Woman Wednesday: Ashley I.


Q and A with Ashley I., Asheville, North Carolina

My dad told me that I had two options—I could allow the statistics to govern who I would become or I could recognize that those statistics were BS and define life on my terms.


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: First & foremost, I am massively passionate about empowering women. Not even just empowering them but ingraining in them their infinite possibility that can only come from intimate relationships with oneself. I am so completely obsessed with reminding women of how incredibly powerful and needed they are in the world, exactly as they are. I believe that when women are empowered, they show up in a way that completely changes the way we operate as a collective whole. On the flip side, my other passions include food, baking, cooking, and feeding people. Feeding people, to me, is absolutely a love language and allows me to nourish people from the inside out. I have also found that if you truly want to know people, share a meal with them. Some other passions include photography, being outside, going on adventures, travel, fitness, and being present in life. Meditation is my jam! Life is what happens when we disconnect from this version of “reality” and connect back into the truth of ourselves.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up seeing two sides of the coin. Being a child of divorce, I had the unique opportunity to experience life in two different ways. On one side, I saw what it was like to live in a balanced partnership through my dad and stepmom. They got married almost 30 years ago, and they’ve been together through it all. They’ve been an amazing example of how it’s done and what it takes to build a real partnership that is equal in all parts. On the other side, I learned what being a strong, independent woman was from my mom. There literally wasn’t any situation that she couldn’t make it through. She always reminded me, as did my dad and stepmom, that anything was possible on this planet as long as I put my whole self into it. I definitely grew up always being told that there were no limits to what I could do in my life. This, in turn, really prepared me for the moment my life did change. When I was 16, I dropped out of high school, acquired my GED, moved to NC from FL and found out I was pregnant (with my now 15 year old daughter). All of this happened within three months. My dad told me that I had two options—I could allow the statistics to govern who I would become or I could recognize that those statistics were BS and define life on my terms. It didn’t matter what the world said or how anyone else showed up in it. What mattered was how I chose to show up every single day, and that’s how I chose to live life from then on. I knew that I would do more, and I would change the space that I was taking up so that my daughter wouldn’t continue fighting the generational battles passed down to us. Fifteen years later, I can testify that all chains are broken, contracts voided, and ancestral lines healed. We are not victims in this family.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: As cliché as it may sound, anything is possible once we figure out what we’re here for and what it is we truly want to do in this world. Not what anyone else tells you, what you tell you. I always tell people that I get what I want and that has proven true 100% of the time when I am fully invested in the direction I am placing my intentions and energy into. It doesn’t necessarily look like how I see it, but it always works out in my favor with far better outcomes than I could’ve created. On the other side of that, once you have an idea of what you want, START TAKING ACTION! Don’t worry about the how. Know your why, and start taking action right now. The ‘how’ will present itself. The universe loves a determined heart. Before I manifested my TV show, I spoke about it for the year I was operating it on FB and YouTube. I would tell everyone that I am the next Oprah, and one day, this will be a globally syndicated TV show. I didn’t know how that would happen. I didn’t have connections, money, or anything that told me it was a possibility for me, but I still knew. I knew that if I kept speaking it, showed up, and took action, the rest would fall into place. As of next week, The TUF Woman Table airs, GLOBALLY, on Amazon TV, Apple TV, and Roku. Best part is, it’s just the start. Seek that which is in your heart and then take the next step, even if it seems miniscule in the moment. Sow seeds continuously, and I promise you they will harvest when the time comes. You cannot fail when you bet on you.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism to me is empowerment, equality, and freedom of the feminine to exist and take up space. It means creating a space for all people who resonate to feel safe, seen, heard, and allowed to be, as is. Feminism doesn’t say that you must show up in this way to be included, instead it allows space for you to just be. Feminism is saying that you are worthy, equal, and important in all capacities. Feminism is the most beautiful space when we begin understanding that it’s about embodying the fluidity, compassion, inclusiveness, and true balance of both the masculine and feminine working together in harmony. Neither one being more or less, simply equal as they are right now. I think everyone has the capacity to be a feminist and the world would be a better place if we were.


Thank you for reading!



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Woman Wednesday: Katie M.


Q and A with Katie M., Seymour, Connecticut

“Just because you set a goal doesn’t mean it won’t change.

