Girl em[Power]ment – Sandra Johnson MD, FAAD

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

I’m so excited to introduce to you a women that has quite literally changed my life, who I’m so honored agreed to participate in the Girl em[Power]ment series. But first, a quick story about myself [warning: it’s about to get real].

Usually middle school is a terrible time for teens – they must endure all kind of weird hormones, it’s a terribly awkward time with boys and mean girls, oh – and on top of that, acne is usually a huge problem. With all that said, I honestly did not have it that bad in middle school. High school is when the acne came. Thankfully I really never had problems with self-confidence because of my skin [I know several people that have…], but I still wanted to express myself through makeup and fashion, which was hard with my pimply skin. I would’t dare let it show, but I was so embarrassed about my skin. All my friends had already had their awkward faze, so I couldn’t understand why it was just happening to me.
Enter Dr. Johnson, whom my mother had been going to see for a long time. Since my skin wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, first we tried laser treatment. This procedure was reserved mostly for events – like prom and homecoming, as it would cause your skin to “swell up” and be virtually perfect the day after treatment. This worked – for a while. Next were the pills. I’ve taken almost every kind of acne treatment drug out there. They all worked – for a while, but then my pimples would eventually come back. They were always there, not in full force – but still there.
Finally, during my freshman year of college, I walked in one day and Dr. Johnson sat down with mom and I to talk about Accutane [I won’t go into detail about that experience – but it was ultimately SO worth it]. We decided this was what I needed to do to once and for all get rid of the lingering acne. It was a 6 month long process that was rather intensive, but the results honestly were life changing. Throughout the whole experience, Dr. Johnson was by my side making sure everything was how it should be and to make sure my mental state was in check as well. After the Accutane, I didn’t really have the boost of the “self-confidence factor” like some people did, but I was so much happier with my overall image. Dr. Johnson really helped me get to where I knew I wasn’t perfect, but happy with the skin I am in.

The fact that she has helped SO many men and women realize their full potential is remarkable. She has not only taught me to really wear sunscreen every day, but to also embrace my creative side. Every time I get to visit with her she’s always genuinely interested in what I’ve got going on – making her an incredible Girl em[Power]ment influencer that I’m so excited to share with you all.
Oh, and she has over 50 publications, has written a book, has two patents, and has been in numerous magazine write ups. So yeah, she’s got it going on.

Introducing Dr. Sandy Johnson, MD, FAAD, of Johnson Dermatology 
Website – JohnsonDermatology.com
Facebook – Johnson Dermatology

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I am a board certified Dermatologist and co-business owner of Johnson Dermatology [with my husband who is also a board certified Dermatologist]. I knew from at least the age of 5 that I wanted to be a doctor. I went to Our Lady of Mt Carmel from preschool until 8th grade. I went to Niles McKinley High School for 9th through 12th grades. These are both in Niles Ohio. I then entered a combined 6 year college and medical school program at Youngstown State University and Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, NEOUCOM. I graduated in 1996 then moved to Little Rock Arkansas for Dermatology residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, UAMS. After completing training, I stayed on faculty at UAMS specializing in cosmetic dermatology and clinical trials for 4 more years. I then moved back to Ohio for my husband Brad to complete a 2 year Dermatologic surgery fellowship. We moved to our permanent home and his childhood home in Greenwood/Fort Smith Arkansas in 2006 to open Johnson Dermatology. I am thoroughly enjoying this journey.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: I choose to see only the positive whenever possible. If and when a negative thought is encountered, I try to think of at least 3 positive thoughts. Currently those are:
1. As Bryan Adams says: “Ain’t no use complaining when you got a job to do”. So I try to keep doing my job.
2. As [my husband] Brad says “quality always and eventually wins”. So I try to always do the right thing and give my best.
3. As Taylor Swift says “haters gonna hate”. So I try to shake it off. I really enjoy running and dancing.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors that you look up to?
A: My parents: They taught me the value of hard work. They taught me to love God and family. I still rely on them for so much in life. They moved from Ohio to our backyard in Arkansas to help us with our children. I am forever indebted to them.
Dr. Bob Brodell is why I chose Dermatology. He has inspired me in so many ways. His love for the skin is contagious. He exudes positive energy.
My mother in law. She is a testament to the fact that if you work hard, dreams will come true. She also taught me how to be a woman in the workplace. She also still can do more push-ups and pull-ups than I can.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: The first experience that comes to mind was when I was college chemistry and the professor made a comment about how women struggle with the concepts.  I had some self-doubt but was determined to give my best.  A few years later, his wife was sick in the hospital.  It was a big ego booster when I was a student in a team of all women doctors and nurses caring for her. 

