Men We Love
èBella salutes men among us who work to elevate humanity
We proudly present our “Men We Love” chapter, focusing on Southwest Florida men whose work and influences enhance our lives.
We engaged Sean Martinelli and Kyle Reed in conversation about each man’s role in our community and the spirit and intent behind it.
Martinelli is likely a familiar name and face to followers of NBC-2 news’ Story2Share. These segments bring heartfelt and meaningful news: stories about everyday people in Southwest Florida who do extraordinary things.
Although he prefers to be in the background, Reed’s combined passions for golden retrievers, military veterans and people in need has culminated in his hands-on role as board chairman of Golden Paws Assistance Dogs.
We also lend insight into cosmetic surgery men choose to put their best image forward, and we share tips for workers transitioning back to a more traditional office setting.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The good man is the friend of all living things.”
in this issue
MEN WE LOVE
Belonging for Life
Sean Martinelli inspires Southwest Florida with an innate gift of storytelling
by Kathy Grey
Sean Martinelli approached an almost too-hot-to-handle Story2Share assignment for WBBH/NBC-2 on the eve of former president Donald Trump’s visit to Fort Myers. Just days before the 2020 presidential election, he was to present a segment about people coming together.
Republican or Democrat, he says, “There was no coming together among both sides. But then I got to thinking: What is one issue everybody could agree upon? And I came to a conclusion: ketchup packets. They’re sticky, slimy and grimy. If you have a big pile of French fries, you’re going to need to open eight or nine packets to get enough ketchup. I thought, if we went into downtown Fort Myers outside the convention center and talked to democrats and republicans, I bet both sides would agree that ketchup packets are not a good idea,” Martinelli recalls. “In 17 days, we were going to have a new president, and we were going to have to come together.”
At least on some level.
And for one shining moment, Sean Martinelli brought viewers to a place of unity. Across the aisle and across the table, they agreed: Ketchup packets are a bad idea, and sealed cups of the condiment would be much better.
This is the compilation reel that earned NBC-2’s Story2Share the coveted national Edward R. Murrow award.
It was only a few years ago that Sean Martinelli became a household name for NBC-2 news viewers in Southwest Florida.
At the time, News Director Darrel Lieze-Adams was listening to local news viewers asking for good news from their favorite TV station. Adams took to Indeed.com in search of someone who could produce heartfelt and deeply impactful stories: someone who could capture the human spirit.
“It sounded too good to be true,” says Martinelli, who then was working various beats in New York and realizing that a career covering fires, crimes and politics would be “excruciating.” He contemplated leaving the news business entirely, until his father reminded him of that “too-good-to-be-true” job opportunity in Southwest Florida. The result: NBC-2’s Story2Share with Sean Martinelli.
Martinelli's brother David, sister Mackenzie and grandparents Margaret and Michael Flaherty
The Importance of Persistence
As a teenager in Poughkeepsie, New York, the self-described spiritual person raced home from school each day to catch The Oprah Winfrey Show on TV. It was his dream to work behind the scenes on such a show, one that focuses on meaningful, “feel-good” storytelling. And the 16-year-old had a goal: He wanted to see the Oprah show produced live and in person. But the show had a strict 18-and-older age restriction.
Still, before Oprah’s farewell season, producers put out a request to identify Oprah’s “ultimate viewers.”
“I wrote in to the show, and all these producers were calling the house. We got pretty far into that process. We had producers from Chicago calling the house and speaking to my parents. And then, one of them said, ‘Sean is 18, right?’” Alas, he was only 16, and would not be allowed to attend a live production.
“It was really hard on me, but I’m a persistent person, and I ended up befriending a lot of the show’s producers.” Before the last taping, the family got a call from Brian, one of the producers in Chicago, inviting Sean, still in high school, to come to one of Oprah’s final shows at the United Center in Chicago.
“To realize that goal at such a young age did teach me that you can do anything if you’re really persistent.”
What’s more, that producer later wrote a letter of recommendation for Sean that helped him get into Syracuse University, touting Martinelli’s unending persistence, which would serve him extremely well in journalism.
Acceptance standards are strenuous at Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, and Martinelli presented that letter of recommendation during his entrance interview.
Oprah Winfrey and Martinelli
“They were blown away that a producer of the biggest talk show on TV would recommend me,” Martinelli says.
When Winfrey started the OWN network, fewer people were watching than anticipated, a major reason being that viewers couldn’t find the channel number. So, via Twitter in its infancy, Martinelli would research the channel numbers and reply to viewers. He wanted OWN to succeed.
So early was this in the days of Twitter, Oprah herself noticed Martinelli’s tweets and what he was doing on her behalf. The two began communicating via Twitter, and Martinelli was invited by the president of OWN to a Radio City celebration, advising him to call immediately because “Miss Winfrey would like to meet you.” He went, of course, accompanied by his father and sister.
He was greeted by Winfrey’s voice calling out, “Sean, is that you? Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” says Martinelli, who has met Oprah several times since: at Syracuse University, at a conference luncheon in Los Angeles and at her birthday party at OWN headquarters in 2018.
