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Women Who Came Before Us
Growing the Arts at the MS Center
Being the Change through Self-Accountability

Celebrating Women’s History and More

March gives us reason to honor women … and St. Patrick, too

Some call it March madness. We prefer to see it as Women’s History Month, a special time to honor inspirational women of today, and those who came before us.

In this chapter of èBella èXtra, we embrace the achievements of those who have carved the path for women today. One such woman is Farissa Knox, a trailblazing entrepreneur with a mission to change social narratives, one woman at a time.

Our WGCU friends are providing incomparable content to salute the creativity, activism, bravery and talent of women, from Hedy LaMarr to Gloria Steinem to Ann Richards. Here, we provide WGCU’s March schedule, something we’ll share in èXtra through the month.

Our Hometown Hero, Barbara Munch, knows the healing power of art for individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS) firsthand, which is why she jumped at the opportunity to help expand the arts program at the MS Center of Southwest Florida.

Special feature writer Lisa Gruenloh continues her series on Personal Power as it relates to self-accountability and its practice.

èBella Tech Talk columnist Heather Hall adds her take on personal power by demystifying Microsoft subscription options available to consumers.

On a lighter note, we share information about Collier County’s Shamrock on the Water event and culinary insights that could make your St. Patrick’s Day a gastronomical happening year after year.

May the road rise up to meet you.

Microsoft Office


One Entrepreneur’s Perspective
on Women’s History

Being dedicated to a vision other people might not see is the key

Women are known for birthing innovative ideas that greatly impact the marketplace, says entrepreneur and public speaker Farissa Knox. But some women face fears of being overwhelmed by family duties or thinking it’s just too late for them as they consider launching out on their own.

Passion, dedication and getting past the point of ever giving up will see your vision through, Knox says — even when no one else sees it.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we asked Knox about her mission to change social narratives.

It’s Women’s History Month. How do you think things have changed for women over time?

I feel this month should be equal parts celebratory of what we have accomplished and a rededication to a movement to keep accomplishing things. All the progress that has been made in how women are seen, spoken to and what they are allowed to do and be, has come from women fighting the fight and leading the cause.

We can vote. We can have and hold jobs outside of our home. We can open bank accounts without our father’s or husband’s permission. We have also made progress on what is socially acceptable to say and do to a woman with the #MeToo movement. With all of that change, there is still room for more.


What do you want to share with other women about what Women’s History Month means to you?

It’s so important that we take this time to get smart on how much we have accomplished, to really know our history, so that we don’t repeat decisions and mistakes of the past.

For me, it’s about empowering a movement. Knowing our collective history while also knowing where we want to go as a collective. Putting strategy and plans around that is the only way to see continued progress in the women’s movement.

Do you have any tips for how you overcame any barriers in life or in business?

The way I have gotten past the fear and real roadblocks that are still in place against women — and specifically women of color like me — is to see them for what they are: roadblocks, not impenetrable walls.


Keep putting one foot in front of the other and don’t hold yourself to others’ standards. Stand firm in your self-confidence and ideas and only compete with yourself … it’s never too late to start, start again or change direction.

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Farissa Knox


How do you feel women can avoid the feeling of guilt and regret?

I am not in the business of trying to avoid certain feelings, even ones that some folks would label as negative. For me, it’s about learning how to let those feelings be felt, dealt with and pass right through you … without telling myself a lie about it or judging myself for it. My advice here is to feel the feelings and do your best to understand where they were generated from.

Do you have advice for female entrepreneurs just starting out?

Big ideas, risk and betting on yourself is not for everyone. It’s important, especially when you are just getting started, to stay focused and not feel the need to get validation from the folks around you. Surround yourself with mentors and advocates who will speak well of you and your business whether you are in the room or not.

Most women have been socialized to be quiet and obedient listeners instead of being encouraged to speak up and speak out. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind from day one.

Entrepreneur and speaker Farissa Knox has a heart and passion for inspiring women to have their voices heard, both personally and professionally. She is the founder and CEO of the integrated marketing agency, RLM Media and WhatRUWearing (WRUW) Productions. Her content and on-air appearances span NBC to Amazon Prime.

One Entrepreneur’s Perspective on Women’s History
Young Women: History in the Making


Young Women: History in the Making

AAUW Greater Naples STEM scholarships open doors

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields continue to be dominated by men, but greater numbers of females are leaning toward these lucrative career paths.


That’s why the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in the Greater Naples area has created the Blanche and John Rebar scholarship to help pay for a year of college for graduating female high school students who are dedicated to futures in STEM-related careers and accepted to or enrolled at an accredited four-year college or university. 


