Bruce 'Pretty Boy' Boyington - Professional MMA Fighter

I'm honored to share Bruce's story. We trained and traveled the country competing, and grew up together in the Taekwondo Community. The core principals of Taekwondo are something we forever share and have shaped who we are today. Bruce is a top-ranked MMA fighter and a kindhearted, loyal father, husband, son, friend, and veteran. -Jessica Lea Nolette (blog creator)  

I am a man chasing a dream in which I feel I’m already living! I believe in what’s right.
— Bruce Boyington

Your nickname is Bruce 'Pretty Boy' Boyington. Who gave you that name?

My nickname came from my Coach, Christopher Young of Young's MMA. I'd go into training showered and looking all "pretty" and tanned up. I was different than everyone else without the raggedy clothes on to train. Every time I walked in the first words out of his mouth were "What's up pretty boy....."

How did you first get involved in Martial Arts & furthermore MMA?

I started Taekwondo at a very young age, and I've never stopped, I think I was seven. I've had many amazing experiences with Taekwondo. Many of us including my friend, Jessica Nolette would travel together to nationals, state tournaments and all throughout the country competing and training. I continued to do it right up until I went in the Marine Corps. I started experimenting with grappling and other martial arts, and I ended up becoming a martial arts instructor for the Marine Corps. It was at that time I realized mixed martial arts might be better suited for my body. As much as I love Taekwondo, it was a sport, favorable to tall, skinny people with length. I felt like I was naturally, a good wrestler and grappler. When I got out of the Marine Corps, someone approached me and asked me if I wanted to take a fight against former Olympian Rick Hawn. He was undefeated at the time and went on to be a multiple division Bellator Tournament Champion. I jumped all over that opportunity, traveled to The Cape in Massachusetts, and took to fight. Even though I lost, I was hooked. I've been doing it professionally for 10 years since then.

 Taekwondo family reunion @ The 2014 Lightweight Championship Title Rematch. Israel Phillips, Jessica Nolette, WINNER: Bruce "Pretty Boy" Boyington, Eric Bishop, Jen Brown

Taekwondo family reunion @ The 2014 Lightweight Championship Title Rematch. Israel Phillips, Jessica Nolette, WINNER: Bruce "Pretty Boy" Boyington, Eric Bishop, Jen Brown

What does it mean (for you) to be a professional fighter?

To be a professional fighter isn't as important as being a father and good husband. I don't want this taken out of context. I love professional fighting, and it's been an incredible passion for me that's changed the course of my life and created more opportunity than I could ever imagine. But, when I rank it as far as significance or what it means to me, it has to come second to my family and friends. It is an unmatched journey in this world, and I am forever grateful.

How have martial arts impacted your life and where do you think you would be right now, without it?

Martial arts, as I stated above has forever changed the azimuth of my life. Martial arts shaped and molded me from a young age. Although there was always more room for discipline, I don't want to know where I'd be without the structure taught to me. Most of all it gave me a network of lifelong friends and opportunities to travel the world. I've visited Russia and fought in Madison Square Garden, the world's most famous arena. Being a martial artist has become a way of life and who I am. Follow your passion and your fate will be decided.

What is one challenge and lesson you've learned from your training?

Most people don't know this, but I have a titanium plate in my neck. I've had two neck surgeries, so it's pretty hard not to mention that as far as lessons learned in training. You have to protect your body as a martial artist and think about longevity. I've also learned you must make time and the commitment to training. If you're in-and-out of the sport and back-and-forth on your training, the results will be a reflection.

How important is having a daily routine?

I've found without a routine I was on a roller coaster ride. Between being a martial artist and in the United States Marines, there's a lot of daily routine and planning happening. With having a big family, other jobs and businesses, it's critical to get your routine in sync. Otherwise, you end up drowning in it, and I've been there as well.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

I have three proudest moments, the first is traveling to Russia and headlining a fight there. It was like a real Rocky versus Drago story. The second is getting the opportunity to compete doing what I love in the world's most famous arena. This experience was a very proud moment. The third is receiving my black belt in Taekwondo because I think it's what catapulted me to experience the other two. 

What's your favorite kick? I'm asking for a friend ;) 

My favorite kick is either a spinning hook or back kick. Without a doubt, I like anything that has a spin on it.

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If you could have one dream fight with anyone, who would it be?

If I could have one dream fight with anyone, this is pretty easy, because I've always wanted to fight with Connor McGregor. I've always found him to be a lot like myself in life and to some extent how we fight. I always thought that would be a fun matchup. I'm reasonably sure it will never happen because he has put himself in a wonderful position.


 Tommy O’Connell vs. Bruce Boyington this Saturday 4/28  Tickets for the April 28, 2018 Championship Boxing event in Windham, NH are on sale now at  www.BoxingNH.com  || Catch it live on AXY's TV

Tommy O’Connell vs. Bruce Boyington this Saturday 4/28

Tickets for the April 28, 2018 Championship Boxing event in Windham, NH are on sale now at www.BoxingNH.com || Catch it live on AXY's TV


What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?

I have so many favorite quotes but the most simple and basic one stays with me all the time, and that is, "Life is what you make it." It's forward thinking and relevant to everyone. It's very true. People create their destiny in their mindset. 

In one word, describe yourself:

Happy.

 Twinning!  Bruce  &  Randi Beth Boyington  || Married since May 16, 2015

Twinning! BruceRandi Beth Boyington || Married since May 16, 2015

Question! Did you enjoy reading this blog? 

To Connect with Bruce: 

Facebook || Instagram

Carla Waldron, Personal Trainer w/ A Soulful Purpose

Carla Waldron, a daughter, sister, friend and personal trainer you dream of having and knowing. I'm personally inspired by Carla's passions for fitness and the love and dedication to her family, friendships and of course, Brad Pitt. I had to throw that in there! Let's meet Carla! -Jessica Lea Nolette (blog creator)

How has living an active and healthy lifestyle affected your relationships with family, friends, and community? 

Living an active lifestyle has inspired many relationships and has helped them thrive. Those around me know that health is important, but I preach having a balance (sure, let’s go get a burger but be prepared to walk home afterward). I also come from a very active family, so my closest relationships maintain a lifestyle much like my own. And because health is as much mental as it is physical, I make sure to keep good people around me who improve my mood. For me, it just doesn’t make sense to hang out with energy drainers. Life is too short, so I’m going to live it as best as I can and share it with only the best.  

 Philly Phitness Team! Love Run 5k! ❤️  #phillyphitness   @phillyphitness  via  Carla's   Instagram

Philly Phitness Team! Love Run 5k! ❤️ #phillyphitness @phillyphitness via Carla's Instagram

What is your fitness philosophy? 

I’m not fancy when it comes to this. I believe you must make it a lifestyle. If something is important to you, you’ll make the time for it. Trust me, this is important. There’s no better time to start than right now. 

What kind of clients do you train? 

I’ll train anyone who wants to be better and get stronger, but who is ready to commit to those goals. That’s really all I ask of people. The clients I have now are incredible – they inspire me to be better. They’re a solid mix of individuals who have different levels of fitness, who have different careers, who come from different cultures, and who have different goals. What unites them are their goals of getting stronger, giving maximum effort at every session and improving every day through the power of fitness.  

Where do you train?  

I train out of a private studio, Philly Phitness. It’s located in the Rittenhouse area of Philadelphia, PA. 

Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to? 

Anyone who has a chance to talk to me knows how much I adore my family. I’m the youngest so I have older siblings and a great set of parents to look up to, and I could name about 1,000 other role models! But I’ve been so fortunate to have my best friend, Perry O’Hearn, as my mentor in this industry. Perry has a unique way of pushing me, and he knows how to motivate me to be better with business and inspired with learning through all aspects of my life. 

Carla may be our youngest sibling, but she has always carried herself in such a way that makes you more determined to push yourself to do better. Her motivation and drive is so empowering. I can’t choose just one word to describe her, I’d have to choose two: WONDER WOMAN.
— Amy Waldron (Carla's Sister)
Carla may be the baby of the family, but this girl is a beast. There is nothing that she physically can’t do; and if she falters, she will keep at it until it’s mastered- the girl is determined. She inspires me every single day.
— George Waldron (Carla's Brother)
 The Fab Four! #siblings 

The Fab Four! #siblings 

I never had to worry about Carla keeping up with her siblings. Whether it was in the classroom or on the field, she always worked hard to be at the top. There is no stopping her. So proud of everything she does.
— Carla's Mom
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"Thanks to you and dad (plus siblings) for raising me to be the best person I can be!" -Carla Waldron

 Perry & Carla. Best Friend + Mentor 

Perry & Carla. Best Friend + Mentor 

Trainers and clients are not always a good fit. What advice would you give someone trying to find the best trainer that matches their goals? 

I believe a trainer should always adjust to the client’s goals, but it takes work on both sides of the equation for the trainer and the client to stay committed to the end. In my experience, the most important part is the bond formed between the client and trainer, it allows for trust and honesty and elevates the experience and likelihood for success.

I started working with Carla when I hit a roadblock in my own fitness journey. I never imagined I would move past the blockage with not only a new found understanding of my personal health but also myself. She didn’t just get me over the hump but has taught me about my physical strength and my personal strength. I started to work with Carla to find my healthy routine again, however, I have truly found so much more.
— Rita Marie (Carla's Client)
 "This is Rita and me. Common in our sessions to share a laugh (or lots of laughs)!"

"This is Rita and me. Common in our sessions to share a laugh (or lots of laughs)!"

What is your favorite and least favorite exercise? 

My favorite exercise is the Turkish Get Up, and my least favorite exercise is a burpee*. (*I don’t do them, so I don’t make my clients do them. It’s a sacred rule.)

How important is having a daily routine and setting goals? 

We all have a daily routine, but we don’t always have goals. Complacency is more common than we think, and that is no way to live. You deserve better, we all deserve better. So, once you figure out the goal you’re striving for, your daily routine will have to adjust. It’s that simple and not that simple all at the same time. But if it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen. If it’s not important, you’ll make an excuse and nothing will change. 

If you could have a training session with anyone in the world, who would it be with and why? 

Jane Fonda, the Queen of Fitness. I’m sure I would learn so much from her!

I'd like to share one message with the world on your behalf, what should I share

Never miss the opportunity to help another person.

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neal Donald Walsch

What Superhero power do you identify with?

Without a doubt, Wonder Woman.

In one word describe yourself: 

Resilient.

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To Connect with Carla:

Personal Trainer. Lifestyle Coach. Lover of life. 

Email: carlawaldronpt@gmail.com

Instagram: @carlawaldron

Facebook: Carla Waldron Personal Fitness Group

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Misti Sims, MS & Adoption Advocate & "Mighty" Running Warrior

I met Misti in the EVEN Hotel (a runner's paradise) lobby in Brooklyn the morning of the 2018 NYC Half Marathon. I had called for a taxi, was nervously waiting and offered Misti to ride with me. Of course, the taxi never came. We stuck together and navigated the NYC Subway with a mother/daughter duo we'd also met in the lobby. We swapped stories and names and post race I managed to track Misti down on Facebook. We met for coffee the next morning, and thus the inspiration and creation of this blog feature. -Jessica Lea Nolette (blog creator) 

In many of my blogs, I've mentioned hardships in life becoming blessings in personal growth and achievement. Can you tell us about your diagnosis of MS and how it's lead you to run marathons and advocacy?

I was diagnosed with MS in February 2011 when I was about 214 pounds. My husband Jason and I were in the depths of fertility treatments, and I was in a state of depression with our struggle to become parents. Between the fertility treatments, depression, and eating, I was a mess. Then boom. I found out I had MS. It started with pain in my left eye, to which I ignored for weeks. Then, I woke up one day with numbness and tingling on the left side (head, arm, leg) of my body. I couldn't get into visit my family doctor, so I saw his nurse practitioner. I assumed I would just be given a steroid pack and be on my merry way but she insisted on an emergency MRI, to which, I obliged. I had the MRI at 11 am that Friday morning and by 4:07 pm on the same Friday my doctor's office called and on the other end was my doctor's voice. He asked me if I was driving, to which I said, no. He asked if I was home alone, to which I said, yes. He asked me to sit down, to which, I did not. I paced the living room for what seemed was hours and was only second's. At that point, he informed me I had the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. 

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I was never a runner. In September of 2014, at 214 pounds, I hired a trainer, and one month later I ran for the very first time. It was a 5k. :-) 

I was SO proud of myself. A former client of mine emailed me in November of 2014 to try to get a spot on the National MS Team to run the NYC Half Marathon. I basically, laughed. I thought to myself how adorable she was to EVEN think I could ever do such a long run. I wrote my story and never expected to ever hear from anyone about it. A few weeks later I received an email saying I was on the team and it changed my life.