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I love my family which I why I chose a picture of us for this blog.  The best decision I ever made in my life was to marry Brad Johnson.  He makes me a better person.  I love him and his family [trust me: you not only marry the person but you also marry their family].  He is a wonderful business and life partner. 

I am happiest when my physical, spiritual, emotional and mental aspects are all in harmony.  It is important to me to take time to thank a higher power for my gifts [for me that is God] as well as to get some physical activity on a regular basis. 

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
A: I really enjoyed the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  I enjoy following Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls on Facebook.  I try to surround myself with strong beautiful women.  Our Dermatopathologist Dr. Amy Hudson recently shared a quote with our team at Johnson Dermatology that is poignant:  girls compete with each other; women empower each other. 

I am very thankful for all of the teachers that empowered me when I was in school.  Most notably, Mrs Rathburn who was my high school biology teacher who encouraged me to follow my dreams and apply to medical school.  I would also like to thank my mom and the other moms in my hometown who coached the first all-girls soccer team in our town.  Playing youth sports was a very important motivator and confidence builder for me.  I would like to thank every teacher, coach, counselor, educator and friend to our youth. 

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: I relax and recharge by spending time with family and friends, running [I have run 8 marathons], and praying.  I also really enjoy travelling. 

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Follow your heart.  I love what I do and don’t feel like this is work.  I am blessed that I am paid to do what I love. Enjoy the journey but be careful—I am thankful the internet was not around when I was 20 years old. Enjoy dating but take your marriage partner seriously.  My life is so much better after meeting and marrying Brad Johnson. One of my life mottos is “Your life is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift to God.” 

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: It means exceeding the wishes that my mom had for me while being the person I would like my daughter to emulate.  It means climbing the ladder while bringing up others with me and even pushing them to rise past me.  It means always giving your best and giving it with a smile.  Our unpublished mission at Johnson Dermatology is to do everything with the 3 E’s:  Effective [do it right], Efficient [do it right the first time] and Empathic [do it with caring].   I am thinking we may need to add a fourth E: Empower. 

Girl em[Power]ment – Sabrina

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[don’t miss a post–follow along on insta @girlempowerment]

For this week’s influencer’s [Sun + Mon], I’ll be featuring lady doctors that both have their own establishments. These women have done incredible things and have accomplished so much, so I’m ecstatic to share them with you.

Our next influencer is someone I’ve known for a while, as she’s one of my mother’s good childhood friends. When I first met Sabrina, the first thing I noticed was her awesome style and then how intelligent she was–which I really admired. She also is hilarious with dry humor that only some people get, but that’s the great thing about knowing her. Oh, and she was recently named one of the best plastic surgeons in America–I’m so excited for you all to learn about and hear from Sabrina.

Introducing Sabrina Lahiri , of Lahiri Plastic Surgery
Website – Lahiri Plastic Surgery 

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I have been a Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon since 2002. I own my solo practice which includes a full service facility. During my years in private practice, I developed and built a facility which houses my practice, full service medical spa, overnight stay hotel, certified and licensed surgery center. My career path started at a young age. I knew early that I wanted to become a doctor. I attended University of California, Berkeley receiving a bachelor’s degree in Bioresource Science. I then attended University of Arkansas Medical School, followed by 5 years of General Surgery training at University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and 2 years of Plastic Surgery training at University of Miami.

After all of this training, I opened my private practice in 2002 – It has been a busy whirlwind since.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: Negativity toward me specifically as a woman has been apparent during my schooling, training, and private practice. Women are still expected to maintain very traditional roles. These expectations are difficult to change in our modern society. Because many ambitious women balance family and career they are perceived as not serious about success. Because many women are accomplished without a family they are perceived as unusual.