“There will never be a seat at the table if you don’t pull up a chair.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I love working in public health, being able to contribute to the community through my work and my writing. As a dental hygienist, I worked in mobile dental settings providing care in schools, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and much more. Through that work, I found that many children and adults feared having dental work done…even a cleaning. That is what led me to my first book, Roxy’s Adventure to the School Dentist. In this book, I help families tackle a fearful first from a safe environment- their home, in hopes of alleviating that fear factor of the unknown and educating them on what to expect during a typical visit. From that moment on, it was the theme of all my children’s books. How to create a show-do-tell method book that is educational and fun for families to use as an introductory tool.

Paw Elementary was born after I lost my first fur child, Roxy, to cancer in 2017. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and provide a way to have her live on forever and be a friend for children. Paw Elementary has five books in the series currently, with the newest book coming out at the end of this month: Paw Elementary: Astoria Learns to Swim. I also have a soundtrack for the series coming out in October. I think it’s important to encourage children to try new things and to be brave, positive, inspire creativity, and be courageous. I have four encouragement cards out right now to go along with the books in hopes to make a difference in a child’s life. 

I also write romance suspense novels and have my second book coming out in the spring! These books center around strong female characters who show hard times and how they don’t let [those hard times] define them. In hopes of inspiring women to not give up, go for their goals/dreams, and to not be afraid to make something out of themselves.

I’ve been married for 10 years, and we have 4 rescues: 2 dogs and 2 cats. They are my life and motivation to keep moving forward. My hope is that my books become so successful that I can donate proceeds to children’s shelters and animal shelters.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up with my parents and brother in Seymour, CT, and still live there till this day. I went to school to be a registered dental hygienist and have a master’s degree. My mom has always been a strong role model in my life and always pushed me to be my best, and both my parents encouraged me to go for my goals.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Life is built on hard work and dedication, long-term goals and pivoting. Just because you set a goal doesn’t mean it won’t change, just that you are evolving and following your path to success, wherever that may lead you. While it is good to have role models and mentors, build your own path. Following someone else’s path won’t lead to the same success; forge your own and be unique…be YOU!


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Being a strong woman who goes for what they want and not being afraid to speak for what they believe in, want, and will achieve. There will never be a seat at the table if you don’t pull up a chair. You have to make your success and it won’t be handed to you. GO for it and don’t let other people make you feel unfocused and vulnerable about what you want! Follow your gut!


Thank you for reading!


I’d love to connect with you!

My books come in three languages: English, Spanish, and French. All available on amazon and my website: www.KatieMelko.com.

Contact me: Katie.Melko@gmail.com


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Woman Wednesday: Christine


Q and A with Christine, Boulder, Colorado

“When I did say ‘yes’ to trying something new and get out of my comfort zone, I almost always had a blast and was so proud that I accomplished something new.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m passionate about many things such as business, health, family, God, and helping people thrive by bringing them up and helping them see their potential that they have lost seeing. I currently am a project control analyst at Ball Aerospace, and I love my job so much. I get to work for an amazing company that provides crucial ideas, objects, and units that help keep our country safe from the ground up. As a young woman, starting my career at a place like Ball is empowering. I feel respected, I feel valued for all my opinions, I’m learning so many new things every day, and I get to use my passion for helping those around me by leading team meetings that remind everyone that even though we are working from home, we are a team and we are here for each other. I get to facilitate Q&A’s that the team have and haven’t voiced since working remotely has made people lose their voice that much more. By leading these team meetings, I help rebuild and restore our strength as a team, I get to build people back up and give them a place to vent all their worries, questions, and concerns, while also allowing them to have a place to speak their mind and say what’s working best for them and what they want to see happen in the future. From these meetings, management gets to hear from us all and everyone’s ideas, concerns, and voices all get heard and people couldn’t be happier, which makes me so happy. I thrive knowing I’m helping others to thrive and feel confident too!


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were amazing; I couldn’t of asked for a better childhood. I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, in a great area and apartment complex where all us kids would constantly play outside together, explore what nature had to offer, and we all felt safe even though there wasn’t always a parent watching over us all. I’m the youngest of two; I have an older brother and having him made me feel as though I got interested in what men liked too like sports, video games, and wrestling around with one another. I am very girly, but because of him, I also am a girl that doesn’t mind getting her knees dirty, playing videos games with my boyfriend, and watching sports. My mom was a stay at home mom when we both were very young. She cooked and cleaned the house daily, she took naps with us, and really just made the house so warm and loving. My dad owned a restaurant at the local mall that was down the street from our house and, because of that, we went to the mall often for the free food and the really fun arcade place they had there. Having the freedom to be around so many kids in my community and then being able to run around the mall knowing everyone knew my brother and I (that we were my dad’s kids), they all would watch over us and we always felt so safe and a huge sense of community.

