Hi everybody! I’m very excited to share my interview with my friend Pam McGonigle. Pam is in her late 40s and living in Ardmore with her husband and son. She is a development manager at The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. Pam is a very genuine, honest person, and she has more grit than anyone I have ever met. Pam was born with albinism and, as a result, she has suffered from vision defects throughout her life. She is legally blind. However, that never stopped Pam from achieving anything extraordinary.

In our conversation, Pam talks about how she went to the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Paralympic Games for track. She tells us the story of the unfortunate setback she encountered in the 1500M race (just shy of 1 mile) in the 1992 Barcelona games, as well as how she courageously found grit and persevered in order to strike gold in the 3000M (2 mile) and bronze in the 800M (half mile). She tells us all about the concept of guide runners and dog guide runners as well – it is so cool!

Pam also tells us about how she sometimes sees her disability as a gift – when she encounters setbacks or failures, she is able to bounce back quickly because she is already wired to navigate challenging situations due to her disability. We also talk about her son JT, who she and her husband adopted from China when he was four years old. JT also has albinism, but just like mom, he doesn’t let that stop him – he is also a runner!  I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did!

Hi Everybody! I’m very excited to share my interview with my friend Lisi Lerch. Lisi is in her mid-40s, married with three children and living in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Lisi tells us the story of how she started her very own successful jewelry company called Lisi Lerch back in 2001 at the age of 30. Throughout our conversation, we touch on many different topics, including some of the rejections Lisi experienced in the early years, how the business evolved from hats to jewelry, and how she waited to grow and take the company national until her youngest was in kindergarten. Lisi also shared some of the exciting and cool moments along the way, like when she is watching television and spots famous people from Good Morning America, The Today Show and other well-known television shows sporting the Lisi Lerch jewelry line.

We also talk about maintaining a positive mindset even when life throws you curveballs, as in when her oldest was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of two. Lisi and her family are super involved in the JDRF Diabetes Association, given that both her husband and daughter have Type 1 diabetes. Lisi is chairing the 2018 JDRF One Promise Gala honoring Bill McNabb (chairman and CEO of The Vanguard Group) which will be held on April 21, 2018 at The Loews Philadelphia Hotel. To learn more about how to donate to help find a cure for diabetes or on the event, please visit www.jdrf.org/ – help us turn Type 1 diabetes into Type None!

I’m very excited to share my interview with my friend, Caroline Fenkel.

Caroline is 29 years old, married and a rock star in the alcohol and substance abuse recovery industry in the greater Philadelphia area. Caroline has been ten years sober since August 9th, 2007 – Go Caroline!

In this interview, Caroline tells her story of how she became sober and clean. I appreciate Caroline’s honesty as she provides us with several “rock bottom moments” that finally led her to go to rehab in August 2007. Caroline then tells us her amazing ten-year journey of not only being clean and sober but also becoming extremely successful in the recovery industry while simultaneously attending Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, Caroline is working at Newport Academy, where she is the Director of the Center for Families in Malvern, PA.

We also discuss the complexity of the opioid epidemic in America, as well as how parents and grownups can help children entering middle school and high school from going off the grid and abusing substances by modeling healthy choices in their own lives. Quick statistics – in 1999, 4,000 people died from drug overdoses compared to 62,000 deaths in 2016. I learned SO much from Caroline in our interview, and I hope you do too!


Show Notes:

O2:06 Welcome Caroline

02:28 Hitting rock bottom

06:09 Ten years sober

06:23 What did the first year of recovery look like?

08:45 “Rat Park” Study

12:20 What happened when she returned from therapy?

15:32 How her career developed

17:47 Newport Academy

21:00 Starting the Center for Families

25:51 Family Background

26:35 Looking at and treating addiction as a disease

31:32 The Opioid Epidemic

40:50 How can you help kids from going off the grid and model healthy choices?

47:34 What would you tell your 25-year-old self?

48:52 When you think of success, who do you think of?

50:06 Learn more about the Center for Families

I am very excited to post my conversation with Jane Winchester Paradis!

I loved listening to Janie’s story – she is 44, married, living in Wayne, PA with her two children and three step children (all in their teens!).

Janie has a long history in the fashion industry.

She started in NYC after college and worked at Adrienne Vittadini, Calvin Klein and Barneys. In 1998, she started her own handbag line called Buzz by Jane Fox – it was a huge hit and was sold in lots of boutiques and major department stores, such as Neimans and Bergdorf Goodman.

