accomplished female scientists around the world. Specifically, the program recognizes Laureates for their contributions to the advancement of life or physical sciences and encourages more young women to pursue STEM—a field where women remain underrepresented. Through the international program and the nearly 50 national and regional programs, such as the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science program, nearly 2,500 female scientists from more than 100 countries have been granted fellowships to pursue promising research projects.

The 2016 fellowship candidates were evaluated based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and their commitment to supporting women and girls in science. The U.S. fellowship program also includes a requirement to ensure recipients are committed to serving as role models for younger generations. Applications were reviewed by experienced scientists in the candidates’ respective fields through a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which manages the application process.

L’Oréal USA will host an award ceremony for the fellows in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Oct. 6.

This year’s awards will recognize and support the following female scientists and their research:

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-35-13-amAnela Choy is a postdoctoral fellow in biological oceanography and marine ecology at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Choy’s research focuses on how food webs within the ocean work, and how they are impacted by plastic pollution and environmental change. Her work seeks to better understand how all life within the open ocean fits together into a complex network of feeding interactions. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will enable Choy to extend her research tenure at MBARI, specifically to gather samples and to conduct the analyses necessary to explore the chemical fingerprints of plastic in marine food webs of the Pacific Ocean. As a fifth-generation local of Hawai’i, Choy is committed to increasing the participation of ethnically diverse women in academic, stakeholder and resource management positions in Hawai’i and beyond. In college, Choy cofounded and managed the SOEST Maile Mentoring Bridge program at the University of Hawai’i to support Native Hawaiians and other underrepresented ethnic minorities in ocean and earth sciences. Choy, 33, received her B.A. in Environmental Sciences, M.S. in Oceanography and Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Hawai’i. Raised on O’ahu and the Big Island, Choy now lives in Santa Cruz, Calif., where she enjoys surfing and playing her guitar.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-35-25-amShruti Naik is a postdoctoral scientist in immunology and stem cell biology at The Rockefeller University. Naik’s research focuses on understanding the role adult stem cells play in inflammation and how they can be used to treat inflammatory disorders of the skin, like psoriasis. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will enable Naik to produce a series of interviews with prominent female scientists in hopes of inspiring the next generation of women in STEM careers. This work will build on Naik’s long-standing commitment to advocacy for gender equality, mentorship and community outreach. At The Rockefeller University, Naik has grown the Women in Science at Rockefeller (WISeR) program from six to over 250 members and has established a weekly breakfast series for trainees to network with prominent female scientists. Naik, 31, received her B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland and her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania and the National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnership Program. Raised in India until she was 12 and then Maryland, Naik now lives in New York City, where she loves seeing performance theatre, including opera, ballet, plays, musicals and improv.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-35-40-amAmy Orsborn is a postdoctoral scientist in neuroscience at New York University. Orsborn’s research focuses on how the brain learns to tell our bodies to move and approaches to restore function loss due to neurological diseases and disorders. Specifically, her research aims to create new and improved treatments, like state-of-the-art prosthetics, for people with motor disabilities caused by limb loss, stroke or spinal injury. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will enable Orsborn to invest in and maintain new advanced laboratory equipment, including a specialized computer to analyze large-scale data sets generated by this research. Outside of her lab, Orsborn is part of a team developing a new web-based resource aimed to increase diversity at scientific conferences. While currently in development, the STEMM Role Models app seeks to increase the visibility of minorities in science and makes it easier for conference organizers to find outstanding and diverse speakers. Orsborn, 32, received her B.S. in Engineering Physics from Case Western Reserve University and her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from University of California, Berkeley. Raised in Illinois, Orsborn now lives in New York City where she bakes any chance she gets, and is cultivating her interest in graphic design and scientific illustration.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-35-45-amLaura Sampson is a postdoctoral fellow in physics at Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). Sampson’s research focuses on gravitational wave astrophysics. Gravitational waves are a new way of observing the universe predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity and was first observed last year. Sampson develops data analysis algorithms to learn about the physical processes that lead to the systems that produce gravitational waves in the universe. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will allow Sampson to extend her research appointment, as well as work on a music-based outreach program. In addition to research, mentoring has been a strong focus for Sampson, who during her graduate studies co-founded and served as President of a Women in Science & Engineering chapter that organized retreats for female graduate students, monthly lunches with female faculty and postdoctoral researchers, and social networking events. Sampson, 31, received her B.A. in Physics from the University of Colorado and her Ph.D. in Physics from Montana State University. Raised in Boulder, Colorado, Sampson now lives in Evanston, Ill., with her dog, Jax.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-35-51-amMoriel Zelikowsky is a postdoctoral neuroscientist in the Department of Biology & Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Zelikowsky is researching how neurons in the brain encode traumatic emotional experiences. Specifically, this research is aimed at identifying and mapping the neuronal populations that control the effects of stress on subsequent anxiety, fear and social behavior, with the goal of leading to more advanced and targeted treatments for debilitating mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will allow Zelikowsky to bring on a young female research mentee, who will receive training in cutting-edge, genetically-targeted molecular neuroscience technologies necessary for a more comprehensive understanding of the neural circuits that underlie emotional phenomena. Zelikowsky’s commitment to mentoring began in graduate school when she created the group Women in Learning (WIL), which offers a forum where young women in neuroscience can receive mentorship, support and guidance to advance women in STEM. Zelikowsky, 33, received her B.A. in Philosophy (Metaphysics) and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Born, raised and currently living in Los Angeles, Zelikowsky enjoys a very active lifestyle of rock climbing, trail running and backpacking with her chocolate Labrador, Pica.

