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What does the world need from us?

As each of us works to redefine our lives in one way or another, we begin to wonder, “What does the world need from us?”

Here, we take a look at some answers to that query. Our current situation has given us opportunities to reflect on our personal impact and how we communicate. We share introspective concepts that examine how each of us influences the world around us.

Our Hometown Hero, Susan Wheeler, launched the Ave’s Angels program in the community of Ave Maria. Her recruitment, outreach and distribution efforts have resulted in thousands of masks donated to people in need.

We share life lessons readers have learned from living in a pandemic world … positive steps they’ll take with them as they move forward into a healthier dimension.

Finally, everyone these days could use a break. We offer a simple roast recipe sure to please the carnivores in your family.

We hope these offerings empower and inspire you to identify something wonderful that the world needs today and in the future. Read on!

Be the Kind of Influencer the World Needs in 2021
Igniting Change in Challenging Times
The Mask Warrior
The Simple Secret is Out
Moving Forward

in this issue

Be the Kind of Influencer the World Needs in 2021

Seven simple changes to begin influencing on a higher level

From spiritually bankrupt politicians to super-wealthy tech geniuses to charismatic personalities who sway audiences to buy their products, larger-than-life “influencers” dominate our headlines and social media feeds. But they don’t fill our yearning for authentic, heart-driven leadership.


As we seek to find our way in today’s crazy world, we long for influencers who create good for themselves and everyone else. And that influencer can be you.


“The truth is, you influence people all the time,” says Karen McGregor, author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller, “The Tao of Influence: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Leaders and Entrepreneurs.”


We want to think we have benevolent motives, but when we have a sincere desire to know ourselves, we may find a different truth. Once we do, we can begin to influence others for the collective good.


McGregor’s book lays out a path, rooted in the ancient wisdom of the 4,000-year-old Tao Te Ching, that you can follow to identify and break undermining power patterns.


“We have to do the inner work to do the outer work,” McGregor says. “The beginning of a new year is a powerful time to start this journey.”


Here are seven practices to consider implementing:


No. 1. Replace fear-based wording with a new language. 

When your mind spins a story about what’s wrong with your world, notice the words you use. For example, instead of using the word “busy” to describe your life, say that it is “wonderfully full.”


No. 2. When you feel angry or annoyed, focus on gratitude. 

Try to reframe challenging circumstances as opportunities and practice appreciating them. This is a form of gratitude: to be able to see the good that is present in every situation.


No. 3. Stop begging and calling it prayer. 

Prayer can be many things: a meditative walk, a feeling of gratitude or joy when you’re with a loved one, or simply saying, “Thank you” to the Divine.

No. 4. Start paying attention to your need to be “right.” 

This very common “ego need” diminishes your power and weakens your ability to influence. It also takes the life out of creativity and destroys new solutions to old problems.

When connecting with another person, do you want to be right so that the other person will change, rather than being open to being changed yourself?


Karen McGregor

No. 5. Resist the urge to label everything. 

Catch yourself labeling, which serves only to separate “us” from “them.” As we release the language of duality and refuse to describe people according to our preferences, we relax and surrender into acceptance without trying to change them or defend ourselves

No. 6. Create “environmental stillness.” 

A messy space at home contributes to a disorganized and chaotic mind. By establishing stillness on the outside of us, we can experience more internal harmony. Observe each room you use every day and notice what creates unsettling thoughts. Commit to doing something about it, and set a date for when it will be done. The entire house can be completed in one month.


No. 7. When you encounter a challenging person, try thinking of them as a soul mate. 

Soul mates are people destined to help you grow by presenting you with challenges to look beyond your preferences and surrender to what is. They invite you to accept the opportunity to become a more kind, compassionate and loving human being. This mind shift may defuse anger or defensiveness and help you change the dynamic with “difficult” people who cross your path.

“Once you do the inner work, you can start influencing those around you in a positive way,” McGregor says, “and the ripples you create will impact the whole world.”


Karen McGregor is a thought leader and catalyst for influencers with a powerful global message, and is the author of Wall Street Journal bestseller, “The Tao of Influence: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Leaders and Entrepreneurs.” Visit to learn more.