Can you give us a brief background about MS? What is it and how many people are affected by this disease?

Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. It's referred to as the "snowflake" disease because no two people with MS are alike with their symptoms. It affects around 400,000 people in the US and mostly women.

How has this experience positively affected your relationship with your family, friends, and community?

I only spent a few days feeling sad for myself. I stayed off the internet and instead bought books to help educate my family and myself. The internet can be a very dark, depressive place. I was adamant about not using the internet to research a disease I knew nothing about, and I had. The diagnosis changed me! It's important to state it changed me for the better. My family and friends have become my support system. They have helped raise awareness, money and lifted me up when I sometimes feel down. Our son was born after the diagnosis, so MS is what he knows of me and he will never recall a time I didn't have it. Since he was a baby he's gone to MS Walks with me. I speak to him often about MS so he is never scared. He knows he can come to me with any questions today, or any day, no matter how old he is. He's excited to go to Cleveland Clinic with me in May for a follow-up visit so he can meet the doctors and infusion nurses who take care of his mommy. It's important to me he understands what happens when I leave town for treatment and is never scared. 

 "Just trailblazing through life! Dose two has officially started. It's my turn MS!!" 🎗

"Just trailblazing through life! Dose two has officially started. It's my turn MS!!" 🎗

My community is amazing. They refer to me as "Mighty Misti!" Many people have reached out to me with their own stories. Most of all, my community truly cares about me, and that in itself inspires me. 

When did you realize you wanted to advocate for MS and share your personal story with others?

It was shortly after my diagnosis that I knew I wanted to advocate and share my story. My heart told me this was something that was important and I listened. Seven years later, I wouldn't change a thing. I have raised money, awareness and advocation is my new passion. I have gotten to tell my story to MS doctors and MS researchers at Cleveland Clinic. The same people who work tirelessly on a cure have heard me speak, and that makes everything come full circle.

Aside from running, what are some of your other passions?  

Besides running, I am an adoption advocate as well. I also work very hard to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. I have learned the importance of food choices for myself and family. I lost 50 pounds. I live a fairly clean life of eating, juicing and exercising. 

 "Trust me when I say  #anythingispossible  you just have to start!" 

"Trust me when I say #anythingispossible you just have to start!" 

Of course, my number one passion is our 5-year-old son, Maxin. I think he has inspired me the most. I want him to know that no matter the hand you are dealt, you get to decide what you make of it. He sees me run long distances, tackle spartan races and thinks I'm a total superhero. All the while, he's the real superhero. He doesn't remember I have MS every day, just on days I feel extra sick and pats my head and brings me ice packs. The truest of love from a 5-year-old.

What is your next race on the horizon and how can our readers support your cause? 

My next race is the Boston Marathon on April 16th. I am on the National MS Team, and readers can go to this link here to donate. It sure would be appreciated. 

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How important is goal setting for you?

Goal setting is tremendously important to me. It seriously gets me out of bed in the morning. It offers me a structure that I crave. Everyone should have a goal no matter how big or small.

What is your proudest personal and professional accomplishment?

My proudest personal accomplishment is when we adopted Maxin at birth. We have an amazing adoption story that is forever ours.

 "My favorite guy!! There are no words in the dictionary I can think of to describe the happiness he has brought to my life." Photo Credit:  @livhefnerphotography  

"My favorite guy!! There are no words in the dictionary I can think of to describe the happiness he has brought to my life." Photo Credit: @livhefnerphotography 

Also, when I completed The NYC Half Marathon and The NYC Marathon, both in 2015.

 "The day I said I did it. The day I said I will never give up and I will never quit. Where memories of pain, turned into memories of a goal I was out to obtain. It took more physical and mental strength and training than I could have ever imagined. I hit physical and emotional walls I never knew existed but when I crossed that finish line, I became 1% of the worlds population and that moment is why I wanted to start training again!"  #nycmarathon2015

"The day I said I did it. The day I said I will never give up and I will never quit. Where memories of pain, turned into memories of a goal I was out to obtain. It took more physical and mental strength and training than I could have ever imagined. I hit physical and emotional walls I never knew existed but when I crossed that finish line, I became 1% of the worlds population and that moment is why I wanted to start training again!"
#nycmarathon2015

 
 "My proudest professional accomplishment would probably be when I was voted top 40 under 40 business professional's in the state of West Virginia.

"My proudest professional accomplishment would probably be when I was voted top 40 under 40 business professional's in the state of West Virginia.

 

Misti is the owner of Little Black Dress Events 

Learn More Here

 
  Photo by - The Oberports

 Photo by - The Oberports

 

What is something not many people know about you?

Not many people know sometimes, I can be consumed with anxiety. It is never a great place to be. Also, after losing 50 pounds, I am definitely harder on myself and my body image. 

I'd like to share a message with the world on your behalf, what should I share?

The world is made up of many “snowflakes,” not just those of us who have MS. I just happen to have MS. We are all different and fighting our own battles. Choose kindness over cruelty, choose positive actions over negative words. We are all in this game of life together.

What is your favorite motivational/inspirational quote? 

“You either get bitter or you get better. It's that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.” - John Shipp

In one word describe yourself: 

Mighty

Did you enjoy this blog? Become a part of our mindful, goal-setting community. 

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To Connect with Misti: 

Email: misti@littleblackdressevents.net

Instagram: @lbdevents1|| Facebook: @littleblackdressWV

Olivia Orr, Coordinator, Coach, Coder & Co-Director

Raised by a family of educators, Oliva Orr seeks to make an impact on social justice through mission-driven work. Olivia shares what she is most passionate about today and reminds us "success looks different on everyone."

When did you first get involved in working with non-profits?

While I was a college student, I spent a couple of summers working with Upward Bound. It was a bit of a whirlwind; I built relationships with the students, planned trips, and assisted with some of the administrative duties. The experience opened my eyes to the professional possibilities within the nonprofit realm. I think my studies in Sociology only further solidified my desire to participate in community-based, socially driven work. I was lucky to land a job at a Boston-based nonprofit called Silver Lining Mentoring after graduation, but eventually, I realized Portland might be a better fit for me, which is how I ended up here.  

Do you think you were born with the innate qualities to help others or did this evolve through travels and life experiences? 

I think that my parents have a lot do with my desire to help others. Both of my parents are educators – my dad is a Forestry Professor and my mom is a Head Start teacher. They raised me to understand the importance of giving back. I’m grateful for my education and everybody I’ve met along the way because of those experiences sort of filled in the gaps. I had to figure out what “giving back” looked like in the real world – how could I make that desire more tangible?

Can you explain what ILAP is and what lead you to be The Operations Coordinator?

ILAP (The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project) provides free and low-cost immigration information and legal assistance to low-income Maine residents. We believe that everyone should be able to access our legal system regardless of income or background. We provide direct legal aid, conduct educational outreach sessions, and advocate for policy change at the systemic level. My Portland job hunt was mission-driven. I knew that I could use my administrative and development skills in just about any office environment, but I wanted to find someplace that felt like the right fit for me. ILAP’s mission sparked my curiosity, which led me to apply. 

 " ILAP  helps Maine's immigrants keep their families together, gain protection from persecution and domestic violence, attain residency and work authorization, and become proud U.S. citizens."

"ILAP helps Maine's immigrants keep their families together, gain protection from persecution and domestic violence, attain residency and work authorization, and become proud U.S. citizens."

What does your job entail?

I started off as the Office and Development Associate. My duties were evenly split between administrative and development work – it was all very straightforward. As time went on and I grew to be more comfortable with our work, I expanded on those duties. I wrote my first grant proposal (which was approved!) and designed new marketing materials. I am now trained to conduct Intake appointments (Intake appointments occur every Friday, by appointment, for all new clients), which gives me a chance to work directly with our clients. I think the title Operations Coordinator is sort of a catch-all for the little things I do here and there. 

How has Trump's immigration bills impacted your mission? 

We’ve certainly felt the impact of the new administration at ILAP. The work that we’re doing is now more important than ever, and we all recognize that. We’re lucky to have so many donors and supporters who have recognized that too. A lot of folks in our communities have chosen to speak up stand proudly with immigrants.

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Outside of work, what do you like to do? 

Music is important to me. Portland’s live music scene is amazing, so I try to attend shows when I can! I like hanging out at breweries and exploring new places in Maine. I’ve been learning to code in my spare time over the past couple of years, which has been awesome. I identify as an introverted extrovert, so relaxation is important to me too. My ideal evening is spent cooking dinner and swapping stories with my girlfriend.

What is Lesbians Who Tech and what inspired you to become the Maine Chapter's, City Co-Director? 

Officially speaking, Lesbians Who Tech is a community of queer women in and around tech (and the people who love them). That’s pretty much all I knew when my mentor, Allyson Casey, encouraged me to attend the LWT summit in NYC last fall. Up until then, I had wondered if I was learning to code for nothing. What could I do with those skills? Would there be a place for me in tech if I wanted it? Who could support me along the way? My hesitation was put to rest after attending the summit; words cannot describe my experience. I was blown away by the general badassness and inclusivity of the LWT community. I shared my experience with Allyson and she proposed that we start our own chapter here in Southern Maine. We strongly feel that there are queer women and allies here who are also seeking community and want to support one another. Our first meetup was held in January, which was a resounding success! Stay tuned for upcoming events.

How important do you think building mindful technology is today?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can connect my love for social justice with my building passion for tech. I think sometimes people hear the word “tech” and recoil because it seems inaccessible to them. What I’ve learned through LWT is that tech takes many forms. 

You can build something by programming, sure, but you can also use technology to design, communicate, and teach. I think that tech is supposed to benefit everyone, but when you have a sector that’s largely led by straight white men, you’re going to see some bias in the outcomes that are produced. If more underrepresented folks (women, LGBT people, people of color, etc.) were encouraged to carve out spaces for themselves in tech, I think typically marginalized communities would be positively impacted. 

What is one thing not many people know about you? 

I love movie scores. No, I am obsessed with movie scores. I think I have over 2,000 songs in my music library from different TV shows and movies. 

  Olivia Orr  as Gary Coleman, and  Shawn Reardon  as Nicky in AVENUE Q at LYRIC MUSIC THEATER!  www.LyricMusicTheater.org  Photo:  Brandon Pullen Photography

Olivia Orr as Gary Coleman, and Shawn Reardon as Nicky in AVENUE Q at LYRIC MUSIC THEATER! www.LyricMusicTheater.org Photo: Brandon Pullen Photography

When did you start skiing and how long have you been assistant coaching with Portland Nordic?

I’ve been cross country skiing since I was about seven. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has a tremendous amount of lake effect snow (I think it’s something like 218” on average per year), so getting involved with skiing was pretty much a no-brainer. I skied competitively through high school and into my first year of college, but I sort of burnt out along the way and decided to try other things. When I heard about Portland Nordic late last year I wanted to get involved. It felt like the right time to get back into something that had defined me for quite some time but in a different capacity. I’m grateful the lead coaches let me on board! Middle schoolers are hilariously awesome and they work hard out there. 

What are you most passionate about today?

Recently I’ve been feeling an intense enthusiasm around things I’ve enjoyed in the past, but strayed away from over the years. I’m really lucky that I was encouraged to try so many different activities as a kid. Because of that, I can sort of jump around and dive into different things when the timing is right. I loved dedicated myself to that over the past couple of months. Now I’m looking forward to getting back into coding with more regularity since the ski season is wrapping up. There are a lot of things in this world that make me happy, and I like not knowing what will draw me in 6 months down the line, or a year from now.

 Olivia recently launched her  personal portfolio and wesbite . 

Olivia recently launched her personal portfolio and wesbite

What is one message I can repeatedly share with the world on your behalf? 

I spend a lot of time reminding myself that 

success looks different on everybody.

Sometimes I feel successful when my stress level is super low. Other times I measure my success by the number of items I’ve checked off on a to-do list. Sometimes I feel accomplished because I’ve gone to the grocery store on a Sunday instead of waiting until Monday. I think that’s what I’m drawn to Mindbosa, to be honest! It makes you realize that your goals can be flexible and your measure of success is your own.

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities"

-Album Dumbledore

In one word describe yourself:

Dedicated.

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To Connect with Olivia: 

Website: oliviaheshimaorr.com || Email: oorr90@gmail.com || LinkedIn: Olivia Orr || Facebook || Instagram


Would you like to learn about Mindbosa? 

Would you like to become part of our community? 

Cat Runs NYC, Founder of We Run NYC Running Club

I am fortunate to have found The United NYC Half Marathon Facebook group and to connect with Cesar Trelles, its founder. On Sunday, Cesar and I will run the 13.1 miles through 5 boroughs of iconic NYC. From the ground up, Cesar has brought 1000's of runners together over the bond of running. For one I am grateful for his dedication to the sport of running and excited to meet in person. Here's a glimpse of Cesar's life and passion for running.