Martinelli led this SOULscape retreat (an offshoot of Soulful Sit-Downs) at Syracuse University's lodge in Blue Mountain, New York.
As charmed as his life might seem, Martinelli felt a certain disconnect early in his college years at Syracuse. He longed to connect meaningfully with his fellow students and was approved to launch Soulful Sit-Downs on campus, a weekly conversation series addressing themes such as purpose, vulnerability and gratitude: conversations that matter.
The conversation concept was adopted by other colleges, and the schools discovered that participating students were more likely to stay in college because they had a sense of belonging.
Knowing that we are all connected as human beings, that sense of belonging is what Martinelli carries forward in his personal life and in NBC-2’s Stories2Share.
“If you can get to that belief — that we have a lot more in common than not — that’s the first step in true belonging,” Martinelli says.
Even when the common denominator is a packet of ketchup.
What Martinelli’s Colleagues Have to Say
Sean is the best thing that has happened to Southwest Florida since Wawa opened its first gas station here. He is a master storyteller, a brilliant interviewer and kind-hearted wordsmith. I simply adore him.
He brings emotional and inspiring stories to our viewers as only he can. Other stations are now trying to copy his magic, and it is just not possible.
Sean’s Stories2Share are the perfect way to end our newscasts: to leave our viewers with a memorable moment.
I commend my bosses for seeing that this is just what our community and our profession needed in a time of hate speech and division.
He is as kind in real life as he appears on TV.
~ Kellie Burns, NBC-2 news anchor
Sean has been an absolutely incredible addition to NBC-2. I remember when our news director first told Kellie Burns and me about the idea for a feel-good segment at the end of our newscasts. We loved the concept but had no idea it would be this special. It took someone like Sean to take a good idea and make it must-watch television.
Sean’s stories give me a profound sense of pride in our newscasts. Our main job is to inform our viewers on stories that impact their lives. Unfortunately, those impacts are often negative. But it’s also important that we bring them uplifting stories from our community.
Sean is a master storyteller and I’ve never worked with someone better at creating an emotional connection with our audience. I just don't know what he does with all the awards!
~ Peter Busch, NBC-2 news anchor
MEN WE LOVE
Chairman of the Dogs
Kyle Reed keeps Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs on a loving leash
by Kathy Grey
Golden PAWS Board Chairman Kyle Reed is a hands-on kind of guy, whether in shirtsleeves or in full business attire.
As a man we love, they don’t get much better than Kyle Reed, board chairman of Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs.
There are many reasons Reed deserves the accolade, according to Jeannie Bates, Golden PAWS’ founder and CEO. “We would have to write a book but, for starters, he’s dedicated thousands of hours to the Golden PAWS mission and the well-being of our golden cadets and assistance dogs.”
Founded in 2012, Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs (GPAWS) partners skilled assistance dogs with combat-wounded veterans, first responders and children ages 6 and older who have life-changing disabilities. Each dog goes through a rigorous 30-month training period.
Reed first became aware of GPAWS in its formative months. He and his wife, Helena, were lunching at Tommy Bahama’s on Third Street South, contemplating a permanent move from Chicago to Naples.
“I saw someone go by with a beautiful golden retriever,” Reed says. “I’m the kind of guy who chases people down the street when I see a golden.”
That beautiful pooch was one of the first GPAWS “cadets in training” in the newly established organization. That cadet, CEO Bates recalls, was training with a volunteer handler.
“Since Kyle has always loved the golden breed of dogs,” she says, “he knew he wanted to know more about the nonprofit organization that was training assistance dogs to help others.”
Making the Move
In March 2013, Reed and his wife moved to Naples. He’d been a floor trader with the Chicago Board of Trade, and as electronic technology developed, the actual floor closed. Realizing they could work pretty much anywhere, the couple had fallen in love with the community, with the added bonus of having parents living just across the state in West Palm Beach.
After settling in Naples, Bates recalls that Reed and his wife “joined us in our [then] 1,200-square-foot building. He and Helena groomed our dogs and swept floors.”
It was more than clear that the successful businessman was fully committed to GPAWS.
“I knew immediately I’d volunteer,” Reed says. “Golden retrievers and veterans are the intersection of my interests and the focus of my philanthropy. I have always been drawn to military veterans, out of gratitude and respect for the sacrifices they’ve made. They are good, quality, smart people with integrity.
And, of course, he adores golden retrievers, who have been members of his household since 2006.
“We don’t have kids,” he says. “Goldens are our kids.”
Reed learned more about GPAWS’ training methodology and assisted with exercise and play times. He joined the GPAWS board in 2016 and was named board president a year later.
“Kyle’s wisdom, compassion, knowledge, professionalism and dedication to the Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs mission is evident in everything he does,” Bates says. “He has led our organization through incredible growth and program expansion, not to mention a capital campaign that made it possible for us to move into our new training facility in 2022.”
Today, he works from home as a financial trader, his 9-year-old golden, Cassidy, by his side. He checks in with GPAWS regularly, says the organization’s relationship manager, Arden Vorperian.