Igniting Change in Challenging Times

Self-awareness, acceptance and accountability are powerful first steps

by Lisa Gruenloh, MPAP, CPC

The greatest transformation is possible during the most challenging periods of upset. Millions of people throughout the world are developing powerful, conscious skills of resiliency out of necessity and because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a significant breakthrough. Calls for civility and unity are a direct result of heightened polarization, intolerance and mean-spiritedness — the other destructive virus permeating our country, communities and closest-knit circles.

So how do we ignite this momentum to activate meaningful and sustainable change?

Leveraging this Moment

We’ve been at similar crossroads, experiencing moments of outrage and calls for change. Yet, we repeat an exasperating cycle of chaos and complacency.

I have long been inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s mantra to be the change we wish for the world. Although variations of this affirmation have become prevalent, we risk it becoming an unrealized cliché. It cannot, because it is the most reliable path to healing our world, our country, our communities, our relationships and ourselves.

It Takes All of us

For those genuinely interested in healing on a larger scale, it’s time to step up and take more responsibility for how we contribute to a humane world that values everyone and a higher level of consciousness.

The idea that transformational change happens one person at a time can feel overwhelming. Please, let’s not use this as an excuse to avoid important work. And it is work. For now, let’s embrace our own growth and healing by recognizing the personal benefits of this often-elusive process.


The Framework for Personal Transformation

Three key pillars of personal growth and development are self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-accountability. Each requires courage, compassion and conviction. Here, I offer an introduction to these pillars. Upcoming articles will offer deeper exploration.

1. Self-awareness. It takes courage to look honestly and deeply at ourselves. Each of us has beliefs, attitudes, values and life experiences that directly impact our thoughts, feelings, words, actions and reactions.

Self-awareness is the first, essential step to understanding ourselves so that we might understand others. It allows us to optimize our strengths and virtues while addressing our blind spots and perceived shortcomings.  

2. Self-acceptance. Building self-awareness can be both exhilarating and unsettling. As we bravely acknowledge our shortcomings, we must do so with compassion.

Anything we dislike about ourselves or how our lives have unfolded must be met with love and forgiveness in order to be healed and transformed. As we do as much for ourselves, we are able to extend empathy, forgiveness and understanding to others in previously unimaginable ways.

3. Self-accountability. Taking personal responsibility for how we show up in the world requires conviction. If we allow them to, people, experiences and circumstances around us can trigger unproductive thoughts and actions. Our role in being the change we wish to see involves an ongoing commitment to growth, living in alignment with our values and being accountable for the ripple effects of our words and actions.


Cultivating self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-accountability is a lifelong journey that almost always requires resources, tools and support. Genuine work is required, but it’s the kind of work that allows us to expand our minds, hearts and spirits in extraordinary ways.

When we answer the call to be the change, we are the very first beneficiary, and we contribute to our country reaching the threshold necessary for herd immunity against discord and divisiveness.  

Lisa Gruenloh is a mission-driven entrepreneur, certified emotional intelligence coach and activist dedicated to fostering collaborative problem-solving and meaningful, sustainable change. Visit to learn more about Gruenloh and her latest purpose-driven adventure.

The Simple Secret is Out

Sleuthing sisters bring this roast recipe out from under wraps

by Kathy Grey

My friend Helen doesn’t like to cook.

When her sister made a delicious chuck roast, Mangie refused to share the recipe. So, Helen and her other sister, Emily, dug through the trash to uncover Mangie’s secret.

Since that derelict dumpster dive, Helen and Emily have replicated this roast to the delight of friends and family, young and old.


“Everybody raves about it,” Helen says. “And it’s so simple, you won’t believe it.”


Try it and see!



  • Chuck roast for four

  • 2 white potatoes

  • 2 sweet potatoes

  • 2 carrots

  • 1-2 onions

  • 12-ounce bottle Heinz Chili Sauce



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and chop to desired size

  • white potatoes

  • sweet potatoes

  • carrots

  • onions


Place the roast in a 13-inch glass pan.