What inspired you to create Cat Runs NYC, a running club and furthermore, social media groups to connect runners? 

I started CAT Runs NYC last November after finally qualifying for the 2018 NYC Marathon. I qualified by completing The New York Road Runners 9+1 Program which means I ran 9 of their races and volunteered for 1. Since I had never run a marathon before, I thought the road to preparing for a marathon is likely an interesting one. I figured why not document it and at the same time, inspire people to pick up running on their own. The Facebook groups I have created are simply an attempt to reach out and connect with other runners. I think the running community, in general, is a very motivational and strong-willed community, hence why I wanted to bring like-minded people together!

 
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We Run NYC Running Club is a running club whose simple purpose is to unite runners from all around the world with one common bond - we all love to run in NYC!" More Here

Would you say running improves your relationship with family, community, and coworkers? 

I think it definitely does improve family and community relationships. Running takes dedication and motivation. If you can be motivated and dedicated to running, people will notice and appreciate your hard work ethic.

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What is one thing you think all runners have in common? 

Runners tend to be highly motivated people. Talk to any runner about the first half-mile, and they will tell you they want to stop. But they don’t. Runners know there are miles ahead, so they keep going and going and going till they reach their destination. Not only that, but runners strive to improve their pace and results. Runners sense of community is amazing. They are always looking to help further a runner with knowledge, tips or even physical help when a runner is down during a race. It’s a sense of community you don’t find in any other sport.  

How important is it for you and generally speaking for people to set personal goals? 

I think setting goals is extremely important no matter what your status is in life. It keeps you motivated and from becoming complacent with yourself.  

CESAR RUNS UNITED AIRLINES NYC HALFMARATHON

Proceeds benefit  Depression2Extinction

 "On March 2018 as I run the NYC Half Marathon, I want to run on behalf of “  Depression 2 Extinction  ” to help raise awareness to this illness. Today many still suffer from it and the battle is always ongoing. Any donation you can give towards this cause is greatly appreciated!" Donations can be made   HERE  . 

"On March 2018 as I run the NYC Half Marathon, I want to run on behalf of “Depression 2 Extinction” to help raise awareness to this illness. Today many still suffer from it and the battle is always ongoing. Any donation you can give towards this cause is greatly appreciated!" Donations can be made HERE

What motivates you the most? 

Race Days. I am easily motivated to do training runs especially after thinking about where I was 3 years ago with my weight. Race day is something unique. The vibe and energy of the crowds can do amazing things for a runner. My adrenaline goes through the roof, all of the training I have done leading up to a race pours out of me on race day.

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What is your favorite running app?

It used to be Under Armour’s, Map My Fitness but now it is Strava. The amount of information Strava provides is amazing. Plus, the community aspect of it lets you interact with your runner friends also on Strava. I think it’s pretty cool! LOL!

Can you share the most helpful piece of advice you've ever received? 

Fear is your worst enemy. Conquer fear and you will conquer life. To this day I haven't conquered all my fears but each fear I face, I know I am becoming a better person! 

 "I am a busy person just like most of you are! But I refuse to let that stop me. Get out and make time for yourself. Exercise, run and make that the best part of your day!" -CatRunsNYC

"I am a busy person just like most of you are! But I refuse to let that stop me. Get out and make time for yourself. Exercise, run and make that the best part of your day!" -CatRunsNYC

What is your proudest personal and professional accomplishment? 

Definitely, my proudest personal accomplishment is buying my own home. Growing up my mom couldn’t afford her own house. Professionally, while I have managed to land a successful job for many years, I still think my proudest professional moment is still to come. While I have done well for myself professionally, I can’t say I am passionate about those accomplishments. The best is yet to come from me!  

You are established and have a successful career in finance. What's next for you?

Successful doesn’t necessarily mean gratifying. While my career has allowed me to live comfortably and reach goals I have aspired for, there is a personal satisfaction I still need to be fulfilled. I want to help others in general. I want to share the knowledge I’ve amassed over the years. Running and motivational know-how is what comes to mind when asked what I want to share. I also want to help young folks who may be misguided or not have the solid family structure to guide them. I can’t pinpoint how I will do this. Therein lies a challenge for me and right now, that challenge has been accepted!!

What is your favorite motivational/inspirational quote? 

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
— - Fred Lebow

I love this quote because it applies to runners in general and obviously you know I love running. It also speaks to the notion of seeing things through to the end. It bothers me when people start something and never finish it. They never see their potential. And if you finish it and it wasn’t the outcome you liked, well at least you know that now and it’s onto the next thing. 

In one word describe yourself: 

Man, one word! I can think of phrases, like always thinking of the next move. But one word? Energetic 

Scroll Down To Connect with Cesar and Facebook Groups! 

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Did you enjoy this blog? 

Are you interested in signing up for Mindbsoa? 


To Connect with Cesar Trelles

Blog: www.catrunsnyc.com

Instagram: @catrunsnyc_2018 & @werunnycrc

Twitter: @catrunsnyc 

I also have FB groups for upcoming races folks are enjoying. They are as follows:

We Run NYC Running Club: 

https://m.facebook.com/WeRunNYCRC/

United NYC Half Marathon:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/155989931802841

Brooklyn Half Marathon:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/395607474214981

NYC Marathon:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1405007329608837

Topher Stephenson, Marketer, Musician & Portland Ambassador

Topher has been recently promoted to the VP of Marketing at Atlantic National Trust in addition to being the Volunteer Marketing Director for PROPEL, a non-profit whose mission is "to enrich Maine’s economy by developing an environment and culture where young professionals can thrive in Maine’s growing business community." Through networking, celebrating small businesses, and introducing newcomers to Maine, Topher is committed to Portland and its future.  

When did you first get involved in marketing?

There were a few experiences in college that helped shape my perception of marketing early on. I had my first real experience when my friend and I both quit our summer jobs to start a house painting company. We were both excited to get out of our comfort zones and try something new, but the downside was we hadn't lined up any business before quitting our other jobs. I kind of thought we should build a quick website and make a Facebook page before doing anything else & my partner thought we should just hit the pavement, we ended up doing the latter. We made a flyer and went door to door for 2 weeks straight until we had a summer worth of work lined up - I don't think I became an expert salesman in that 2 week stretch, but it definitely taught me the value of hustle when it comes to bringing money in the door for a small business. 

After that some friends and I started up a blog to cover the Penn State music scene (State In The Real) which introduced me to social media as a marketing tool (and later on how putting too many eggs in the social media basket is a mistake) - It also kind of forced me to learn how to leverage relationships with different businesses and student groups I knew to form partnerships and help promote the website. Working with the blog ultimately landed me an internship with Red Bull where I got a better understanding of how a big brand handles marketing - IE the necessity of having boots on the ground in your target markets to strengthen brand awareness and the importance of working with local thought-leaders to get your message out.

 Part of the  State In The Real  Team circa 2012

Part of the State In The Real Team circa 2012

What would you say inspires you? 

I'm inspired by people that strive to be the best at what they do. It's super easy to get bogged down in day-to-day minutia and lose sight of the big picture things like "How can I stay ahead of the curve?" or "How can I focus on the projects that generate results and weed out the ones that don't" - Especially because there is never a definitive answer to those kinds of questions. But when I meet people who are continuously trying to keep themselves on the cutting edge in their field and improving their craft, I find that really inspirational.

Can you give us a brief history of your education and work history? 

I got my Bachelors of Science in Health Policy & Administration from Penn State in 2012. Up until I started my current job my work history is a big mish-mash because I was doing a lot at once to get as much experience as possible. 

My last year at Penn State I worked for Red Bull as a Student Brand Rep and I was running State In the Real (which at the time was comprised of 20+ people/volunteers). When I graduated I kept interning with Red Bull part-time, took on 2 more part-time internships and started up a collegiate marketing company with some friends until Red Bull brought me up to Maine for a full-time internship. Eventually, I started working with Mainely SEO doing Social Media and Search Engine Optimization in Portland while I did some marketing consulting in my spare time. I started consulting with Atlantic about 4 years ago until they brought me on full time to manage their real estate marketing program. As of November 2017, I've taken on more marketing and communications projects in addition to the real estate marketing.

What role does music play in your life?

Not nearly enough of one lately but music is both a creative outlet and a stress reliever. Depending on what the project is, music can actually turn into its very own form of stress but I've been lucky enough to stay away from that for the past few years. I'm not putting nearly as much time into music as I'd like lately, but I was lucky enough to do some vocals on 2 albums that were released in 2017, one from my friend Harry Zobel and one from local rapper Myles Bullen. I'm working on some new tracks with local producer & beatboxer Ben Toppi, but with both of us having busy schedules it will probably have a while until we have a finished product.

The Sublime rendition of Marley Medley as performed by Topher Stephenson.

What do you like to do outside of work and music that directly impacts your career? 

My favorite things to do outside of work are hiking and taking advantage of Portland's awesome food & beer - Unfortunately, neither of those things really impact my career. I'm of the mind that people should do less business networking on the golf course and do more in front of Food Trucks.

Other than eating and hiking, I sit as Marketing Chair on the Board of Directors for PROPEL, an organization dedicated to making Portland a place where Young Professionals can thrive. It doesn't play into my job every day but the connections I've made through PROPEL have come in handy in on many occasions. We have a very talented board and I consider myself lucky to work with them. 

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. What would you say are yours?

Once in an interview, I was asked - "What is your superpower?" I think I was too early in my career to have a good answer at that point, but I know what it is now  - Above all else, I'm resourceful. I think a lot of the value that I've added to my job over the past 4 years comes from digging in and finding marketing opportunities that other people in the industry have no idea even exist, or just haven't thought to use for real estate. 

The less that people are using an effective marketing tool, the more valuable it can be.

I'd say my biggest weakness is that I often try to do everything/ get everything done at once. Sometimes I'll have a Sunday completely free and want to work on a hobby, but instead of working on 1 hobby I'll play guitar for 20 minutes, have a quick workout, take 5 photos and read half a chapter of book - I feel well rounded at the end but it's not really a good practice if you want to excel at anything. I recently listened to a great podcast featuring Derek Sivers where he mentions the concept that we can all do everything we want to do, but only if we can get used to the idea of doing those things over the course of a lifetime and not all at once. I think this is something that Generation Y struggles with as a whole, but considering how time-poor we are it is something we really need to accept and it's something I plan to be mindful of in 2018.

How do you measure the impact of PROPEL'S success and continued growth?  

As the Marketing Chair and coming from a digital marketing background I gravitate towards numbers - It's awesome to see that our email subscribers have gone up 25% in the past year and that we have over 100 people signed up to be Maine Ambassadors, and it's always a great feeling when we sell out a Networking Event. But I think that I get real a feel for PROPEL's impact by the anecdotal things you can't measure, like when someone tells you they made an important connection at an event, or better yet that they made an introduction that helped them land a job interview - Those kinds of stories make me feel like we're living up to our mission. 

  "  PROPEL strives to enrich Maine’s economy by developing an environment and culture where young professionals can thrive in Maine’s growing business community."

"PROPEL strives to enrich Maine’s economy by developing an environment and culture where young professionals can thrive in Maine’s growing business community."

Similarly, we're in the process of launching Phase 2 of the Maine Ambassador Program, ultimately the app will allow people who are visiting or just moved to Maine to connect with established Mainers (the Ambassadors) so that they can take them out for a cup of coffee and show them the area. It will be good to see new Mainers begin to use the app, but what I'm really excited for is to hear the feedback from them after they've made a connection and get an idea of how well we're helping them acclimate to the area.

What advice would you give to people deciding whether to live and work in Maine?

If you haven't been to Maine, book your ticket - It is worth a trip whether you decide to live here or not. While you're here, definitely take some time to hit the usual tourist attractions, but consider making use of the Maine Ambassador Program - It's an awesome way to meet someone local from the area who can tell you what it's like to live here, take you to some of the hotspots that your average tourist won't know about, and show you what living here is all about. The project was originally spearheaded by Chris Lee, PROPEL's previous President, and is run by Eric Collins - They've both done an excellent job getting us where we are.

If Topher's photo's alone aren't reason enough to move to Maine, I don't know what is! 

What is something people will be surprised to know about you?

A friend told me the other day that when he thinks of people who are good networkers, I'm one of the first people that come to mind. Fortunately, he's never actually seen me in action - The surprise is that for someone who sits on the board of an organization that regularly throws networking events, I'm shockingly bad at networking by all standards. But I've definitely noticed that the more I do it the better I get - Maybe I'll start using Mindbosa to give myself an incentive to keep it up. 