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The 4th Annual Women of Our Community and ATHENA Awards Dinner

The Medina County Women’s Journal will be hosting The Fourth Annual Women of Our Community and ATHENA Awards Dinner at Williams on the Lake
on October 5, 2016

In its thirteenth year of print, the mission of The Medina County Women’s Journal is to Educate, Energize, and Empower Women Through Knowledge.  ATHENA International and our organization have such a similar mission that it was natural for us to bring the ATHENA Awards to Medina County in 2013 to acknowledge these remarkable women leaders.

The ATHENA International was founded in 1982 and the mission is to support, develop, and honor women leaders, and is reflective of a quote attributed to Plato, “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.”  This quote has inspired our program’s format, as we will be honoring ALL nominated women who are improving the quality of life for others in our community with an award of a “Women of Our Community.” We also present the ATHENA Young Professional to one young emerging leader.  Following the dinner program, one woman will be honored with the ATHENA Leadership Award.


Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 8.55.50 AMCarrie Beegle FINALIST

Carrie Beegle is a lunch lady and she loves it! She is the food service director for Cloverleaf and Mapleton school districts and has been in school food service for 19 years. Her passion for giving our children healthy, nutritious and great tasting food has received national attention. Carrie was recently asked to be a guest speaker at a Congressional hearing in Washington DC and is a team leader for Congressman Tim Ryan’s “Salad Bars in Ohio Schools” initiative. She also assisted in a webinar series for the Institute of Child Nutrition for the University of Mississippi. Carrie was invited to host a series of lectures at the annual conferences for both the Ohio School Board Association and the Ohio Association for School Business Officials. She is a mentor, consultant and chef trainer for the Ohio Department of Education and the USDA. She consults on nutrition programs and mentors school food service directors, majority women, across the United States. Carrie’s motto is “We Fortify the Future” and believes she makes a difference one child at a time.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 8.57.52 AM“Sam” Boyer

For most of her 77 years, “Sam” Boyer has worked for local newspapers. In 1959, she began working with the Leader Post, writing a column since 1964. She began volunteering when she moved to Brunswick. In 1965, she served on the Brunswick Sesquicentennial Committee and the Bicentennial committee in 2015. In 1972, she became a member of the Brunswick Jaycees. She was the producer of the local Miss America pageant for 20 years and was Brunswick Woman of the Year in 1972, Citizen of the Year in 2015 (Brunswick Summer Celebration), Brunswick-Medina Business and Professional Women Woman of the Year for 1985-86, and presented the “Friend of Education” award by the Brunswick Education Association. Sam was the first woman Brunswick Chamber of Commerce president in 1979-80 and inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2000. She served on the inaugural boards of the Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame and Brunswick High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, the board of Leadership Medina County, and is now vice president of the Brunswick Area Historical Society.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 8.59.04 AMJani Groza FINALIST

