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Women on the Rise

We are thrilled to feature women from around the country who are living their passions. Each of these women have experienced challenges, overcome obstacles, faced a bevy of fears and have made the choice to create the life they want. As we share their stories, we hope that you will connect with it, taking away what resonates with you.

Do you have a story to share with us? Feel free to email us at

365 Days Later…

Posted by on 9:42 pm in Elevate, Empower, Inspiration | 0 comments

365 Days Later…


When this journey began, I had big plans. World domination was clearly the goal. You know, rally all the capable, masterful, dynamic women in the country, capture that momentum and then take this brand global. I pulled together an exceptional team. We planned a national tour, ready to shake up communities and highlight their finest, most fearless leaders. We decided to set a new standard of inclusiveness by not charging for membership or assigning a monetary value to the relationships we were cultivating. After all, the goal was to bring women together from every background, profession, age group and region. We researched, connected, planned, designed, organized and spent countless hours in front of our computers. World domination was not the goal. Serving as many women as we possibly could was.

What worked? Well, we did. As a brand, and as a whole, we began to see incredible numbers. Women were emailing us their stories, and you read them! Our Woman on the RISE feature has inspired so many launches, created new friendships, raised money for worthy organizations & families in need and remains the single most popular feature on our website. Early on we received the standard self-promoting emails telling us all about the wonderful brands women were building. Understanding that everyone wants to be promoted, we made it clear that while we value every woman’s desire to build something powerful, our goal was to promote those who build their brands {and their lives} based on the principles of community, generosity and extended benefits to others. In short, we wanted to promote those who were out there attempting to make the world a better place. Contrary to what we see in the media, you can make money and make a difference. All that connecting & promoting got y’all excited! The calls & emails just kept coming. We built the fire, but you ladies showed up and kept it growing!

What didn’t work? Our big fat dream of a tour. It didn’t just putter out. It went down in a blaze of almost glory. We had the audience, and the women from each community, but couldn’t get it funded and eventually chose to just say Uncle. We were burnt out from selling, selling and more selling and honestly, felt like we’d lost time doing what we’d initially set out to do… connect with great women and promote your hard work! SO, back to the drawing board I went.

We had a growing coaching program, a successful web platform and richly talented Feature Contributors. Our audience was growing and you continued to engage. However, we knew there was something more we were meant to do. My team waited while I prayed, brainstormed and went dark for a few weeks. {read: quiet, which is a rare thing} I could feel it; the more that we were meant to do was a physical draw. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

Enter the epiphany. It happened so quickly, and within two months of canceling our tour we were launching a magazine! The opportunity to grow our platform and offer you new ways to promote your business, organization and/or cause brought not only immeasurable joy, but even more readers! Women Who RISE now speaks to more than a million women, from all over our country and in more than 18 others consistently. Not bad for a little idea that came to life exactly one year ago today.

I am proud, yes. More than that I am grateful beyond measure. I cannot tell you how many remarkable women have played a role in the success of this project in the past year. Some for a brief moment and others for a considerable period of time. I am grateful for every. single. woman. We are all the sum of our parts, regardless of the size of the part. Every choice leads us to where we are meant to be. Every reader, every contributor, every staff member, our editors, the critics, all of the incredible women we have featured, the women who’ve sent messages of thanks or praise… you have all made Women Who RISE what it is today. Thank you!

What’s next? The next year holds more exciting growth and even more women to feature. We are always making space for you! Please fill out the contact form below and let us know how we can serve you. You are the reason we are here. This year’s Adventure Odyssey and Zen Odyssey are bold, life-changing events that will catapult your vision! Not to be missed, our speakers & coaches are preparing to meet you and ready to bring their very best to each event. RISE, a modern guide for the purpose driven woman will continue to grow, speaking about what really matters in our lives, both personally & professionally. Next Spring we will be taking our first major journey as a community, to India… details to come later this summer.

Ultimately we know that this journey is meant to be taken in faith. I continue to pray that we are led in service of those who need what we offer. We look forward to all that is to come, and appreciate your involvement, inspiration & the love you extend to us by sharing our platform with others. Together, we are a powerful force. We can accomplish more as a group than we ever will individually. Join us!

Rising together,





Posted by on 10:38 pm in Educate, Elevate, Empower, Family, Inspiration | 0 comments



by Camden Hoch, Author, Yogi & Radiance Coach

Just move into Acceptance to grow – blah, blah, blah….

All words in this article are my perspective and not meant to harm anyone or keep them from their experience on their path.  They are honest, heart felt and written to stir it up – whatever your “it” is.  According to Eckart Tolle “Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment.  It is part of the isness of now.  You can’t argue with what is, well you can but if you do, you will suffer.”

When I was growing up I remember asking my Dad why my brother got to do certain things when he was growing up that I didn’t get to do.  He said “You know what, life’s not fair and that’s just too bad.”  That really pissed me off.  I wanted an answer. I wanted a why.  And I never got it from my parents only if you consider “life isn’t fair” or “because I’m your mother or I’m your father”  an answer to my why question, which I don’t.

This is when the rebel in me erupted like a volcano bursting hot killer lava ready to wipe out whatever got in its path.  As a teenager I was seething with feelings, questions and hormones and there was no outlet in sight.  Meditation – never heard of it. Talking things out – what’s that.  So it felt really good to drink, have sex, jumping off a 60 ft. train track bridge, and let it out.  Was that out loud?  Remember my article last quarter on transparency – this is all about healing and helping others save time and energy on their path so if I can offer some wisdom I encourage you to keep reading – your son, your daughter, you or someone in your life may just need a wake up call.

I got to be such a good warrior and my armor held in every single feeling and nothing got out unless it was released in a drunken moment.  My feelings of unworthiness, shame, guilt, jealousy, and rage were so tightly trapped that when they came uncorked I was crying alone in desperation hungover ready to end it all or on another “fun” binge.  From the outside, it appeared fun and at times it was but it was not sustainable.  Sometimes I even think was a manic depressive or bipolar.  I wasn’t I know that now and I was fighting every single moment.  I was not in the now.  I was guilty about the past. I didn’t want to be in the moment – it was too painful.  A mom who drank and was unpredictable, a dad who worked a ton and wasn’t home much, and they also did their best.  All I wanted to know was why?