What is one "can't live without it" app you use? 

I travel a lot to NY and PA to see family and friends so that means lots of 5+ hour drives, I'd be toast without the Podcasts app. On that same note, if Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss both quit doing their podcasts I think I'd need to start buying more plane tickets because driving would be out. Other than that - Anytime I run out of room on my phone and need to make room to take pictures (happens pretty frequently), the only apps I can never bring myself to delete are Instagram, Spotify, Waze and the Tabs & Chords app from Ultimate Guitar.

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

This changes frequently, but right now it is this video. Sometimes waking up early requires tough love. 

In one word describe yourself: 

En route.

If you enjoy this blog, please enter your email for future updates.

  "New  #drone  new  #selfie ." via Topher's  Instagram

"New #drone new #selfie." via Topher's Instagram

To Connect w/ Topher & PROPEL: 

Email: topher.step@gmail.com

Instagram: @tophernow || @propelportland

 
 

Terry Chiplin, Healthy Living Ambassador, Runner, Ultra Entrepreneur

Terry is a running coach and life coach and is also the owner of Active at Altitude, in addition to, being a director, member, training partner and facilitator for The US Trail Running Conference & the Official Training Partner for Vacation Races. Over the years, Terry has become an ambassador for healthy living. activacuity (his latest development) is not just for runners, but for all performance athletes seeking to enhance their focus, confidence, and experience. Thanks to, LinkedIn, I was able to connect with Terry, who lives in Colorado.  We shared personal stories about our history, struggles, and experiences. Terry is a remarkable individual with whom I couldn't be more grateful to connect and share his story. I think the universe is telling me I need to make a trip to The Rockies! 

Written on your Facebook: 

Every moment of our lives we have a choice... I choose to be alive and in the present and to be thankful for all that I have been given.

What does living in the present mean to you and where might you be today, without running in your life? 

Living in the present has been a journey with various stopping and learning points along the way. Currently, one of the strongest determining factors for me is to be able to be living in gratitude. If I'm not able to be aware of how grateful I am for this moment, then I am likely being pulled to either the past or the future. Without running I would be somewhere very different. Possibly still in England, and working a corporate job and having my heart broken each day by what I was missing!

Can you give us a bit of your running and entrepreneurial history? 

I like to think I have been running all my life... my parents never had a car growing up in London, so I ran or biked everywhere for many many years. I just loved to run, that feeling of letting my legs fly and seeing just how fast I could go...ran shorter distances on grass at primary school (English version of Elementary) and loved the excitement of competition, and the feeling of winning. At grammar school (English equivalent of high school), I ran 100 yards and 220 yards on cinders and grass tracks. I also played football and rugby, and cricket, altho that was soo boring! Up until the age of around 15, I had won every race that I entered. Then the other guys started developing more power, and my lean physique was no match for that in sprints, so I started losing...I still enjoyed running, while competition didn't have the same glow as it used to. 

Work - spent many years in the automotive industry in different positions. Love driving, and looking after cars. My last corporate role before we moved to Colorado was a business development executive, a sales guy for a vehicle finance company. Taught me a ton about sales, that has been really useful as an entrepreneur!

My Current Projects:

Active at Altitude - we have five adult running camps scheduled for 2018. I am the Camp Director and main coach for the camps, that all take place in majestic Estes Park, Colorado, with runs from 7,500 feet to over 12,000 feet! Each of our camps includes information on Lydiard training principles, following the guidelines laid down by Arthur Lydiard, the most successful running coach in history. Our beginner women's running camp in June, and co-ed Spring trail running camp in May are both sold out, breaking records by selling out by the beginning of January! We have places available for our advanced women's running camp in July, our intermediate women's running camp in August, and our co-ed Fall trail running camp in September. Our women's running camps have been featured in Runners World, Women's Running, and by Shape Magazine as a "once in a lifetime fitness retreat for women." Our trail running camps have also been featured in Trail Runner Magazine and Competitor, and by CNN as one of the top eleven adult running camps in the US. 

"I learned so much that week of camp: The proper way to do speed drills on the track, how to run tempo runs, hill sprints, and proper strengthening exercises (my favorite activity was running in water). I learned about goal setting and doing positive imagery exercises before runs. All of these lessons made me a stronger runner physically and mentally. But the biggest surprise for me that week was a newfound excitement and energy for running. For many years I was tied to a training schedule, and the only thing I focused on was completing my weekly mileage. Although I love building up mileage and seeing my fitness improve, I was tired of that routine and knew I needed to change my methods.
Your camp, your knowledge and positive attitude was just what I needed to invigorate my body and soul. I left camp feeling refreshed, inspired, empowered and energized. Terry, your outlook on life, the love you have for the sport, the knowledge you shared, and the positive way you encouraged all of us, was transforming.  Learning from you in breathtaking Estes Park and getting to know the other six amazingly strong women that week exceeded my expectations." -Kim (a runner from Idaho)

US Trail Running Conference - moving outside of Colorado for the first time in its six-year history, this industry-leading Conference connects and empowers race directors, trail runners, and trade leaders, and works to share best practices with the trail running community. I am the Event Director and own the Conference brand. This year's Conference takes place August 29-31 in San Luis Obispo, CA, and registration is open for all trail race directors, trail runners, sponsors, and exhibitors, and includes a discounted entry offer for any of the SLO Ultra races on September 1, 2018. This year the US Trail Running Conference is seeking to be the first sport-related Conference to be awarded a certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for the 2018 event, in partnership with Ragnar Events. The Conference is also held in partnership with the American Trail Running Association, and Race SLO.

activacuity - is about to launch the new website and a targeted marketing campaign!

Vacation Races - 11 half marathon races at some of the nation's most breathtaking destinations, National Parks around North America. I am their Official Training Partner. - See more details at https://vacationraces.com/

Tell us about your latest development, activacuity. 

It's a mental training app for athletes. Uses a combination of proven sports science techniques and neural techniques to generate new positive ways of thinking. It's a very powerful tool and one I am super excited about. Have had glowing responses from athletes and coaches so far.

"Terry Chiplin & Melody Fairchild introduce activacuity, the first guided imagery app for athletes. The app gives short daily sessions for enhanced focus, confidence & performance for athletes of all abilities."

How did this idea come about? 

My wife and I had been meditating on a regular basis using an app called Headspace. Really enjoyed learning about meditation, and then one day during a meditation, my mind was quiet, absolute peace, nothing happening. Have no idea how long I was in that place... then I heard a voice, and the voice said, you are going to do an app, and you know exactly what to do.... when the meditation finished, it was amazing. I had not thought of creating an app before, yet I did know exactly what to do as if it had been in my mind in some way all the time. It was very surreal, and sublime, at the same time.

 "Throwback to a run a couple of weeks back with Jacqueline and Coco." -TC

"Throwback to a run a couple of weeks back with Jacqueline and Coco." -TC

Do you believe in coincidence and/or cosmic connections?

I believe that we have choices every moment of every day and that there are connections open to us no matter which choice we make.

Do you believe our inner world shapes our outer world? Or, does our outer world shape our inner world?

Inner world comes first. It took me a while to realize it, however, my experiences have taught me that how we see ourselves, and our place in the world has a huge impact on the world we experience. Thoughts become things!  

What is one challenge and lesson you've learned from your experience as a founder, owner, and coach? 

Challenge - to not be taken off course by every opportunity that is presented. Learned - do not assume you know the best way to move forward, or help someone else to move forward. Be open to moments that show me that we always have choices.

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Aside from running, what do you like to do outside of work that directly impacts your career?

I like to be outdoors and connect with mother nature. I always feel energized and connected when I am outdoors. I also love cooking and eating - I once had a teenage female runner ask me what I eat for a treat... I considered, and answered, everything I eat is a treat, as it all nourishes and fuels me.

How important is having a daily routine and setting goals? 

Crucial, while it's also good to give space to allow the universe to come in.

What is one invaluable resource that has helped in the growth and development of Active at Altitude, activacuity and your current projects? 

Thinking that I matter, that I have a place in this world that only I can fulfill.

 "If I'm not able to be aware of how grateful I am for this moment, then I am likely being pulled to either the past or the future." -Terry Chiplin

"If I'm not able to be aware of how grateful I am for this moment, then I am likely being pulled to either the past or the future." -Terry Chiplin

Can you give a piece of advice for someone who thinks meditation is an impossible practice for them? 

Patience - we are so driven to immediate rewards, and that’s not a good response to things that naturally take time. I love watching nature and how it progresses at a pace that fulfills its own needs, and the needs of the complete environment around it.

What is your proudest personal and professional accomplishment? 

To be awarded a Bachelor of Science degree from DeMontfort University, Bedford, England after three years of study. it was an amazing time to be there as a mature student and felt like a sponge, I just could not get enough!

What do you look forward to the most in 2018?  

To growing the brands that I have created and to do my best to make a difference to more lives in this world.

I would LOVE to share repeatedly 1 message to the world, on your behalf, what should I share?

Thoughts become things, and that we are not hardwired, we can create new ways of thinking.

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us."  -Marianne Williamson 

In one word, describe yourself:

Tiggerish

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To Connect with Terry Chiplin

Email: activeataltitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/terrychiplin/

Kelly Ramos - Dedicated Runner, Triathlete, Wife & Mom

Humble, to say the least. Kelly Ramos took her first swim lesson hours after completing her first marathon. I reached out to Kelly about featuring her in this blog. She was unsure if her story was inspiring. You tell me?

You spoke of living an unhealthy lifestyle up until 12 years ago. What was your turning point and where would you be today without your transformation? 

I started smoking cigarettes at a young age. I quit when I became pregnant with my daughter, but then resumed the habit about a year after having her. I didn't quit again until I became pregnant with my son 9 years later. My athletic journey began with an effort to lose a few pounds after having my son. I started walking on the treadmill at the gym in our apartment complex. When the walking became too easy, I started to jog. Bored of jogging on the treadmill, I sought out the track team at the company where I worked. I started attending practices with them and began to run outside on a regular basis. That's when running officially became my new addiction and I knew there was no going back.

Had I not stepped on that treadmill, I fear that I would have resorted back to the unhealthy lifestyle I led before. This journey has enabled me to discover and showcase positive traits that I never knew I possessed. I have also made some amazing friends who I may have never met had it not been for this transformation.   

You qualified for the Boston Marathon your 1st Marathon (The Maine Marathon). At what point did you realize "I am good at this"? Would you say you are a natural born runner and athlete? 

Growing up in England, the school I attended didn't have a huge sports program. We had our annual sports day and it was always my favourite day out of the school year. I fared well in the running events, but outside of that day I never did any running, so I really had no clue what my running potential could be. I ran a Boston qualifying time back in 2010 at my first and only marathon thus far. Running a qualifier was not my goal, I just wanted to finish feeling good. I managed to accomplish both, so I was thrilled. I know they've changed the timing standards since then to make it a little bit more difficult to qualify. But that's okay. I plan on running a qualifier again sometime in the near future!

In 2006 I ran my first 5K. I went by myself, ran it and went straight home. Later that week I received a certificate in the mail saying I had won 1st place in my age group. I couldn't believe it. That was the day I thought to myself that I might be okay at this running business.

I don't necessarily consider myself to be a natural born athlete. I have to work hard at it and like most people; I definitely have days where I struggle.

 "Approaching the finish at my first marathon." -KR 

"Approaching the finish at my first marathon." -KR 

 A smile and a wave from the shoreline start at  Tri For a Cure .

A smile and a wave from the shoreline start at Tri For a Cure.

From not knowing how to swim to completing 2 Half Ironman Competitions. Can you talk about this journey?

One year I volunteered at Tri for a Cure, where I was surrounded by some of the most inspirational women I’d ever met. That day, I decided I had to participate in this event. But I had a major hurdle in my way. I couldn’t swim!
 

I could doggy paddle my way the length of the pool but that was the extent of my swimming skills. I signed up for adult swim lessons and had my first lesson the same day I completed my first marathon.

Learning to swim as an adult is no easy task. Even though I was in good shape with all of the running I was doing, I felt like the most out of shape person when I was in the pool. It took a lot of patience and perseverance, but one day it all came together. Although slow, I was able to swim the 1/3 mile comfortably without stopping.

 "Just completed my first half Ironman." -KR 

"Just completed my first half Ironman." -KR 

The next challenge was to overcome my fear of open water swimming. My first open water experience and first time wearing a wetsuit was at a swim clinic I signed up for a few weeks before the Tri. The second I stepped into the ocean the cold water took my breath away and I immediately knew that this was going to be very different from swimming in the pool. As I headed for the first buoy I was not able to put my face in the water. I flipped onto my back, waves started going over my face and I began to swallow some water. I was feeling extremely fatigued, but the fatigue I was experiencing didn't correspond with the effort I was exerting. Luckily my friend was right by me and she started to side stroke beside me. A person in a kayak asked if I wanted help getting back to shore. I refused. I had to finish by myself.