I handled negativity with the best attitude that I could. It is important to perceive negativity as the other person’s problem/issue not yours. You can’t let it affect you personally, have to learn to process it mentally and move forward. It is important for women to prove themselves with their intelligence, drive, and insight and not get caught up negativity.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: I think everyone has insecurities about themselves at times, but that is normal human nature. Successful women learn that life will have up and downs, successes and failures. We learn important lessons from all of these. It is important to maintain confidence in your talents and passion.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors that you look up to?
A: My mom and dad.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I have had many interests and hobbies outside of work, it is important to maintain balance in your life. I love horseback riding. I have a passion for attending any sporting event, collecting artwork, and fashion.

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Exercise, watching sports, reading, studying fashion.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Follow your heart and passion in life and work. If you don’t have a true passion for your career choice, it will be difficult to enjoy work on a daily basis. Enjoy every day to its fullest. Be confident. I am lucky to have found a career that is my passion.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment means that women and girls can achieve anything a man can. Women influence the world everyday and in countless ways.

There you have it. I think it’s so important to remember that women and girls really can achieve anything a man can. Stay tuned for Wednesdays post, featuring another [awesome] lady Dr.
Xo, Flannery

Girl em[Power]ment – Natalie Navis

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

Our next influencer is someone I’ve been so honored to get to know through Lola, who really taught me several things not only about the creative world, but in life in general. Natalie Navis has had an unconventional career path, but never the less it’s so inspiring. She is one of the most giving humans I know, always putting others before herself [sometimes when she shouldn’t!]. She is also so positive, her contagious energy is like wildfire. When I started this series, she was on my list of women who really inspired it as a whole.

Introducing Natalie Navis, of NatalieNavis.com
Insta – @natalienavis
Blog – NatalieNavis.com/blog
Website – NatalieNavis.com

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: Self-employed style blogger + wardrobe stylist + brand consultant, former attorney, and probably something else [TBD!]

I currently run my style blog and wardrobe styling business, which I’ve been working on in addition to my day jobs for four years now. I’m so excited to say that i’ve recently added freelance brand consultant to the mix! I’ve been assisting small businesses, particularly in the boutique beauty and retail industries, with brand development and an assortment of strategies that go along with that, including social media strategy and management, e-commerce development, creative direction of photoshoots, event production, merchandise planning, and more. It’s been so rewarding to help other girl bosses grow their businesses. My career path to this point has been anything but traditional! Prior to working in the fashion sales industry, I was an attorney. I attended law school right out of college, graduated, passed the bar exam, and worked for about four years as a research attorney for judges at the trial and appellate court levels. While the career was extremely rewarding intellectually, I felt that the introverted nature of my position did not fit my personality. I will always be grateful for my legal education and experience for giving me confidence in all business endeavors— and my strong backbone! When the judge I was working for during my fourth year retired, I knew the time was right to take a leap of faith into the fashion industry— something i’ve always wanted to do. I started working as a key holder/senior sales specialist for standard style [standardstyle.com] in Kansas City. I jumped in head-first, wore as many hats as possible, and learned so much during this first year. The company has had huge success growing their in-house line, Baldwin [baldwin.co], and it’s a privilege to say that I got my start there. Next, I moved to Lola [shoplola.com] in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to be the retail director and flagship manager. Again, I learned so much about the industry and about myself during this time, and I will always be grateful for the experience I gained and relationships I built. While living in Fayetteville, I became a certified Barre3 instructor [barre3.com], and that role remains extremely important to me. Although it was very difficult, I recently relocated back to my hometown so that I could embark on the next phase of my journey. My motto lately has been this quote: “every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.” It takes courage, but I believe that you have to let your path reveal itself to you— even if that means going through some transitional phases in life.