I wanted to be accepted and loved for who I was and yet I wasn’t sure who that even was. I was told don’t perform it’s too showy and tacky; don’t speak out it’s too risky and whatever you do, get male teachers in college and you’ll do fine.  WTF?

When I was little, I used to say the rosary at night in bed while doing bicycle kicks until I was so exhausted I feel asleep.  No I wasn’t catholic and yet it gave me some peace and let me escape the voices in my head for a while.

As I got older, boys, drugs and drinking took the place of my rosary.  Again, no comfort, no answers, plenty more complicated, hangovers and no love.

My lineage had the repeat button playing for sure.  When I met my husband and his brother life changed.  No it’s not some weird arrangement.  My husband loved me and reflected how to love myself.  His brother a Sai Baba devotee introduced me to acceptance.  Funny, how I always thought acceptance was “giving up” and quitting and letting “them” win.  Acceptance is all about being in the present moment, being in the now. The lightbulb went on and never went off – thank God, Sai Baba, the Universe, Flow, Jesus – where ever you live with your higher power. I could do this because I had an answer and now I had a process for how to really feel my feelings and bring them to the surface for self-reflection. I could see what was real and what was a scenario in my mind only.  At that moment, I was hopeful.

Acceptance is a level playing field. It’s coming up from the bottom of the pool for air. It’s the spaces between the breaths. It’s simply accepting what is in every single moment.  The bridge between resistance and acceptance is awareness.  Once you are aware of what you’re fighting or what you’re resisting, you can say “yes, that’s my bs and own it.”  Once you own it, you’re at acceptance.  From there, you can make a different choice or you can go back to resistance.  This is what I know. If you go back, you will suffer more. Did I hear you ask “why”?  Similar experiences will hit harder until you decide to accept your bs and take new action. Your pain is your biggest possibility.  Whatever is your biggest resistance, is the answer to your “why” question right now. Change and resistance bring both pain and pleasure. Keep the bridge of awareness on your radar and cross when you’re ready to live in the now and keeping walking one step at a time.  Your life is the process for uncovering the masterpiece you were born to become.

Love – Love

Posted by on 6:53 pm in Educate, Elevate, Empower, Inspiration | 0 comments

Love – Love


Why There Should Be No Scorecards in Relationships

by Anne Riley, Author

We Americans are a competitive group. Competition is built into the fabric of our lives the way The Declaration of Independence is built into the Fourth of July. We compete in almost every aspect of our lives: in sports, in school, in jobs. It’s a trait that lies deep in our psyche.

Yes, indeed, we like to compete. We love our winners and we like to keep score. We are experts on taking sides. You name the topic, we can pick a winner. And a loser. Take cities, for example. Just a quick look at the Google shows that cities compete over everything: there are the top ten cities for music, the top ten cities for singles, the top ten cities for transportation, the top ten cities for raising children . . . you get the idea. And every single top ten list is replete with a scorecard that shows just why the winning cities really are winners and why the losing cities are, well, losers.

Sometimes we go a little overboard in the competition department. Not only do we pick winners and keep score, but we imbue our winners with overly positive qualities. Our winners are not just good, they are righteous and heroic and examples of idealized perfection. And of course, our losers are the opposite. Losers are not only bad, they are immoral and weak and the personification of evil. Our views may not always be realistic, but we have been known to hold them dear to our hearts.

It is not my place to judge the societal worth of competitiveness. Like any trait, it has its good points and bad points. Taken in moderation, it is perfectly acceptable, but taken to extremes, it can be problematic. Clearly, learning to be competitive in a competitive world is a useful skill. Learning to win and to lose gracefully is one of the most important skills we will ever learn. But there is one place where competition is not helpful. There is one place where picking winners is a losing strategy, one place where keeping score makes everyone lose.

That is in relationships.

One of the advantages to keeping a scorecard is we always know just where all the players stand. We can tell right away, who is the winner and who is the loser. The only problem is that in a relationship, the very fact there is a winner or a loser can kill the relationship.

Why you ask? To answer that question, we need to talk about trust. The fundamental glue that holds a relationship together is trust. Now, trust is one of the more confounding things ever invented by human beings. It is defined as:

The firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone . . .

I’m sure I’m not the first to explain that firm beliefs take a while to build. And it is this timing problem that leads to the peculiar nature of trust. Once trust is established, once that firm belief is in place, trust is one of the strongest forces around. Fully established trust enables relationship to withstand fierce shocks and remain strong. But, and here’s the ironic part, while trust is being built, it is the most fragile thing in the world, as delicate as a blossom in a breeze.

It takes a long time to build trust into something impenetrable. Trust is constructed by creating layer upon delicate layer of positive words and actions, repeated over and over and over. And it can be deconstructed just as easily by the use negative words and actions, repeated over and over and over.

Think about a single thread. If you have one thread, it is easy to snap in half. If you weave another thread with that lone thread, the resulting ‘rope’ becomes stronger, but it is still easily broken. But eventually, if you weave enough threads together, the resulting rope becomes so strong it can’t be broken. That’s trust. If you weave enough kind words and actions together over time, they create in each partner, an unbreakable certainty that, no matter what happens as life unfolds, the two of you will face it together. Certainty is the key here. Not maybe, not possibly, not even probably. Certainly.

I cannot over emphasize how incredibly wonderful it is to have the certainty of trust in life. Life is, by its nature, uncertain. It can be difficult and confusing and painful. With trust, we have the ability to defy nature and create certainty where it does not naturally exist.

Trust is a fragile thing while it is being built. Trust is an uncertain, fragile, breakable thing until, one day, it has suddenly grown strong enough to become . . . certain, durable and unbreakable. Picking winners and losers while trust is being built is like taking scissors to the rope you have so painstakingly built, thread by slender thread, and destroying it in one go.

Think about it. If you are in a relationship, and you are either constantly battling to win, thus making your partner feel like a loser, or constantly feeling like you are losing, thus making your partner feel like a winner, one of you is always going to be feeling bad. And if one of you feels bad, the relationship struggles. A relationship cannot grow unless both sides win. How can one build any sort of comfort level, any trust, if each partner strives to best the other? There can be no companionship where competition is the basis of the relationship.