When I finally made it back to shore I could barely catch my breath. I instantly developed a cough with a coinciding rattling in my chest and started to cough up pink foam. My husband took me to the emergency room where they whisked me past the crowded waiting room after taking my vitals and seeing how low my oxygen levels were. I had a chest x-ray and was put on a nebulizer. I never received an official diagnosis; just the thought that I probably inhaled too much sea water. When my oxygen levels were back to normal, they sent me home with antibiotics.

I decided to sign up for another swim clinic the following weekend. Before the clinic, I went out to the ocean again in my wetsuit to get better acclimated to the cold ocean temps. My second swim clinic went great and I felt ready for the Tri. On race day I started running into issues as I rounded the second buoy. The same fatigue I felt in the first swim clinic kicked in, my breathing was labored and again not in line with the effort I was exerting. I flipped on my back and eventually made my way back to shore. Completing the bike and run portion was one of the hardest things physically that I've ever done. I could barely breathe and wanted to quit so many times. I pushed through and managed to cross the finish line. Since I hadn't inhaled any water this time, I knew something else was happening. At this point, I felt like my days of completing Triathlons were done.

After many hours over the span of a few years googling my symptoms, I finally stumbled upon an article with the right diagnosis. "Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema" otherwise known as SIPE. A very rare condition that they don't have an official cause for, but it is believed the combination between the tightness of the wetsuit, over-hydration and, cold water temperatures may be the trigger.

A few years after the Tri, I met my friend Kristie. She's an amazing open water swimmer who convinced me to get back out there and give it another try. She has the patience of a saint. Some days we'd go through the process of putting on wetsuits only to be out there for 5 minutes as I got comfortable acclimating and putting my face in the water. Working with her my confidence swimming in open water has grown. I had a few mild cases of SIPE, when I first got back out there, but last year I managed to train for and complete my second Half Ironman without having one episode, so I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on it now. The warm-up swim is vital and I always start in the back of the pack and take my time slowly building up momentum toward the end. I have also completed the Tri for a Cure twice since then. I managed to place 2nd in my age group one year, which is a feat I never would have dreamed possible. 

*Here is a link to the article where I discovered the condition I experienced when open water swimming: http://www.endurancetriathletes.com/sipe.html

How does living an active and healthy lifestyle improve your day to day relationships with family, friends, co-workers?

My kids much prefer post-run mum compared to pre-run mum! I always feel better and have a clearer head after working out. My family has been massively supportive, particularly my husband and son both of whom have spent many hours in all types of weather at events just to see me for a few seconds on the course. It's amazing the boost you get in a race for those few seconds that you see the smiling faces of your loved ones. Their support means the world to me. 

What is something you think all runners have in common? 

I believe most runners are goal driven and want to see results. In order to see results you have to put in the effort. Our drive to achieve those results overpowers any excuses we conjure in our heads not to complete a workout, enabling us to just get out there and get it done. 

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What is one challenge and lesson learned from your training? 

I have had my share of injuries over the years. Some of which were likely made worse by my continuing to run through the pain. I've learned to listen to my body and to stop when something doesn't feel right. Rest days are a challenge for me, but I've come to realize that they are vital to reap the benefits of training and to help prevent injury. 

How important is having a daily routine and setting goals for yourself? 

Daily routines and goals are important as it gives me the drive to complete what I have set out to do. If I don't complete it, I feel a sense of failure. I like to have everything ready for the day in hand and also having a back-up in place is important when things like the weather throw a wrench into my initial plans.

What is one piece of advice you would offer to someone who thinks they could never run, bike, swim, or become active?

If you tell yourself you can’t then you probably won’t. Get into the mindset that you can, and if you want it bad enough you will. The toughest part of getting started isn’t just the physical piece; it’s a mental challenge as well.

Aside from running what other activities do you enjoy?

I love the beach and spend many hours there in the summer. I also enjoy crossword puzzles, traveling, being a spectator at my son's sporting events and spending time with my family.

What is your favorite running app? 

Strava is my go to App. It's user-friendly and it allows you to connect with other runners and cyclists all over the world which is a really cool feature. I also rely on Zwift, a virtual riding app to help keep me sane whilst biking inside during the winter months.

What are some races on your horizon? Boston Marathon? A full Ironman? 

I hope to get a spot in the Tri for a Cure again this year. I do have Boston on my bucket list and running the London Marathon would be awesome too. I haven't 100% ruled out a Full Ironman. I am still on the fence. Training for an event like that is pretty intense, so I'd need to find the right time in my life where I feel I can put in the effort needed to become fully prepared for it.

What is your proudest personal and professional accomplishment? 

On a personal level it's tough for me to pick just one moment. Every time I complete an event that I've invested a lot of time and effort in, I feel proud. They all took hard work and there's not one that stands out to me more than the rest.

I actually feel more accomplished when I experience success as a team. Of all the races and triathlons I've done over the years, one of my favorite races is the 4 x 100-meter relay that we competed in at States for the Corporate Track Team last year. As the four of us toed the line and eyed up our competition, I don't think any of us anticipated a win. I was lucky enough to be on the anchor leg of that race. When I saw my teammate approach me with the baton first, I knew I could bring home the win for our team. Seeing the excitement on the faces of my teammates as I crossed the finished line was the best. That win was far more gratifying than any of my personal achievements.

On a professional level, I have always given 100% in every job I've had. With that work ethic I have been able to work up the career ladder over the years. I have been with the same company for over 12 years now. To me this is an accomplishment in itself.

What is your favorite motivational/inspirational quote?

Staying true to my British roots – "Keep Calm and Carry on". I've found myself reciting this, whether I'm dealing with a personal issue or if I'm struggling during an athletic event. Panicking doesn't accomplish anything, but keeping calm does. This quote has helped me avert many a potential freak out moment! 

In one word describe yourself:

Determined

To Connect w/ Kelly:

Email: Brit-girl76@hotmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kelly.aikenramos

To Connect w/ Mindbosa on The Social Medias: 

Katie Rutherford, Director of Development at Frannie Peabody Center

It is clear to me, Katie was born an advocate. Her words resonate with me. 
I asked Katie what message she would like me to share on her behalf: “Always try harder to consider and understand the challenges that other people face.  Be kinder to each other, but never stop fighting oppression, injustice, and inequality. 
Also, please remember to accept science.  It’s real.” 

When did you first get involved in working with non-profits? 

I was on a Student Athletic Advisory Committee in college that coordinated service projects for all the athletes.  At the same time, I was majoring in anthropology and taking a course on international development.  I was very fortunate to have an athletic scholarship that allowed me to travel around the country and meet so many different people.  I think all those things happening simultaneously made me realize I wanted a career in the non-profit sector working with people. 

Do you think you were born with the innate qualities to help others or did this evolve over time through travels and life experiences? 

I was brought up in an environment that taught us to stand up for what we believe in, particularly when those moments and movements involve inequality and injustice. I think my experiences have shaped and been shaped by those values, and certainly taught me a great deal along the way.  I think those lessons and the people I have met have given me strength and little more volume in my voice when it comes to working for organizations that help others.  

What lead you to your current position at Frannie Peabody Center? 

I had been living in South Africa for four years running a small community-based non-profit organization that I started in a tiny village on the coast.  When it became too difficult to sustain myself and the organization, I had to make the difficult decision to move back to the States.  One of the issues that really stuck with me after leaving was HIV/AIDS.  When I started looking for jobs in the non-profit sector,  I wanted to really narrow my focus on that issue.  Maine had been my home base while living overseas because my sister, niece, and nephew were all here.  When I saw the job of Development Director come up at Frannie Peabody Center,  I jumped at the chance – it seemed a little too good to be true in the logistical sense; working in the field I was interested in while also being able to be so close to my family.  More than five years later, here I am. I feel very fortunate that I was able to figure out exactly what I was passionate about and have the resources, privilege, and support to call it work. 

Scenes from the 2017 Southern Maine AIDS Walk - Photos By Maine Running & Faces Maine by Maine Magazine || The 2018 Southern Maine Aids Walk/5k Run will be held 5/5/18. Eary bird registration will be available HERE on 2/1/18.


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Katie is passionate - passionate about her work, about advocacy, about that state of the world. She puts 200% of herself into everything she does. I wish I could bottle her passion and share it with everyone!
— Donna Galluzzo, Executive Director at Frannie Peabody Center

Can you explain what FPC is and what being The Director of Development includes? 

Frannie Peabody Center is Maine’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS services organization.  We provide direct services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the form of medical case management, housing assistance, and behavioral health counseling, and we also provide free HIV and Hepatitis C counseling, testing, referral, and outreach services.  We have an extensive history and compelling legacy with Frannie Peabody.  She was a grandmother – in her eighties in the early 1980’s when she lost her grandson to AIDS.  Never one to sit on the sidelines, she was an outspoken and unexpected advocate for those affected by HIV/AIDS at a time when many people would refuse to acknowledge the challenges and urgency of the issue. She rallied people together and was a transformative leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Maine. One of the things I admire most about her, having only experienced the stories second-hand, is how she coupled a very compassionate and loving spirit with being an incredibly strong and determined fighter.  I think that’s something that has carried on at the agency because of her.  Being the development director is traditionally about fundraising – that includes grant writing, events, maintaining the social media and web platforms, responding to state and federal proposal requests, and donor relations.  However, being a small agency under 20 staff members, we really operate as a team.  Non-profits are never working with excess capacity, that’s for sure, so we all jump in where we can across programs and projects. We celebrate the success together, and we feel the hits together. It doesn’t make it easy, but I think it makes us a stronger agency as a whole.

   Frances W. Peabody   (April 18, 1903 – June 26, 2001), known as  Frannie , was an  HIV / AIDS  activist. Her work as an activist began at the age of 80 when her eldest grandchild was diagnosed with AIDS and continued for 18 years until her death in 2001. - Via  Wikipedia

Frances W. Peabody (April 18, 1903 – June 26, 2001), known as Frannie, was an HIV/AIDS activist. Her work as an activist began at the age of 80 when her eldest grandchild was diagnosed with AIDS and continued for 18 years until her death in 2001. - Via Wikipedia

What are your thoughts on state & federal funding cuts on healthcare in general, but specifically HIV/AIDS Testing and Prevention Programs? Has this affected you? 

I think the outlook for social services has taken a devastating blow, especially over the past twelve months.  Funding & policies that negatively impact immigration, housing, education, climate, and so on, have a huge impact on health, and all these factors play a critical role in living healthy with HIV/AIDS as well as preventing transmission.  As a low incidence state, Maine has been dealing with cuts to HIV/AIDS funding for many years in line with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy shifting funds to areas of higher incidence.  From a national and global perspective, of course, we want resources to be focused in a strategic way on the areas that are hit the hardest by the epidemic.  But locally, we know the people that are facing overwhelming challenges every day, so it’s difficult not to get frustrated when resources are pulled away. When it comes to prevention, we’re talking about lowering infection rates and making sure people have the knowledge and tools to protect themselves.  So when these programs are effective, the data often illustrates a decreased need.  The problem with this perspective is that the need is very much still there even when new infections are not necessarily on the rise.  The most obvious and very recent example of this is when the closure of syringe exchange programs in Scott County, Indiana led to an HIV outbreak in 2015. As we continue to see the effects of a growing opioid epidemic in Maine, limited access to HIV prevention services also remains a concern.  HIV/AIDS can be managed as a chronic disease thanks to some incredible developments, but that does not mean it should be dismissed and overlooked. The stigma, fear, and ignorance that was so prevalent in the 80’s is still very much a reality for a lot of people today. As with any public health issue, we have to remain committed to evidence-based strategies, looking at the interconnectedness of different barriers, identifying and addressing disparities across communities.  We have to treat people with respect and understanding, and not become complacent. 

In honor of #GivingTuesday, CFCWEAR (Catalyst For Change -- clothing that creates change) collaborated and donated 100% of profits from BRAVE shirts to the Frannie Peabody Center.

What is one challenge and lesson you've learned from your role(s) in leadership?

One thing that I continue to face is that sometimes no matter how hard you work, you will not win every battle.  I grew up thinking that as long as I worked hard enough, nothing was out of reach.  And sure, you will come up against the “you can’t do that, you’re too [insert condescending insult here]”, but I was taught I could do anything I put my mind to. My sister and I have a bit of a joke that the second you tell one of us we can’t do something, well, then, we’ll definitely do it. That kind of determination will definitely carry you through some trying times, but in the tumultuous waves of legislative policy, executive power, money, medicine, and the occasional “not a chance in hell”, you have to accept some failure.  Not to rain on my childhood parade, but I think that lesson helps with getting back up and holding on to even more hope and fire as you face the next challenge.  

