All posts by thestorybehindhersuccess

Sheila Duncan -137



I knew nothing about children’s books, or children’s characters, or the entertainment industry, or anything. But I knew this was meant to be. -Sheila Duncan

It all started one day in 2006 when Sheila was spending time with her twelve year old niece, Kendra who had experienced a series of losses. First, her father passed away, then her grandmother “Nonnie” died of cancer, and finally, the family dog, Irish died as well. Through her tears, Kendra looked up at the TV and saw a telethon about children with cancer. She drew a picture of a small grey puppy and said: “His name’s “Trouble” and he’s gonna help kids having trouble in their lives”. Sheila remembers believing very deeply that something “divinely inspired” happened that day. The story line and the concept for the popular “Trouble The Dog” children’s book series was hatched and Sheila became the force that carried her niece’s compassion forward to the world. And it hasn’t been easy! In this interview, Sheila talks about what it takes to breathe life into an idea. With experience in the restaurant and the travel industries, she tapped into her inner-entrepreneur, figuring out how to break into the children’s book market with the first two books in the Trouble The Dog series, and then, how to manufacture a huggable plush toy by the same name, made in the USA. www.troublethedog.net. Throughout this interview, Sheila talks about the value of persistence, even when no one believes in your idea: “I listened to my intuition and to what the kids were saying to me. It was like there was a big foot in my back, propelling me forward. I just kept on going.” Trouble The Dog has given comfort to children in foster care who receive him as part of their therapy. He has traveled to Haiti after the earthquake, and to Newtown, Connecticut where he comforted children directly affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook. And it’s not just children who feel his love. Trouble has even helped wounded soldiers at Walter Reed cope with their injuries. With the upcoming release of a third book in the Trouble The Dog series, Sheila and Kendra’s mission to bring Trouble’s message to the world keeps on going. Says Sheila: “There’s something enchanting about this pup called Trouble. He comforts kids. Our next step is to bring Trouble to life on your TV screen as a meaningful cartoon series!” #hope #troublethedog


Crystal Gayle -136



When I started out, I was very, very shy. I do not know how I even got on stage, because if I could have hidden behind the microphone stand, I would have. -Crystal Gayle

In this episode, we’re on Music Row in Nashville to meet country music icon, Crystal Gayle. As one of the first female singers to crossover from country music to pop, she is considered a trailblazer by many. Born in Paintsville, Kentucky, Crystal is the youngest of 8 children and the sister of country legend Loretta Lynn. In this interview, she walks us through a career that is filled with equal parts luck and hard work. While it was fortunate that Crystal had a sister who could open doors for her, she had to walk through them on her own, proving that she had her own unique style. Signed to Decca Records at only 19, it wasn’t long before she scored her first hit in 1970 with a single called “I’ve Cried the Blues Right Out of My Eyes.” Six years later, she released “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” for United Artists and that song changed the trajectory of her career reaching #1 on the country charts and #2 on the pop charts. Later that year, the song would win Crystal the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal and she would also become the first female country artist to go platinum. From that moment on, this shy singer with black hair that nearly touched the floor, was a superstar. A wife and mother of two grown children, Crystal opens up about what it was like to win the Grammy, the stories behind her songs “Talking In Your Sleep” and her duet with tour partner Eddie Rabbit called “You and I.” But what comes across in this very personal interview are Crystal’s combination of drive and humility. Determined to forge her own path, she admits she was scared to death. “If I could talk to my 19 year old self, I would tell her: Lighten up. Don’t worry so much. You don’t need to be perfect.“ For an honest look into the life of a country music legend, hit that download button. #countrymusic #inspiration #countrymusicsuccessstories


Kelley Tuthill -135



When something lousy happens, like a breast cancer diagnosis, what are you going to do about it? You can wallow, and that’s okay, but then you need to fight like hell. -Kelly Tuthill