Of course, it’s not always easy to create win-win relationships, partly because we our so competitive in other areas of life, but also because we are individuals, and it is not always easy to mesh individuals, with their individual hopes and dreams, into healthy relationships. No two people are ever alike, and sometimes this is never more true than with our partners. How the heck do we mesh two things that are at times polar opposites?

I’ve been married for a long time now, long enough for me to be able to read my husband’s mind. And for him to read mine. This is not always a good thing, but it is true nonetheless. In some ways, we are like one person, but in others, we couldn’t be more different. Yet, we have a crazy strong relationship. It’s a little surprising, when I think about it, because I’ve experienced some significant personal issues in my life that challenged me to my very core. Yet despite my personal upheavals, our relationship has remained rock solid. I often wondered how our marriage withstood so easily those challenges that came with my personal struggles. After pondering this for a while, I realized that we used some useful techniques to build our rope of trust.

I’m sure there are many effective techniques, but I thought I would share the ones we have used over the years to forge our relationship into the flexible steel it is today.

1. Throw out the scorecard. We don’t keep score. We don’t point out who is winning or who is losing. We don’t keep track of who does what for whom. We don’t demand favors in exchange for favors. We don’t keep lists of each other’s mistakes or transgressions. If we have a fight, we don’t bring out the litany of past failures from fights already solved. We just don’t do it.

2. Ask questions. If I have a problem, I will say to Tim, “I have a question.” That is the signal for him to stop what he’s doing and listen, because I’m about to tell him something I’m not too happy about and he probably doesn’t want to hear. Then, as in Jeopardy, I phrase my concern in the form of a question. Without accusation. Without demand. Without drama. We try to keep the discussion as objective and matter-of-fact as possible. What I have learned is that Tim is willing to listen to questions and is even more willing to solve problems. But Tim is not willing to face angry accusations or raised voices before he has even had a chance to understand the problem.

3. Proper perspective helps. What I have learned in a long and happy marriage is that my husband’s happiness is as important, and sometimes even more important, than my own. And even more interesting, I have learned that my happiness is as important, and sometimes even more important, to him. This is our foundation for a win-win relationship. When taking an action, I consider the impact on him as seriously as the impact on me. And he does the same for me. This is a nice way to live.

4. Viva la difference. In some ways, my husband and I are polar opposites. Almost every single day, I am met with this truth. I must say, those moments are absolutely delightful. Sometimes, our differences make me marvel at the fact we ever managed to get together at all. Sometimes, they give me the chance to see the world from a different perspective. Sometimes, they just make me laugh. Whatever, enjoy the differences. They make life so interesting.

I believe scorecards are worthwhile in sports, but I don’t think they belong anywhere in relationships. I will make one exception, however. Tennis is the only sport that provides a scorecard I consider acceptable for relationships. So, just to make sure you know how important a concession this is, I need to explain that the sport of tennis and I are not on friendly terms. I’m a crummy tennis player. I need at least two courts, ten balls, and a 5-game lead on my husband to have even a remote chance of winning a set. But I like the starting score of a tennis match:

Love – love.

That is the way a match starts. That is the same way a relationship starts. And as far as I’m concerned, that is the way they should both stay.










Woman on the Rise – Lauren Padawer

Posted by on 1:40 pm in Elevate, Empower, Resources, Woman on the RISE | 0 comments

Woman on the Rise – Lauren Padawer





Alaska Glacial Mud Co.

Lauren Padawer | President + Founder

Best contact email:

Web URL:

Facebook Page: | Twitter Handle: @AkGlacialMud

Your 140-character pitch: Pure Glacier Derived Spa Therapy

Your Elevateher pitch! {your 90 second pitch about your brand}:

Alaska Glacial Mud Co. sustainably hand-harvests raw glacial mineral mud from the vast Copper River Delta where timeless glaciers have ground remote mountains into pure mineral-rich powder.  We manufacture a niche line of glacier derived spa therapy products for face and body for spa professionals and at-home use.

Your immediate region {within 100 miles}:  Copper River Delta, South Central Alaska 

Featured products &/or services:

Glacial Facial Purifying Mineral Mud Masque and Exfoliating Mineral Soap Bar

What do people think you do for a living?

Play in the Alaskan glacial mud and fish for salmon.

What do you actually do for a living?

Sit behind a desk (mostly) for Alaska Glacial Mud Co. and commercially catch wild Alaska salmon between May-September on a rad boat on the beautiful coastal waters of the Copper River Flats and Prince William Sound.

Tell us about your passions!

I love running both of my businesses, creating products, building a brand and working in the beautiful Alaskan landscape.  Outside of work I am passionate about spending time with my family, skiing the backcountry and eating lillikoi (passionfruit) in Hawaii.

Who|what inspires what you do?

I am deeply inspired by the abundant and healthy wild salmon in Alaska.  I want to make sure they return in perpetuity for all generations to cherish.

Was there a turning point in your life that led you to your current career?

I rafted down the majestic Copper River in 2001 and decided to move to Alaska.  The roots of Alaska Glacial Mud Co. started on that special journey while playing in mud on the banks of the mighty Copper.

If money weren’t a factor, what would you be doing?

I think I would be doing the same jobs, but I would try to make a bigger philanthropic impact.  And I’d have a plot of land bursting with delicious fruit trees.  I’d make jams and send more packages to friends and family.

How does your brand benefit your community and|or a greater purpose?

Alaska Glacial Mud Co. pledges 10% to local organizations that love, work and fight for protection of wild salmon and long-term health of the Copper River Watershed.

What’s in your Bucket List?

Traveling to Portugal, New Zealand, Madagascar, Sardinia, Slovenia. Having a family.

Knowing all you know now, what would you tell your 20 year old self?

Get a minor in business, you never know when your knowledge of marketing and finances will come in handy!

What’s you go-to stress reliever?

I love relaxing in a sauna after day of skiing more than anything in the world!

What is your strategy for turning a negative into a positive?

I always look for the blessing in disguise or the silver lining in a bad situation.  I try to learn something or glean something positive from a negative situation so that I don’t focus on the negative.

How do you perceive retirement?

