This issue of Inspiring Lives Magazine spotlights stories of empowering women. From model Madeline Stuart who has Down syndrome and is changing the face of beauty, to a woman who was an important part of the rescue mission in Malibu during the California wildfires… Inspiring Lives Magazine has the inspiration you are seeking!
Among the amazing people in this issue is Amal Clooney who has dedicated her life to being more than simply the glamorous wife of a movie star. She uses her impressive legal career to shed light on alarming current human rights issues such as female sex slaves.
Annually, we honor the Empowering Women in Philanthropy Award Winners, and this year’s cohort includes five incredible women: Dr. Michele Langbein, Lynn Doehring, Stacy Klein, Sara Makin, and Shevelle McPherson, who are all making a difference in their local and global communities.
A special thank you goes to our Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Gloria Steinem who told me when I presented her with the award that I must be her “kindred spirit to be printing an empowerment magazine today!”
Of course, Gloria Steinem is a true American feminist icon whose list of achievements includes multiple humanitarian and lifetime achievement awards. Gloria was the co-founder of Ms. Magazine and a columnist for The New Yorker. Plus, she founded the Women’s Media Center with Robin Morgan and Jane Fonda. She has a heart that tirelessly fights for women’s and racial rights.
Because she is 84 years old now, many have asked her who she will pass her torch to. But she explained that she has no intention of giving up her torch. In fact, she urged us all to take up our own torches to light the way for each other.
I hope that this year and in the years to come you will shine your own light. Keep it burning bright through self-care. And when you can, help others along your journey. Because we all count and we all matter. Shine on!
Dr. Shellie Hipsky
Inspiring Lives Magazine’s
2018 Empowering Women in Philanthropy Awards
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Gloria Steinem is a writer, speaker, activist and feminist organizer. She co-founded New York Magazine and Ms. Magazine, where she remains a consulting editor. She has produced a documentary on child abuse for HBO, a feature film about the death penalty for Lifetime, and WOMAN, a series of eight documentaries for VICELAND about violence against women in eight countries, from the United States to Zambia.
She is also the subject of The Education of a Woman, a biography by Carolyn Heilbrun, and HBO’s “Gloria: In Her Own Words.” Her books include the bestsellers My Life on the Road, Revolution from Within, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words, Marilyn: Norma Jean, on the life of Marilyn Monroe, and in India, As If Women Matter.
She was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a three-year effort to compare racial patterns in South Africa, Brazil, and the United States. She co-founded and serves on the boards of the Women’s Media Center, Equality Now, Donor Direct Action, and the Advisory Board of Apne Aap and is a frequent speaker on campuses and in the media. She is an advisor to TIME’S UP, part of a global movement against sexual harassment and violence. In 2013, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.
“We are striving to create a circle, not a hierarchy. We are understanding more and more that we as human beings are linked, not ranked. And the whole idea of gender, race, and class and all the things we were told are hierarchically impossible are not. Each one of us is a unique combination of heredity and environment that has never happened before and will never happen again. At the same time, almost all of us share everything as a human being, not to be divided by label but by our uniqueness. We are all on this adventure together.”
Shevelle McPherson is an accomplished attorney, an award-winning international speaker, and a business and legal strategist. McPherson is a former assistant district attorney for the City of Philadelphia and was selected as a Pennsylvania Rising Star twice and featured in Super Lawyer Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, and South Jersey Magazine.
McPherson is the number one bestselling author of Soar! Beyond the Heels of Adversity. She supports women entrepreneurs in creating sustainable businesses that are not just profitable, but legally protected so they can earn the income they desire and have the peace of mind they deserve. McPherson is also the founder and CEO of Soar 2 Success Academy, an online platform she created to educate and empower entrepreneurs through online courses and webinars.
She hosts two annual charitable events each year, where she raises funds for charitable organizations such as The Global Sisterhood and I Dare to Care, organizations that help women and children nationally and internationally. She also hosts her annual “Shevelle In the City” Toys for Tots charity event where she has a toy drive for underprivileged children and families.
“I Dare to Care Inc. in Camden, New Jersey, has a mission and impact that hits so close to home for me. It provides mentoring and after-school care services to inner-city girls. I was once an inner-city girl with no mentor, no after school care services, and no structured community programs to attend. As a result, I ended up a teenage mom and had to learn how to navigate life successfully the hard way, through life’s difficult challenges and experiences. My son was my motivation, but without many role models besides my grandmother, I struggled to achieve more.
