Gemima St. Louis, Ph.D.: Clinical Psychologist, William James College -230

Mental Illness affects everyone across all domains.  It doesn’t matter what your cultural background is, or your socio-economic background. It’s really an equal-opportunity illness that affects everyone. -Gemima St. Louis, Ph.D.

A recent survey shows that 90% of Americans believe our country is experiencing a mental health crisis.  Fortunately, Gemima St. Louis is leading the way toward solving this problem by creating groundbreaking programs that will train a diverse generation of mental health professionals at William James College in Newton, Massachusetts. Born and raised in Port au Prince Haiti, Gemima and her family immigrated to the United States, landing in Boston on a cold day in January without winter clothing!  At only 14, Gemima did not speak the language and found herself in a high school classroom surrounded by teenagers from other countries who were also learning how to speak the language and understand American culture. Her parents raised 5 children with a sense of social responsibility, Gemima was told that she could become anything she set her mind to and that education would be the key to success.  All she had to do was remember where she came from and “reach back to bring those you left behind along with you.   Armed with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Gemima is now the mother of three children and the Vice President of Workforce Initiatives & Speciality Training, and an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology.  Determined to be a change-maker when it comes to disparities in access to mental healthcare, Gemima says:  You really have to rely on your networks of support to move systemic barriers. One person can try and it is exhausting, but when you are surrounded by others with a shared passion, you can move mountains. “   #mentalhealth #stigma

Joanna Dutra: Founder, The Creative Confidant, -229

When we talk about people, it’s very easy to talk about the things we don’t do well. We easily go to our weaknesses. My job is to encourage people to think about their strengths and what makes them a leading product. -Joanna Dutra

Today’s story is all about using our gifts, talents, and collective experience to create a new chapter in our lives. Joanna Dutra plays the piano and the violin. She sings and she’s even a stand-up comedian. After spending 20 years developing brand identities for Fortune 500 companies, she decided it was time to use her skills to help people instead of products. As the founder of The Creative Confidant. Joanna is sharing what she knows with clients who come to her in search of a personal brand that reflects “who they are and where they stand.” In this interview, Joanna credits her grandfather with inspiring her work ethic. Born in Italy, he came to the United States at 9, unable to speak English. His compelling personality and zest for life propelled his personal and financial success story despite many obstacles. The way he lived his life became a roadmap for Joanna. A graduate of Georgetown University, it was Joanna’s love of sports that brought her to Boston where she has remained for decades, raising two daughters who inspire her every day. A big believer in taking chances, Joanna says: “We don’t grow when we are comfortable. We only grow when we are uncomfortable.” For 24 minutes of passion, purpose, and high-spirited wisdom just hit that download button. #passion #confidence #coaching

Carrie Allen: Managing Partner, Captains of Innovation, -228

It’s hard to Innovate because It’s not a linear process, it’s often circuitous. So if you fail, pick yourself up and learn from it. You might go in a new direction. -Carrie Allen

Having a great idea and acting on it, nurturing it into reality, and believing in its merit is a lot like finding buried treasure at the bottom of the ocean. If your idea works, the rewards are huge. Carrie Allen has spent her career focused on innovation: helping people steward new ideas, methods, and products. Her clients are trailblazers who have taken great ideas and turned them into dreams come true to form thriving businesses. As Managing Partner of CIC Captains of Innovation in Cambridge, MA. she and her team provide bespoke white glove innovation consulting from new idea generation to commercialization, and in the process, is creating a global network of doers and dreamers in a city that is home to both MIT and Harvard. Says Carrie: “the companies that succeed are those that can navigate ambiguity.” Raised in Kentucky by her father, after her parent’s divorce divided the family in two, Carrie admits to learning how to be resilient as a child and names her beloved grandmother as her role model. Her passion and determination are evident in everything she does, including taking on work-life balance in a blended family with love and grace, while scratching her own creative itch with handcrafted linens she markets through her website: For a brief encounter with a creative guru, hit that download button. #innovation #entrepreneur

Francesca Amari Part 2: Cabaret Singer -227

I don’t need to be a big star.  I don’t have to be defined by how much money I’m making.  If I’m performing, that is success to me. – Francesca Amari

Welcome to part 2 of my conversation with uber-talented cabaret singer Francesca Amari. Recorded in my rental car, in the parking lot of a hotel beside a highway in Thousand Palms, California, this interview is full of wisdom for anyone with a dream. Francesca has been singing for decades and through it all, she has maintained a career as an entertainer on her own terms:  “Your dream might need to include options and you might need to do other things that fuel your passion.”  A lifelong fan of the music of Linda Ronstadt and the genius of Gilda Radner, Francesca has created tributes to both women that are instant sellouts. Her award-winning weekly live stream performance called Cocktails & Cabaret was launched in 2020 as a way to stay connected to her fans and is thriving 150 weeks later!  In this interview, you’ll hear Francesca singing stunning harmonies with the Boogie Woogie Babie as well as clips from her favorite theatre performances, plus, she’ll explain her philosophy about sharing the stage with others and the key to her success which works no matter what you do for a living.  Says Francesca:  “Be authentic and real.  Don’t try to make your life seem like what it’s not.  Tell the truth.“   #cabaretsinger #lindaronstadt #gildaradner #palmsprings #carkaroke

