Story by Danielle Barbour
The SOAR 2017 Professional Women’s Conference was held on Fri., Oct. 27 and Sat., Oct. 28 at the Minerals Resort and Spa in Vernon, NJ. Started three years ago by Christine Rolando, the conference is intended to encourage, enlighten and empower all who attend.
A cocktail mixer was held during the first day of the conference for networking purposes, while the second day included speakers, vendors, raffles, and a silent auction. The conference featured three keynote speakers: Blaise Gomez, an Emmy-nominated general assignment reporter for News 12 of the Hudson Valley; Dr. Laurie Nadel, a bestselling author, psychotherapist and master Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) coach; and Lucinda Cross, a life coach, Tedx speaker and author for Amazon best-selling books.
Blaise Gomez began her career with News 12 as a freelance reporter in 2007. She spoke about getting her start as a reporter by cold calling on-air news organizations. While working, she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Pace University. She has come back to live in Orange County where she started her career and offered advice to listeners on how to speak to the media to get stories broadcast and published.
Dr. Laurie Nadal spoke of her experiences working with families of 9/11 victims and of providing support groups for people who lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy. She does pro bono work in critical incident stress management with firefighters in South Florida. In her private practice, she helps people overcome phobias, anxieties and trauma. She is a best-selling author and her most recent book, “The Five Gifts: Discovering Hope, Healing and Strength When Disaster Strikes,” will be available in April 2018.
Lucinda Cross, a life coach, is known for her work as the CEO of Activate Worldwide Incorporated and the founder of the “Activate Your Life” 501(c)3. Lucinda is a published author and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from former president Barack Obama. She is an international speaker and corporate coach. At the conference she spoke about visioning boards and how they can be used to motivate individuals and help them to visualize their goals.
The SOAR Women’s Conference also honored Susan Hawvermale, the director of Orange County tourism, with the JAB Award, named after three women who all lost their lives to cancer. Joyce Knickerbocker, Alice Dickinson and Breanda Jean Hall all dedicated their lives fearlessly and selflessly to helping others. Hawvermale was awarded the JAB award for her over 25 years of leading initiatives in Orange County.
The Conference featured 18 presenters, each of whom spoke about their specialties and passions in break off sessions on a variety of informative topics. One of the presenters, Barry Reitman, a successful businessman, who created a system of training in memory techniques, challenged the audience with memory games. He credits the memory shock system with him winning an entire entry into the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2009. He taught participants how to associate better to remember things like people’s names.
Lisa Mitchell, owner of Down-to-Earth in the Village of Florida, spoke about nutrition supplementation, explaining the benefits of marijuana and CBD oils. She specializes in celiac disease, gluten intolerance recovery, Lyme disease, and Lyme’s co-infections. McCauley Tawpash, who traveled from California, talked about her passion for good quality food-conscious living and how it can make a positive impact on the world. As a holistic health coach and a supportive chef, her philosophy is about eating real whole seasonal organic nutrient rich foods.
Also at the conference, artwork was exhibited and available for purchase by five artists – William “Ryan” Tawpash, a fine art student who was named by the Orange County Arts Council artist of the month; Gylliayn Art, who does digital, print and wood creations; Sandra Vazquez, a highly accomplished photographer; Kohloa aka Z’Ka, who leads teaching enrichment workshops; and Warwick’s own, Amy Lewis Sweetman, the founder of “Agrisculpture,” who has permanent pieces on display at the Storm King Art Center and at Orange Regional Medical Center.
SOAR donates to the SAIL Foundation (Strategic Access to Independent Living), which helps people with brain injury to create a sustainable and supportive residential base. For more visit www.facebook.com/soarwomensconference or www.SailFoundationNY.org.