Then in 2006, Lilly Pulitzer called and asked her to head up the accessories line so she moved to Philadelphia and had tons of success at Lilly for 11 years.

Just this past May, Janie decided to take a leap of faith and she left Lilly to start her own jewelry line called Jane Winchester – it launches next month!!

Take a look at her Instagram account to learn more (@jane_winchester_paradis).

So not only do we talk about Janie’s career journey from NYC to Philadelphia but we also cover a lot of topics including taking risks and seizing opportunities, climbing the corporate ladder, how to manage and deal with people in the workforce, finding a job you are passionate about, and so much more! I hope you guys enjoy!!



Show notes:

0:35 Family Background

10:50 9 years at Buzz with Jane Fox

18:48 What drove her?

22:18 How did she manage work with kids?

27:27 Thoughts on managing people

31:53 How she came up with the name

35:29 Launching on Black Friday

38:14 How to remain happy

40:45 Being grateful and appreciative

43:32 How to overcome failure

46:37 Implementing “grit” in life

50:39 Advice to your 30 year old self

Hi everybody!

This week I’m interviewing Martie Gillin!

Martie Gillin and her late husband, Bob Gillin, had 10 children, 27 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.  Happy early birthday to Martie – she turns 81 on October 19th! Martie is one of my favorite people – she has humbly touched so many people’s lives in profound ways. In this interview, Martie covers a range of topics, including her top priorities – the 4Fs – Faith, family, friends and forgiveness. I especially love her advice on raising children and how listening is the most important quality to practice. We also touch on when Martie lost her late son, Bobby Gillin, to Aids in 1992 – he was just 30 years old but in those 30 years she talks about how he made such a difference in every single life he came across. Bobby asked Martie to help break the silence of a whispered disease, so she began doing HIV/AIDS awareness talks in schools. These talks then inspired Martie to start a nonprofit organization called SpeakUp which is a powerful movement that promotes open, honest communication about the challenges facing today’s youth. She partnered with schools all over the mainline and greater Philadelphia area to bring their youth, educators and parents together for courageous conversations where the young people could be themselves and be honest about the reality of their lives and find guidance and support.

Awards include but are not limited to: University of Notre Dame “Women of Distinction” Award, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital Humanitarian, St. Francis Country House Award, Maynooth College-Ireland Award, The Catherine McAuley Award, Philadelphia Eagles “Fly for Leukemia Award,” The Holy Child Cornelia Connelly Award, The Visiting Nurses Caring Huntington’s Disease Society of America Award, Catholic Youth Organization Award.


Show notes

0:44 Early life

6:08 How she applied ‘grit’ to life

10:17 How to step out of your comfort zone?

14:09 Dealing with the naysayers

15:58 How to deal with competition with siblings?

20:10 Dealing with someone new joining the family

22:36 Taking interest in others

24:50 Advice for new parents

28:35 Dealing with Loss of a child

34:00 Comforting after a loss

42:30 A higher power gives you hope

45:08 How to get over a bad day?

46:51 Gratitude practice for every night

49:11 Speak Up! – turning personal tragedy into a business

55:46 Border story

58:42 What is success?

Welcome to another episode of High Five Success Stories!

This week I’m interviewing my friend Katie Foote (Dr. Catherine Foote), the owner of Foote Orthodontics. She has locations in Bryn Mawr, PA and Wayne, PA. Katie has built a strong clientele from all over the mainline and greater Philadelphia area. She has been recognized by her peers for her proficiency in orthodontics. She has been recognized in Philadelphia Magazine’s “Top Dentist” issue every year since 2010. She has also been voted Top Dentist by Main Line Today annually from 2010-2017!  

Katie is 39 and married with three adorable children (she just had her 3rd baby this past June!). She is also the oldest of 7 children. What I absolutely love about Katie is that she’s full of positive energy and practices gratefulness every single day, even when times are tough! Listen closely and you’ll hear she uses “grateful” several times throughout the interview.

In this interview, she tells us about the challenges she faced after graduating from Penn, and how she eventually figured things out and opened her first location at the age of thirty. She also goes into the story of how she lost her father the year she opened her practice, and how she didn’t get married to her husband until the age of thirty-five. My biggest takeaway after talking to Katie is to always play the long game in life.  You have to muscle through the challenges in life before you see the rewards. And if you really want something, opportunities WILL appear. You just have to be open to them!