These scholarships — with typically six young women accepted each year — are not necessarily based on financial need. Instead, the focus is on young women who have impeccable academic records and who plan to work in these fields. 


Rebar STEM scholarship applications are being accepted until March 28. Learn more by visiting AAUW Local Scholarships | Greater Naples (FL) Branch.



Growing the Arts at the MS Center

She experienced the healing power of art and knew what she had to do

By Julia Browning

Art is a powerful healing tool for many people, but it’s particularly curative for those dealing with multiple sclerosis (MS).

“Art is very healing,” says Barbara Munch, the lead art volunteer at the MS Center of Southwest Florida. “From my own perspective, you can get lost in it while you’re painting or drawing. It physically relaxes you and mentally calms your mind.”


In 1992, Munch was diagnosed with MS, a disease in which the nerves’ protective coverings are dissolved by the immune system, producing a variety of symptoms, unique to each person affected.

Munch describes herself as one of the lucky ones, with symptoms on the milder spectrum, including major fatigue, nerve pain in her hands and feet, weakness in her legs and a hand tremor.

For Munch, while creating art pieces, something miraculous happened. She was able to overcome the shaking in her hands, creating pieces that brought her joy and gave her a sense of contributing to something greater.

But she found herself sometimes exhausted during the three-hour classes she took at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs. Her instructor suggested she visit the MS Center, and her life was forever changed.


There, she felt an instant sense of welcome, and during her weekly art classes, her fellow classmates echoed the same sentiment. They had a sense of calm, happiness and purpose as they created art.

“I quickly realized that I could contribute to attaining the vision (Executive Director) Kay Jasso had of the future for the center,” she says. “I found that I could aid in the expansion of the arts program.”

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Barbara Munch

Since joining the MS Center’s team of volunteers as its lead art volunteer, Munch doubled the amount of art classes offered at the center. When COVID-19 prevented gathering, Munch helped move the classes online, facilitating art sessions via Zoom.

For Munch, volunteering has been as healing as art itself. After each class, she says she gains much more than she ever thought she would.

“These people work constantly for the clients with multiple programs and classes,” she says. “When I first went in there and saw this in action, it just warmed my heart, and that made me want to be a part of it. We can all affect another human being.”



Women Who Came Before Us

Public media programs reveal histories of remarkable women, with lessons for us all

In celebration of Women’s History Month, local PBS source, WGCU, is offering programs that celebrate the creativity, activism, bravery and talent of women throughout the month of March on three of its channels. Here’s what’s on tap.


Thursday, March 11, 10 p.m. (WGCU PBS)

Tina Turner: One Last Time

Join one of the best-selling recording artists of all time for her unforgettable concert filmed at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2000 as the powerhouse performer blasts out hit after hit from her four-decade career.


Friday, March 12, 7 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)
Not Done: Women Remaking America

Chart the last five years of the women’s movement and its re-energized, intersectional fight for equality. Activists, journalists, entertainers, athletes and politicians report from the frontlines of the feminist tidal wave.


Saturday, March 13, 10 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

America Reframed: Blood Memory

For Sandy White Hawk, the story of America’s Indian Adoption Era is not one of saving children, but of destroying families and tribes. As an adoption survivor, White Hawk sets out to reclaim the missing pieces of her stolen past and discovers that hers is not an isolated case. Blood Memory explores the communal healing sparked by the return of this stolen generation, as White Hawk helps organize the first annual Welcome Home Ceremony in the community from which she was removed over 60 years ago.


Sunday, March 14, 6 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

Warrior Women

This is the untold story of American Indian Movement activists who fought for civil rights in the ’70s, anchored by one of the Red Power Movement’s most outspoken Lakota leaders, Madonna Thunder Hawk, and her daughter, Marcy Gilbert.


Monday, March 15, 8 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

Women Outward Bound

This profile of the first group of young women to participate in an Outward Bound survival school course in 1965 chronicles their experiences in the wild. It also captures how one month in the woods taught them they could do more than they ever thought possible. During their experience, the young women forged a special bond, and at a reunion 47 years later, the group reminisce about the lessons learned and the memories made, with some surprising revelations.


Monday, March 15, 9 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

Amazing Grace

Explore the treatment of women in the legal industry from the late 1940s through today. Specifically, follow the story of Missouri Attorney Grace Day, who was the lone woman in her law school class in 1948 and endured torment from her professors and peers. You’ll fall in love with Day, a woman who won over her enemies and helped blaze a path for future female lawyers.


Wednesday, March 17, 9 p.m. (WGCU Encore)

American Masters: Hedy Lamarr

Discover the story of the most beautiful woman in the world, who was also an ingenious inventor. Her pioneering work helped revolutionize modern communication, including Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth.