I perceive retirement as the time when I can spend more time making art and growing my own food.  I try to incorporate aspects of “retirement” into my pre-retirement life because I don’t believe that you work and then retire (and you also never know when life can get cut short unexpectedly).  I believe I will continue to work until I no longer have the energy to do so.  I get a lot of satisfaction from my work.  So I see retirement as a time when I am financially stable enough flip the ratio between work and relaxation/play but it’s not one or the other.

Do you have a personal philosophy you’d like to share?

Pessimism is not an option.  You have to believe in something positive and that happiness is an attitude and a choice.  We’re all handed lemons sometimes; it’s how you respond to those lemons that make your life happy or sad.

What would you like your legacy to be?

I would like my friends and family to have felt my love through handmade gifts and homemade meals.  I would like the nonprofits to which I am dedicated feel financial supported and my community to appreciate any volunteer efforts or philanthropic efforts I have made to improve the community.  I would like generations after me to pick the fruits of vines and trees I have planted.


Posted by on 6:18 pm in Educate, Empower, Inspiration, Resources, Woman on the RISE | 0 comments



You have a degree? Fabulous. Maybe you’re an MBA or a JD? Stellar. If you’re one of the fortunate few, you’ve landed your dream job and your life is everything you’ve ever imagined. Maybe you have a sparkly unicorn in your backyard. But if you’re like the majority of my contemporaries you’re in a job you hate, you don’t have the time you want for XY&Z and you aren’t making what you feel you’re worth. Or you’ve been working your tail off to build a brand and you haven’t made the money you’d hoped you would. You have also likely decided that “it’s just the way it works.”. I’m here to call bullshit on that. If dissatisfaction and living halfway is all you’re aspiring to, stop reading now. This is not the post for you.

If, however, you’re ready to make some big changes in your life, and are ready to connect with your purpose, then let me share a little story.

Last year I heard about BSchool. I thought “what the hell is BSchool?” It was exactly this time last year. I was in the middle of developing this fabulous little gem of an organization. In my brain. And in notebooks. But, in truth, I really had no idea how to get the message out there. With all the women’s groups, I wasn’t sure how ours would make a name for itself. So I looked into this BSchool thing. I was already a fan of Marie Forleo {mastermind behind BSchool}, and Danielle Laporte {whom I adore. Seriously. J’adore!} was the one I had seen chatting up this school thing. If you don’t know these ladies, follow them right now. Go on. I’ll wait….

OK, back to business. I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of business woman. I make a decision and then see it through. By see it through I mean all the way to delicious, glorious success or a blazing inferno of failure. {BOOM!} That kind of crash. But, either way, I’ve done it and learned something. Usually, a lot of somethings. So I was not sure about this BSchool idea. What would I learn that I couldn’t experience on my own or read about somewhere. Was it worth 2k? Did I have the time? What would the ROI be and how would I measure it?

Yes – worth every penny {even if you’re still paying for it!}

Yes – because time is spent on whatever you deem important, and changing my life was a HUGE priority. Being able to touch other women’s lives and connect women in a way that I hadn’t witnessed or experienced was equally important. Living in my purpose was critical. I was ready to make every change I wanted/needed/didn’t know about to pave the path I knew I was meant to be on.

The ROI… you’re looking at it. A year later, we have more than 100k subscribers, your voices & stories have been heard & read in more than 28 countries, we’ve launched a magazine to huge results, have connected women in business, passion and purpose all around the country and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel supremely blessed by all of it. Women Who RISE is about you; I am just the little wizard behind the curtain. Y’all knock my socks off, and the team of incredible people who help me make this machine run, well they are the icing on my cake. So YES… there is an ROI. It’s ginormous.

What you should be aware of before you decide to say YES to BSchool

1. You will no longer be able to think small. This will stretch you. You will grow. And so will your brand. So buckle up buttercup… it’s a wild ride! Not ready? Don’t do it. BSchool is not for everyone. I encourage you to read through Marie’s site, watch her videos and google her. She’s the real deal, but that doesn’t mean she’s right for you. Do your homework. BSchool starts March 8th… you have a few days.

2. Be prepared to do more than you think you can. You will get more tools than you knew you could carry, and you’ll want to use them all at once. Wear safety gear.

3. Listen. And then listen again. One of the incredible benefits of this school is that you have everything at your pretty little fingertips 24/7. For life. Plug in and listen when you have a question. I promise, the answer is there. Connect with other people in school with you. The women you will meet are un-freaking-believeable! True story.

4. Do the entire program the first time. I started, and got so excited, and started to develop AND launch WWR at the same time, and fell off the BSchool bus about half way through. SO, this year I am going start to finish, and will not be missing a beat!

5. Be ready to be honest with yourself. I know, I know… you know it all. I did too. And then I learned that I didn’t. It’s Ok. Once you have your nasty little temper tantrum in your living room, you’ll be back on track and ready to soak up all the genius that Marie and her tribe will share. Put your ego away and learn. For real. And then own your brilliant, fabulous self and be ready to share it with the world. Not the abridged, sugar-coated or watered-down version that has felt safe all these years. The authentically, magically, imperfect version. We’re waiting for you.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. I should mention that I am NOT an affiliate partner of Marie’s. You won’t get a gazillion emails from me asking you to sign up through my link. Not that there is anything wrong with that! {sign up through Danielle’s link - the goodies are to die for! Including The Desire Map, the first book in our new Book Club!}. I’m just a girl who loves this program, and if you’re ready to invest in yourself {first} and your brand {second}, then this is the place to do it. Women Who RISE is living, breathing, awesome proof of what can come from this.

For those of you asking why I’m doing it again this year… we have a new division of our company that launches March 1. I’m ready to focus all the BSchool genius on our newest baby! 

What does ‘B’ stand for? Bold. Brilliant. Brazen. Ballsy. BIG. Bright. Begin.

Woman on the Rise – Joyce Layman

Posted by on 6:00 am in Elevate, Empower, Inspiration, Woman on the RISE | 0 comments

Woman on the Rise – Joyce Layman


JL head shot


Organization Name: Mind By Design

Founder’s Name & Title: Joyce Layman, Chief Dot Connector

Best contact email:

Web URL:

Facebook Page:  |  Twitter Handle: @joycelayman

Your 140-character pitch: {how you’d describe yourself on Twitter}

TEDxUMKC speaker, possibilities thinker, entrepreneur, closet techie, strategic connector, leap taker, president NSA-KC, living life in Layman’s terms

Your Elevateher pitch! {your 90 second pitch about your brand}:

Have you ever caught yourself having a debate in your head? A debate about the goals you’re setting, challenges you’re facing, or frustrated that you can’t pinpoint the missing link in your next level of success? The greatest obstacle you’ll ever face is truly the four inches between your ears!  My process helps you to see past blind spots, uncover those critical gaps in performance and habits that hold you back.  When you connect the dots you can transform the results in your business and life.