Surround it with the chopped vegetables.

Pour Heinz Chili Sauce over everything.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake 2 hours.

Remove roast and let it rest 10-20 minutes before carving.


The Mask Warrior

Susan Wheeler and Ave’s Angels heed the call to help

More than 6,000 donated masks, 857 yards of fabric and 3,000 yards of elastic later, Susan Wheeler is satisfied with the countless hours of work she and her volunteers have contributed.

We first heard about Wheeler when Diana Riley, founder of the nonprofit Swinging with Purpose, nominated her as an èBella èXtra Hometown Hero.

“Susan champions a group of ladies whom we have named Ave’s Angels,” Riley said. “These amazing women live in the communities of Ave Maria and Naples, and have sewn more than 6,000 masks, distributing them throughout the community.”


Wheeler, who founded a quilting group at Ave Maria, saw early on in the COVID-19 pandemic that there was an enormous need for masks for health care workers, first responders and others.

“There were five us in the beginning,” Wheeler says of Ave’s Angels.

When they made their first 300 masks, she says, “We thought we were really something! But I said, ‘I’m not done.’”

She asked for fabric and tool donations, accepted financial contributions and continued to distribute masks on her own wherever they were needed, reaching out to nonprofit organizations and making in-person deliveries.


“That’s how I found Swinging with Purpose,” Wheeler says. “Diana said she would take as many as 500, 600, 1,000 in one batch.”

The sewing bees continued their work. At one point, Ave’s Angels delivered 1,000 masks for the Swinging with Purpose’s beneficiary, New Horizons, providers of afterschool and summer enrichment programs for at-risk students.


Susan Wheeler


Over time, Ave’s Angels has had 32 volunteers cutting and sewing 3-D masks. Wheeler packs up and distributes sewing kits with elastic, fabric and nose-bridge pipe cleaners for the five to 32 volunteers available at a given time.


When the number of volunteers dropped over the holidays, Wheeler issued a call for recruits, and secured more 100% cotton fabric, elastic and pipe cleaners to make masks that range in size from toddler to XL.

Wheeler’s most prolific seamstress and volunteer is her 87-year-old mother, Naples resident Mae Fodor. Fodor also makes dresses for little girls in Haiti and Guatemala.

“She’s my hometown hero,” Wheeler says. “She buys pretty sheets and makes these adorable little dresses and sends them through Hope for Haiti and Miracles in Action for Guatemala.”

And now that the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is asking people to wear two masks at a time, Wheeler suggests people wear a paper mask under the prettier fabric one.

“It’s been an awesome opportunity for me and everyone to feel we made a little bit of difference … at hospitals, at grocery stores, at doctors’ offices … knowing we might have helped someone today,” Wheeler says.

“It’s a lot of hard work, but it has given back so much to me, personally.”


Ave’s Angels’ masks are not for commercial sale. For local nonprofit inquiries and community donations, email

Moving Forward: Lessons from a Pandemic World

Readers share what they have learned from this otherwise unnatural chapter of life


2020 reminded me that we cannot predict the future and that tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us … I want to remember that moving forward and live each day as if it were my last — being kind. ~ Sue Huff


Mr. Rogers was right: “Look for the helpers.” I was inspired by the outpouring of selfless love and support. ~ Tamara Paquette

I honestly didn’t think I would get this virus, as all I do is work and do normal errands. In the end, it obviously can happen to all of us. ~ Carrie Horner


TIP HARD. ~ Jeff McCullers


When you show you care about the well-being of your employees, they give you back more than you thought possible. ~ Jeananne Vermilya


Take the time to find what brings you joy. I have listened to more upbeat jazz, read a bunch of biographies and cookbooks, and gone down the rabbit hole of old-house gawking. ~ Tracy Haun Owens


Keep your head; show patience, kindness and respect for those who work in the places where you shop or eat. ~ Robert L. Summers II


Value every second you have with the friends and family you enjoy. I’m so thankful for cellphones and the ability to visit with friends on FaceTime. ~ Marc Collins


Work can wait. ~ Paula Sisk


I have and continue to support good causes that directly help others. ~ Gayle Kasey


