Through pure passion and sometimes against all odds, the women profiled on Grit & Soul, have made bold changes in their lives and now stand as inspiration to others.
The team at Grit & Soul believe stories empower, inspire and can change lives. Here are the stories of the founders, in their own words.
I grew up as the eldest of three 1st generation siblings of an Italian American family in New Jersey. After graduating Montclair State College in NJ, I began a sales career in the technology industry working for some of the most important tech companies in the world; IBM, Apple, Dell and Lenovo. I began my career as sales trainer and worked my way through the sales organization to become Director of Sales in the Education market. I was responsible for managing business with some of the largest and most respected school districts, universities and colleges in the country.
My personal transformation began when my children were grown and on to their own careers. I was an empty nester and the pull was strong to do something new and more meaningful than selling computers. I decided to walk away and start the next phase of my life. One year later, my partners and I launched Grit and Soul.
I’m currently living in NJ with my husband Tony and our Bernadoodle, Lulu. Our daughter Alexandra and husband Zach are living and working in the t.v. industry in Los Angeles and our son Nicholas is an attorney in New York City.
I’ve been in the ad agency business for the last (gulp) 30 years beginning as an intern art director at Doyle Dane Bernbach. That was followed by stints at other Madison Avenue firms including Wells Rich Greene, Saatchi & Saatchi, Young & Rubicam, and Grey where I got to create campaigns for a long list of blue-chips: Chase Manhattan Bank, Johnson & Johnson, Sheraton Hotels, Hertz, ConAgra, and, a number of others.
In 2008, I co-founded Womenkind after realizing the increasingly powerful role of the female consumer and the need for better understanding and deeper engagement of women in brand communications. Our firm attracted attention and business quite quickly from Fortune 1000 firms including Citibank, Post Foods, MasterCard, TD Ameritrade, Yum Brands, and Mutual of Omaha. Our unique approach created authentic insights that connect with women, making them feel understood, enlightened, and respected.
It’s a natural evolution for me to now co-create Grit and Soul. The current societal and economics shifts are changing women’s roles now more than ever. With Grit and Soul, I hope to create a forum where women share personal stories to serve as inspiration for others.
As a first generation Italian-American, I’m a natural foodie, avid cook, and traveler. My time is split between Manhattan and Sag Harbor, New York with my husband, Richard, and my children, Sydney, an aspiring actress, and Grant, a senior at Marquette University.
After an early career at Disney and Time Warmer, I felt drawn to the nonprofit world. I have worked and volunteered at various nonprofits, including the Robin Hood Foundation, Goddard Riverside Community Center, Storefront Academy and La Guardia Community College. My longest and current involvement is as a Board member (and former Board Chair) of Citizens’ Committee for Children, a multi-issue advocacy organization seeking to improve the lives of children and families in New York. I am also a Board member of Education Through Music which provides music as a core subject in underserved New York City schools. And,I enjoy working with the inspiring students at LaGuardia Community College as part of the “Pushy Mom’s” program helping them to transfer to four-year colleges. I have a BA from Brown University and MBA and MSW degrees from Columbia University.
I’m excited by Grit and Soul because I believe in the power of reinvention for women. We often are the ones who have to change the course we planned because of family responsibilities or other unforeseen life circumstances. We give women a forum to tell their stories. I hope to shine a light on women’s accomplishments while motivating readers to make worthwhile changes in their own lives.
I am a New Yorker. I have two children, Ali, who works in education policy, and Sam who works in the media and entertainment industry. I am a lover of classical music, reading, travel and chocolate.