Your immediate region {within 100 miles}: Kansas City!

Featured products &/or services:

Just Another Leap (book, audio program w/ workbook – available spring 2014)

Keynote speaking, workshops

What do people think you do for a living?

They’re not sure, they just know I seem really busy :)

What do you actually do for a living?

I’m a keynote speaker and consultant with a speciality in shifting mindset and guiding individuals and organizations through change. I also partner with Breandan Filbert of SalezWORKS. Her expertise is in prospecting and we’ve found a number of clients need a mindset shift first to maximize her process. We both build our businesses on center of influence relationships so it was a natural fit to partner.

Tell us about your passions!

In the words of the great country music philosopher, Clay Walker, I want to drink every drop of happiness till they cover me up, I want to live, I want to laugh and I want to love! Life deals enough challenges so I believe humour is essential.  I chose the entrepreneurial route instead of college so I have a thirst for knowledge and thrive on new challenges. I love making strategic connections and watching synergies happen! Pushing comfort zones is something I believe we need to do in order to get to the next level. I’m on a mission to help others see beyond what they perceive is currently possible and ease their comfort zone leaps.

Who|what inspires what you do?

Here’s the short list: My Mom, Diana Nyad, Bob Burg (author/speaker), Darren Hardy with Success Magazine, my friend Marti Hill (be sure to watch her story on CBS 48 Hours Live to Tell), Denise Mills (changed my life), Harry Campbell (CEO and author), Barbara Corcoran and the rest of the Shark Tank folks, Amy Purdy, Brene Brown, the audiences I speak to, heart warming stories on facebook and twitter, Kyle Maynard. My family and friends are a terrific source of inspiration too!

Was there a turning point in your life that led you to your current career?

Yes!  In an effort to learn more about networking, I attended an event where Denise Mills was speaking. She had the kind of energy that literally lit up the room when she walked in. I wasn’t sure what that energy was, but knew I wanted some of it. This was during a point in my life I had just come out of a devastating relationship and was trying to find focus in my business. Denise and I met a few weeks later for coffee and during the conversation she said, “there’s this program you need to go through.” I didn’t care what it was, or even the cost. Knowing Denise was enough. The program was Investment In Excellence created by The Pacific Institute.  Investment In Excellence is based in cognitive psychology so it helped me to understand how my mind worked and how my thoughts were creating my results. I had so many light bulb moments in the first day that I called the facilitator and said, “I’m not quite sure what I’ve got my hands on but know I need to teach this!”  A few months later I went through the training. The curriculum is the foundation for my life and the work I do.  It’s helped me overcome my greatest fears and take leaps in business I never dreamed possible!

If money weren’t a factor, what would you be doing?

Exactly what I’m doing now!

How does your brand benefit your community and|or a greater purpose?

I started a ripple effect with my facebook and twitter posts without even knowing it. It’s so cool to have someone send me a message to say how much they appreciated the timing of a particular quote or article ! That feeling goes to another level when they tell me they shared it with a friend who was struggling and needed to hear that very thing. One person shares with another and the impact can be felt across a community and thanks to social media, around the world.

What’s in your Bucket List?

Speaking at TEDxUMKC last September allowed me to cross one thing off. Seeing it go viral is at the top of the list!! I’d love the chance to do another TEDx talk and of course, TED. Travel to: Tuscany, Paris, New Zealand and Belize (continue to add to this list). Research and find the 10 best Spa’s in the world and spend a week at each one. Start riding dressage again and attain 2nd level with my Friesian cross horse. Share the stage with Darren Hardy of Success Magazine. And…..

Knowing all you know now, what would you tell your 20 year old self?

Wow, that was 29 years ago! The first thing would be to buy Microsoft stock as soon as it’s available. Find a great financial advisor and get a plan for retirement asap. Working on personal development sooner than later will save you a lot of headaches and cosmic 2×4′s. There will be challenges, and some will feel overwhelming but know you’ll get through. Choose your friends wisely because you are truly the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Schedule more time to spend with your amazing family. Thinking you’ll catch up later doesn’t always happen and when you lose your parents too soon it is something that will lay heavily on your heart. Enjoy your time away from work because it’s essential to de-stress. Laying your heart on the line can hurt sometimes, and the only way to know great love it to take that risk. Learn to time block and use it daily. Find a mentor or maybe two. Be open to the possibilities of what your future holds. I know you think you’ve got it all figured out, but where you’re at now is so far from where you’ll be at 30, 40 and 50 years young. Tell the people you love that you love them and do it often.

What’s you go-to stress reliever?

Quiet time to read, yoga, have a glass of wine and simply recharge. Occasionally I will veg out with Big Bang Theory or West Wing reruns. On the flip-side, having a night out with friends where I laugh so hard my sides hurt. It’s hard to be stressed then!

What is your strategy for turning a negative into a positive?

Everyone is entitled to have a pity party on occasion as long as they don’t stay to long or invite anybody!  Turning a negative into a positive is all about perspective. When something negative happens you have choice to dwell in the negative or acknowledge it as a lesson and move on. Remember to breathe deeply too!

How do you perceive retirement?

Not sure that I will ever retire in the traditional sense.  I’ve been on several boards over the years and feel I can add value to promoting worthy causes.  Mentoring is another way to share wisdom and nurture future leaders.  I’m currently mentoring a student at KU. Katie is simply awesome and she’s taught me a lot through the experience. Social media is something I do regularly for my business now and would love to have more time to connect and converse.  Of course more vacations are on the list. It would be great to finally catch up on all the books I have on my shelf, in my Kindle and Audible!

Do you have a personal philosophy you’d like to share?

I believe that if you change your thoughts you can change your life. We have a tendency to get stuck in our own beliefs without even realizing it. Our beliefs create the stories we tell over and over again. Some serve us, but it’s the ones that limit our potential that need to be recognized. Once you have an awareness, you can shift your thoughts and literally change your life.