What is one invaluable resource that has helped in the sustainability of FPC?

The resiliency of our staff and clients is what has kept Frannie Peabody Center going for over thirty years.  It’s a pretty amazing place to walk into every day, knowing that you are surrounded by people who are determined, compassionate, and incredibly capable.  

I would be remiss to not mention our supporters who have been with us every step of the way – whether through advocacy or fundraising. Because of so many strong individuals that came before us, many of whom are no longer with us, we have federal funding for housing, case management, prevention services, and effective medication for those living with HIV/AIDS. It’s easy to get bogged down by red tape and funding cuts, but I try to remind myself that we are very lucky to have access to those resources.

What do you like to do outside of work that contributes to your career? 

Listen to a lot of NPR, and run. (the NPR to stay current, the running to blow off steam and think of a plan after hearing about all the bad news on NPR)

What is your proudest personal and professional accomplishment? 

I’m proud that I’ve always tried to put my all into everything, both personally and professionally.


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Katie is generous with her heart, her time and her mind. She is present and accountable in a very purposeful way.
One word to describe Katie: Nimble
— Anne Rutherford, Katie's Sister

I'd like to share one message with the world on your behalf, what should I share? 

Always try harder to consider and understand the challenges that other people face.  Be kinder to each other, but never stop fighting oppression, injustice, and inequality. 

Also, please remember to accept science.  It’s real.

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

Not so much a quote but a philosophy and quality – Ubuntu.

 
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Loosely translated, it means “I am because we are”.  It’s a concept that was used as a founding principle in post-apartheid South Africa that focuses on the interconnectedness of people.  It’s something I’ve carried with me for a long time and thought about a lot.  Desmond Tutu explains it as “my humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.” I think if more people took the time to read about and strive for ubuntu, there would be much less division, and much more understanding and accountability.  When you see yourself as part of the whole of humanity, you can’t ignore issues or turn a blind eye.  It helps in understanding that you are made up of all the good and bad that we see around us and forces us to recognize that our actions have ripple effects.

In one word describe yourself: 

goofy

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To Connect w/ Katie & 

 
 

Upcoming Events: 

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Hollie Corbett, Runner - “The Great White Shark”

Hollie's passion for running gives me runner's high. I asked Hollie what she does if she has to miss a run because, well, life happens. She said: "I never have." Fact, Hollie ran 2,394.4 miles in 2017. 
"I'll run till the day I die."

What does being a runner mean to you and where might you be in life without running?

Aside from my family and close friends, being a runner is everything and all-encompassing in my life.  Running is not an activity or sport for me.  It is the singular embodiment of everything that is good about me – it showcases my determination, organization, heart, focus, feistiness, and perseverance.  It is not what I do, it’s who I am. 

I’ve always been a driven person, but I cannot imagine where I would be without running.  By some extension, running has given me every important person in my life, my support system who constantly sacrifice their time to help me achieve my dreams.  So, I would be a far less happy person and feel caged.  Running makes me feel free and gives me a sense of purpose and belonging. 

Where did your nickname, "The Great White Shark" originate?

I have always been fascinated by Great White sharks.  They are fearless, ferocious, and instinctual.  They are an unignorable entity.  The nickname grew out of my ability to visualize chasing down the person in front of me while using that single-minded ferocity to stay focused on my end game.  The nickname is hilarious if you know me because I am physically tiny.  However, don’t let my size fool you, housed inside of this little body is the heart of a Great White. 

Can you share with us a bit of your running and coaching history? 

I think my unofficial running history began when I was able to stand!  I participated in several sports when I was younger, but I did not become an official runner until I was a freshman in high school when I joined the cross country team in order to build endurance for basketball.  I fell in love with the sport and left all other sports.  My path after that is a bit unconventional in that I went from being a sprinter to a competitive middle distance runner and eventually landed on the marathon in my adult life.  Once I found the marathon, I was smitten.  It’s where my heart is.  I have done 7 marathons so far. 

My coaching history began more as a way to help my friends rather than anything official.  I would make training plans for free for different friends here and there.  I put myself out there a bit more when I began to coach my adult track team a few years ago by leading the distance workouts.  Eventually, I became an official co-captain of the team.  Coaching my teammates has brought me a lot of joy and essentially reignited the fire within me after I had my children.

Who are #HolliesHomies and how has this running group enhanced your running career? 

To understand who we are you have to know our roots.  I call my friends my homies.  The group name, Hollie’s Homies, was coined by my friend Hans after a long cold winter run with some of the homies about a year ago.  We are a group of like-minded friends of all ages who love running, enjoy watching each other compete and achieve goals, and have become sounding boards and rocks to lean on during anything we go through in our lives.  The homies (as I call them) have enhanced my running career in a major way.  I do not mind running solo for most of my runs in a week, but the time I spend running with the homies is special.  We talk the entire time for hours about anything and everything nearly every single weekend year round.  We have crazy amounts of fun which make the miles tick by fast.  Plus, there is so much Maine running history in our group that if you do not learn something from them, you haven’t been listening. 

What is one challenge and lesson learned from your experience in training and coaching? 

The largest challenge I’ve encountered in my training/running gave birth to the largest lesson I’ve learned thus far in my career.  I had a very disappointing 2nd Boston Marathon in 2016.  I ran in the heat that fateful day (rain and 50's is my jam), and my entire race plan went sideways quickly.  I threw up several times and nearly passed out a couple of times as well.  Everyone has a race experience that becomes “the” race, the one that changes you.  This was it for me, the race that brought me to my knees but ended up being the best thing to happen to my running.  At this point in my career, I operated under the assumption that if I worked hard, then I would achieve what I wanted.  I learned the hard way that running does not work like that.  

Running is not a linear process with guaranteed outcomes. It is fluid with heartbreaking descents and breathtaking ascents, and you never know which you will get even with all the planning and training in the world.
— Hollie Corbett

I had to partially let go of my rigid nature and become fluid and therein laid the challenge for me.  I enlisted the help of a coach for the first time via Rob Gomez and tried a new way to train while simultaneously not letting one race define me.  I leaned on my family and close friends to help get my mind right.  All of this made me realize that this one experience was merely a single chapter in my running career, not the entire book.  I grew so much as a runner from that one experience.

Speaking from my own experience, running a marathon is A LOT of hard work. Training is time-consuming, a commitment and it hurts! Why do you think we continue to run despite all the pain? 

Life, in general, has ample pain, but we keep living despite the pain, right?  Running with all the lovely pain we endure really is no different for a marathoner.  We are stubborn, driven people.  Marathon training requires so much of ourselves that it has to become an investment even in the pain.  We all invest a ridiculous amount of hours in the actual training/running and necessary extras (PT, weight training, stretching, foam rolling, nutrition, sleep, hydration, etc.) all for that one glorious day.  I truly believe that marathons are personal for each runner.  We all have a reason and a backstory; we all sacrifice for that one end if you will.  I am always cognizant of this fact every single time I toe the line at a marathon when I look at the other marathoners.  In the end, pain is merely just one aspect of the whole process for us.  For me, the reward of knowing that I accomplished something that I put my heart and soul into far outweighs any pain when it comes to a marathon. 

How important is having a daily routine and setting goals? 

Routines and goals are incredibly important to me.  I am a major creature of habit.  My routines have routines!  I find something beautiful about efficiency, working hard, and staying the course toward something you really want in life.  As my running has progressed, I’ve realized that the only limits I have are the ones I impose on myself.  Routines are one solid path to follow to achieve anything and everything you want in life not just in regards to running. 

What is your next big race on the horizon? 

My next big race is the Boston Marathon on April 16, 2018.  Boston 2018 will be my 3rd Boston Marathon.  The Boston Marathon is the pinnacle race for me, it’s my Olympics.  It is unlike any race, it is the Monday of all Mondays.  I wish every runner could experience it because words do not do it justice.   I am very excited for this particular Boston because it will be the first time one of my best friends and I run it at the same time, 2 of my other closest friends (one of which is my Physical Therapist and has saved me on many occasions) will be there to cheer for the very first time, and I have big plans that hopefully lead to obtaining the one large dream I have with my running.


A Message From Rob Gomez, Hollie's Running Coach

 

“Hollie is one of my most determined clients. The drive she has to get in every training run and hit all the paces she needs to hit during her workouts is second to none. She has a friendly and fiery disposition that can be infectious as is evidenced by the ever-larger group of “Hollie’s Homies” that tags along with her for her longer training runs. I’m pretty sure Hollie is the only person who has asked me to swear at them during a race for added motivation! I’ve found myself using Hollie as an example to find motivation for some of my own training runs. Things may not have come together perfectly for her last marathon effort, but I know Hollie will set herself up well for a great race in Boston this April with a whole lot of hard work and a few curse words along the way!” -Rob Gomez


What is your proudest personal achievement? 

My proudest running achievement is not a personal one per se.  I am proudest of all the achievements my City of South Portland adult track team in the Maine Corporate Track Association/MECTA has achieved.   Our team is comprised of all ages (18-70+) and running backgrounds (including those who have never ran before).  I have seen so many of them step out of their comfort zones to do what is best for the team.  Watching them grow as athletes has been far more rewarding than any of my personal achievements.  The fact that I get the opportunity to coach/co-captain them is a whole other level of pride for me.  I always tell them that I will never ask more of them than what I am willing to give myself.  They just give and give again.  Seeing the smiles on their faces when they do something they never thought they could to when we win state championships is amazing.  It is an incredibly fun and special thing to be a part of. 

 8th straight MECTA State Champions.  #mainerunning

8th straight MECTA State Champions. #mainerunning

What is your favorite running app? 

Strava.  My favoritism is three-fold in that I am a stats nerd (I love seeing my own stats and anecdotal information), I really like connecting with other runners from around the world, and I find Strava’s layout visually appealing.

Who is your idol runner and why?

My favorite professional runner is Bernard Lagat.  I love the way he races, smart in the beginning and then he hammers down near the end.  Plus, he appears very gracious and kind.  I would love to meet him someday.

However, my true running idol is one of my best friends, Jess Laurent.  She knew from the jump that she wanted to be a marathoner.  Jess is one of the strongest, most dedicated and passionate people I know which translates directly to her running.  I am in awe of her running ability and conviction, especially since she is super petite like me.  I can remember in my pre-marathon days how I would be in admiration of her because she ran through all weather, woke up early to get her miles in, loved running hills, and had no quit in her body.  When I really started focusing on running again after my children were born, I distinctly remember saying to myself “what would Jess do?”  She’s been an inspiration for me for years.  I idolize every aspect of her not only as a runner but as a person.

Hollie Corbett & Jess Laurent

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

“Impossible IS NOTHING” – Phil Chamberlain

In one word, describe yourself: 

Gritty

To Connect with Hollie:

Email: harnish4@yahoo.com

Instagram: @marathoner52

Christina Carr, Carr Eats (Founder + Owner + Chef)

I love food, too. 
So, of course, I was instantly drawn to Carr Eats Instagram account! 
Carr Eats prepares & delivers healthy meals to match your nutritional and active lifestyle needs. It's my pleasure to connect and introduce you to Christina Carr, founder + owner + chef of Carr Eats! 

What is Carr Eats?

In it’s simplest form - Carr Eats is a prepared meals business. Each week we cook + package fresh (not frozen) nutritious, great tasting, fork ready meals. We’re a catalyst for greatness beyond food…! We give you more time to do what you love outside of the kitchen and the belly power to get you there.  

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What inspired you to create Carr Eats?

I love eating!! But I love feeding people even more. I’m also a big self experimenter (if that’s a thing), so these worlds kind of collided for me when I was playing around with my diet at home; I have to credit my plate for some powerful life changes. Prior to Carr Eats, I was working in pharmaceuticals and I would see all these sick people; it was eye opening to realize how malnourished we are. People are eating and consuming calories but not getting any micro/macronutrients. I got it in my head that if I could show people how good they could feel from REAL food, I could maybe save them a doctors visit… or maybe get them off a few pills. Carr Eats was a personal mission that turned into a business once I stumbled across this huge need.  

What do you do outside of work that directly impacts your career? 

Fitness. Fitness. 100% fitness!! I've always been physically active but didn’t take my overall wellbeing seriously until a couple years ago when I started Crossfit. We had just finished renovating our house, a period where I did nothing to take care of myself. I wasn't eating great, I wasn't sleeping great, I was always thinking about work... I was a little depressed. Fitness was (really) really low on the priority list. I was at a point where I was sick of hearing myself make excuses. Focusing on what my body can do has given me a new outlook! Fitness has impacted my life in a profound way. What I eat matters. How I sleep matters. Fitness fuels the passion for what I do. I want everyone to experience what it’s like to appreciate their whole-self.  