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law with my J.D. in 2009. Prior to that, I attended Creighton University and Graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2006. I was a total literature nerd in college— fitzgerald is still my favorite. Creighton is a liberal arts college and I was exposed to so many different paths while there, but when I graduated I was unsure about what I wanted to do. At my dad’s suggestion, I figured “why not go to law school?” I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the “why not?” attitude for everyone when it comes to law school. Generally, it’s a means to an end [practicing law]. But if you are a lover of learning, then law school is an incomparable education in how to think, read, write and communicate. While I’m not currently practicing law, I use my legal education daily in my approach to communication and all business matters that arise in life— and there are a lot! I feel more confident in my career because of my law degree, and that’s invaluable, particularly when you’re an entrepreneur.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: More often than “negativity” towards women in the work place, I see “inequality” towards women in the work place— and obviously inequality is a negative. I’m a believer that women have a long way to go in our society. The reality that we have never had a female president, that there are very few women CEO’s in Fortune 500 companies, and that females on business panels aren’t being asked the same questions as their male counterparts [see here— posted by flancake on facebook!], makes it clear that we have not achieved equality. inequality towards women in the work place is highly dependent on the industry you work in. for example, I saw much more evidence of inequalities in the legal field [a male dominated profession] than in fashion [a female dominated profession], but that’s part of the problem. In the midwest, law is often seen as a more respectable, high-powered career than fashion, and therefore more suited to women— regardless of the huge amount of capital generated by the fashion and apparel industry in our country. I believe all industries should be gender neutral, and that women and men should be equals in any industry, from law to fashion. Unfortunately, I have dealt with a fair amount of comments from male superiors during my career that I qualify as sexist. My best advice? Stand up for yourself and call out those comments. Don’t ignore them or [ever] laugh.

Q: Who are your mentors or role models, and why?
A: My babcia [“grandmother” in polish]: She’s a WWII labor camp survivor and immigrant to the US, and is still independent at age 90. She made a life for herself in america, learned to speak broken english, and raised three successful children while an uneducated, poor immigrant. Seeing life through her eyes gives immigration a whole new meaning to me. She exemplifies survival, independence, and determination. I know my strength comes from her— and probably my [sometimes] feisty nature too!

My mom: she’s been an educator for 25 years at the college level. She believes in teaching her students how to think, not what to think. The other day, she was commenting that the test given by her department had been “dumbed down” to the point where it would be easy for the students to pass it, just so that the instructors could say they were successful in teaching. My mom wouldn’t give that test, or at the least wouldn’t let it count for much of her students’ grades. She won’t lower the bar for anyone and sees potential in everyone, no matter their race, gender, or background. She has taught me how to approach everyone I meet in life with the same level of respect and that we are all capable of so much more than we think.

Megan hurley: owner of barre3 fayetteville and my former employer. This woman is a champion for all women [and men], has a heart of gold, and is the definition of “real.” She balances owning her successful business with being a full-time mom to two boys, and does it with such grace. no matter what, she makes the time for others. She has created the most nourishing community where all clients come to feel their best, physically and mentally. If you’re in the fayetteville area, you have to attend one of her life-changing classes. She is the one who asked me to become a Barre3 instructor [not once, but twice!], had faith in me when i didn’t have it in myself, and mentored me as a grew. Because of her, I became invested in Barre3, a company that helps its clients lead a balanced life through fitness, nutrition, and mental wellbeing, while fighting for real beauty. You can see Barre3 founder Sadie Lincoln’s words on that topic here.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: All the time, every day at least once. I have battled depression and anxiety for much of my life, and while I’m sure I would experience feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy regardless, these feelings can be even more amplified and often. It does help to know that I’m not alone and that we all, as humans, feel uncertain of ourselves at times. My faith is a large part of me being able to get through times when my feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy are the most severe. My other grandmother, who passed away this past Spring, taught me about the importance of faith, and the peace that can be found in turning my worries, doubts, and fears over to God. I also have extremely supportive family members and friends who encourage me when I doubt myself. My ability to overcome feelings inadequacy is due in part to their unconditional love. The real relationships I’ve built throughout my life mean the world to me, and it’s these relationships that I come back to during times of self-doubt. That and turning off all social media for a while, because “comparison is the thief of joy” and we all need to remember that social media is a place where people create their perfect lives [probably not the best place to go when you’re feeling down about your own].