What would you like your legacy to be?

To be remembered for making a difference. This realization hit me as I was sitting at the memorial service for my friend, Merry Ann. She was tragically killed in a car crash at 42. The funeral home was literally overflowing with people to the point they had all the doors open. To see the lives she had touched was a profound experience. It’s easy to discount the impact we have on other’s lives in daily interactions. You can make a difference!

Beyond Fear

Posted by on 1:33 am in Educate, Elevate, Empower, Inspiration | 0 comments

Beyond Fear



A single syllable word whose very pronunciation sends chills running through the human body. All of a sudden, the reel of our mind starts playing, displaying the very thing or things that we’re afraid of. The things that hold us back; stopping us dead in our tracks. What’s your biggest fear?

A spider?





Small Spaces?

Never amounting to anything?

Or even worse, becoming just like . . . ?

It’s hard to believe a four-letter noun could describe a place of significant bondage; possessing so much strength that it actually paralyzes its unsuspecting victims. While we tend to brush off the fear of others as childish, foolish, or simply ridiculous, I’m learning that fear, although it cannot be seen, is a very real thing. Fear has the power to immobilize us, keeping us from all that we were created to be, but I believe its time for a change.

Would you agree?

I believe that 2014 is the year to go beyond your fear; to take that unknown step that you’ve been putting off. To go that extra inch, take a risk and start a new business or venture, or simply let something go you’ve held onto far too long.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of embarking on a new journey. A journey that would inspire, transform, and most of all challenge me to live beyond my predetermined life borders. So much so, that this new journey started 40 feet up in the air.

As a challenge to go beyond ourselves in leadership this year, a team that I am blessed to be apart of, had to scale a 40 foot log pole and then balance ourselves across another 40 foot pole that was suspended in the air before propelling back below to the ground.

To say I was feeling my share of fear would be an understatement. Every muscle and nerve in my body objected to the very idea of having to shimmy up a pole and then hang out suspended up in the air. I mean, there were a lot safer things I could be doing with my time; I’m a mother and a wife for crying out loud! But as I waited on the ground in my safety harness, something inside, amongst all the fear whispered, “If you take this one step, you’ll be able to take many.” And with that I went. Sure I was scared, terrified even, but the thought of not being able to do something greater, propelled me forward. I realized that if I could do this, there were a lot of other things that I would step out into in 2014.

More than that, there was a team cheering me on, believing in me and wanting the best for me and vice versa. It was amazing to see each teammate push themselves beyond their limits, trusting that the team had their back and would keep them safe. Although not everyone made it up the pole and across the balance beam, each person did take at least one step beyond their fear.

And really, that’s all that matters. That’s all it takes.

I don’t know what you fear this year. What you feel like you’ve been called to start, leave, or support, but my hope is that you wouldn’t allow fear to rob you of the feeling and joy that comes when you take that first step beyond it. It just may be the one step that propels you into your destiny.



The Wedding Dress

Posted by on 8:00 am in Empower, Family, Inspiration | 0 comments

The Wedding Dress


by Anne Riley, Author

For those of you who have read my monthly articles posted here at the Women Who Rise website, you know by now that I’m a minimalist. That’s just a nice way of saying I don’t like stuff. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like all stuff. This is a story of one very special thing in my life. And in honor of the month of love, it is also happens to be a love story . . .

The Wedding Dress

When World War II broke out, my parents were freshmen at Seattle College in Washington state. My Dad, Gene, met my mom, Cay, during a rainy weekend hiking club event. He finagled his way into driving the club truck back to campus when he discovered it was her turn to ride shotgun. It was a classic tale. They became best of friends. They grew inseparable. They fell in love.

The war loomed and no one, not even young people in love, could ignore it. Early in 1943, Gene joined the military. He became a pilot in the Army Air Forces and began extensive training in Texas. Though he and Cay were in love, and, as they laughed at the time, “engaged to be engaged,” they decided against marriage before the war. “I don’t know what will happen,” Gene told Cay. “I can’t leave you with any burdens.”

Cay missed Gene something fierce. Though they wrote letters frequently, it was often weeks before one would arrive, and it was clear it had been read by Army censors. Phone calls were even more rare. I know for a fact that my parents wrote many letters because I saw boxes and boxes of them in the attic when I was young. To this very day, my 91-year-old mother keeps a small stack of “special letters” by her bedside. The time apart did nothing to dim their desire to be together. In fact, their love just grew with each passing day.

Gene’s parents, I knew them as Nana and Umpie, invited Cay, Cay’s father, and her sister Marie to Thanksgiving dinner in November of 1943. It was the first real holiday with Gene away from home, and Cay was delighted to share this time with her future in-laws. It was as close as she could get to actually being with Gene.

After dinner, as the two families sat around the fire, Joe, Gene’s oldest brother, cleared his throat. “I have something special to announce,” he said. From his pocket, he pulled out a small box. “I am standing in for Gene, as he cannot be here. He wants you to have this ring. He wants you to wear it so that everyone will know that the two of you are officially engaged. Congratulations.” And then he presented Cay with a lovely diamond engagement ring. Cay was never more surprised in her life.

If you ask Cay, I am not sure she will be able to tell you which moved her more, the fact that Gene painstakingly saved his money for months, paycheck by paycheck, to buy her that engagement ring, or that her future scientist husband so painstakingly worked out the logistics of the event: The letter from a younger brother asking his eldest brother to stand in for him. The money being sent with specific instructions to buy the perfect ring. The idea that the man she loved, though far away and probably in more danger than he would ever admit to, had orchestrated a way to do things “right.” I do know this though; this memory warms my mom’s heart to this very day.

Gene shipped over to England in late 1944. He flew B-17s over mainland Europe. He was pretty busy, as you can imagine. By the time victory came to Europe in May of 1945, Gene had flown 31 missions over the skies of Europe. The good news, he was still alive. The bad news, a pilot was required to fly 32 missions before he could be discharged and return home. His crew was reassigned to an airbase near Marseilles, France for another six months. From there, they flew back and forth to Casablanca, ferrying officers who were being transported from Europe to the Pacific theater.