There is truly nothing better than being exposed to a diverse group of people at such young ages. It helped us understand other cultures. I grew up as both Christian and Catholic. God has always been at the forefront of my life. I have a big heart, and growing up with my dad owning a restaurant, whenever other kids from my school or neighborhood were hungry, my brother and I would take them to eat at my dad’s restaurant and my dad was always more than happy to feed anyone for free that needed the help. I learned how to give and help others in their time of need at a young age. My dad was always helping anyone out that truly needed it. God has always placed me where I needed to be in order to help the people He needed me to help and in order to thrive in areas He needed me to thrive in. Being able to help people and to motivate them and spread positivity in this world has always brought me so much pleasure, and I know that that comes from my religion and love for God and the love He has placed in me and the compassion and love He gave me for other people.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Something valuable I’ve learned that I want others to know is that life is too short. As we’ve all heard this many times in our life, it’s true. I blew off group gatherings before because I was tired or wasn’t in the mood that night. I’ve wasted some opportunities to go out and try new things because I was nervous to do so or too scared, and I’ve said no to potential job opportunities because I wasn’t sure if it was for me. We’ve all done things like that, and what I’ve learned was when I did say ‘yes’ and push through to go out with friends even though I was so tired, I almost always ended up having such a great time. When I did say ‘yes’ to trying something new and get out of my comfort zone, I almost always had a blast and was so proud that I accomplished something new. And when I did allow a random job opportunity to come into my life, it didn’t always work out, but sometimes, even if I left with just meeting inspiring and wonderful people, that was worth it to me. Life is too short to be unhappy, to over stress, to worry and be anxious. We don’t truly take advantage of every day, every minute, and every waking breath we are given by God. We need to let go of the nonsense, worry and stress less, get rid of toxic people and habits in our lives, and learn to take advantage of our everyday gifts of life. Meet new people, try new things, say ‘yes’ to the chances you do have to hang with the people you love, put yourself out there every once and a while, and don’t waste your life. You never want to look back and say, “I wish I did that, I wish I said yes, I wish I could hang with that person just one more time, etc.” You want to know that you lived a good life, made your mistakes, but came back stronger every time and really love that life you are living with the right people in your life and the right career. Life is too short, be happy, love hard, giggle as loud as you want, and eat that piece of cake!


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism means a few things to me. It means equal pay and equal rights amongst men and women, but it’s also more than that. When females come together and build each other up instead of tear each other down, I love that. I love seeing women who feel weak be empowered by other women, have their crown readjusted and put back together by other women helping them and rebuilding them to be the strong, confident queens. I hate seeing women tear each other apart through their own insecurities. When we come together, help each other out, build each other’s confidences back up, and stay strong together, we are one heck of a tight force that no one can then mess with. Empowering each other, inspiring and motivating one another, and pushing each other further than our comfort zone makes my heart full and that to me is what feminism should be all about.


Q: Is there anything else you want to tell readers?

A: I want to thank Samantha for reaching out to me and giving me this opportunity to be a part of this wonderful website. When she did that, it reiterated how I love when people are so kind to one an another and when you can inspire people you don’t even know is watching. I love inspiring people for the positive and knowing I somehow did that to her by posting my usual posts, that felt amazing. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this!

Thank you for reading!



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Woman Wednesday: Jennifer R.


Q and A with Jennifer R., Perth, Australia, born in Munich, Germany

“Your mess becomes your message and will actually gift you that deeper meaning and purpose you’ve been searching for!”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: My whole life, I have been passionate about finding an answer to: What makes our life truly beautiful? How can I have the most fun and enjoy myself? It wasn’t until later as I matured that I added: While contributing in a meaningful way and leaving behind a legacy I feel proud of? And the desire to want to live a beautiful life in every aspect has taken me for the most incredible journey! 

Today, in my work, I am most passionate about raising the feminine energy…the energy of love, passion, joy, and compassion. To support women to know, love, and trust themselves more so that they can speak with authenticity, passion, and power about what matters to them most! That we can heal ourselves and build bridges in our relationships…be it romantic, family, friends, business, or our communities. It’s communication, creativity, and relationships I’m really the most passionate about…they are the key to everything we want!