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I have always been passionate about the arts. I grew up playing piano [and later teaching piano lessons at a local arts and music studio] and dancing [classical ballet and modern]. I was a member of a local modern dance company all the way up until moving to KC in 2013. Barre3 has been my substitute for dance since then, and I’ve become very passionate about a living a balanced life through fitness, nutrition, and mental health. It goes without saying that fashion is a major interest of mine— I guess obsession might be a more accurate term. For me, my love for fashion goes beyond an appreciation of it as the main form of creative self-expression. To me, fashion is empowerment. It’s dressing yourself in a way that makes you stand taller, walk more boldly, and take on life with confidence and enthusiasm. Fashion has so much transformative power, it just has to be harnessed. I also have a heart for a serious cause facing our society today: mental healthcare. My legal career opened my eyes to the gravity of this issue, and I’m committed to making a difference and working on behalf of this cause. One thing I think we can all do is be gentle with each other. This quote is so true: “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”— and most of the time, you have no concept of how great that battle may be.

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
[Natalie is too kind, I tell you.]
A: How about you, miss flannery wilson?! You, my dear, are making a difference in women empowerment by creating this series! I am so inspired when I see young women in your generation who realize the significant platform that you have in being a blogger and woman in the fashion industry, and using this platform to work for a greater cause than self-advancement. Don’t get me wrong, i’m all for girl bosses advancing themselves and showing the world how powerful women can be, but when a woman uses that audience to advance a greater cause, that’s what’s truly inspiring. You’re a perfect example of a woman who has a heart for making a true difference for others. This women empowerment series demonstrates that you are going to do big things in this life that really matter, and I’m so excited to see your future unfold!

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Relax? What’s that? [just kidding.] I’m working on getting better at this. I love to go to barre, yoga, and dance classes, go for long walks outside [preferably with my family dog, but I’ll borrow pretty much anyone’s pup as long as he or she walks on a leash], read blogs, read books, and be a social butterfly. Ok fine…. and drink wine and watch netflix and eat nutella out of the jar [there, I said it].

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Well, I have the benefit of having a brother who is 22 years old, so I give him the same advice that I would give myself at his age: it’s ok to have a plan for your life or a roadmap or a path that you think your life is going to take, but you have to recognize that life quite possibly won’t go according to that plan, and that’s going to be fine— you will survive. Don’t try to control everything or you’ll go insane. Embrace the journey and let life take it’s course. Even though it’s really hard, try not to let the detours or barriers dampen your spirit. Keep persevering on, and try to enjoy the moments along the way. Life really is a crazy ride.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment means both self-empowerment and helping to empower other women. While I love to read style blogs and I so admire the greats in the fashion industry, the women I truly respect are the ones who are making a difference for other women. I’ll be the first to admit that style and creativity are very admirable traits, but it’s ultimately what you do with those gifts that makes you great. Girl em[Power]ment is about using your talents, gifts, and skills to do something great for yourself AND for other women— working for a cause, standing for a marginalized population, bringing attention to a significant social issue, etc. I say, while you’re building that empire, why not empower other women along the way?

Girl em[Power]ment – Chloe Curnel

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics.They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta for updates – @girlempowerment]

Our next influencer is a fellow blogger, and a gal with serious style–Chloe Curnel. I’ve been following Chloe on insta for a few years now, after initially seeing her fab style via a boutique she worked at. It’s been so fun following along as she’s graduated, moved to a new place + started a cool job, and recently got engaged! Keep reading to learn more about this fab fashionista who’s with it.

Introducing Chloe Curnel, of Dillard’s Corporate 
Insta – @chloeelisec
Blog – Nomad en Vogue

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I am a fashion stylist for Dillard’s corporate advertising. I graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2013. Before graduation, I went through the career center at the University and interviewed for Dillard’s Executive Development Program (EDP). I landed the job and in June, started working in the Div. 4 buying office as an assistant buyer as part of the program. Phase two of the program, I was sent to work as an Area Sales Manager at the Dillard’s flagship store in Little Rock. It was when I was out at the store that I decided I did not want to return to the buying office. So I left the program, and voiced to upper managment that I wanted to work in the advertising department. I interviewed with the Vice-President of Advertising, Creative Director, and Studio director at Dillard’s and was offered the position of fashion stylist this past January.