As community investment leader of Westfield Insurance, Jani oversees Westfield Insurance Foundation, strategic philanthropy initiatives, and employee volunteerism. Working with a team, they align philanthropy with Westfield’s core values, distributing $3 million primarily supporting safety, disaster recovery, and family stability. Jani spent 15 years in leadership positions at the American Cancer Society and United Way of Medina County. She sought Westfield because of its commitment to corporate citizenship. She enjoys working on projects that involve collaborations and seeks to help those new to roles or the community. Dedicated to mentoring and actively taking strides to lead women within Westfield’s organization and outside, has truly had a profound impacted on Medina County. Jani serves on the boards of Fund for Our Economic Future, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio, and Medina County Police Activities League. She is past president of Leadership Medina County and past board member of Hospice of Medina County, Greater Medina Area Chamber of Commerce, and Medina Lacrosse Association.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.00.09 AMTerri Hradek FINALIST

Terri Hradek, director of Cuyahoga Community College’s Brunswick University Center (BUC), has been responsible for BUC’s administrative operations since its opening in January 2011. Terri seeks out the opportunity to mentor her students, as well as encourages community involvement and leadership development in her staff. Hradek serves as the chairperson for the newly merged Northern Medina County Chamber Alliance, sits on the “Business at the Barn Business Showcase” planning committee, and chairs the Community/Business/Schools Committee. She is also a member of the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Medina County Economic Development Corporation and its newly formed Workforce Alliance Resource Committee, which plans the annual Made in Medina County and High School Manufacturing Road Shows. She has served on fundraising planning committees for the Medina County Red Cross and Medina County Community Fund. A 2013 graduate of the Mandel Leadership program and 2012 graduate of Leadership Medina County, she has served on the Education Day and Selection Committee for Leadership Medina County.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.01.03 AMJennifer Gill Frisby

Jennifer Gill Frisby is owner of Anytime Fitness Wadsworth, a Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer, who actively engages and mentors women in her gym to become their best offering instruction, education, and hope. She is an active member in Wadsworth with a dedicated commitment as President of Wadsworth Lions Club, Past Chairman of Wadsworth High School Alumni Association and current Board Member-at-Large, and a board member of First Christian Church and the FCC Women’s Ministry Team. Jennifer is a member of Chambers of Commerce in Wadsworth, Seville, and Rittman, a member of the Ohio University Alumni Association, and an inductee and board member of Wadsworth High School Sports Hall of Fame Committee. As Past President of Wadsworth Chapter of Working Women Connection, Jennifer supports her local women business leaders with community involvement and leadership. She supports non-profit organizations such as Ormaco, Feeding Medina County, Salvation Army, Medina Creative Housing, and Wadsworth Youth Football/Cheerleading. Jennifer and husband were awarded the 2016 Rosie Award as Entrepreneurs of the Year from Wadsworth Area Chamber of Commerce.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.01.38 AMLinda Loveless FINALIST

Linda Loveless has been organizing and promoting professional craft shows and events for over 25 years. Starting as a simple PTA fundraiser developed into a successful business, which currently runs An Affair on the Square, Christmas Around the World, Mrs. Claus’ Closet, and the MC Home & Garden Show. Linda has long been involved with local non-profits and willingly takes on leadership roles. She has served on the Medina County Fair Board as Advertising Director, President of the Board for Medina YWCA, Board member and President of Medina City Schools Foundation, and Medina County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Linda served on the Board for Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund for nine years, president for three years. Linda is an active member and one of the founders of 100+ Women Who Care Medina, raising funds for local non-profits and promoting women as philanthropist, and also serves as secretary of the board for Medina County Arts Council. Recently, a founding board member of a new non-profit, First Impression, Inc. provides business appropriate apparel to disadvantaged women for job interviews.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.02.16 AMWendy Mirrotto

Wendy Mirrotto is the Founder and Executive Director of Kitten Krazy, Inc. and Quick Fix Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic for cats and dogs in Medina. With 18 years of experience in animal rescue, she took her passion for cats and started a humble 20’x 8′ shelter in her garage. In the past five years, she has built two 4,000 square foot facilities in the City of Medina to house the ever-growing Kitten Krazy Cat Shelter and Quick Fix Clinic. Since May 2004, Kitten Krazy has placed over 4,200 fully vetted cats and kittens. Quick Fix opened on July 1, 2011 and has spayed/neutered over 32,200 cats and dogs. Quick Fix has also administered over 36,000 vaccines, 6,914 nail trims, 977 microchips, and 414 Medina County dog licenses, amongst other wellness services. Wendy has held the big vision since the beginning and continues to develop and coordinate all projects and programs. She is always mindful of addressing the growing community need for affordable care for both owned and shelter cats and dogs.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.02.59 AMRhonda McClelland