Show notes

3:05 How was grad school for doctors?

6:48 Wanted to open her own practice by 27

12:17 When did you meet your husband?

16:56 How she handled the business with a second child

18:16 Worked half-days

19:39 Nobody can do it alone

21:04 What was the best advice she received?

26:17 Never settle

30:12 Everyone has their own path

31:42 Being ok with failing

32:57 How old were you when your father passed away?

40:32 Applying grit to life

41:13 Her favorite failure?

47:42 Don’t compete with others

48:06 Who do you think of when you think of success

52:45 What advice would you give your 30 year old self?

Floss Barber is the owner of Floss Barber Design, an interior design company she started in 1986. Her company creates high level interior design for hotels, casinos, restaurants, universities, and residential and office buildings. Some of her work includes projects at the University of Pennsylvania (President Amy Gutmann’s office, the Dean of Wharton’s office, and the Hill College House renovation) and I was lucky enough to see her finished work at one of our tenant’s offices in Conshohocken – Hirtle Callaghan.

We met at a golf networking event (both trying to perfect our golf swing!!) and we immediately hit if off.

In this podcast, we cover a number of things including how she got started in business, how she persevered during the ups and downs of the economy, and much more.

My biggest takeaway from this episode is how not to let your disappointments hold you back. Often, we keep deliberating on the things that we weren’t able to achieve instead of focusing on what we can do now to be great.

She shares an amazing story of wisdom her grandmother shared with her. She asked her what was the most important thing in life, and her grandmother said “to be grateful”. Even when she asked her a few more times, her answer was always the same. And I believe that it’s a hundred percent true. You need to be grateful for what you have to get more of it.

Listen to this episode and as always let me know in the comments what were the biggest lessons for you.

Also, please don’t forget to share and subscribe to the podcast. Thanks!


2:41 Background

7:48 How to get through difficult times?

9:58 How she got through the financial crisis?

12:58 Having passion for what you do

15:18 How to deal with naysayers?

17:02 How hardships drive you

17:58 Advice for working mothers

22:37 What did you do at Houston hall?

23:51 What does ‘grit’ mean to you?

26:25 Disappointments don’t let you move on

29:54 How golf is related to business

32:44 Quality that helped her success

35:23 How to set apart from the competition?

36:55 Night time routine for success

38:45 Importance of gratitude

41:48 Who do you think of as successful?

42:41 Project she’s proud of

44:27 Books she recommends

46:22 Advice for young women



Floss Barber Interior Design

The Autobiography of a Yogi

A message to Garcia

Closing Time

The Glass Castle

Welcome to another episode of High Five Success Stories!

This week’s success story comes from my good childhood friend, Liz McKee. Three years out of college, she opened her very own Pilates studio, LSF Pilates, in 2013. Since then she has been running her business successfully. I’ve always heard rave reviews about her studio.

Liz and I go way back to when we were children growing up by the pool. I used to be very timid and shy, but Liz was kind enough to take me under her wing and introduce me to her pool friends.

For all my listeners in Philadelphia, check out LSF Pilates. Her equipment is out of this world! It offers a bunch of different classes including Pilates, Barre and Rebounder for all levels of fitness. The classes are small and provide hands-on, semi-private instruction to safely transform your body. It is located a block from the heart of Wayne, just minutes from major highways.

In this episode we go over her motivations for starting the business, challenges she had to overcome while running the business, people she looks up to, and how gratifying it is to see her clients achieve success.

The thing that resonated with me the most was how important it is to work on things that you love to do. Liz really enjoyed pilates from a young age, and pursued that with a singular focus even after graduating.

Another great thing I learned from Liz was about being the best. She always had that discipline and drive to succeed, which I really admired. Apart from that, she decided to create the best Pilates studio in the region. She used to get inspiration from different places like New York, and offered something better than the rest. In fact, her studio was one of the first in Philadelphia to introduce trampolines.

Lastly, I really liked the concept of executive processing skills. Liz believes that there are two kinds of people. One who know how to make decisions and give orders, and others who work better while following orders. It’s better to know yourself and work accordingly.

I had a great time recording this episode, and I hope you enjoy it too!