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: It’s a surreal experience to belong to a culture and history where half of me tried to eliminate the other half and understanding that I would have been sent off to a concentration camp because of what religion and “bloodline” my Nan belonged to, had I only lived a few years earlier. So, I grew up with that knowledge, yet experiencing a life that was the complete opposite. My family isn’t perfect (I mean whose is?!), but there’s nothing I am more grateful for, as I was blessed with a home and family full of love, laughter, and where we always took care of one another and stuck together. 

So, although I didn’t grow up religious and I didn’t come across my “spiritual” path much later in life, looking back, I realize that the foundation of my faith as I would call it today, was set long before I ever had the words to describe it. I am not blind to the most horrific acts of hate humans can do to one another…but I also know that beneath it all, love is the only truth, and that when we are open and willing to forgive, beauty and love is the creative force that has no match. I have also always been passionate about traveling and meeting new people, as we always traveled from the day I was born, as our families were spread across so many countries. 

I believe that openness and feeling of love and security within my home gave me the foundation for my passionate, creative nature and desire to connect with people from all backgrounds and walks of life! I love people, and it’s connecting with people and from my relationships that I have learned the most! I left home very young to live in the UK and later traveled to South East Asia by myself and then ended up in Australia where I built my first seven-figure business and have been allowed to call home for almost 10 years now. As I looked back on all the decisions I made and how I ended up where I am, I realized that I have followed my passions and intuition, even when it didn’t make that much sense or I didn’t know exactly where it would take me. The times I have struggled and suffered the most have been times where I have let my fears rule and lost that intuitive nature within myself. 


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: The most valuable lesson I could share with anyone is to truly trust that life, the universe, God…whatever term sits well with you, really has your back! We all have a unique path in our life. You are unique and gifted and there are things you can do that no one else can or will. I was blessed to be very successful in business and financially when I was only 26 years old. Equally, the more successful I became, the more insecure and fearful I became. Before I was 30, I ventured into some of the darkest places I have been, feeling so disconnected from myself and absolutely miserable. I felt so guilty and helpless, even though on the outside [it appeared] I had it all…yet, on the inside, I felt so lost and sad. But that really became the turning point in my life where I realized: The key to a beautiful life, full of purpose and meaning…can only be found within!

So, I reconnected back to my intuition, that really has guided me all my life and dedicated myself to make myself feel beautiful and powerful from within! To have the confidence to speak about the things I really want to say and do the things I truly want to do, no longer being a prisoner to my own insecurities. And the irony of it all is that today, the foundation of my beautiful life rests on those dark and challenging times. All the bad hands I thought I had been dealt were really blessings in disguise, so my greatest piece of wisdom I can share with anyone is: You are YOU for a reason!
There is nothing more important than knowing, loving, and trusting yourself! Have the courage to follow your passions and dreams as your beauty is your power! The difficult and challenging times aren’t always what they seem, as your mess becomes your message and will actually gift you that deeper meaning and purpose you’ve been searching for!


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: I have made it my creative work and business to raise feminine energy in the world and create spaces where women can reconnect to themselves to feel more beautiful and powerful and have the confidence to speak and express their truth…yet…I would no call myself a feminist. Like so many words, it’s so heavily loaded with connotations and means so many things to so many different people, that I prefer not to restrict myself by being put in a box. One of the main tools I use and teach is the seven feminine archetypes and the reason I love it so much as it helps us see how what is right for one woman is not right for the other. That doesn’t make one right the other wrong, they simply have different dominant archetypes and different paths to walk.

For me personally, feminism is about raising awareness of the feminine energy, to recover the feminine wisdom that has been lost in thousands of years in patriarchal rule and for us women to feel beautiful, powerful, and confident to express our truth once again. It is about understanding and honoring the masculine energy as our counterbalancing part, so we can evolve into having relationships in all shapes and forms that allow us to move forward as a human species. For me, feminism is about forgiveness and building bridges, not looking to attack and seek revenge. For me, feminism is truly an inward journey, where the outward world is simply offering us opportunities to reflect back to us how far we’ve come and what more still can be done.


Thank you for reading!


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Woman Wednesday: Lynda


Q and A with Lynda, Long Island, NY

“I feel we live in a world where people have become very egocentric, not necessarily because we want to be, but because social media feeds into it and says it’s okay.”


“As a child in elementary school, my mother was told I would never go to college because I wasn’t smart enough.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about so many things. Besides being passionate about being a Christian woman of faith, wife for 24 years to the love of my life, and mom of three pretty great kids, I have always loved my 20+ year career as a speech language pathologist.