Meet Kelley Tuthill, an award-winning, well-known and respected journalist and former TV anchor with a girl next door charm. Diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer at only 36, she admits that she did wallow for a few hours, maybe even days, but then she fought for herself, for her young family, and for others just like her. 14 years later, she’s thriving with three daughters and a new chapter in her ever-evolving life having segued from television news to academia as the VP of Marketing & Communications at Regis College, a small Catholic college in Weston, MA. One of four girls, Kelley was raised in the seaside town of Hingham and recalls her father encouraging her to go all in for any dream she had. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, Kelley spent 20 years loving the news business. In this interview, she shares what it was like to be a young reporter in rural Pennsylvania, knowing no one, as well as what it was like to work her way home to Boston as a part of the award-winning, legendary line up at WCVB, News Center 5. A passionate advocate for women experiencing breast cancer, Kelley allowed cameras to follow her through her own diagnosis and treatment, co-authoring the book: You Can Do This! Surviving Breast Cancer Without Losing Your Sanity or Your Style. Eager to experience and savor all that life has to offer, she recently earned her PhD in Leadership from Regis College. As we kick off breast cancer awareness month, Kelley’s words of wisdom ring true: “Hope is everything.” #inspiringstories #breastcancer


Sarah Ripoli -134



Everything in life is about mindset and outlook. If you shift your mindset and rise above, no matter what circumstances you are born into or what has happened to you, ultimately you will create your own path and future. -Sarah Ripoli

Imagine that you are six years old, and an only child. You are sitting next to your sleeping grandfather on a couch in your basement while your mother is upstairs, packing up her things. Within minutes, she is dead, shot by your father and your whole world is changed forever. Welcome to the life of Sarah Ripoli. Now a New York City based fashion blogger,
thescoopbysarahrip.com, Sarah is standing up and speaking her truth about domestic violence. Raised by her grandparents in her native New Jersey, she was surrounded by love and support. Sarah never wanted anyone to know what she had been through, so she kept her secret for 20 years. When she was 25, Sarah realized that she had to examine her past in order to create her future. She is the Co-Founder of Angel Energy, www.shopangelenergy.com, an e-commerce based fashion brand and a philanthropic movement to stop domestic violence. Sarah’s powerful message is filled with a belief that every person is put on earth for a purpose and her goal is to be a voice for children who have lost a parent to domestic violence. The coronavirus quarantine locked us all down, but for abusive relationships, the lockdown resulted in a drastic increase in incidences of domestic violence. The fact is: 1,000 women are killed every year by men they know. Angel Energy donates 25% of its proceeds to charities that serve as lifelines for women and families affected by domestic abuse. For a glimpse into a life path paved by resilience, hit that download button!  #inspiringstories  #resilience


Jo Jorgensen -133



I would hope that the American people would look past my gender and just look at the ideas. I want to see freedom in my lifetime. I want to see people be able to make their own decisions. -Jo Jorgensen

Meet Dr. Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian candidate for President of the United States. In Boston as part of her whirlwind tour across America, Jo agreed to an exclusive interview with me. Born in Libertyville, Illinois, and raised in a nearby town with only one stop light, Jo had a libertarian mindset before she knew anything about the Libertarian Party. A graduate of Baylor University, Jo went on to Southern Methodist University for her MBA and earned her PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Clemson University in 2002 where she is now a senior lecturer. The VP running mate for Harry Brown in the 1996 presidential campaign, Jo believes that “our government is too big, too bossy, too nosy and too intrusive. It’s time to put the decision making power back into the hands of the people.” In this interview, she explains what it means to be Libertarian, and answers my questions about key issues like: how to heal unrest in our country, what she would have done if she were president during the Coronavirus outbreak, her views on our criminal justice system, the police, her stance on decriminalizing drugs, healthcare, our military, prayer in schools, the IRS, the FDA, no-knock raids, and whether to send teachers and children back into the classroom. But it is Jo’s heartfelt answers about gender, motherhood, how she gets around obstacles, and her view on what success really means that give the listener a clear view of the contents of her character. With her supporters repurposing #imwithher Jo’s hope is that as a third party candidate, she will be able to debate President Trump and former Vice President Biden on a national stage so that voters can understand what she truly stands for. #letherspeak #letherdebate #JoJorgensen2020