Rhonda McClelland has been a community leader and volunteer for Brunswick Youth for over a decade. For the past three years, Rhonda has been the Treasurer of the BHS Cheer Parent’s Club. Her commitment to the school and students went past the financials in 2012 when Rhonda created an annual community service project for the cheerleaders to provide hand-made blankets and other items in need to Akron Children’s Hospital. In addition to her volunteer time with the high school, Rhonda is a dedicated volunteer for Brunswick Youth Sports. For the past 11 years, Rhonda has been a dedicated softball coach and has looked out for our youngest female athletes as the Commissioner for the 7 and 8-year-old Girls Softball League. She provides support for over 1,400 Brunswick youth and their families as the BYS League Secretary. Rhonda McClelland’s leadership continues in her profession as a Lead Process Analyst with Progressive Insurance where she has been employed for 17 years.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.03.37 AMValerie Rapp FINALIST

Valerie Rapp graduated from BGSU with a BS in Education. Valerie met Rob (husband) while attending BGSU, married and relocated to Medina in 1975. She works at Homestead Insurance Agency in Brunswick. Valerie’s first volunteer work started as a board member for the Medina County YWCA, but expanded her interests in the Medina community after participating in Leadership Medina County in 2003. The class project was the development of the pilot program for Jr. LMC and in 2004 it was adopted permanently by Leadership. She serves as the program’s historian and photographer and supports the mission shaping the future of high school students by promoting teamwork, developing leadership skills, fostering self-confidence and personal growth, and respect for diversity. She encourages emerging leaders to become involved and persuaded others to take a leadership role in the community. In 2012, Valerie served as chairperson of Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce board, and presently serves as an ex-officio, participating on its Business Advocacy committee. In July 2016, she became president of Leadership Medina County’s board of trustees.

ATHENA Young Professional Award Recipient

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.04.19 AMAshley Powell

Presently employed at the Medina County Health Department, Ashley is a team leader, member of the Quality Improvement Council and chair of the joint clerical staff involving nursing, dental and the billing staff. She recently completed Six Sigma LEAN training, which has led to leadership roles within the Health Department as well as becoming Vice President on The Board of Directors for Sister Circle and President and Founder of the youth organization, “So Now What?” Ashley strives to make a difference in the lives of others, especially young women and children. Ashley volunteers for AAUW, Sister 2 Sister Conference and Tech Savvy Conference as a workshop facilitator. She also works with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Medina County and is a Youth Director at Second Baptist Church in Medina. Ashley quickly earns the trust and respect of the girls she mentors. Her guidance and dedication has a lasting impact on both the youth and the community.

YP Award Sponsored by the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce

ATHENA Young Professional Nominees

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.03.19 AM









Chelsea Pozderac – Transitional Living Centers, Inc
Jaclyn Von Hoch – Westfield Insurance
Ashley Powell – Medina County Health Dept. / So Now What
Michelle Reese – Day Ketterer, Attorneys-at-Law, LTD
Kelly Harrison – Brunswick City Schools- Willetts Middle School
(Left to Right)

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.05.44 AMA.I. Root Candles
Westfield Insurance
Brunswick University Center

Community Supporters: Williams on the Lake | C&C Video Productions | Becky Photography | Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce | Armstrong Cable | A Cupcake A Day | Meaden & Moore | Skin Care Solutions | Working Women Connection

Don’t Need to Check Your Own References? Better Think Again.

You May Be Surprised About What Your References Are Really Saying About You

DETROIT (April 13, 2016) – How many of us have heard this oft-spoken mantra before: Your former employer is only allowed to divulge your employment dates and title you held with the organization.  Their company policy states that no negativity about you as a former employee can be offered.