“Early intervention, supervision, a structured environment, and “in your face” mentoring is so important for young girls, especially in African American inner-city communities because they face additional obstacles such as single parent households and mass incarceration, problems that typically result in additional challenges. Empowering young girls early on with mentoring, education and training, can completely change the trajectory of a young girls life.
“I Dare to Care provides young girls with a great foundation and helps break some of those inner city cycles, such as teenage pregnancy. It instills values, builds confidence, teaches life skills, and provides a safe haven and much needed love and support to girls growing up in an under-privileged and under-resourced community. This program may just be the light that leads these young girls, a few diamonds in the rough, to becoming successful, independent young women, equipped with life skills, confidence, and values that will ultimately help them make a big impact in the world, just like I was able to do. I believe we are blessed to be a blessing and the I Dare to Care Program with Pamela Grayson-Baltimore acting as a mentor to these girls is truly a blessing so they can bless the entire world with their many gifts and talents. Role models rock!”
DR. MICHELE LANGBEIN
Dr. Michele Langbein is a tenured professor in the Roland School of Business at Point Park University (Pittsburgh, Penn.). She earned her Ph.D. in instructional leadership and management from Robert Morris University. In addition to teaching, she is a model, writer, mom, advocate for autism and special needs, and small business owner. She volunteers her time and helps raise money and awareness for numerous charities and causes. She served on the board of directors for The Global Sisterhood for two years. In her free time, she loves to travel and ride her Harley Davidson motorcycles.
“An empowered woman is someone who uses her talents and connections to help make a difference. She doesn’t find excuses for why she can’t do something but, rather, figures out ways to do it. Most importantly, she is passionate about what she does and inspires others. An empowered woman sets her goals high and strives to not only meet them but exceed expectations. An empowered woman is a woman on a mission to make a positive impact.
“Over the years, I’ve worked with so many different charities and helped raise money for multiple worthy causes. Each charity and fundraiser is unique and special in its own way. Having a child on the autism spectrum has made causes relating to special needs and autism a personal mission.
“Last year, an opportunity arose in my town, Bethel Park, Penn., for all of us to make an impact. We experienced severe flooding where over 275 houses were affected, and several of them were condemned. So I coordinated with the magistrate’s office and donated hundreds of shirts and clothing from my embroidery business. Then I began collected cleaning supplies and water. Our community came together to help each other out. It was amazing the outpouring of love and caring people that participated. Neighbors helped with clean-up, volunteering their time, and donating cleaning supplies, furniture, and clothing. A group was formed to aid those affected with whatever they needed—even things such as helping neighbors with laundry since many of their basements were flooded. I was touched to be a part of the community that came together to help one another in a time of need.
“I encourage everyone to do what they can. All too often people think that if they don’t have money they can’t help. But there are so many ways to help that don’t involve money. Volunteering your time can make a huge difference in a person’s life.
“Although it may seem like there aren’t enough hours in a day, you can always make time for the things that are important to you. Even a small act of kindness can go a long way in helping a person in need. As a mother, I try my set an example for my children and show them how important it is to volunteer and help with charity events and causes. We need to lead by example. We need to embrace diversity and include everyone we can in our efforts.”
Stacy Klein is the Executive Director for the Women’s Business Enterprise and Building Hope at 84 Lumber Company. In this role, Klein is responsible for driving
business development activity and sales, leveraging 84 Lumber’s status as a nationally certified (through WBENC) woman-owned business and supplier diversity. Klein also assumes responsibility for 84 Lumber’s charitable giving program.
Klein resides in Venetia, Penn., and is the proud mother of three children: Gunnar (6), Melania (4), and Zander (3).
“In August of 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the Galveston Bay Area of Texas. It was a devastating, life-changing event for the community. I had just started my job at 84 Lumber Company and was deployed to Houston to see how we could do our part in disaster recovery.
“This small Texas town is comprised of primarily low socioeconomic citizens on fixed incomes and minority children, many of the children being raised by grandparents or great-grandparents. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other agencies were not able to gain entry into parts of our town, due to the flood waters. As the water receded, they were left with many homeless families, damaged homes, and minimal assistance from outside agencies because the flood covered such a large span of territory, including many larger cities.