Cheryl Pillar -132



Any ailment, pain or challenge your loved one experienced in life is gone. They are at peace. They are happy. It’s that simple. – Cheryl Pillar

In this episode, we connect with Cheryl Pillar: the dc medium. www.dcmedium.com. Her new book Here In Spirit is a quick and powerful read that answers the 7 most commonly asked questions about what happens to our loved ones after they die. Truth be told, I met Cheryl a few years ago at a meeting in Virginia and watched her in action. She is the real deal and that story is in this interview. Born and raised in Indiana, Cheryl started recognizing her openness to Spirit when she was in a yoga class and her beloved Nana appeared to her at the moment she died.
A consultant by day, Cheryl’s unique ability to tap into someone has also helped her untangle complicated business relationships. The single mother of Collin and Emma, Cheryl completed her psychic mediumship training in 2014 after searching for someone who could be her mentor. SoulConX is her latest endeavor and the answer to that problem. Cheryl’s new company will be a place where those who have the gift of psychic mediumship can receive further training to perfect their natural skills and techniques. You learn a lot about life when you talk to the dead and Cheryl Pillar is proof of that. If you are worried about someone you have lost, this interview will answer your questions and reassure you that our loved ones never real leave us. Most importantly, says Cheryl: “all souls go to heaven. Even if a person has not lived a good life, we all get another shot; over and over again until we get it right.” #psychicmedium


Mia Hewett -131



The emotional trauma that stopped us in childhood because we didn’t know how to process our feelings, is the same emotional trauma that stops us from being the most successful entrepreneur of our lives. -Mia Hewett

Meet a woman who has co-owned and operated a seven-figure business, is an international speaker, a world-class business coach, and author of the new book “Meant For More.” Believe it or not, there was a time when despite all of her successes, Mia Hewett wasn’t happy. Most of all, she felt that she was not enough. After years of reading self-help books and spending tons of money on coaching, Mia discovered the root of her self-doubt: childhood emotional trauma. The truth is, no one gets through childhood without scars. Some of us suffer more than others, but emotional trauma, left unchecked, will handicap your success for the rest of your life. Along the way, Mia crafted her unique approach called “Aligned Intelligence” which is a methodology that removes all blind spots, fear, anxiety and self-doubt. In this episode, I admit my fear of failure, and Mia examines where that comes from. She shares her own emotional trauma at the age of 4 and discusses how she finally got past the “huge confusion pattern” that trauma created until she finally understood how to untangle it. Says Mia: “when we don’t heal the emotional side of ourselves, we limit our intellect because we can’t think greater than how we feel.” www.miahewett.com. For 24 minutes of discussion that will open your own mind to what’s been holding you back from your greatest success story, hit that download button.


Donna Halper pt2 -130



I’m a working class kid from a working class neighborhood who wasn’t expected to be anything in life and yet, I saw history being made and I was there. -Donna Halper

Welcome to part 2 of the incredible life and career story of Donna Halper: author, media historian and trailblazer for women in radio. After years of being told that she would never be on the air, she did just that…first in college radio back in 1968 and then behind the scenes at the legendary WABC, in New York City. As the music director at WMMS in Cleveland, she received a homegrown album from an unknown rock trio from Canada called Rush and gave their song Working Man a shot in the air. She is credited with discovering the band and has remained friends with Rush for decades, joining them when they received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and cheering the band on when they were inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame. Her road to success has been anything but easy and she has relied upon her Jewish faith and her own code of ethics to get to where she is today. After having spent 28 years as a well respected radio broadcast consultant, she focused her attention on writing books and is widely known as a media historian. An associate professor at Lesley University, she is determined to put a name and a face to the stories of women who also broke through barriers to make it in media. Says Donna: “I love finding women who have been forgotten and then writing them back into history.”