When we are able to hug people again, hug them hard and long. ~ Leslie Massengill Cutshaw


We need to slow down. Why are we in such a rush all the time? ~ Connie Rosellini


I NEED live art. ~ Kendra Michele Weaver


I had no idea what work/life balance was until I was fortunate enough to work from home. ~ Susan Hunt-Perotta


I really appreciate our home … I’m grateful we were able to take advantage of the outdoors more often and get fresh air … and Instacart and HelloFresh have definitely changed my life for the better. ~ Caryn Flynn

Start or deepen your relationship with nature. Get your body moving and blood pumping, but also learn to relax, rest and slow down. ~ Sandra Yeyati


When you work from home, be grateful that you have work and you have a home. ~ Scott Frothingham


Creative activities are healing. I don’t need to constantly be “out there” to be happy. ~ Anita Duenas


Never take hugs for granted. ~ Suzanne Willis


I’ll always remember that a retired couple who didn’t need their stimulus check donated it to a shelter for homeless kids. ~ Kathy Grey


I am way more productive working from home. ~ Rachel Peacock

I started sending handwritten love letters to friends. ~ Connie Martin

This pandemic called for me to take a deep breath, listen, learn and act in a calm manner. I’ve been praying more than usual… ~ Betty Walters


Physical contact and socializing in person is something we need. ~ Lauren Redeker Miller


Patience and gratitude. Mostly learning how to respect both. ~ Laurie Stanley


To be gentle with myself … it’s OK not to do all the things! ~ Laura Wright


I bought a bike because I was so bored, and now I’m riding 80-100 miles a month. Rode in college and loved it. I still do. ~ Don Gross


I used to read books all the time. I won’t let that get away from me again! ~ Margo McQueen


I can go for an entire year without buying a single item of clothing or pair of shoes. My sincere apologies to retailers. ~ Penne Laubenthal


Yoga and making time to practice for my own sanity and health … a game changer. ~ Alice Dickson


Deal with your own personal issues so that you can sit quietly with yourself. And wash your hands. ~ Stacey Joy


I like being alone a lot more that I thought I would. ~ Michael Mewborn


Enjoying more sunsets on the river, my garden is now my church pew. ~ Trish Leonard


How important it is to see the happiness and love in small, mundane things. ~ Juli Congress Bobman


Starting my journey to finding what is really essential. ~ Vanessa M. Peña


It is amazing how free you can feel when you stop trying to control the uncontrollable. ~ Julia East


We need to ensure we raise our children to be people we like to be around. ~ Lexa Davis Donnelly


Don’t be afraid. Be smart. ~ Diane Teti Meyers


A vacant calendar makes time for your to-do list. ~ Jeananne Vermilya


Don’t be afraid to try new ways to connect and run your business. Oh, and adopt a cat. Best thing I did during shutdown! ~ Joanna Salerno


Measure your shots, don’t free-pour! ~ Stacy Kosluchar


Don’t take toilet paper for granted. ~ Denise Breen


I appreciate the gift of time … to do the things I never had enough time to do. ~ Mary Crook Moran


Teenagers are amazing people. ~ Julie Winchester Workman


Nothing in this world matters if we don’t take care of it first! ~ Katarina Maybritt Danks


Take time to slow down and listen to what you really want. All the moving and shaking we do can often drown out the whispers of our true desires. ~ Nicole Michaelson Traum

We asked readers to weigh in on lessons learned from living in a pandemic world: What has changed your life, your attitude and your thinking for the better as we move forward? Here are some takeaways you can take to heart.​


Leadership Lesson

NextGen Speaker Series


“Experiment without fear” is a guiding mantra of Jay Steinfeld, founder of, a Home Depot Company. In this short Leadership Lesson, Steinfeld explains why making mistakes is a natural part of the entrepreneurial process and how he, as a leader, encourages others to take risks.


Continue learning from world-renowned entrepreneurs and CEOs with the NextGen Speaker Series. Register now for this Friday’s interactive virtual event with Michael Siegal, Executive Chairman of Olympic Steel:

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