“Kyle will jump into anything that needs doing, always lending a hand. That’s what we love about him,” Vorperian says. “But,” she adds, “he means business in the boardroom” and leads with care and compassion.
“He got us into our new facility and orchestrated the project,” she says about the building that took two years to renovate. In March 2022, it became the organization’s new home.
“He’s a brilliant man who wears a business hat, but he’s always thinking of the heart of the organization, which is to change lives,” Vorperian says.
Currently, 45 dogs are in various stages of their two-and-a-half-year training. Five are Labrador retrievers, brought in to be placed with children.
“Labs work well with children,” Reed says. “The outcomes were so phenomenal, we decided we needed a dedicated children’s program when we moved into the new facility.”
The Golden Touch
Still, the vast majority of pups in training (cadets) are goldens.
“Goldens are ‘in-the-now,’” Reed says. “They are very adaptable, resilient and happy. And they’re natural facilitators.”
“Have you ever met a golden retriever?” Bates asks. “They are the kindest and sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. Kyle is the personification of a golden retriever, and we are so grateful for all he has done for Golden PAWS. His generosity, selflessness and drive make him a pillar in our community for us and everyone around him.”
Reed is a bit surprised — and flattered — by the comparison.
“I never wanted this to be about me. Jeannie (Bates) is the heart and soul of the organization. My two passions are goldens and veterans. I was there to help her turn GPAWS into the organization she dreamed it would be. I just want to be there for Jeannie so she can realize her vision for it.”
Asked what his life’s motto is, he reveals his truly golden nature: “Never love anything that can’t love you back.”
What Men Want from Plastic Surgeons
Defying any stigma, men also want to look their best
by Dr. Manuel Peña
What do men want from plastic surgeons?
Over the years, the most requested procedures I have encountered have been eyelid tucks (both lower lid bags and upper lid skin hooding) and neck reshaping — either with a traditional lift or a direct neck lift called Z-plasty.
Dr. Manuel M. Peña is a highly trained and experienced cosmetic surgeon. He and his team perform state-of-the-art procedures in laser and cosmetic surgery at their technologically advanced facility in Naples. To learn more, visit www.dr-pena.com.
Recently, we have been using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to stimulate hair growth without surgery. And laser hair removal from backs, chest and necks remains quite popular. Massages and facials for men are always in demand.
Most importantly, men seeking aesthetic procedures want to find a physician who understands the difference between male and female cosmetic surgery. A prime example is making sure the surgeon does not “feminize” the upper eyelid area, keeping the lids smaller and the eyebrows with minimal arching. (I can often identify men who have had their eyes “done.”)
Subtlety and discretion are key for men who choose cosmetic surgery in order to put their best image forward.
Men also seek the excision of enlarged breasts (gynecomastia) with removal of the gland and refined with liposuction and liposuction of the “spare tire” and/or “love handles.” These procedures are very popular today.
With more men asking for Botox and fillers to restore facial volume, the number of men I see has increased over time.
Haley Perlus holds a sport and performance psychology Ph.D. Her practice focuses on results stemming from what she calls mental toughness tools. Visit www.drhaleyperlus.com to learn more.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Welcome Back to the Office
Expert tips for transitioning from working from home
by Haley Perlus, Ph.D.
Once upon a time, in a pre-COVID world, corporate workers woke up early, got dressed for work, made their coffee, commuted to the office and worked eight-hour days.
In a post-COVID world, the thought of going back to our old routines may seem daunting. But for many corporate workers, that has happened, is in progress or is just around the corner.
As companies push for a return to the physical office, the stress and anxiety of adjusting to a new routine can be overwhelming. Don’t let the transition catch you off guard. Learn how to cope and thrive back in the office environment.
Here are some tips for making a smooth transition:
1. Create a routine. Establish a new routine that aligns with your work schedule, including a set time to wake up, have breakfast and get dressed. This will help you mentally prepare for the workday and maintain a sense of structure.
2. Don’t ditch the workout. It’s important not to let go of healthy habits like exercise that you developed while working from home. Exercise not only maintains overall health but also reduces stress and improves productivity.
3. Connect with colleagues. As you return to the office, take the opportunity to connect with colleagues and build relationships. This can help foster a sense of community and make the workplace feel more welcoming.
4. Start meal prepping. Meal prepping can be a game-changer when returning to the office after working from home. Not only does it help save time and money, it reduces stress by eliminating the need to decide on what to eat during the workday. It can also promote healthier eating habits by enabling you to prepare nutritious meals in advance, ensuring you have access to healthy food options throughout the day.
5. Prioritize your mental health. The transition can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take care of your mental health by practicing self-care and seeking support whenever necessary. Making time for activities like meditation, exercise and therapy can help reduce stress and promote a healthy work-life balance.
6. Update your workspace. Adding plants, colorful decor and comfortable accessories (such as a cozy chair or desk lamp) can help create a more inviting workspace. Personalizing your work area can also boost morale and improve your overall mood and motivation while at work.
7. Set boundaries. Manage your expectations of yourself and those of your colleagues and supervisors.