Career Shakers

Penelope McDonnell

The Journey from Banker to Naturopath

After completing my undergraduate degree in Business, I started a career in investment banking which I enjoyed. But a variety of circumstances led me to take a break from that....

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Empire Dragons NYC Changes Life for Cancer Patients

The Motivation As a nurse, I had always been interested in the importance of movement and exercise for patients.  The idea was reinforced when I began working with cancer patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer...

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Gretchen Biedl Foster Care

A Passionate Champion of Foster Children

I moved to New York City from a small town in Oklahoma when I was 18 because I thought I wanted to be in theater. I was drawn to theater because it was what I...

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Beginning a Modeling Career in her ‘50’s!

Growing up in Canada, it was inevitable that I would embrace outdoor activities in all seasons, however, in the dead of those long winter months, when frigid temperatures prevented any sort of outdoor fun, I...

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Career Transformation from Nurse to Goat Farmer!

I grew up in Oyster Bay, Long Island surrounded by animals.  My dad brought home a lot of strays and we had a menagerie that included horses, dogs, cats, turtles and even an injured owl....

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Theresa Roden

A Personal Transformation Inspires a New Program for Girls

I was an overweight kid who never felt athletic. I hated gym class and was always the last one picked for the kickball and volleyball games.  Although I loved to swim (I was in the...

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Susie Barry Roden

Surviving Life Passages Leads to A Career of Compassion

At the age of 38, I was single and living a kind of fast and loose restaurant industry life in Long Island, New York. I had just bought a house and moved in on a...

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Julie Ricciardi, CEO, Walking With Purpose

A Spiritual Journey from Corporate Executive to Mission Driven Non-Profit Executive

I attended Boston College as a scholarship athlete and graduated with a double major in Theology and Economics. At the time, my father asked, “what will you do with that?” I ended up having an...

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Ashley Richardson

A Successful Career Transition from Corporate Exec to Entrepreneur

For about ten years, I worked for one of the largest healthcare companies in the world, in many different roles. My last being in medical education, working with experts around the globe who specialized in...

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How a High School Dropout Became a Successful School Principal

At 86 years old, I’m a widow, mother of four boys, one granddaughter that I raised as my own, and retired educator. I was born on July 31st, 1931 in Newport News, Virginia. My six...

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Ilene Lainer

Improving the Lives of People with Autism

As a young woman growing up in New Jersey, I would not have imagined that in my 50s, I’d be President of NEXT for AUTISM, a non-profit organization focused on building and supporting innovative programs...

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