 
 "Fitness fuels the passion for what I do. I want everyone to experience what it’s like to appreciate their whole-self. " -CC 

"Fitness fuels the passion for what I do. I want everyone to experience what it’s like to appreciate their whole-self. " -CC 

 

How important is having a daily routine?

For me?! Very!!! No one would ever label me as a spontaneous person. I’m very methodical and enjoy streamlining routines to maximize efficiency. I basically do the same things in the same order daily. I budget time for the occasional variance/exception, but for the most part, I’m very routine. Very organized. It’s a term I’ve coined the “3B” rule. This may sound silly, but I go to the same grocery store weekly - at some point, I realized I was struggling to remember where I parked (like every time). This is a stress I didn’t need and something that had an easy fix! So now I always park in the same lot… 3B! I try to apply this in as many places as possible. As a small business owner, I have a ton going on, so routines save me from mistakes and reduce anxiety. Predictability is good!!

What is one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as a founder? 

Challenge: Everyone has an opinion. 

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Lesson: Ditch your ego. Arrogance + complacency are easy traps to fall into. Try to learn + grow from every experience (you will mess up - own that). Collect people in your life that are experts in their field; surround yourself with people who support, motivate and challenge you.  

Can you give us one invaluable resource that has helped you in the development and growth of Carr Eats?

Fork Food Lab (Portland, ME). Without a commercial kitchen, I wouldn’t have a food license. Without a food license, there wouldn’t be a business. I’m always thinking about the next step and naturally, that would be to operate my own space, but Fork saved me when I didn’t have a place to go… when I was testing my concept and couldn’t afford to throw down 100k on a build-out. The timing was perfect, they were opening just as I was starting my brand, so it was really a lucky coincidence.

 
 "Maine's Shared Kitchen and Tasting Room"

"Maine's Shared Kitchen and Tasting Room"

 

What are your top two CE memories thus far?

  1. I love to hear how my meals have changed lives. I have one client who thanked me and shared how her doctor asked what she was doing because she had made such progress in her health. She disclosed that she was off several medications because of my meals and feeling like she was in the best shape of her life.   
  2. This is a recurring memory, but I really enjoy remembering every morning, that THIS is what I get to do today. I don’t think this feeling will ever get old. Literally opening your eyes each day and getting to contribute to a cause that you are personally invested in. 
 "Love what you do + respect the trust people have in you. You put your health in our hands and we don't take that lightly." CC via  Instagram  

"Love what you do + respect the trust people have in you. You put your health in our hands and we don't take that lightly." CC via Instagram 

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

It’s more of a question than a quote, but its something my father would say to me when I was in a tricky spot. “What are your choices here Chris?” I repeat this to myself constantly. It's a reminder that even in the hardest of times you can create options for yourself. It's a reminder that you always have the power to change your perspective. This has been invaluable on countless occasions. 

In one word, describe yourself:

Haha! Let's call it persistent

To Connect with Carr Eats: 


Cathleen Wasielewski, Teacher of Yin Yoga, Meditation, Krama Vinyasa Yoga

Cathleen Wasielewski (E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP) is the real deal. Without question, her teachings will change your life. She has 100% changed mine. I met Cathy at Greener Postures Yoga Studio in South Portland, Maine. Some people you instantly connect with and for me, Cathy was one. A mutual smile and "Hi Jessica" and "Hi Cathy" immediately fills me with happiness, hope and knowing I'm exactly where I am supposed to be. For me to share Cathy's story is an honor. She influences and encourages me to follow my path through her teachings, which has guided me in the creation of Mindbosa. 

What inspired you to become a Yoga Instructor?

Inspiration- the “Ah-Ha” moments of being truly present, embodied and in the real knowing of clarity and peace.  My very first studio yoga class was it.  It was a sweaty Hatha practice where I was completely out of my comfort zone of being able to control anything that was happening at the moment.  My body was experiencing a stamina it had never known, my mind was being blown away with the clarity of letting the thoughts just pass through and my spirit was standing back and observing it all with a sense of fun and joy and an element of saying to me “Here you are!  Welcome home!”

Before this practice of yoga I had experienced all kinds of physical exercise, dance and had always loved being in my body and moving.  This was something different.  There was an intellectually incomprehensible energy to what I was feeling and I wanted more.  I continued to study yoga asana in its many disciplines and presentations and always found this sense of returning home to balance, peace and clarity.  I just kept going and the practice had led me to the deeper layers of spirituality and meditation.  Each practice is a new discovery and is a continued inspiration to keep going.  Teaching is a way to continue my study and share the conversations with all.

Can you tell us about your educational experiences and personal journey to becoming an Instructor? 

I began with heated Hatha practice and over time moved toward a more advanced physical practice.  As I longed to learn more I experienced my first heated vinyasa practice.  As vinyasa is based in movement with breath I became more interested in learning how this affected my own body as well as the experience of others.  I went to experience a week of training with a renowned teacher of Prana Vinyasa Shiva Rea and was in love with the depths she taught.  From that time I vowed to explore deeper education.  I studied to become a classroom assistant in 2009 so that I could work hands on with students and their bodies to assist in enhancing the energy of the poses.  From there I studied with Baron Baptiste in upstate New York for my first teacher training.  It was intense and hard and incredible.  It opened me up.  I continued for 2 more weeks of education in the Baptiste Methodology and also trained in a 200hr Yoga Alliance training in Power Flow.  I became certified in 2012 but had been teaching nearly 2 years before that. 

I became a kind of training junkie and wanted to experience the teachings of all different kinds of yoga and did so.  I trained and studied with Todd Norian, Rolf Gates, Anodea Judith as well as more studies with Roberto Lim and Shiva Rea.  My interest in Yin Yoga, a deeper still practice of embodiment through connective tissue work, brought me to study with Josh Summers in 2014 and advanced training with Bernie Clark in the summer of 2016.  It has been Mind blowing.

I furthered my education by engaging in a 2nd 200hr certification with Johanna Bell of Sonic Yoga in New York City in 2014 and continued on with Johanna’s Illumina Yoga training to received my advanced 500hr certification in 2017. 

I continue to study with teachers of many yoga disciplines to encompass the wider scope of all that is yoga- asana and beyond. 

Currently, I am enrolled at the Academy of Intuition Medicine based in Mill Valley, California.  This education will continue over the next couple of years. The intuition medicine model uses subtle body mapping based on the ancient philosophy and teachings of yoga to bring awareness to health through understanding energy principles.  

When did you realize your passion for yoga and healing would become a career path?

Almost immediately.  Teaching is an evolution of a career in healthcare that I practiced for over 25 years.  I worked at the retail level as a registered pharmacist for many years and in that time engaged in self and formal studies related to natural and alternative medicines and nutrition.  With my love of embodiment and movement, Yoga practice helped me to make the link between health and living healthy and so the process continued with yogic study.

What do you like to do outside of work that directly impacts your practice and teachings?  

Study study study …with all the information that I can get my hands on.  I love to read and immerse myself both intellectually and experientially. 

I live my life.  I spend time in nature.  I spend time with my family and friends and nurturing relationships.  I engage in conversations of all kinds of depth and learning.   Life is a platform for yoga.  It teaches us about ourselves and how to gain the depth of connection and love.

What is one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as an Instructor? Yogi?

Challenge: overcoming fear on all levels.  I used to think I wasn’t normal.  I seemed to look at the world in a different way than what I perceived other people around me did.  I was always working from my feeling sense, nature and the ground. Constructs of our society were so confusing to me in that so many people seemed to do things that they weren’t happy doing.  I was afraid of never finding my Self. I thought that I needed to live my life in the way that others did, even though it didn’t feel good.  I kept quiet and had trouble finding my voice.  I was afraid to be different.

My challenge was to stop worrying about fitting into other people’s expectations and to speak my own Truth as well as live my own Truth.

The challenge in yoga practice is the same as life.  When I discovered the practices of coming to my mat I came face to face with myself and my fears.  I came to Truth by facing them one breath at a time. 

How important is having a daily routine?  

Daily routine is the mainstay of growth.  The practices of yoga are methods to continuously grow our awareness of clearing the clutter that life imparts upon us.  Life won’t stop…it will continue to push on us and challenge us and yoga is called a practice because life is continuous and ever-changing.  We will continue to grow in spite of ourselves but yoga gives the tools for a smoother ride.  A ride of learning our spirits, our capabilities, our strength and our light. 

 "The practices of yoga are methods to continuously grow our awareness of clearing the clutter that life imparts upon us." -CW

"The practices of yoga are methods to continuously grow our awareness of clearing the clutter that life imparts upon us." -CW

What is one piece of advice you would offer any individual contemplating beginning a yoga practice?

Yoga practice will be everything you always wanted and everything you never wanted.  It will feel like bliss and it will feel like the most difficult thing you ever do.  It grows your understanding of your Self.  There is no wrong way to practice the many and all encompassing aspects of yoga. Yoga is a teaching for personal freedom and love. Keep going!!!!!  You will find you. 

Whatever yoga practices make sense to you, study that as that is your personal path to your own light. 

What is your proudest personal and professional accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is in finding my Truth and speaking it by following my own heart and interests.  Before teaching yoga I couldn’t even speak in front of a small group of friends without anxiety and fear.  Now I speak loud and clear from my heart and Spirit. 

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

There are so many favorites that I have, but I think the one that has been most inspirational for me is a quote that comes from a writing called “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. The entire writing is a continuing inspiration for me.  It says:

“It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.  I want to know if you can stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.” 

“I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.  I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments”

In one word, describe yourself:

Real

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To Connect w/ Cathleen: 

Class schedule and events are posted on:

Facebook: Cathleen Wasielewski Yoga

Writing/Blog: cathleenwasielewskiyoga.blogspot.com

 

Niraj Yoga 648 Congress St, Portland, ME.   

Greener Postures Yoga South Portland and West Falmouth, ME.  

Illumina Yoga on faculty to facilitate teacher trainings at Niraj Yoga 648 Congress St. Portland ME. 


Weekly Classes:  

Morning Yin Yoga and Meditation at Niraj Yoga. Mondays 9:30 -10:45am

Morning Yin Yoga and Meditation at Niraj Yoga. Thursdays 8-9am

Evening Yin Yoga and Meditation at Niraj Yoga. Thursdays 7:15-8:30pm

Community Meditation at Niraj Yoga. Wednesdays 8-9am by donation

Yin Yoga & Meditation at Greener Postures Yoga, South Portland, ME. Fridays 2:15pm-3:30pm


Special Events: 

Intro to Yin Yoga at Greener Postures Yoga, South Portland on Saturday January 20th, 2018. 12:30-3:00pm

Carrie McEneaney, A Maine Mom Running

True story, I met Carrie in February 2001. She trained me to be a server at Macaroni Grill! Back then, I'm not sure I understood what running was and why anyone would want to do it! I'd say we've come a long way since. It comes as no surprise Carrie is a passionate and dedicated runner, mom, wife, friend, and worker. Here's a glimpse of Carrie, A Maine Mom Running.

What inspired you to begin running?

I ran cross-country and track in high school and college, but stopped after graduation. Even though I ran every once in a while, it wasn’t until after the birth of our second son that I really had the itch to start running on a regular basis and compete again. Meeting up with an old high school friend and a couple of her friends inspired me to get out there.

How has running impacted your life?

Running has been a huge impact in my life. It has shown me that I can do hard things and push myself both mentally and physically further than I previously thought possible. It has brought me friendships both in person and through social media that will last a lifetime. It gives me solo time and is a release from the day-to-day crazies which in turn helps me be a better person in all aspects of my life.

What are one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your training? 

Training your brain is almost more important than becoming physically strong when it comes to running. When your body is tired and you don’t think you could take another step, it’s a huge challenge to focus and fight the urge to stop. But the more you run, the more you practice mental focus, the more you will improve. With running, what you put in, you will get out. If you don’t invest the time, you won’t be fully satisfied with the results. There are no shortcuts. 

Life gets in the way of training (no regrets), so I have no expectations other than to reach the finish line and have fun along the way. -CM

What are your top two favorite running memories? 

Crossing the finish line at the high school state meet in the 300m hurdles in first place way back in 1994 is one of my favorite memories. Second would be running the Maine Coast Marathon on Mother’s Day in 2015. Even though it was my slowest marathon to date and I had to walk the last half due to a sudden heatwave of over 90 degrees after training all winter, I had the best time just enjoying the journey. Also having my husband and two boys waiting for me at the finish was a wonderful gift. 

 
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If you could run anywhere in the world, where would it be?