If you’re confident that your former employers will always adhere to this policy, you might want to think again.  Reference checking firm Allison & Taylor indicates that approximately half of the thousands of reference checks they conduct, reveal some form of employer negativity (typically from either former supervisors or Human Resources personnel).  Put another way, what you don’t know can – and almost surely will – prevent you from getting new employment at some future date.

To address this, it is critical that you first identify exactly what your former employers are actually “offering up” about you to potential new employers.  In addition to intentional negativity, employers sometimes inadvertently offer information that (for example) may contradict information you have put on your resume.  Here is a summary of why you would be well advised to check your own references before embarking on a new job search:

  1. Your references may not be saying what you expect.  If your reference is offering any negativity about you whatsoever, it will put you at a disadvantage vis a vis other candidates whose references are either glowing or neutral.  Your odds of landing that job will be negligible at best.
  2. Prospective employers will not tell you if they have uncovered any reference negativity about you.  Instead, they will simply tell you that they have “decided to go in a different direction” or – more likely still – you will simply never hear from that company again.
  3. The company’s comment policy may not be what they think it is.  Again, many people assume that an employer can’t or won’t say anything of a negative nature, and are unpleasantly surprised to find out this may not be the case.  Employers all-too-often say unflattering things about former employees.
  4. Your reference contact may no longer work for the company.  Many job seekers make the mistake of not staying in close contact with the person they intend to use for a reference.  You need to ensure that person is still there to respond to inquiries.  If your reference is no longer there, a reference checker may end up with someone who won’t cast you in such a positive light.
  5. Your resume information may not reflect their HR records.  Beware a scenario where your former employer has different employment dates, position title, or supervisor listed than what you have presented.  This type of discrepancy might suggest to a new employer that you are being less than truthful about your former position’s title or responsibilities.
  6. You may have been omitted from the HR records entirely.  This can occur in the case of mergers, where not all records make the transfer into a new system.  It is also not uncommon with the self-employed; many companies do not hold records for a contractor in their HR system.  It will reflect poorly on you when an employer calls and is told that there is no record of you ever having worked for their company.

Fortunately, reference-checking organizations such as Allison & Taylor can quickly and easily help you verify exactly what your former employers will say about you.  In the event that any “unpleasant surprises” are revealed, be aware there are tools likely to ensure that a reference problem is successfully addressed.  Again, the first step is to find out what your previous employers are really saying – the career you save, may be your own.

The 2015 Medina County ATHENA Leadership Award Recipient is…


Congratulations to Ann Reusch the 2015 Medina County ATHENA Leadership Award Recipient!

On October 7, 2015, The Medina County Women’s Journal presented the prestigious
Women of Our Community Award to ten outstanding women. (See previous post for bios) [Pictured Left to Right from Back to Front Row: Sandy Frommeyer, Ann Reusch, Cindie Schneider, Melanie Kasten-Krause, Kelly Rose Stallard, Leigh Anne Best, Alberta Skraba, Theresa Laffey, Melanie Hillebrand and Tracey Ruffin].

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 7.05.13 AM At this signature event, The ATHENA Leadership Award® in affiliation with Athena International, was presented to Ann Reusch, Vice President, Business Banking of Westfield Bank, as an exemplary leader from our community who is helping to bring along the next generation of women leaders. She joins more than 7,000 Athena Award recipients from more than 500 communities all over the world.

All these women are setting a gold standard in business and community leadership,
making Medina County a better place to live and work.

Thank you to our Sponsors: Root CandlesWestfield InsuranceArmstrongBrunswick University CenterMeaden & MoorePro TouchClear Path

Thank you to our Community Supporters: Williams on the Lake • C&C Video Productions • Beth Dangelo, Shoot For the Moon Photography • Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce • Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnston • INSYTE Consulting Group • Life Care Center of Medina • Working Women Connection

Visit or email for more information.

Meet the 2015 The Women of Our Community Award Recipients & ATHENA Award Nominees

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 7.05.13 AMThe Medina County Women’s Journal will honor these exemplary women leaders from our community at this third annual signature celebration award dinner ceremony.