Donna Halper pt1 -129



All I ever wanted was to be was a DJ. In my freshman year at Northeastern University, I arrived at the campus radio station and said: “I want to be on the radio.” The program director said: “We don’t put girls on the radio. They don’t sound good.” So I asked him: “How many women have you had on the air here?” And he said: “None.” –Donna Halper

This is one of those episodes that serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come. When Donna Halper was growing up in the 1950’s, girls had only a few choices. They could marry and be a “housewife”, or they could be a teacher, a nurse or a bookkeeper. Donna had other ideas. From the time she was a little girl, she wanted to have a career and the announcers on the radio sounded like they were having fun all the time. Even though DJ’s couldn’t see their audience, they were somehow able to reach out and relate to the thousands of teens who listened to the radio. A Jewish girl who was often bullied for being different, Donna grew up loving rock ‘n roll, saying: “it was the music of rebellion. The culture was changing and the music was a way to say things that you weren’t allowed to say in society.” After being told for years that women don’t sound good on the radio, Donna finally got on the air in college and after graduation, was recruited by the legendary Frank Kingston Smith to write features for his show on the legendary WABC in New York City. But it was her stint as music director at WMMS in Cleveland, Ohio that put her name in the book of rock ‘n roll when she received an advance copy of a homegrown album by an unknown Canadian rock trio called RUSH. Says Donna: “I dropped the needle down on a song called “Working Man” and I knew immediately that this was a Cleveland record.” Since that day, RUSH has sold 40 million records, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and induction in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Donna’s career story continued to flourish, but never without adversity and roadblocks. Her message then and now is simple. “Never, ever give up.” For a birds eye view into the meaning of perseverance, hit that download button. #cantstopwontstop


Sharon Hampson -128



We always hoped that people would listen to the music, make it their own, take it into their lives and realize that our music is there for them to enjoy forever. -Sharon Hampson, of Sharon, Lois & Bram

If you grew up in the 1980’s and 90’s, you probably sang along with a group called Sharon, Lois & Bram. Maybe you watched their hit TV series The Elephant Show or even begged your parents to take you to one of their sold out shows. In the spotlight, Sharon Hampson, founding member of Sharon, Lois & Bram. The recipients of countless awards, Gold and Platinum albums for worldwide record sales, and induction into The Order of Canada, the group is widely known as the most beloved children’s entertainers of all time. In this interview, Sharon walks us through her own childhood in Canada, where singing together was part of her upbringing. The daughter of immigrants, she lovingly recalls her mother saving 50 cent pieces to buy her a piano. Although very shy, she gathered her courage and sang on stage at a hootenanny. After that experience, Sharon quit high school and devoted her life to singing, getting her start as a folk singer in coffeehouses around Toronto. Throughout their illustrious career, Sharon, Lois & Bram maintained a core belief that “children deserve the best the world has to offer, whether it is food, education, accommodation or music.” A three time breast cancer survivor, Sharon believes that walking through fear is one of the most empowering things a person can do in this life. The mother of two, Sharon has been singing with her daughter Randi, an attorney and gifted singer/songwriter who also manages the group. With Lois’ passing five years ago and Bram’s decision to retire, the two are creating their own next chapter with weekly Facebook LIVE concerts. The book Skinnamarink echoes the lyrics and sentiment of Sharon, Lois & Bram’s signature song, along with new lyrics from Randi and has sold over 50,000 copies. During the pandemic, Sharon & Bram have reunited to breathe new life into a song Sharon’s late husband Joe composed 50 years ago. Joined by Randi and an all-star cast, “Talk About Peace” is a YouTube sensation proving once again that this music reaches inside the hearts of the young…and the not so young. For a deep dive into the life of an exceptional woman, hit that download button.  #childrensmusic   #inspiringstories