I call them, affectionately, the Flip Flop Girls. This year they are comprised of nine very sassy women and one man who is married to one feisty gal. So that makes him an official member of the “Men of Sole(s).” They come from diverse businesses but they share one thing in common. They all are passionate about life, their work, and doing good. Let me introduce you to these cool kids!
Lori Benedetto, a CPR and First Aid Trainer. Lori taught several classes at Achieve Fitness, where I am a member, but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. The reviews were outstanding so should you need to brush up on those compressions and breaths (I always get them confused), Lori’s the one you want to see.
Terry Drankiewicz, is my kindred spirit. She feels deeply about this cause and donates so many shoes each year, it requires a special trip in advance. So much so that I’ve asked her to be one of our featured interviews in a video we’re having created about the impact this movement has had on the community. So look for her when it’s released. She’ll been signing autographs at the par-tee. 🙂
Lori Ermi, of The Ermi Group won’t be at the party, unfortunately, because she is recuperating from foot surgery but you can bet she is probably planning the new pair of shoes she’s going to buy once she’s healed. Lori is a fellow trainer and I had the priviledge to meet her and hear her present at last year’s SHRM conference in Frederick, MD. I like her style and time sure flies when you’re listening to a great speaker, doesn’t it?
Mjach Fitness. What can I say about Melissa Lentz other than the fact that she is Zumbalicious? I took several of her classes and marvel at how someone can shake her groove thing, do syncopated dance moves, and never stop smiling! Seriously, at one point, I thought of the old adage, “if you keep doing that, your face is gonna freeze like that!” That’s the good thing about smiling…. you want your face to freeze like that. And if everyone would Zumba with Melissa, well….. we would have world peace! 🙂
Leesa Ruderman is my “sister from another mister,” as we often say. She is a fellow Ginger and she truly knows how to “rock it like a redhead.” She’s a nicer, softer, more polite, and Southern version of Martha Stewart. She keeps home baked cookies under a glass dome, decorates for the seasons, plays a mean game of tennis, and has a wardrobe to die for. I want to be her. On a more serious note, Leesa volunteers her time as a Child Services Advocate and has her hands in a lot of other great causes around the community.
Leslie Schultz is my “new friend who was fit to become an old one” the minute I met her. We met through our involvement on the committee that plans the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory Ball. In fact, her daughter, Lindsay, was the top fundraiser this past year and a pretty talented young woman in her own right. Leslie is dedicated to her work with SOAR, which advocates for our Seniors population. How lucky are they? Everyone needs a Leslie on their side. I’m glad she’s on mine. Hope you get to meet her Friday night.
Fran Simons’ business is called & Coco. A unique name for a company that creates extraordinarily beautiful vintage jewelry and other whimsical treasures. I have a little confesson to make. I fell in love with Fran and her sister Ruth’s booth space when they were located at Chartreuse & Company. The first time I walked into their space, complete with chandeliers and vintage finds arranged with an artist’s eye, I said to my friend, “I don’t know who owns this booth but I want to be her best friend.” At the risk of becoming a stalker, I will say that we did finally meet and I’ve been a fan ever since. If you ever notice me wearing an exquisite vintage statement necklace, you have officially “met” my girl crush, Fran. Because she designed every one that I own.
Sam Swann is the man, not only because he is my first male flip flop sponsor but because he and his wife Sue raised two talented, creative, artistic, and extremely impressive children, Kelsey and Kevin. Sam and Sue are my friends from church and give graciously of their time and talent to so many causes. Sam works for Pro Mortgage and, let me put it this way, he is so gregarious and such a nice guy that he could even make the mortgage/loan process feel like a positive experience. Now that’s something worth signing your name to, don’t you think?
Susan Vernicek is a speaker, author, and publisher of Identity Magazine, an online publication that promotes positivity, self-esteem, and confidence in women. There are many fun ways to get involved with her community of women and her online offerings make it easy for the woman who wants to invest in improving self awareness and goal realization. Susan is Mom to an adorable set of twins and I marvel at how she is able to balance her entrepreneurial spirit with her spirited little toddlers but she does it with great panache!
Edith (Edie) Wennick is a Senior Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and has everything you want in a financial advisor. She’s smart, professional, caring, and can explain things in a way that you can actually relate to and understand without feeling like you are…. well… not smart. 🙂 Seriously, I get nervous around people who talk stocks, investments, estates, trusts as effortlessly as I can talk about the many flavors of ice cream. But Edie’s knowledge and ability to communicate make her one of the best in her field. Edie holds a special place in my heart because she was one of the twelve women who journeyed with me during the inaugural “Must Love Shoes Goes to Italy” retreat last fall. But we’ll save that story for another time.
And there you have it. Thanks to my ten Flip Flop Sponsors for your support and for helping us put shoes on the feet of many deserving area children in need.