Even though they weren’t together yet, Gene and Cay now had a target date for his discharge from the Army. He hoped to be home by Christmas Day, 1945. They planned to be married as soon as possible after his arrival.

Now that a wedding was becoming more reality than dream, Cay began to worry she would not have a proper dress to wear. Even with the war approaching its end, there was no silk available. Because of its strength, silk was the preferred fabric for parachutes and had been rationed for years. By 1945, it was just not available stateside. Gene thought of sending his own parachute to Cay, but unfortunately, as he was still flying planes, he needed it. So, he did the next best thing. He and Pete, a fellow crew member, visited a military warehouse where they “found” an unused parachute that was in good shape. They split it down the middle, and each fellow sent half to his respective girl. Cay would have a silk wedding dress after all.

Cay picked out a McCall’s pattern and arranged for the gown to be made by a local dressmaker. If you ask me, it suits her. The dress is beautiful and elegant and classic. But when she put it on that first time and looked at her reflection in the mirror, all she was thinking about was the man she was going to marry.

The wedding planning went about as well as possible, given that no one knew exactly when the groom would show up. Gene arrived home just in time to ring in the New Year, on January 1, 1946. Now that was a homecoming! It took a few weeks to be formally discharged from the military. By then, thousands of GIs were coming home, and there was quite the bottleneck as they all attempted to be discharged at the same time.

Next came the bureaucratic whyfores and wheretos. Gene and Cay needed to gather birth certificates and baptismal certificates, take marriage classes, and have the wedding banns read three weeks in a row at the local Catholic Church. Then there was the small matter of finding a place to live. With all the returning veterans, there were no apartments available in the Seattle area.

Scheduling was a challenge. They wanted to be married before March 1st, when the new term began at Seattle College. Gene planned to re-enroll and finish the degree that he left midstream three years earlier. And Lent was coming. In the Catholic Church in those days, the Church didn’t perform weddings during the forty days before Easter. Neither of them wanted to wait another forty minutes, much less forty days, to be married. That narrowed the window to February.

The church wasn’t available any Saturday in February. Even if it were, the priest that Gene and Cay asked to preside over their wedding ceremony, and who also happened to be a chemistry professor teaching a full load of classes, didn’t have much time to spare.

Obstacles schmobstacles. None of them mattered. Gene and Cay just wanted to get married. They knocked down each problem as it came up. And indeed, order soon emerged from the chaos. Documents were found and delivered. The banns were read and no one objected to the upcoming nuptials. A lucky conversation between Cay and the sacristarian at church led to a rented room with kitchen and bathroom privileges. The priest penciled in their wedding date between grading papers and preparing for Organic Chemistry class. Gene was enrolled in school. Cay, now graduated, found a job as a secretary at the college. Oh, yes, and the dress was finished and just waiting to be worn.

Gene and Cay were married during the 8:15 am mass on Tuesday morning, February 19, 1946. The dress of course, was gorgeous. I am not sure my Dad noticed, though. He was just looking at the girl wearing it.

Anne's parents wedding day

After the wedding, my parents jumped into their new lives with the sense of renewed energy that came with reprieve from war. My Dad became a nuclear scientist. My Mom became her own version of a military commander. This statement makes sense when you learn that they had twelve children. I am number eleven.

The wedding dress stayed in the closet, snugly wrapped in a heavy-duty garment bag next to Dad’s military uniform. When I was young, my little sister Eileen and I would sneak into the bedroom, carefully unzip the bag, and peek at both the dress and the uniform. They are forever tied together in my mind.

In 1981, I became engaged to Tim, my wonderful husband. My story isn’t nearly as amazing as my parents,’ but it has its own charm. We were high school sweethearts and went to different colleges. Like my parents, we wrote letters every day and we couldn’t wait to get out of college to get married. But there the similarity ends. Neither Tim nor I carry the romance gene. His proposal went something like this: The summer before our senior year in college, Tim opened up the calendar and picked out a Saturday a few months after our expected college graduation dates the following May. “This looks like a good day,” he said. And that was that. It must be noted that I thought this was a perfectly wonderful proposal.

Once our engagement was official, the wedding planning wheels began to take a serious turn. Being in the early stages of minimalism even then, I was less concerned about the wedding than actually being married. Except for one thing. The dress. I have five sisters, and by that time, four of them were married, yet none of them had worn my Mom’s wedding dress. Maybe it wasn’t allowed, I wondered. Since I thought that dress was the most beautiful thing in the world, I risked the unspoken taboo and asked anyway. “Mom, would it be okay if I wore your wedding dress?”

“Of course,” Mom smiled. “Won’t that be nice?”

And it was. And though I was five-feet-six and Mom was only five-feet-two, the dress somehow fit perfectly.

On my wedding day, I dressed in the basement of the country church, which Tim attended as a child. When I was ready, I went upstairs to the back of the church where my Dad was waiting to walk me down the aisle. He turned around and stopped suddenly, a look halfway between shock and surprise on his face. Then he gave his sweet Dad-chuckle and said, “Annie, you look just like your mother.” I swore there was a glisten in his eye, and I realized that for just a fleeting moment, he was transported back in time to that day, thirty-five years earlier, when he was married. That moment remains one of the most precious of my life.

Anne's wedding photo

Tim and I, as my parents before us, jumped into our new life in Oregon with the enthusiasm of the young. Tim was an engineer, and I worked as an accountant. Within four years, we had three lovely children, Jim, Celeste and Erin. I know I’m a slacker, and that this is only one quarter of my parents’ family output level, but I hereby publicly state that my mother is awesome and that I am not in her league.

The lovely wedding dress, fresh with new memories, remained with my mother, in her closet, once again snuggled next to my Dad’s uniform.

Now, we must fast-forward to 2011. My lovely daughter Celeste, all grown up and now a newly minted PhD in bio-engineering, is engaged to Greg, a newly minted PhD in astrochemistry. I’m not sure exactly where they fit on the “romance” scale. Mothers do not discuss these matters with their daughters. But I do know they met on the basketball court outside the dorm on the Oregon State campus. And I do know Celeste is a really good three-point shooter. She has been known to impress a boy or two with that shot. I think this is romantic, but as we have already established, that is not saying much.