Thursday, March 18, 8 p.m. (WGCU PBS)

Untold Stories: Mina Miller Edison, the Wizard’s Wife

Mina Miller Edison — while perhaps best-known as the wife of Thomas Edison — was a remarkable woman in her own right, who left an indelible mark on the world, especially on the Edisons’ winter home in Fort Myers. Like the private and public gardens that Miller Edison sowed and tended so dearly, her work in Fort Myers planted the seeds for growth, change and beautification that can still be seen today.


Sunday, March 21, 8 p.m. (WGCU Encore)

Great Performances: Ann

Enjoy a powerful and revealing look at legendary, larger-than-life Texas governor Ann Richards, who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family, in this critically acclaimed play written by and starring Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor.


Sunday, March 21, 10 p.m. (WGCU Encore)

Great Performances: Gloria, A Life

Experience a unique interpretation of feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s life, told by an all-female cast starring Emmy Award-winner Christine Lahti and directed by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus.

Tuesday, March 23, 7 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

Reel South: Ingrid

A successful fashion designer who gave up her big-city career, Ingrid Gipson discovered a reclusive life of solitude and unhindered creativity in Arkansas’ rural Ouachita Mountains. As if through poetry, she opens up her world again to those of us willing to listen.


Wednesday, March 24, 7 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

Penny: Champion of the Marginalized

This is a multidimensional portrait of Penny Cooper, a celebrated criminal defense attorney, art collector, supporter of female artists and protector of the underdog. Cooper’s life brims with stories mirroring the profound changes in our country from the 1940s to the present. In this revealing documentary, Cooper proves herself quite the raconteur with seemingly unlimited anecdotes. Her stories are engaging; sometimes funny, and sometimes distressing. The film is a collection of these moments as told by Cooper and the people who have been impacted by her dynamic spirit.

Wednesday, March 24, 10:30 p.m. (WGCU Encore)

Erma Bombeck: Legacy of Laughter

Examine the extraordinary life and career of beloved American humorist Erma Bombeck (1927-1996), whose honest tales of domestic life gave voice to millions of homemakers. Archival photographs, video clips and personal memorabilia trace Bombeck’s life, from her childhood during the Great Depression to her work as a women’s rights activist.


Thursday, March 25, 9 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

American Experience: Amelia Earhart

Explore the life of the trailblazing pilot who broke records, but then mysteriously disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on a solo flight around the world. An enduring American hero, Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.


Friday, March 26, 7 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

American Masters: Flannery

Explore the life of Flannery O’Connor, whose provocative fiction was unlike anything published before. Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, newly discovered journals and interviews with Mary Karr, Tommy Lee Jones, Hilton Als and more.


Friday, March 26, 8:30 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

American Masters: Mae West, Dirty Blond

Dive into the life and career of groundbreaking writer, performer and subversive star Mae West. Over a career spanning eight decades, she broke boundaries and possessed creative and economic powers unheard of for a female entertainer in the 1930s.


Sunday, March 28, 9 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

American Masters: Twyla Moves

Explore legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp’s career and famously rigorous creative process, with original interviews, first-hand glimpses of her at work and rare archival footage of select performances from her more than 160 choreographed works.


Monday, March 29, 7 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

American Experience: Emma Goldman

This program paints a portrait of the young, brilliant Russian emigrant, called “the most dangerous woman in America” and expelled from the United States 34 years after she arrived.


Monday, March 29, 8 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

Forgotten Fame: The Marion Miley Story

Although professional athletics were deemed improper for women in the 1930s, trailblazing golfer Marion Miley’s exceptional talent and winning personality captivated sports fans across the country. But at age 27, Marion was tragically murdered in her home at the Lexington Country Club in Kentucky.


Monday, March 29, 9 p.m. (WGCU WORLD)

Georgia O’Keeffe: A Woman on Paper

Artist Georgia O’Keeffe has been called the “Mother of American Modernism,” well-known for her flowing, colorful works depicting flowers and plants, dramatic cityscapes and Southwestern landscapes. This half-hour documentary focuses on the little-known story of O’Keeffe’s time spent in Columbia, S.C., as an art instructor at Columbia College. There, O’Keeffe found her voice with a series of innovative black-and-white abstract charcoal drawings.


Wednesday, March 31, 9 p.m. (WGCU Encore)

American Masters: Louisa May Alcott

Starring Elizabeth Marvel and Jane Alexander, examine the literary double life of this celebrated author, who wrote scandalous works under a pseudonym.


