I’ve been through an alphabet of tragedies and trials and I’m still here. – Naomi Judd
Recorded on Naomi Judd’s 500 acre farm in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, this interview takes you through Naomi’s life, including the birth of daughter Wynonna on her high school graduation night, a job as a receptionist for The Fifth Dimension in Los Angeles, and a mountaintop home in Kentucky where there was no heat, no phone and no TV. While she studied to be a nurse, the family lived on welfare and Naomi traded her prized buck knife to buy Wynonna her first guitar. After receiving her nursing degree, Naomi moved the family to Nashville where she was the head nurse in an ICU. When she learned that the father of one of her patients was in the record business, Naomi got up the courage to hand him a homemade cassette tape of she and Wynonna singing. Brent Mayer was blown away by what he heard an arranged for an audition at RCA records. The Judds were signed to a record deal that would catapult them into country music history as the most commercially successful duo of the 1980’s with 25 singles, 14 number 1 songs, 8 CMA’s, 5 Grammy Awards, and 20 million + records sold. From Naomi’s songwriting technique to her determination to beat Hepatitis C, this interview is an essay in perseverance. For a deep dive into the soul of a country music icon, hit that download button and please, leave a review!
In those first few days of his life, I realized that I wasn’t going to change anything about Jonathan, but I was going to change the world for him. -Jo Ann Simons
She remembers everything getting really quiet in the delivery room just moments after her son Jonathan was born. It was May, 1979 and Jo Ann Simons was 26 years old. Her pregnancy had been textbook…no surprises, until this moment. About 4 hours later, she and her husband heard the words: “your baby has Down syndrome.” At that time, services for families with disabled children were either minimal, or non-existent so Jo Ann Simons decided to change all that. Armed with a Masters in Social Work, she did not see a world that she wanted for her son, so she set out to build one for him and for others with developmental disabilities. If you ask her, she’ll tell you: “I didn’t choose this career, it chose me”. Now the President & CEO of Northeast Arc, Jo Ann is considered both a trailblazer and a champion to the 15,000 people in 190 communities her organization serves. Northeast Arc is leading the way in innovative ideas designed to help people with developmental disabilities become part of the communities where they live including the creation of a coffee shop called “Breaking Grounds” which serves as a training ground for people with disabilities who are interested in working in the food service industry. A few years ago, Jo Ann launched “Arc Tank” with a 1 million dollar donation and in 2020, she spearheaded her largest project to date: negotiating a lease for 26,000 square feet of highly visible space in the heart of the Liberty Tree Mall which will become the new home of The Linking Lives Center and Northeast Arc. A member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on People with Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities and the Autism Commission, Jo Ann lives by the credo: “I want to leave this world a little better than I found it.” Download this inspiring story for a gigantic dose of grit, gratitude and wisdom. #storybehindhersuccess #northeastarc #disabilities