October 7, 2015 at Williams on the Lake in Medina

Thank You To Our Sponsors for the Third Annual Women of Our Community and ATHENA Awards Dinner!
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2015 ATHENA Nominees

Melanie Kasten  -Finalist

Melanie Krause has served SHC/The Arc of Medina County for the past 33 years; since 2012 as Executive Director. She is frequently sought out as a speaker in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Melanie makes time for service to the Ohio Provider Resource Association Board of Directors, Family First Council, Medina County Service Coordination Team and Transportation Consortium. Her focus is improving the quality of life of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. In her spare time, Melanie gives to the community by serving on the ADAMH Board as Vice President, as a court appointed volunteer guardian, on the Medina City Uptown Park Advisory Committee, UCC Bell choir and the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis. She serves as a mentor for social work students at various colleges and is not only a valuable resource but also an inspiration for the women who work with her. Melanie likes to garden, hike, read and word puzzles.


Theresa Laffey  -Finalist

Theresa Laffey has been the Assistant Director for the Medina County District Library since 2011. Theresa, an advocate for librarians throughout the system, has worked to ensure they receive expanded responsibilities and training opportunities to prepare them for the next level of leadership. Theresa is a member of Medina County Arts Council and Art League. During the Library’s expansion project, Theresa chaired the Art Committee which honored local artists by displaying their art throughout Medina’s Libraries. Theresa has been instrumental in forging partnerships with community groups. Working with ORMACO, Theresa is involved in bringing cultural groups to the Medina Libraries. Recently, Theresa partnered with the Medina County Park District and established the Story Walk® at Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park. Theresa volunteers in the community, at Holy Martyrs Church and for the Medina Guardianship Program. She is a past recipient of the United Way Volunteer Award and the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award. She is active in LMC and a member of the 2006 class. In 2004, Theresa was selected to participate in Library Leadership Ohio.


Ann Reusch  -Finalist

Ann Reusch, Vice President Business Banking for Westfield Bank, a company who is invested and engaged in the community, which affords her the opportunity to be involved.   Ann learned to be an active member and participate in the community from her mother, a teacher, who was always very engaged with her school and students.   Ann is a prolific promoter of women; through her continuous and heartfelt involvement with the Medina Creative Housing, Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio, The American Red Cross of Medina, Summit and Portage Counties, she has worked to support recognition for the value so many women have brought to their communities.   She is a constant and vast source of wisdom and knowledge in advising and mentoring women both personally and professionally. This enables her to help mentor young professionals and serve as a guidepost to the more experienced. Ann’s community commitment and leadership also extends to membership involvement with The Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Medina Chamber and the Greater Akron Chamber and their Knowledgeable Network of Women program (KNOW) and Leadership Medina. She is married to Gene; they have three sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.


Cindie Schneider  -Finalist

Cindie Schneider has lived in Medina County since 1972, currently residing in Brunswick. Cindie was hired as the Executive Director of the HANDS Foundation in October 2001 and is passionate about their mission of “Improving the quality of life for Medina County seniors.” Giving back to the community has always been vitally important to Cindie. She has served on a multitude of boards and committees in many different capacities including Leadership Medina County, Medina Metropolitan Housing Authority, Medina County Senior Services Network, Wadsworth Professional Friends, Medina County District Library as well as the Brunswick, Medina and Wadsworth Chambers of Commerce. She believes, “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.” Her main interests are spending time with her family and through partnerships and collaborations making the HANDS Foundation the premier non-profit in Medina County thereby, helping take care of the people who took care of us.


Leigh Anne Best

Leigh Anne Best has been the Marketing Director for Mighty Auto Pro since 2006. Leigh Anne is the Co-Founder of Brakes for Breasts. Laura Frank, Leigh Anne’s good friend and co-founder, always says “small business is visibility, and with visibility comes responsibility”. Brakes for Breasts was created out of a desire to make the world a better place. It began in 2011 with 5 local Ohio repair shops, and spin the clock forward, in 2014, 142 independent repair shops joined hands across 29 states and raised $115,236. To date, Brakes for Breasts has raised $224,584 which is contributed to the Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Fund. Brakes for Breasts is a true grass roots fundraiser, 100% of the proceeds go directly to research. Dr. Tuohy and his team have created a vaccine that after 13 long years is going to bedside within the next 12 months. Dr. Tuohy believes prevention is the cure, and Brakes for Breasts supports his helping hands (research team). We want a world free of breast cancer; we do not want to lose another mother, daughter, sister, friend.