Francesca Amari Part 1: Cabaret Singer, -226

I am an honest singer. I screw up on stage, I own it.  I laugh at myself. I look at people when I sing, I don’t sing over them.  I’m just really human.   -Francesca Amari
Our west coast swing continues with an interview that ended up taking place IN MY RENTAL CAR!  Francesca Amari is a fabulously talented cabaret singer, so when she agreed to be on the show, we made a plan to do the interview at a television station in Thousand Palms, California where she just happened to be filming that day. At the last minute, the studio we were supposed to record in became unavailable, so we punted and ended up driving to a hotel parking lot, right beside “the 10” which is California’s mega highway.    As I set up my microphones and recording equipment, Francesca and I bonded over our love for 12-time Grammy winner Linda Ronstadt.   Bonus:  you’ll hear us sing one of Linda’s signature songs, LIVE from the front seat.  This interview is a deep dive into the heart and mind of someone who has been singing since she was about 2 years old, first with her siblings as The Amari Sisters and later on iconic stages and legendary venues from New York City to Hollywood, California.   Francesca is a master at the craft of cabaret singing and is willing to tackle just about every kind of vocal from pop tunes to Broadway, to Jazz to Big Band.  Her tributes to Linda Ronstadt and Gilda Radner are instant sellouts and her fans follow her wherever she goes. During the pandemic, she missed performing so much, she created a weekly live-stream event called Cocktails & Cabaret which earned her the 2021 BroadwayWorld Palm Springs Award for “Best Streaming Concert/Cabaret.  Part One of our time together includes Francesca’s firm belief that she doesn’t pick the songs she sings, they pick her. She also offers plenty of wisdom about harmonizing and sharing the stage with others.  Says Francesca:  “Your talent shines more when you are with other people who are also talented. “ No matter what you do for a living, Francesca’s interview is full of the kind of wisdom you need to put your goals and dreams in motion.  #cabaretsinger #lindaronstadt #gildaradner#palmsprings #carkaroke 

Rosa Hu: Creator & Designer, House of Who -225

Style is your aura. It’s your energy. -Rosa Hu

In the spotlight, creator & designer Rosa Hu.  Born in New York City and raised in Southern California, Rosa’s parents escaped communist China and settled in Taiwan.  When it was time to go to college, the two came to the United States and never left.  As a child, Rosa was obsessed with style and never wanted to do anything but fashion.  Armed with a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design & Marketing, she started a career at 19, working her way up the ladder as an assistant to designers at big clothing manufacturers. By the time she was in her mid-twenties, Rosa was burned out and her dream of being in fashion was fading fast.  Enter the legendary Trina Turk who mentored Rosa and suggested she work for her evolving brand on a freelance basis. Says Rosa:  “I learned early in my career that it is not how much money you have in the bank, it is how happy you are, doing what you love.” Now the designer of her own line called House of Who, (follow her on IG @House_of_Who) Rosa creates mystical adornments for the body, soul, and space.  Her success story includes the lessons she has learned as a Chinese-American woman who was determined to forge her own path in a culture that is often driven to the point of exhaustion. The owner of two mid-century modern units at the legendary Ocotillo Lodge in Palm Springs, Rosa is proud to open the doors of her brilliantly bohemian bungalows during Mid-Century Modern Week.  In this interview, she passes on lots of wisdom including:  “Don’t ever think you can’t do anything for any reason. Not for being a minority. Not for being a woman.  Never let anything stop you.  Ever. “ #fashion #trinaturk #palmsprings #midcenturymodernweek #ocotillolodge

Part 2: Dawn Kohler, author of The Messages -224

I knew in the depths of my soul that all of this had a reason. I knew I was going to get to the other side. -Dawn Kohler

Last week’s episode was incredibly powerful and so is part 2 of the story of Dawn Kohler, author of the memoir The Messages. Now an in-demand executive coach who helps her clients re-awaken their purpose and their passion, Dawn is an incest survivor who has spent decades working through her deep sense of loss and shame. Her testimony in this interview is not graphic, but it is brutally honest, so if you have children nearby who might hear this interview, I suggest that you wait for a time when you are alone or with other adults. In this interview, Dawn explains that the inaudible messages she was receiving right around her own daughter’s 5th birthday were triggered by the fact that her father raped her at that very same age. She also discovers that he shared her with other men who were part of a molestation group. Throughout her deep depression and psychotherapy, Dawn’s first husband supported her and somehow, she was able to care for her three children. Says Dawn: “The kids kept me alive. There is no doubt about it. I’m sure I dropped the ball on several occasions, but I wanted to be there for them, no matter what.” Enrolled in the same Tai Chi class as the mother and sister of murder victim Nicole Brown Simpson, Dawn explains how Tai Chi relieves muscle tension and releases feelings of loss and grief. Her experience over a 3 day period when the messages culminated in a profound, divine encounter will remind you of our universal responsibility to love one another or perish. For a life-changing story that simply must be heard, hit that download button. If you or someone you love is experiencing sexual abuse, text HOME to 741741 or go to: to speak immediately to a volunteer crisis counselor.