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I was an apparel studies major at the University of Arkansas.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: Luckily, I haven’t many encounters with this, but I am a firm believer in actions speak louder than words. Work hard, be kind, be professional, and that is what will make you successful in your career. Don’t give anyone a reason to treat you differently just because your a women. A co-worker gave me some wise advice. She said that “As women, we have to build each other up. Make each other stronger, and praise each other for accomplishment.” This is SO true and SO important. Women have a tendency of letting envy and jealousy get the best of them in the workplace. We can’t do that, we have to stick together and help each other learn and grow.

Q: Who are your mentors or role models, and why?
A: My mom, Karen Curnel, for her caring and loving spirit, and her ability to follow her passions. She just decided to take up horseback riding in her fifties! She is not afraid to try something new.

My sister, Kelly Stuckey. She is driven, artistic, and stays true to herself. She has the most giving spirit and makes an amazing leader. It has been so inspiring to see her career path grow. [see Kelly’s profile here]

My old boss and dear friend, Becca Brisiel. She also, has such a kind, giving spirit. She was the best boss I will ever have. She lead by example. She taught me the importance of staying true to yourself, as well as the importance of kindness in the workplace and giving back to your community.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: When I was working as an area sales manager at Dillard’s, I had multiple times where I felt unsure about my managing skills. I had 18 employees under me, and at times, was in charge of the whole store. I had employees of all ages and backgrounds, and sometimes it was difficult for me to be confident, demand respect, and feel in charge. I am by nature not a confrontational person, and being a manger puts you in some confrontational situations where there is a need to be authoritative. I had to overcome the fact the I was young and lacked experience. Everyday I learned something new about my team and myself. When I would make a mistake, I would do my best to learn from it. I sought out help from my bosses and fellow co-workers when I needed it, asking “How would you handle this situation?”. I learned that I couldn’t manage everyone the same and that it would take different tactics to gain respect from my employees. It was the most difficult job I think I will ever have to do, but it is the job that taught me the most.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: Yoga, photography, fashion, antique shopping. I also have a style blog called Nomad en Vogue. It is just a hobby, but it is a great creative outlet. I’m planning a wedding right now, which has turned into my biggest hobby, or should I say “time consumer” at the moment! Hah!

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
A: My sister, Kelly Stuckey! She owns a small business in Fayetteville called Crown Beauty Bar. She empowers women everyday at work and through social media!

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Just give me HGTV, a glass of wine and some cheese. Just kidding! But, not really. I love to antique shop, usually alone. I could wander around looking at antiques forever. But I feel the most relaxed when I’m with my fiance and our dog, Bella.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Don’t sweat the small things, and don’t worry about what you can’t control. Also, don’t worry so much about what others think because you can’t make everyone happy. Stay true to who you are, be kind, work hard, and always look for the positive. Also, take care of your body and wear sunscreen everyday because the wrinkles will come!

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment is all about us gals supporting each other and building each other up. The internet is can be such a positive or negative tool. With all the negativity that resides on social media, it is SO important for girls to take a stand and not take part in it. Life is hard enough, we need to use the tools we have to empower one another.

As Chloe said, it’s so important to support each other + build each other up, which really is what Girl em[Power]ment is all about!! Stay tuned for the next influencer, and be sure to follow along on our insta–@girlempowerment.

[graphic by the talented Courtney Ulrich]

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Girl em[Power]ment – Katy Nelson

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics.They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

The next influencer is the spunky Katy Nelson, whom I’ve had the privilege of knowing through my mother for a few years now. I’ve always known Katy was with it, and when I came to college I was able to figure this out even more. She’s helped to guide me through several challenges throughout my college career and help me grow along the way. She’s such a smart and giving woman in way more than one way, so I’m thrilled to share her profile.

Introducing Katy Nelson, with the University of Arkansas. 

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: Assistant Vice Chancellor for Development at the University of Arkansas – After I graduated from college in 1987, I moved to Washington, DC because there were several alumni who also lived there. I held several administrative jobs and decided I should get a graduate degree because the job market was so competitive. I really wasn’t that good at administrative work and I didn’t enjoy it.  I received a graduate assistantship and moved back to Fayetteville in 1990  to get a Master’s Degree in Communication. While in graduate school, I taught two freshman level communication courses and tutored athletes. I discovered there are staff careers in higher education and decided to move to Austin, Texas in 1993 (again because I had several friends who lived there). I also tutored athletes until I landed a job as an Academic Advisor in the College of Natural Sciences.  I joined the Academic Counselor’s Association and volunteered to be on the planning committee for our annual conference. I got to know my colleagues and built my professional network.