Sandy Frommeyer

Sandy Frommeyer came to Medina in 1973 and is proud to call it home. Having worked in a variety of industries in her past, she brings to the Adult Education department of the Medina County Career Center a unique perspective and understanding of the business community throughout Medina County. As a community advocate, Sandy sat on the board of the American Cancer Society and the Society of Human Resource Management. She holds memberships in the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce, Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce, Medina County Economic Development Corporation, Leadership Medina County, Woman’s Network and Society of Human Resource Management. She has volunteered for Western Reserve Masonic Community, Medina County Community Fund, Noon Kiwanis Christmas Shopping with Students and Hands Foundation in addition to others. Her commitment to educating individuals on business issues from students to adults is clear in the committees she participates in, including the Medina County Economic Development Corporation’s Workforce and Education Committee, Medina Chamber’s Business Development Committee, Wadsworth Chamber’s Ambassador Committee and Leadership Medina County’s Business and Industry Day, Awareness Breakfast, and Out and About Committees.


Melanie Hillebrand

Melanie Hillebrand as the Director of Working Women Connection brings women together so they can inspire, motivate and celebrate each other as women in business. This group provides an organized format for women to support one another through business referrals during bi-monthly meetings and luncheons.   Melanie loves helping others and loves that Working Women Connection believes in giving back to those in need. Each of the twelve chapters of WWC participates in various philanthropic projects throughout the year in their communities. Her enthusiasm and energy for helping others has enabled the organization to grow and offer more women the opportunity to network and support each other. She is very grateful for all of the assistance she has received through the years when she faced trials and tribulations and wants to do the same for others.


Tracey L. Ruffin

Tracey L. Ruffin, Founder and President of Sister Circle Medina (SCM), has a reputable gift for reaching, inspiring, and empowering others. Through the diversity of her community involvement, Tracey is a groundbreaking influence to women of all ages, nationalities, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. SCM, a faith-based, non-profit organization, gathers 30-50 women in monthly meetings to address and overcome everyday issues that hinder and inhibit women’s growth and success. She is a Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Advocate and a certified leader for Surrendering the Secret, a support group for post-abortive women and their loved ones. Tracey is also an ordained clergy and serves at the St. Paul Church Medina Campus as well as the Medina Ministerial Association. Her passion for women motivates her to tirelessly extend her encouragement to women wherever she can, but her light of hope and infectious energy also serve to present programs for Big Brother Big Sister in Medina County, elementary schools and the holiday Adopt-A-Child program through the Medina County Children’s Center.


Alberta Skraba

Alberta Skraba is the manager and company supervisor of Legacy Hair Studio. She has been in the hair care industry for 30 years with the majority of that time spent in a leadership role. Her goal as a leader is to help young professionals in this industry to reach their full potential both personally and professionally, utilizing the extensive training she receives through Paul Mitchell Systems. She has launched numerous initiatives through Legacy Hair Studios to support many different causes including; Stuff the Bus, Feeding Medina County, Kitten Crazy, the Medina SPCA, and Autism Speaks. She is a committee member of the Taste of Medina and an active member of the Medina Chamber.



Kelly Rose Stallard

Kelly Rose Stallard Account Executive with ClearPath Family for Medina and Wayne County has been consistently involved in her community. Kelly is a huge advocate sharing with families their choices regarding home care and hospice services and selecting the company that is right for them. She is happy to present to area groups through workshops, presentations and outreach programs. She resides in the Chippewa Lake area with husband, Mike and bonus kids Tristan, Kendra and Ryan and 3 dogs. Kelly invests her time and efforts in making a difference in the lives through volunteering or participating in fundraising events like Dancing with the Stars for Faith in Action. There are many projects in the community that have her commitment and dedication. Kelly is a highly active networker and connector for health care professionals through multiple county chapters of the senior service network groups and as founding member to facilitate a local chapter of SSAMA (Senior Sales Admission and Marketing Association). Kelly has won regional and national awards for sales and growth through market development throughout her career: HCA/MDA Facilitator of the Year, William B Sanger Spirit Award, and the East Region Top Base Growth Award. Kelly is the Vice President of the board for the Hands Foundation, board member of ADAMH (Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board for Medina County) and graduate of Leadership Medina County 2014. An exciting fun fact is she worked the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta Georgia.