Dawn Kohler, Part 1, author of The Messages -223

I raised myself. From a very early age, I knew in my heart I was on my own. Nobody was helping me. -Dawn Kohler

What you are about to hear is Part 1 in a series about Dawn Kohler, author of the memoir The Messages. This story needs to be told, but it is also very difficult to hear. If you have children nearby, my strong suggestion is that this episode is not for their ears. Born and raised in San Diego, California, Dawn was the oldest of three children. Her mother was a coal miner’s daughter, originally from West Virginia and her father was from a strict German Catholic family in Ohio. In part 1 of this interview, we learn what life was like in Dawn’s house. She was very independent, didn’t like to be touched, and started working at only 14. Dawn married her high school sweetheart and together they had 3 beautiful children. During the personal computer boom in the 1980s, she and Jeff discovered their niche and founded a computer service company before their 30th birthdays, employing over 50 people. Dawn was the CEO of the business, with plaques on the wall naming her Entrepreneur of the Year when suddenly, she started receiving what she calls internal, inaudible “messages” that told her “this is no longer your way.” She tried to block out these messages by running and swimming, but they just got more intense. One day, she literally could not get out of her car and walk into her office. What happens next will break your heart and then it will lift you up, reminding you of the power of the human spirit. #sexualabuse #incest

Christina Knight: Nurse Practitioner, -222

If I’m passionate about doing something, I’m not gonna let anybody roadblock me.
-Christina Knight

In the spotlight, a woman who doesn’t understand the word “no” and probably never will. Meet Christina Knight, Nurse Practitioner and co-founder of Dynamic Evolutions in Health & Beauty at Together with business partner Dr. Edgar Ballenas, Christina is introducing patients to personalized medicine and the benefits of eastern and western wellness practices with outstanding results. The daughter of hard-working Greek immigrants, Christina and her siblings came to this country seeking The American Dream. Her father established a little Greek restaurant in Wellesley, just outside of Boston where everything was homemade and his children learned the value of a hard day’s work. In this interview, Christina recalls knowing she would end up in medicine because she wanted to help and heal others. The single mother of three small children, she worked full time while pursuing her undergraduate, nursing, and nurse practitioner degrees. A big believer in alternative medicine, Christina keeps an open mind about new innovations in healthcare from around the world, striving to help her patients understand what their bodies need in order to thrive. “If our body is not in balance and our immune system is low and weak, we will get sick.“ At the height of the pandemic, Christina and Dr. Ballinas entered the homes of seriously ill COVID patients offering lifesaving medical care. Many of their patients are children with ADHD and Christina finds herself explaining to frustrated parents that there is a direct link between gut health and brain health and that medication for ADHD may not be the best answer. For a tutorial on innovative ways to stay healthy and strong from a woman who is the definition of determination, just hit that download button. #wellness #ADHD #personalizedmedicine #alternativemedicine #easternmedicine

Daniela Corte: Women’s Clothing Designer -221

Fashion never ends.  Fashion never sleeps.  -Daniela Corte

Fueled by a passion for fashion and a love of espresso, Argentinian-born women’s clothing designer Daniela Corte wakes up at the crack of dawn ready to create her signature pieces. Voted Best Women’s Clothing Designer by Boston Magazine in 2021, Daniela has been
making women feel elegant and beautiful in her clothes since 2000.  In this interview, she shares stories of her elegant mother who was always put together, and her father who was a clothier in Argentina.  He taught her the importance of treating employees like family and with a deep respect for hard work.  Daniela’s inspiration comes from beautiful textiles. She remembers fondly how a delivery of a bolt of fabric to her father’s shop was her greatest joy.  Known for creating clothes “made to measure”, Daniela is the queen of the perfect fit.   She believes that there are 5-10 must-haves in a woman’s closet. “The perfect blazer, the perfect little black dress, the perfect fitting jeans and black pants, and some silk tops and then, you’re golden!”   A big believer in making a strong first impression, Daniela says:
“Style is confidence. Style is power. Style is courage. Style is strength.”  For a look inside the creative mind of a fashionista who never sleeps, just hit that download button. #fashion  #womensfashion