I have always been a dreamer even when I forgot how to dream. My struggles with my dreams are not in my resume. In fact, looking at my resume, you might think “how, she’s done so much and gone so far,” and you would be right. You can see my successes, my achievements, my awards, and my jobs and promotions. What you might not always see is me in that list. What you won’t see are the dreams that I stuffed in order to survive day to day. Like you, I am more than just the role of woman, wife, mother, business owner, crafter and more. Who are you in the roles you present?
My life is about making choices to grow on this level. I want to lead an amazing life. You deserve more than you are settling for. What choices have you made that led you to where you are today. I know that I chose a path that took me into the leadership ranks of the military. This path also led me to the extraordinary man to whom I have been married for 38 years and more. He has been my soul-mate, lover, partner, and friend. He fills my dreams with what we accomplish today and where we are going tomorrow. He is my sounding board on my ideas and is my cheerleader when the journey begins on a new venture. With him, we created and raised two of the most extraordinary daughters. They have each taken different paths with one success in business with studies in entrepreneurship and the other taking the culinary / hospitality road. Each has found and lost love in their lives and are seeking that true partner with whom to create a fabulous life.
I believed that I could have it all, career and motherhood. So I chose the path that included both. When the strain of a 9 to 5 J-O-B was showing me a life that often missed key activities in my children’s lives, I chose the business ownership route. While this was not a bed of roses as it had major thorns, there was a freedom to take the time to go to a dance rehearsal, to go on a field trip, to be at a dance competition and to be there when there when they were both joyous and hurting. I thought I was living a life by design not default. Boy was I wrong!
In 2008, my world began to crash and burn. In the rush and demands of being a business owner with, at that time 3 divisions of my business, I had put my dreams in a really nice box, tied it with a beautiful ribbon and placed it on a shelf in the back of my mental closet, never to be seen again. Dreaming was not what it was all about. It was the daily struggle to find new clients, service those that I had and try to keep my head above water when it came to financial responsibilities. Looking back, I made many really bad decisions about whether to move back into commercial space, what people to hire, and whether to take that loan that I didn’t need right then. I was definitely functioning with my head either in the sand or at least narrowly focused down at my feet watching me take one step at a time. At that same time, my husband retired from his law partnership only to start his own solo practice. If timing is everything, this was the wrong time. Slowly, he rebuilt his book of clients and cases. Still we had no time for our dreams.
My husband and I decided to take a drastic step to get out of this swamp because we were definitely up to our ass in alligators and didn’t remember how we had gotten into the swamp. We downsized drastically by selling our 3700 square foot home of 18 years and moving into a 940 square foot apartment. Our offices once again moved to commercial space and we were together in this healthy environment. This was also the time I was introduced to two companies that have had me take a look on that shelf, pull the box down, unwrap it and re-envision those dreams. I am now charting my path by using the stars and not staring at the ground, avoiding the potholes on the path or weather the storm if they catch me off guard, and am realizing pieces of the dream each day, knowing that I am helping other people to begin to dream again whether that dream involves their health, their finances and/or their limitations.
So, where am I going? I am going to live in Dornach, Scotland where I will create the days as I want. I will travel to all my favorite locations as well as discover new wonders in this amazing country. I will still sample and enjoy the best single-malt Scotch whiskeys on the planet. I will craft in the evenings or take long walks in the heather with my husband, who, by the way, is golfing every day he wants at his favorite courses. I also maintain a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise and am at my ideal weight with ease. I am bringing this concept to the world as I travel around with my husband. Together, we also get to spend long periods of time with our daughters and their families where ever in the world they may live. Hawaii in the winter is also a dream of mine so that there is warm winds and sea breezes in our winters. These are my dreams. What are yours? Come along with me – Take the Dare!!
My name is Grace Abigail Lopez and I am from Paychex Inc. I am a territory manager for Alameda/Oakland. I help business owners and solo-preneurs be compliant with labor laws by providing human resource, payroll and worker’s comp services. I also help accountants grow their payroll business through marketing and providing a payroll platform for thier business clients. Do you have any questions about taxes and labor laws?, let’s connect.
Mpho Perras is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Owner of Peaceful Thoughts Therapy in Oakland, California. She has a passion for working with successful women, who are dealing with depression and anxiety. Mpho helps her clients address possible causes of mental health issues including self-esteem, trauma, grief/loss, stress, life transitions and discrimination. Mpho offers a safe place for women to reveal their private thoughts and feelings, conquer self-doubt, overcome self-criticism, recognize their inner worth and discover their authentic self. Mpho recently authored “Peaceful Thoughts Journal for the Working Woman”. The journal is a place for the working woman to write down her innermost thoughts and feelings without judgment, with the hope that once her feelings are on paper, she can begin her journey towards inner peace. It contains prompts and self-care tips. It can be found on Amazon.
Couples Therapy (committed, premarital and marriage counseling)
Mpho is a native of the Bay Area. In her free time she enjoys traveling, Zumba, and spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Jennifer has more than 25 years experience in nonprofit marketing communications, and has won several awards for her work.
Most recently, Jennifer was director of communications for 16 years with Hospice Foundation in Monterey County, helping to raise the profile of the organization regionally and locally. She helped raise awareness of end-of-life care issues, establishing a coalition of 40 organizations that worked together to reach out and educate the community about care choices and planning for the end of life.
She was a founding staff member of Hospice Foundation which as a start-up had no public identity and 16 years later was awarding more than $1 million in grants to 12 non-profits. She developed and organized workshops, educational conferences, school outreach programs and other events to advance the organization’s message across diverse audiences and communities in Central California. She developed a comprehensive communications and branding strategy, creating and maintaining a robust online presence, overseeing and writing printed materials, annual report and other collaterals, and she developed and managed advertising promotions and media relations.
With a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a master’s in public administration from CSU Dominguez Hills, Jennifer began her career in public relations and advertising agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has won several awards for her work, recognizing her resourcefulness, creativity, and strategic thinking, and her high dedication to public service and the nonprofit sector.
Jennifer is on the board of directors for East Bay Women’s Network, serving as its marketing manager; and is the marketing manager for the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance. She also handles the social media strategy for the Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey County, and maintains her freelance practice from her home in Castro Valley. She is also a part-time substitute teacher for K-5 students in the Castro Valley Unified School District.