As her own wedding planning proceeded, Celeste could not seem to find the right dress. One day on the phone, she described what she was looking for: classic, elegant, simple. Even I could put these fashion dots together. “Let me send you a few pictures of the dress I wore,” I said.

Of course, she loved it. “It’s just what I am looking for.”

And so, we asked her grandmother. “Would it be okay if Celeste wore your dress?” I asked when I talked to my Mom on the phone a short time later.

“Would it?” Grandma said, and I could hear her smile across all those miles of the phone line. “It would be wonderful.”

Now, there were a few coordination issues to work out. Just getting the dress to Celeste was a challenge. Celeste lived in Arizona, Tim and I lived in Oregon, and my mom and dad lived in Illinois. It’s not the kind of thing you just put in the mail and trust to the US Postal Service. However, in the summer of 2010, we were all together for a family reunion. One evening while we were visiting at my sister’s home, Mom brought out a large package. Inside was the dress; along with a picture of my parents on their wedding day, the black and white tone giving away its age; and a lovely note from a grandmother to her granddaughter.

Then there was the height issue. Celeste is five foot ten and has the broad shoulders of an athlete. As I mentioned, my Mom is a petite five-feet-two. But Celeste had the good sense to marry a nice young man whose mother is a talented seamstress. Greg’s mom, Carolyn, worked magic with the dress, altering it to fit Celeste’s tall frame while making it a testament to its history and still ageless enough to rock a new century.

Celeste and Greg were married in an outdoor ceremony on a warm, sunny afternoon in Lawson, Missouri. Before she and Greg walked from their cabin to the ceremony, they stopped for a special visit with my mom and dad. I’ve enclosed the picture with this story because sometimes there are just no words that can do a moment justice. You’ll understand when you see it. It remains one of my favorite photos of all time. However, it does make me cry.

Anne's family

When Tim and I walked Celeste down the aisle, I had a clear view of my mom and dad as they watched the ceremony unfold. They sat in the front row, holding each other’s hands and smiling. I like to think they were picturing that day, many years ago, when they were young and starting on the path that their grandchild was now beginning. The day was different. They were married on a rainy Tuesday morning in February. Celeste and Greg were being married on an unseasonably warm evening in October. The times were different. Sixty-five years had passed since that dress was first worn. And yet, that dress . . . it seemed to bind together the most important things about life, a silken link between generations, at once timeless and beautiful and strong.

Anne's daughters wedding day

Later that evening at the reception, my parents danced. There they were, Mom’s eyes sparkling and laughing, Dad giving his usual grin as he twirled her around. All these years later, I don’t think they’ve changed much!

Anne's Parents

The dress is carefully stored away again. Perhaps waiting for a new adventure? It is not for me to say. But I thought this a particularly nice time to tell this story. Why? Because in a couple of weeks, on February 19, 2014, my parents will celebrate their 68th anniversary. Sixty-eight years of generous, happy, wonderful love.

As you might understand, at 91 years old, my parents have slowed down a bit. They are more frail as each year passes. They cannot do some of the things they used to do. I visited them just last month, during a bitter cold Midwest January. And once again, I discovered they still have lessons to teach me.

They do not focus on isn’t and can’t and was. They stay by each other’s side and enjoy each other’s company and live as if they were still young. They are connected in a way that makes their union stronger than each of them is alone. They soak in each moment as if it will last forever.

Maybe there is some magic in that dress. Maybe there was something about the strength of my parents’ love that was passed along, hidden in the silken strands of that gown. Tim and I, despite our romance-less natures, share that same sense of companionship and appreciation for the little moments that mean so much. Even after thirty years of marriage and three children, there is a part of us that still feels young, at least to each other. And Celeste and Greg? Well, they are young, so I’ll give them a pass on that test. But I see the magic in them too. That partnership. That connection. That synergy where the two of them create something neither of them could create by themselves. Yes, maybe that dress has something special . . .

I always like to end these stories with a hope and a wish for you. The same is true now, but this time I am adding a request. During this month of valentines, my hope is that you will find such love in your life. And that once you find it, you will nurture it and build it and shape it into that flexible steel that is often needed to handle the vagaries of life.

As for the request, it’s a simple one. Please join me in wishing my parents a very happy anniversary. Well done, my sweet, wonderful parents. Well done.




Posted by on 8:00 am in Elevate, Empower, Inspiration | 0 comments



It isn’t just a day to us. Love is a constant. Or, it should be. We are all made from love and it is the tie that binds us. Love motivates us, fills us, challenges us and can also be the most fleeting, fickle, elusive thing in the world. Yet we all seek it consistently, crave it and yearn to share it. So, this month, let’s talk about it!

Who and|or what do you love? How do you see love moving through your life? Tell us about acts of love you see daily! Share your thoughts on how we can live in love. Has love changed your life?

You get the idea! Share your stories. Simply fill out the form below and we will be in touch! Let’s celebrate the #monthoflove together!

Millennial Chat!

Posted by on 8:29 am in college, Educate, Empower, Inspiration | 0 comments

Millennial Chat!


by Grace McLain, Resident Millennial


As a member of the current twenty-something generation, I occasionally find myself a bit overwhelmed. It seems as though everyone is analyzing us, speculating on our futures, and either telling us that we’re narcissistic and lazy, or that we’re the best generation America has ever seen.

Google “millennial” and thousands of articles pop up, such as “Are Millennials the Screwed Generation?”, “Does Marriage Make Sense for Millennials?”, “Do Millennials Stand a Chance in the Real World?” (These are only the first three results of 2 million).

Personally, I find the notion of characterizing millions of people who happen to have been born within the same general time frame pretty ridiculous.  The many individuals I know from my generation are just that – individuals, unique and different, with varied attitudes on life, a wide range of struggles, and divergent paths for the future.

While we are all different, we still have something in common. No, not narcissism, addiction to technology, or hatred for tradition, as some of those articles like to claim.  What we have in common is that we are all trying to navigate the professional world, find jobs, and establish careers in an environment that is less than ideal.

So while I will never pretend to claim to speak for my generation or articulate the struggles felt by everyone in my age range, I know what is going on with my small sphere of millennials – myself, my friends, and my college classmates.  In this column I will share stories from the lives of these people, particularly my fellow millennial women, in order to provide a glimpse into this generation.  I hope that I might also provide a bit of advice for those in the same boat as me.