After a few years in this role, I became the Coordinator of High School Outreach and Recruiting for the McCombs School of Business at UT. I met with prospective students, parents, hosted admissions sessions, and traveled to cities throughout Texas. We had an emphasis on diversity, and I had to raise money for our programs. This is how I got my introduction to fundraising. The Dean of McCombs reorganized the Development Office and I was hired as the Director of Corporate Relations. I was in this role for eight years before I moved back to Arkansas in 2007 to be the Senior Director of Development and External Relations for the Sam M. Walton College of Business. In 2013 I was promoted to Assistant Vice Chancellor. I manage the fundraising efforts of the colleges and Corporate and Foundation Relations. I also provide strategic oversight of interdisciplinary, strategic objectives, and manage relationships with key donors.

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: University of Arkansas, B.A. and M.A. in Communication

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: I have been fortunate in that I really have not experienced negativity because I am female. One reason could be that there are generally more women in student service and development roles in higher education than men. I have also had many colleagues who are“strong”, competent women who have been recognized for their accomplishments.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors, and why?
A: Char Dison was one of my mentors at UT Austin. She taught me two very valuable lessons: 1) pick your battles; 2) never burn your bridges. The first one is important because there are always going to be processes, procedures, and people who bother you in the workplace and you simply can’t fight them all. You have to let the little annoyances go and focus on what you really believe in and how you can make a difference. The second one is important because you may be opposed to one person on any given day but have to work with them in a team the next. You also never know who your boss might be one day. I know of colleagues who acted unprofessionally toward another person, and that person became their boss later. Needless to say, they were fired shortly thereafter.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: There have been several occasions when I have been working on a special project and I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Sometimes it was due to lack of confidence in my ability, other times the task seemed overwhelming and daunting. I like to talk through issues, challenges, etc. with others to get their ideas for solutions. Others can offer a fresh perspective.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I like to ride on the Razorback Greenway, hike, and do yoga. I also like going to classes at Clubhaus gym. I am a social person and the group classes are a good fit for me.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Your first job out of college does not have to be your career job. If I had not had the administrative positions in DC, I may not have gone back to graduate school. Graduate school led me to a career in higher education. I think finding the right career can involve trial and error. Try something and if you don’t like it, move on. Be respectful and professional to everyone, even if they drive you crazy and you don’t like them.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girls can be confident leaders.

[don’t be left out – @girlempowerment has you covered]

graphic by the talented Courtney Ulrich

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Girl em[Power]ment – Linda Denton

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics.They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

Our next influencer is Linda Denton, an amazing women I’ve known for as long as I can remember from my hometown. She’s a small business owner but has been in several different fields, so she’s knows a thing or two about success.

Introducing Linda Denton, of Pony Express Printing & Supplies

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I am the owner and operator of Pony Express Printing & Supplies in Mena, AR. This spring will be my 20th anniversary and I feel blessed to have a business I enjoy and continually get to meet new people- some have watched my family grow and been there for each milestone.

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: My background is in science. I graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX in 1991 with a B.S. in Biomedical Science. Seems like a stretch doesn’t it? I love science and attended college with the desire to become a veterinarian. After working in some ‘kill’ clinics and with numerous heart-breaking cases I declared NOT to continue with that career goal. I enjoyed the coursework though and remained in a pre-medical science background. This led to a lot of research work which in turn helped me land a job with Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. I loved it! I also found myself in charge of typing proposals, research presentations, and proposals [at that time it was a hobby- typing/formatting/design].

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: My focus is on doing the best job I can. There are occasions where I think the situation lends better for male-to-male interaction and truthfully it raises my blood pressure but I am not sure I want to change that. I have to focus on me: be plain-spoken, have good intentions, state the nature of my concern, and prove that I am capable of providing or performing the task[s] asked of me. An “I CAN” attitude goes a long way.