ATHENA Young Professional Award Recipient

Amber McClain

Amber McClain is a graduate from The University of Akron with her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She has served as a Direct Service Advocate for The Rape Crisis Center of Medina & Summit Counties since 2013. Amber strives to make a difference in the lives of the people she serves throughout Medina County. Her Leadership roles have included, but are not limited to: one of the founding members of The Medina County Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Tina Project Specialist; speaker on dating violence & sexual assault for 7th to 12th graders, and an ally for Blanket Buddies from Buckeye High School & United Way’s Youth Venture Program. She also serves on countless community partnerships: Domestic & Sexual Assault Coalition, Imagine Peace, Youth Advisory Consortium, Family Assistance Collaborative Team, Share Cluster, Children’s Center Multidisciplinary Team, United Way Youth Programs, Medina Coalition Against Human Trafficking & Sister to Sister. Amber is currently working on recruiting families through outreach efforts for the Non-Offending Caregiver Support Group she co-created with another co-worker from Rape Crisis.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

The WOMEN OF OUR COMMUNITY Award Program was created to recognize and honor all women that were demonstrating professional development, personal growth and improving the lives of others. The Medina County Women’s Journal congratulates all the 2015 Women of Our Community Award Recipients and look forward to honoring them at our dinner program October 7, 2015. Please join us to help celebrate these women!

The criteria for the ATHENA LEADERSHIP AWARD® Recipient is an individual who has achieved notable excellence, creativity and initiative in their profession, contributes time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community. Most importantly, actively assist others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential.

The Women’s Orchestra of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

The Formation
Maria Mandel was the SS commander of the women’s camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. She was known for her fanatical admiration of beauty and love of music, but she was also known for her brutality. Her desire to further her own career was the motive behind forming a women’s orchestra. However, forming an orchestra demanded a large organizational effort. One had to obtain sheet music, instruments, and other such equipment. Auschwitz proved to be a convenient place to obtain such items.

“They agreed to supply us violins and all the necessary instruments in abundance. They had their own, and there were thousands of instruments from all over Europe from deportees who had been encouraged to bring along their most precious movable possessions, unaware that upon arrival everything would be taken away from them. Even the sheet music they brought with them was used by the camp orchestras. Auschwitz by this time was the Fort Knox of Europe, with all the possessions taken from people in the countless transports that arrived at the camps” – Sofi a Tchaikowska.

In the spring of 1943, Mandel broached the subject with the staff of the camp office. A survey of the office card files showed that a number of Polish women had some knowledge of music and played instruments. In most central European schools, teachers were required to have musical training, therefore former teachers were good prospects for a women’s orchestra. Camp authorities decided to proceed with recruitment. Orders posted in various blocks within the women’s camp requested prisoners with musical experience to come forward. They sought out new transports, but most of the time the inmates were found by word of mouth. Fortunately, some inmates had stated they were professional musicians upon arrival. The recruitment process was often haphazard and many were discovered only through chance conversations with SS officers or functionaries.

The women’s orchestra was formed in April 1943 under the leadership of the Polish prisoner Sofia Tchaikowska, a violinist who recruited other players from different barracks and new arrivals in the Quarantine Block. Her effort resulted in an ensemble of 15 by May 1943.

Early Stages
By the end of June 1943, there were approximately 20 members in the orchestra. Most of the women were non-Jews from Poland like Tchaikowska. Tchaikowska played from memory and arranged pieces from sheet music for different instruments. She was forced to recruit several copyists to orchestrate music and transpose parts for a combination of instruments. The copyists were forced to use a special kind of orchestration that designed pieces to be played by any combination of musicians. Most of the time, copyists arranged music from piano scores or from memory. In addition, they were required to harmonize and arrange melodies chosen by the SS officers.

With Tchaikowska as conductor, the orchestra was not important at first. However, in June 1943, the orchestra began to play a larger role within the camp. In the beginning, the repertoire was modest and consisted of a few German melodies. Then, the orchestra started to play in the hospital blocks. Eventually, they were ordered to play marches for the morning and evening parades of workers leaving for work and returning to camp for the evening roll call.

To read the rest of this article click on this link to page 14 of our digital WJ East Edition.

Auschwitz Photo3