It’s pretty cliche, but running the Boston Marathon is where I hope to run one day. A close second would be Antarctica or Alaska. I run hot, so running somewhere cold is my ideal place. 

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

"Running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are.” - Joan Benoit Samuelson or more recently, “F*&k yes!” - Shalane Flanagan right before winning the 2017 NYC Marathon (Catch that video HERE!)

In one word, describe yourself:

Positive

 
 "Running has been a huge impact in my life. It has shown me that I can do hard things and push myself both mentally and physically further than I previously thought possible." -CM

"Running has been a huge impact in my life. It has shown me that I can do hard things and push myself both mentally and physically further than I previously thought possible." -CM

 

Connect & follow Carrie,

A Maine Mom Running Via: 

Instagram and Twitter @amainemom


MJ Allen, Founder of Presence of Mind Studio 

This is the story of MJ Allen. A courageous, tell-all of her life changing incarceration and how it transformed her life.  

What is Presence of Mind Studio?

The mission of Presence of Mind Studio is to be committed to making the life-changing benefits of meditation available to all.  Since Presence of Mind has been open, however, it has become something much, much different.  The studio has been a place where people have learned to breathe, found simple and routine mindfulness techniques, and yes, people have meditated.  People have laughed, cried, and become self-aware while sitting upon a cushion or couch in the studio.  It's become a place of stories and transition.....along with healing.  For all those reasons, Presence of Mind's mission is beginning to change to one of facilitating people's growth, inner truth, and self-awareness.  

Maya Angelou once said ”You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” 

Can you share with us your past?

I was a founder and executive director of a small mental health agency that started in 2003 by a small group of professionals and myself.  After the close of a 5 year grant, the State of Maine recommended that we become a mental health agency...we did.  The agency was established as a mental health agency in April 2008 and abruptly closed in December 2009....a mere 20 months later.  In that time, the agency experienced delayed reimbursement with DHHS.  The line of credit was insufficient to cover the costs of the operating the business and, in the end, I made choices that were driven from my ego and pride.  Those choices included altering a bank check receipt, scanning and providing to Anthem as proof of payment for the employees health insurance, not paying over payroll taxes to taxing authorities, and tax issue with my personal tax returns.  The headlines read as though I embezzled money and that providers went without payment.  It is true that providers went without payment.  I also went without payment and lost well over $100,000 on top of the $50,000 in legal fees.  The tragic loss was that of a great concept and a wonderful program that was built from love and commitment to the people of York County, Maine.  At the time I was removed from my position, I actually believed I could not live without the Agency.  It was born in my living room, my husband and kids took a back seat to anything Agency related, and I had nearly bankrupted my family to keep the Agency afloat....as it was, I had put our home in foreclosure by diverting the payments into the Agency to keep the lights on and staff paid.

After I was removed from my position on December 4, 2009, I buried my head until the following June when I decided to return to school.  I wanted to switch from the administrative side of mental health to the clinical side.  In December 2011, I graduated a 120 hour undergraduate degree in Forensic Psychology, just 10 days before I would start a Masters program in Clinical Mental Health and Counseling.  It was just 4 weeks after being indicted on 23 counts of theft by misapplication and tax evasion.  I had made this whole situation with the Agency worse  by continuing to have an attitude of entitlement and had worked full-time and collected unemployment benefits so I had added to the charges that I would ultimately have had to answer for.  Through it all, I continued to trudge through, didn't learn a thing and allowed my ego to expand even larger.  It was also the same weekend I would be slipped a date rape drug in a glass of wine and experience a sexual assault.  My response to it all was to become bigger than life!!!  The more I experienced, the bigger my attitude, ego and conceitedness.  

From January 2012 to August 2013 was a collision course and I had no concept whatsoever of how hard the crash was going to be.  I separated from my husband, lived 2 hours north for most of the week, and still believed that I could never be convicted--I'd done nothing wrong!!  In the end, after nearly $50,000 in legal fees and my family's request to please end this whole thing, I took a plea agreement and was convicted for what I'd done.  My ego, however, continued to tell me that I wouldn't get jail time---on August 14, 2013--1 day after my 43rd birthday--I turned myself into York County Jail and began what would be a nearly 16 month time in prison.  

 "The most overwhelming memory of all was the first night.  I was alone, everything had been stripped away...literally and figuratively.  I was wearing county jail orange clothes, shoes that someone else had worn, and I had no socks.  As they say, this was the first day of the rest of my life." -MJ

"The most overwhelming memory of all was the first night.  I was alone, everything had been stripped away...literally and figuratively.  I was wearing county jail orange clothes, shoes that someone else had worn, and I had no socks.  As they say, this was the first day of the rest of my life." -MJ

I remember everything and every moment of August 14, 2013 like it was yesterday.  I recall trying to get things in order for my husband so that he could manage the house for however long I was away.  I remember saying good bye to friends, my kids, and my dog.  I remember standing in my bedroom sobbing and baffled by how all of this could happen to me--why me?  I recall the ride with my husband to the jail and how everything in my life seemed to be slipping away.  I can still feel what it was like to to leave my husband standing at the door and turning to face my reality...alone!  But, the most overwhelming memory of all was the first night.  I was alone, everything had been stripped away...literally and figuratively.  I was wearing county jail orange clothes, shoes that someone else had worn, and I had no socks.  As they say, this was the first day of the rest of my life.

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The journey to prison was definitely an eye-opener.  I heard stories that were real and raw.  I once thought I was a great therapist, what I learned was that I knew nothing about reality...only what the books and the clients share.  I met some incredible people along the way, including my meditation mentor.  When we first met, I was amazed that someone could spend that much time looking within.  I, myself, couldn't manage to get 5 minutes under my belt.  I was fortunate to spend most of my 16 months in a pre-release facility with my own clothes, the ability to have pass's into the community with my family, to return to school, and to go to work.  Work for me would be a humbling experience at Dunkin Donuts.  

While I was in prison, I became interested in meditation and definitely in mindfulness.  The anxiety and jumpiness that existed on the outside was ten fold behind the wall.  I didn't fear my safety, but the unexpected nearly killed me.  Not knowing when someone would start yelling for no reason or we would be told to "lock up" for hours on end.  I knew I needed to find a way to quiet my mind and my life.  The destruction of my life, a sexual assault, and facing the damage I'd done to my family was with me constantly.  

And that, is my past in a nutshell.....

How did being incarcerated transform your life and what would life look like today not having that experience? 

The transformation of having been in prison still occurs.  First and foremost, I learned that I could actually accept and take ownership of the things I did to cause the situation.  When asked by probation, I simply have stated "I will own everything I did, but I will not take ownership of the things I didn't do, but am convicted of so I could begin to put this behind my family".  The reality is, I learned a lot about myself, what drives me, where my perfectionistic tendencies and my ego.  I also found I had passion for working with women who have trauma histories and bringing a voice to the retraumatization of women through incarceration and how that has impacted the astronomical increase in female recidivism rates in this country.  This experience provided me with a purpose for my master's project.  

The investigation itself started to provide a glimpse into how people viewed me when I began reading the interrogations of the people who worked for me.  That in and of itself, was eye opening.  People actually feared my reaction and temper tantrums if things didn't go a certain way.  Subsequently, while I was incarcerated, my kids, particularly my youngest, began to tell me what his experience was of growing up with me as his mother.  It was the hardest things for me to hear.  I recognized that something needed to change and I absolutely had to get my controlling nature and volatile reactions under control.  The first few months home were difficult, but I committed myself to my self-care, mindfulness, self-awareness, and daily meditation.

Today, I am able to walk away from conflict and to 'let it go'.  I am able to use my voice in a meaningful manner.  My kids, husband and I have wonderful relationships that are healthier than they have ever been.  I know sitting here today, that had I not had the experience of going to prison, I would have lost everything in my life....potentially, even myself.  There were times through all of this that the thoughts of ending my life were very difficult to resist.  I would have attempted to be a therapist, I would have done ok, but I wouldn't have been able to really meet people where they are and to guide their ability to look within for the healing and forward movement.  I would have naively thought I had a concept of working with people who have addictions, but I wouldn't have been able to fully understand that addiction is not about the substance of choice, it is about something far deeper.  All in all, life would have been very, very different and I would have been the same ego-driving person fraught with anxiety and depression, juggling too many balls and scared to death that one of the balls would drop and my world would come crashing down....just as it did!

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What is one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as a founder?

The biggest challenge I face is getting people to come through to door.  Meditation and mindfulness is still not a mainstream tool.  Although, I love yoga and especially enjoy the last 15 minutes of any yoga class, but the representation that it is meditation results in people deciding they have done meditation and don't need to come to a meditation studio separately.  

One lesson I've learned is to stay true to what I am doing.  It was very important to me to offer the group classes as a donation.  Because of my history with women who have trauma histories, mental health needs, and incarceration, I understand that professionals suggest mindfulness and meditation, but where do you go?  And, when you get there, if you have limited income, how do you pay for it?  For me, it is a personal mission to make this tool available to people...no matter their ability to pay.

How important is having a daily routine?

Having a daily routine and building a daily meditation practice is extremely important.  I describe that your daily routine is like training for a marathon.  You don't go out and run a marathon without training and you don't experience the long-term benefits from meditation and mindfulness without a daily practice.  The daily practice is like your training for when you need to be self-aware of your reactions, deal with a difficult situation, or manage the day-to-day stressors we all experience.  

 By incorporating mindfulness into everyday practices, MJ has undergone a transformational weight loss. Read more here:     Essential Living Maine :  My Mindful Weightloss Journey  

By incorporating mindfulness into everyday practices, MJ has undergone a transformational weight loss. Read more here:  Essential Living MaineMy Mindful Weightloss Journey 

What do you like to do outside of work that directly impacts your practice?

I love to hike!! For me, there is nothing like the feeling I get when I lace up my hiking boots, take Gracie (my English Springer) off the leash, and hit a trail.  I find myself, my center and my calm in these escapes.  The sound of the birdsong, the smell of the forest, and the feel of the uneven earth beneath my feet keeps me grounded and in the present moment, which then translates into my being present for clients and groups in the studio. 

 "We made it...47 degrees, 67 mph winds and dense cloud cover" -July 4th 2017

"We made it...47 degrees, 67 mph winds and dense cloud cover" -July 4th 2017

Can you tell us one invaluable resource that has helped in the growth and development of Presence of Mind Studio?

That’s an easy one….the people who surround me every day are the ultimate invaluable resource!!  After everything I have been through, I still have people who believe in me.  Those people have helped me see the vision and one of them was gracious enough to provide the funding for me to open the studio and pay the overhead costs while clients were finding me.

What is your proudest personal and professional accomplishment?

Aside from being a very proud mother, my proudest personal accomplishment is coming out of prison changed for the better. As I look back, I realize the crossroads that I stood, one was to be the victim and weak, the other to take control and find the silver lining and the strength within myself… I chose to acknowledge and appreciate the strength that existed within me.  

 "My kids, husband and I have wonderful relationships that are healthier than they have ever been.  I know sitting here today, that had I not had the experience of going to prison, I would have lost everything in my life....potentially, even myself." -MJ

"My kids, husband and I have wonderful relationships that are healthier than they have ever been.  I know sitting here today, that had I not had the experience of going to prison, I would have lost everything in my life....potentially, even myself." -MJ

My proudest professional accomplishment was attending graduate school and obtaining my Master’s degree despite going to prison in the middle of it.  It wasn’t always easy to trudge forward not knowing, and oftentimes not believing, that I would ever be allowed to have my license to practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor, but I still moved forward.  As I write this, I am still unsure if I will be granted licensure, but I have not let it deter me from being a champion for mental health needs and prison reform.

I would like to share repeatedly 1 message to the world, on your behalf, what should I share?

The message that resonates with me the most is taken from what a dear professor said to me when I disclosed that I would be leaving and going to prison.  He said “each and every one of us are one fine line from being incarcerated on any given day."  John's message meant so much to me and has resonated in how I try to conduct my life without judgment of others.  One small shift in my life and I could have been addicted to substances, homeless or have taken a life while driving drunk…life can change in a heartbeat, so be kind today and view those we encounter with compassion and understanding.

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment” ~~Buddha

In one word, describe yourself:

Determined

 "It was a journey of self-awareness for getting these words onto paper for the very first time outside of my own journals.  I appreciate the opportunity to share what has brought me to this place in my life." -MJ

"It was a journey of self-awareness for getting these words onto paper for the very first time outside of my own journals.  I appreciate the opportunity to share what has brought me to this place in my life." -MJ

To Connect with MJ & Presence of Mind Studio: 

Website: www.presenceofmindstudio.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/presenceofmindstudio

Instagram: @presence_of_mind_maine