Q: Who are three of your mentors or role models, and why?
A: My father. He taught me I can do anything I set my mind on and not to sell myself short. Jean ‘Tex’ Narlo, my friends mother, who had a Merle Norman store in Tyler, TX. She was successful as an entrepreneur but was driven to keep exploring her passions and business opportunities [some a success and some just another lesson]. My final mentor is ever evolving. There have been a number of women that I have admired and consider worthy of mentioning mostly because they seem to effortlessly balance motherhood/career/household/and Christian role model.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I love to complete crafting projects. The DIY channel is my downfall and addiction. To make or build something [my headboard for example] lets me relieve stress, work through emotions and end up with a project I can take pride in completing.

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
A: At my age, I am thankful for the grey haired ladies who spent their years being a mother and being happy with that title. There is job that we females take on when we have children. My most important position is that of Mother. I want to instill love, family and hard-work in my children and that ‘home’ is a cherished institution. My hat is off to all women and I realize we each have our own goals, dreams, and desires.

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: I love being outside and enjoying walks, fishing, or just playing with my youngest child.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Listen more, talk less. Give more and recognize your blessings and say ‘thank you’.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment means feeling comfortable with who you are, striving for more, and taking on challenges that you believe in – make a difference.

I think we could all take Linda’s advice to give more, recognize our blessings and say ‘thank you’. I know I can!

Stay tuned for our next influencer–be sure to follow along on insta @girlempowerment.
Xo, Flancake

[graphic in collaboration with Courtney Ulrich of Alligator Food Design]

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[don’t be left out – follow @girlempowerment for updates]

Girl em[Power]ment – Hope Cavell

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

I’m so excited to be sharing with you all our next influencer, Hope Cavell. I’ve known this fab + funny gal for about three-ish years now, first through school and then through working together at Lola. She’s a ball to be around, and always exudes kindness + confidence, with such creativity and grace it’s hard to not have if rub off on you.

Introducing Hope Cavell, of Lola Boutique
Insta – @hopecavelll + @lolaboutique

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I am the store manager at Lola in Fayetteville, Arkansas and also work as a stylist under my own name doing closets, etc. Within Lola, I dabble in social media and visuals [you often wear many hats in a small business!] I started working retail when I was 16 and have been doing so ever since. I’m lucky enough to have worked at two fabulous local boutiques prior to Lola. Different products, different clientele…but always fashion forward women’s clothing. My career path is foggy right now but I hope to transfer from the retail sector of things to more styling and creative work. 

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I went to the University of Arkansas and majored in Apparel Studies and Product Development. I also have a minor in Beer.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: Overall, I’m a glass-half-full gal so I have that working for me. Sometimes you can ignore it and other times you can’t. Those times that you cannot, it may be time to reevaluate your situation or talk to someone in charge. Sometimes a little bit of action is all that’s needed. I’ve yet to be exposed to a male heavy work environment where women feel that negative pressure…let’s hope I never do!

Q: Who are your role models or mentors, and why?
A: My parents. They are amazing. And Lena Dunham.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: Yes….who hasn’t!? I still struggle with this. Comparing myself to others gets me in a dark place sometimes. I have to yank myself out of it and remember that everyone’s path is different and I am on the right one for me.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: Fashion, art, friends and family. 

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
A: As earlier mentioned– Lena Dunham. She is smart but that creative smart that makes you think and laugh and feel. I don’t always agree with her politics or opinions but I respect her and look up to her for them. She’s taken her fame and created this platform for young women….that being themselves and having their own opinions is cool and sexy. Because it is!! Check out her newest venture in all this– Lenny Letter– an online newsletter via email.

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Sometimes it’s a glass of wine, chatting with my momma while loving on my dog. Other times it’s a run outside full of explicit rap music.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment meant to you?
A: Lifting one-another up. That is so cornball but true. Girls are too hard on themselves so anytime you find yourself thinking something nice about someone, tell ’em! We all are going through hard stuff so spreading the girl power is vital. I think about my mom, my sister, my friends, my coworkers…So. Many. Bad. Bitches. I am truly inspired everyday and made better because of them.