Listen, subscribe and review this podcast to let me know if you liked it or not. Thanks!


Show notes:

2:42 Just got married.

3:31 How did she start?

6:21 Did she ever think about getting a job?

7:45 Did she ever doubt herself?

9:01 Challenges she faced

10:28 How did the business evolve?

11:16 First one to have trampolines in Philly

11:50 Advice for someone starting

12:50 Any Aha moments in the business

14:50 Skill needed for success

16:18 Pivoting the business

19:00 Pilates are different for every person

21:34 How many times do you need to come in a week?

23:25 Clients achieving success

24:38 How to set yourself apart from the competition

25:49 The future of LSF

28:17 What other sports can we implement with pilates

29:28 Who do you think of as successful?

32:33 Making your bed everyday

34:03 Who do you go to for advice?

35:45 Advice for people

Joanne (Jo) Cloak is the founder of Jofit Apparel. They manufacture women’s golf, tennis and fitness clothing and accessories that look good and are comfortable to wear. They give you the confidence you need while enjoying an active lifestyle.

I personally use their products and love them!

Jo started this company at the age of 43, while being happily married with three children. Fast forward ten years, Jofit is available in 2500 retail stores, numerous country clubs, represents a number of golf teams, and recently opened in two flagship stores – one in California, and the other in Florida.

Jo is a true entrepreneur with a vibrant positive spirit that you’ll find infectious while listening to this podcast.

One of the most incredible things I learned while talking to Jo was how she got started. Despite the naysayers, she sneaked herself into an office, met a manager, got an introduction to a supplier in Hong Kong, flew herself there to find the right materials for her company, and when she finally found the right clothing material (that’s flexible enough for sports and that look good), she launched her company.

Listen to the episode below, and let me know in the comments what was the biggest takeaway for you.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the show and leave an honest review on iTunes. Thanks!

Show notes

2:45 Correlation between golf and success

3:09 How she came up with the idea

4:45 Next steps to launch the business

6:30 Incredible story of her hustle

9:45 How to deal with Naysayers

13:20 Being optimistic

15:15 Optimism is contagious

15:45 Was there an AHA moment?

17:07 Having a good angel investor

18:50 Advice for mothers looking to launch a business

22:05 What qualities do you look for while hiring?

24:15 How to get noticed in a big company?

31:10 How they design clothes

Hey everyone!

Welcome to the brand new podcast show – High Five Success Stories.

In this podcast, I interview women from all different backgrounds who can offer advice and inspiration to millennial gals.

In my first episode, I’m interviewing my very good friend MaryFrances McCourt. She is currently the VP of Finance and Treasurer at the University of Pennsylvania, and lives a wonderful life.

We cover a lot of different things in this episode from having grit to creating a home / work life balance. One of the biggest take aways for me was the conversation about grit, where we reference Angela Duckworth’s NY Times best seller, “Grit: the Power of passion and Perseverance.”

Another important topic we touched upon was on balancing home and work. She used to have a singular focus while working and always got the job done. When she was at home, she nurtured her children in a way that they got to learn how to take care of themselves.

The last takeaway that I’m definitely going to implement in my life is to “do things that no one is expecting you to do”. When you initially join an organization, some people might not take notice of your work. When you go above and beyond, and do extra work outside of your job description, there is a good chance you WILL get noticed. MaryFrances once prepared the budget of the whole organization, which didn’t result in an immediate promotion. But because of that work, she was eventually able to work directly with the president of the company.

Listen to the episode below, and let me know in the comments what was the biggest takeaway for you.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the show and leave an honest review on iTunes. Thanks!

Show notes:

3:50 Planning your life

8:42 Focusing on the positive

11:02 Embracing life

12:45 Grit by Angela Duckworth

14:07 Growing yourself everyday

16:29 Every day is a new day

17:45 Push everyday and don’t give up

20:55 Here to learn everyday and be challenged everyday

21:24 Personal values

24:34 Employees are the happiest when they accomplish a goal.

27:48 Just being positive everyday

28:47 Taking the high road

32:55 Life isn’t a zero sum game

33:45 Tell me about a time when you were pumped up at work

36:51 How to manage family and work at the same time for working mothers

42:42 Every mother is doing her best

45:58 Who do you identify as a success?

55:16 Studying for the A-grade



Grit by Angela Duckworth

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Built to Last by Jim Collins