Note: Most programs re-air during the month. For times and subsequent broadcasts, visit


Being the Change through Self-Accountability

Part four of a four-part series on cultivating harmony in a divisive world

by Lisa Gruenloh, MPAP, CPC

Accountability is one of those words that can make people cringe. Many of us have experienced that word as threatening, oppressive or punitive. And yet, we know that accountability is an essential attribute of high-performing individuals, teams and organizations, and necessary for healthy, authentic relationships.   


So, why the cringe? Here’s my take: most of us simply don’t want to be told we must be accountable. Enter self-accountability — a key attribute required of your most important manager in work and life: you.


Doesn’t it feel more empowering to choose to be accountable? Of course, but it’s still hard because it means we must take responsibility for our thoughts, words, actions, feelings, choices — everything, including our impact on others and the consequences of our actions.


What does self-accountability look like in the context of creating more harmony in a divisive world?


Your Growth and Fulfillment

A foundation of self-accountability is an ongoing commitment to our own growth and sense of wholeness. In the last two articles, we explored self-awareness and self-acceptance. These two pillars of personal transformation are building blocks to growth and self-accountability, because we cannot be accountable for what we are not aware of and we tend to avoid accountability for things we cannot accept about ourselves.


As you nurture your own growth as a daily practice, your inherent sense of meaning and fulfillment expands. It becomes easier to be kinder to yourself and others and you naturally become more focused on actualizing your potential.


Your Reactions and Responses

As you commit more deeply to your growth, you can begin to look at life’s annoyances, challenges and disappointments as opportunities. Life itself becomes the greatest institution of learning. Everything that seemingly happens “to” or “around” you blossoms into an invitation to express the best of who you are.  


Intense emotional reactions are very common in today’s polarized environment. It’s easy to be triggered into an impulsive, unproductive reaction. Think of a time when this has happened to you. You might have regretted something you said or did in the heat of the moment, but felt nearly powerless to stop it as it was happening.


Through the development of our emotional intelligence, we can learn to interrupt automatic, unproductive reactions and, instead, respond in a deliberate, thoughtful manner.


Your Impact on Others

While we cannot control other people’s reaction to us, we can certainly take responsibility for our words and actions. One concept I discuss in my emotional intelligence workshops that resonates with people is the notion of impact versus intention:

Only I know my intention. Only you know my impact.


And what a gap there can be between the two! Closing any gap between your intention and your impact on others requires empathetic listening and checking for mutual understanding. This simple technique has the ability to transform relationships in extraordinary ways.


You can also contribute to a more harmonious world by looking for opportunities to have an impact beyond your immediate circle. You have unique gifts to share in the service of others. You might also have resources and influence.

How can you use your time, talent and treasure to make a difference? How can you exercise the moral courage to speak up against injustices or use your voice in support of the voiceless? How can you create positive change in ways that are personally meaningful to you? If you’re already doing so, perhaps you can encourage others to give back in purposeful ways. 


Final Thoughts

Self-accountability requires vulnerability, courage and conviction. It requires admitting mistakes and making amends when you misstep or misspeak, while allowing others the space to make mistakes, apologize and do better.   


The more you embrace self-accountability, the less inclined you will be to blame others, rely on others for your fulfillment or get stuck in a victim mentality. The more you embrace self-accountability, the more you will be able to extend empathy and compassion to others, build meaningful, authentic relationships and maintain a more positive, resilient mindset.


You can consistently be the person you want to be and the change you want to see in the world!


If you would like to explore this topic more deeply and engage in some thought-provoking exercises, use this link: CLICK HERE.

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Lisa Gruenloh, MPAP, CPC is a mission-driven entrepreneur, certified emotional intelligence coach, and activist dedicated to fostering collaborative problem-solving and meaningful, sustainable change. Read more about Lisa and her latest purpose-driven venture at

Shamrocking on the Water


Microsoft Office

Are annual subscriptions worth it?

By Heather Hall

Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook have become a standard in creating, editing and sharing files.


Years ago, Microsoft released Office 365, a subscription-based office suite that’s now called Microsoft 365. Some people are wondering whether it is worth paying for this software each year, versus the traditional one-time purchase of Office 2019.

Microsoft 365 Personal, Family and Business suites offer more than just software; they also guarantee modern productivity tools as well as numerous installs for all your devices and computers. In addition, subscribers also get Access and Publisher.

For home users, Microsoft 365 Personal offers more than one install, but allows for just one user. The Family version allows multiple installs and you can share it with five other people, each having the ability to save individual files to One Drive (1 TB per user).

Microsoft 365 Business offers multiple plans and includes Exchange (email using your domain name) for central administration of multiple email addresses. Business plans also include Teams, SharePoint (file sharing) and One Drive.