In my field, I feel rewarded when I can help improve the communication skills of others to help them succeed in whatever situation they find themselves. Be it interviews, customer service, presentations, conflicts, leadership skills, or personal relationships, we all need to be able to communicate our best selves in each situation and more.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up on Long Island in a family that embodied both the Italian and Jewish cultures. Growing up was always about food and family and getting together with extended relatives whenever humanly possible. Yes, it was always loud with many people speaking at the same time! I also come from a family of 3 electricians that believe in hard work to get any job done. Heck, I could have been an electrician if I wanted. Growing up in not only a tight-knit family, but also a Christian home, is the basis of how I formed my strength in my family, faith, and wanting to help people.

As a child in elementary school, my mother was told I would never go to college because I wasn’t smart enough. I always struggled with reading, so I guess that’s how they made that determination. Something I always found joy in was singing…so much so that I took private lessons, sang in many groups and, proving the elementary schools wrong, was a vocal performance major in college. In my sophomore year of college, I was introduced to speech pathology by a professor teaching phonetics. She opened up a whole new world to me that I didn’t even know existed. While I loved singing, I disliked the competitive cutthroat nature of it all. When I realized many singers required speech pathologists to help with their vocal health, that was it, this is what I wanted to do.

While in graduate school, I worked with elementary school children as a speech therapist within the Florida school system. During that time, I found that I enjoyed helping children succeed with their speech and language skills, giving them the tools they needed to communicate with others to help them be social, interactive, and connect with their peers and adults. After receiving my master’s degree in 1998, I moved back to NY as an ASHA and NY state certified speech pathologist working with preschool/elementary level children.

Years later, I began working with teenagers and young adults who were also diagnosed as needing to improve their communication skills. I loved working with them even more. I saw how obtaining the communication skills improved every area of their lives, especially when it came to their work situations where these skills were imperative to their success outside the classroom.

Fast forward 10 years, 3 kids, and the explosion of technology and social media…I found that it wasn’t just my students who were diagnosed that required help with their communication skills; it was everyone all around me! From my children’s friends to the salesperson at the car dealership, from the cashier at the fast food restaurants to the hostess at an expensive steakhouse where you spend $500 for a dinner; they all exhibited difficulty with communicating in a way that acknowledged the people around them. I thought I was the only one who thought communication skills had become a bigger problem and that social media had desensitized people on how to understand and use interpersonal communication skills. Then, there it was on the news; something that confirmed and validated everything I was thinking and feeling, LinkedIn had completed a study identifying communication skills as the #1 skills gap in the work environment across America. It was clear that people were no longer aware of how important these skills are in order to succeed professionally and personally. It was clear I was onto something and knew, with my skills as a speech pathologist, I had to help others improve the art of great communication skills.

I decided to work on developing specific classes targeting communication skills and situations where you would need to have great communication for a specific purpose. I pitched my classes to a professional development administrator of a local college and they contracted me to instruct my classes to staff (administrators and professors) monthly for approximately a year. This propelled my husband to push me to open my own business, Antonetti Communications & Speech Consulting, PLLC. I now go to post-secondary trade schools to help them prepare for interviews, communicating with bosses, coworkers, and customers. To bring it full circle, my husband, who is in the electrical industry, had a connection with a trade school called the Electrical Training Center. They became my first trade school client and I have now been working with them for approximately 2 years. I have also worked at a few medical trade schools and have provided one-on-one coaching to help prepare for interviews. Additionally, I host a weekly podcast called “The Digital Divide,” where I record short episodes that provide communication tips. Currently, given the new world we live in, I am working on an online course to make it accessible to everyone.

While I continue to work part-time with my students who have been diagnosed with a deficit in their communication skills, I am excited about building my business. I want to build help and inspire those who want to transform their communication skills so they may be successful in all facets of life.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I feel we live in a world where people have become very egocentric, not necessarily because we want to be, but because social media feeds into it and says it’s okay. I want people to have the ability to truly connect with one another by being present when with others, having the ability to relate, built trust, have empathy, have compassion, and being able to genuinely listen to one another without judgement. I could go on and on about all the things I would love to help improve, but ultimately, it’s about being able to build long lasting trusting relationships, be that professionally or personally. For me, the key to that is by embodying the understanding and use of effective communication while keeping the other person in mind.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: To me, it means that, as a woman, I have the opportunity to succeed professionally and personally without oppression or judgment from others based on my gender. It means that I am given the same opportunities and am respected, not because I am a woman, because I am able to the job just as well or better than the next guy.


Thank you for reading!


I’d love to connect with you! Click the links below:

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