“The Hitchcock ISD Education Foundation raised funds, collected food and clothing donations, and offered a support system to teachers and families. I represented 84 Lumber at a roundtable meeting with the Foundation to come up with solutions to help the community and surrounding areas. At the time, the Kids First Head Start campus that houses their 3- and 4-year old students did not have a library, only one bookshelf, 2 chairs, a rug, and a few books.
“I was shocked, saddened, and determined to help those kids. When I saw them, I was touched that these little people who lost everything had smiles on their faces and love radiating out of their little hearts. As a mother myself and a believer in our future generations and the importance that they get education and most of all love, I was overwhelmed with emotion and compassion.
“The Hitchcock ISD Education Foundation, Gulf Coast Foursquare Relief volunteers, and 84 Lumber partnered together to build a library at Kids First Head Start. In December of 2017, we held a ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the library and reading room that was filled with age-appropriate books, puzzles, and games. A nationwide book drive had not only completely stocked the library, but also allowed each student to take books home.
“84 Lumber donated filled backpacks for every student. I got to personally hand-deliver the backpacks. I couldn’t have done it without the help of 84 Lumber, Maggie Hardy Magerko, and many members of our staff. Most importantly, it was others’ belief in me, in my message, and the recognition of the need and the impact that we could make. A single person can most definitely change the lives, hearts, and worlds of many.”
Lynn Doehring is a mother of four, grandmother of three, wife, and entrepreneur. After 28 years as an agency partner, she launched her own company, Bridge Insurance Group, Inc. in 2013 to help her clients cross over to a better insurance experience. Bridge Insurance Group is focused on client engagement and leading the industry by elevating the insurance experience to a relationship, not a transaction. The team is committed to improving themselves, their client’s insurance portfolios, and the community.
“My favorite charity to support is the Lemoyne Community Center in Washington, Penn. I have participated in each of the hands-on programs, including Coco’s Christmas where children “earn” Coco bucks during the year to spend on their families for Christmas Gifts. Camp Challenge, a summer program, helps children learn conflict resolution, job skills, healthy eating, the arts, and hands on education, while providing field trips.
“During the year, they provide Homework and More, an after school program that has helped raised math scores and graduation rates and decreased crime rates by over 50% in the community. Nutrafit is a program teaching nutritional skills, which has evolved into a mobile feeding program that served over 23,000 meals in over 18 locations around the area. An American Girls Book Club allows the study of history in a very real way, and culminates in a trip to the character’s hometown.
“There is a powerful blend of high expectation, excitement about growth, and so much love you can sense it as soon as you arrive.
“I am so passionate about this organization because they are tremendous stewards of all resources given to them, and they impact my community with life-changing results. This is a place where a respectful attitude, willingness to learn, and a good work ethic can transform the course of anyone’s life. Never have I seen so little transformed into so much and have such lasting and visible result.
“To be a light, to be generous, to give when it’s easy and also when it’s difficult, is the true wealth of life.”
Sara Makin has been helping others improve their lives ever since she was a child. She has worked in the psychology field since she was a teenager and has worked in inpatient, outpatient, research, university, k–12, rehab, and halfway house settings. She is a two time best-selling author, the owner of Makin Wellness premier therapy & coaching centers, and is the host of Road to Ruin: Journey of the Poppy, a Pittsburgh, Penn., area TV show about Opioid Addiction. She spends her days helping her clients live more happy and meaningful lives. Makin loves to laugh with her friends and loved ones, meditate, and spend time in nature.
“I was so devastated when I head about the shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh. It is only a few miles away from our Downtown Pittsburgh Makin Wellness. When I found out, I decided that we were going to offer complimentary crisis counseling for anyone in need. We saw many people virtually the next day. Hearing some of the stories was so difficult, but it was amazing connecting with lots of people and helping them in their healing process.
“Today, it is so important for me as a woman to be a positive example, especially to our kids. They are exposed to so much negative and disempowering content. I feel like women and girls are targeted even more. They are frequently objectified in the media as sex objects rather than a person with a heart and soul.
“As a role model, I think it’s imperative that we add value to society in a moral and selfless way. Youth need to see more people in the media who are helping people and doing good things.
“An empowered woman is magical! She not only believe is herself but KNOWS herself and understands her worth. She not only loves and has compassion for others but herself as well. She spreads good energy wherever she goes and inspires others by living her life on her terms.”
Empire Investigations, Bob Kresson, www.areyoususpicious.com