With a yearly subscription, Microsoft provides continuous security updates and upgrades to the software, which is great when integrating with third-party software. I believe this is the best option if you plan on using Microsoft Office for years to come. Free technical support may also be an incentive to buy into the subscription.


If you don’t want to pay each year for the software, you may want to consider the one-time purchase of Microsoft Home and Student ($149.99) or Home and Business ($249.99). Both of these suites can only be installed on one PC or Mac.

All Microsoft users should document the username and password for their account. This is important, should you have to reinstall the software, update your credit card information or manage users.


Heather Hall is the owner of Virtual Computer Service, specializing in installing and implementing technology for residential spaces, home offices and small businesses.

An Irish Feast


An Irish Feast

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these traditional dishes

By Kathy Grey

St. Patrick’s Day is approaching, and with it comes long-held culinary traditions. Yes, there are quick fixes like green egg salad (put it in a pita, so you don’t have to look at it) and, of course, green beer. But you won’t find those recipes here.

Nay, lads and lasses, here we present a selection of recipes (and links thereto) that bring out the gastronomical goodness of Éirinn go Brách (“Ireland forever”).


Irish Soda Bread: Croke family recipe

Handed down through the years by her husband’s Irish family, Sharon Croke says this delicious bread can be enjoyed at breakfast or dinner, and it makes great toast. Her family loves this recipe so much, she makes at least four loaves every St. Patrick’s Day.


4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

1½ tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. baking powder

1 egg          

3 tbsp. margarine or butter melted and cooled

1 cup sour cream

1 cup buttermilk (*see substitution note below)

1 cup raisins



Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease and flour a cast iron frying pan (or use a heavy-duty round baking pan).

Sift together dry ingredients — twice — into a large bowl.

Beat the egg into the cooled, melted butter.

Add wet ingredients into dry mixture, a little at a time, and mix well.

Add raisins.

Bake for 1 hour, testing doneness with a wooden toothpick.

Hot out of the oven, rub the top with margarine or butter.

*For buttermilk substitutes, visit 14 Great Substitutes for Buttermilk (


Colcannon: More than a Side Dish

Two Irish favorites come together, with this mashed potato-and-cabbage dish (colcannon) topping a traditional shepherd’s pie filling of ground lamb, peas and carrots. Find the recipe here: Colcannon Shepherd's Pie Recipe | Martha Stewart.


Corned Beef, of Course

Robert Cacioppo, producing artistic director and cofounder of Southwest Florida’s Players Circle Theatre says, “For me, nothing is better than corned beef and cabbage with potatoes, carrots and parsnips brushed with butter. So simple.”


Cacioppo’s recipe is certainly more straight-forward than that of celebrated food personality Alton Brown, whose recipe (Corned Beef Recipe | Alton Brown | Food Network) starts with marinating brisket for 10 days.


Instead, Cacioppo buys prepared corned beef brisket from Costco and boils it with cabbage (cut into eighths), potatoes, carrots and parsnips (cut into 2-inch pieces). After cooking, he pulls the vegetables out of the mix.


“Put it on a platter and brush with a stick of melted butter,” Cacioppo says. “Slice the corned beef and lay it on top. Beautiful. Easy.”

Here’s a recipe that might replicate what Cacioppo has in mind: Corned Beef and Cabbage I Recipe | Allrecipes.


For food nerds who want to learn the history of corned beef, visit What Is Corned Beef? | Recipes, Dinners and Easy Meal Ideas | Food Network.


Berry Fool

Following a full day of Irish gastronomy, a refreshing berry fool dessert might be just the right thing to top it off. This fruit-and-cream sweet course can be made with almost any berry, but we’ve provided the raspberry version of the recipe here: Raspberry Fool (


We wish you a joyful St. Patrick’s Day, however you choose to take in its goodness.


Shamrocking on the Water

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a socially distanced way in a COVID-19 world

"Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad."


Like many organizations, Naples St. Patrick Foundation Inc. found creativity was the key to avoid canceling its annual St Patrick’s Day parade festivities for a second year in a row.


While it’s true that the parade will not march down Third Street and Fifth Avenue South again this year, the celebration will go on in a way not unfamiliar to Floridians. Titled “Shamrocking on the Water,” a socially distanced version of the parade will begin just after 11 a.m. on March 13 in Naples Bay, departing from Naples City Dock.


Boats, decorated to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, will idle down the intercoastal waterway, ending at Keewaydin Island.


If you want to participate, but don’t have access to a boat, go to, where you can purchase a ticket to board the Naples Princess for a two-hour tour with a traditional Irish-themed lunch.


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