Clawndoms CEO Una Hartzell-Baird is Today’s Honoree

Una’s love of cats runs deep. From her first cat who was fortunately spared a trip down the river, to the cats who prepared her for motherhood with early morning wake-ups, a variety of bodily fluids, and sibling rivalry(which is why she has an only child), cats have been a touchstone of her life.

She specializes in puns, dad jokes,  falling in love with the neediest of cats, and lying to herself about how she’ll only foster them for a little while. Una’s development of the Clawndoms brand came about when she tried claw caps as a harm reduction measure for Boy Cat, who had itchy ears and no self control.

Rarely the first to think of anything, she was the first to bring Clawndoms to the internet. Clawndoms brings together cheeky humor, a dose of claw cap reality, and support for cat charities as the first socially conscious clawcap brand.

Visit Clawndoms at for more information.

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Enduring Hearts Inc. CEO Carolyn Salvador is Today’s Honoree 

As Chief Executive Officer of Enduring Hearts Inc., Salvador has supervisory and strategic control over all functional disciplines of the organization. In her previously role as the ED for the Georgia Child Care Association (GCCA) and as a lobbyist and advocate for young children and small businesses, Salvador brings years of experience to Enduring Hearts. Salvador is the creative mastermind behind the organization with outstanding interpersonal and leadership skills leading her team, interacting with the Scientific Board Chair and the Board of Directors on a daily basis.

In her role as CEO, Salvador finds key stakeholders to develop collaborative partnerships to grow their research funding base. She works with her team to strategize on how to maximize the Enduring Hearts existing events, work to identify new events and develop the strategies and plans to execute them. She develops budgets, track finances, meet with donors, write grants, manage marketing, talk with heart families, develop family programs, and more. Salvador utilizes her expertise in every aspect of the business from working with the board to developing fundraising strategies to running grants and research programs.

Salvador works with a variety of stakeholders from daily interactions with the leading pediatric transplant cardiologists across the country, Board of Directors, heart families, and stakeholders such as American Heart Association, the International Society of Heart and Lung ransplantation, Pediatric Heart Transplant Study, and other nonprofits.

Salvador has grown the cash revenues over 300%. Additionally, Salvador has expanded the Enduring Hearts grant program by developing strategic partnerships with other stakeholders in the CHD space to developing co-funding opportunities. Recently, Salvador spearheaded the partnership with AHA to dedicate $1.5M in funding to pediatric heart transplantation and co-fund a $3M Collaborative Science Award with the organization. Moreover, Salvador is responsible for growing the Enduring Hearts fundraising events raising millions of dollars to go their research.

Salvador is considered one of the top visionaries amongst her peers in the industry and Enduring Hearts is now seen as an important partner in the pediatric heart transplant field.

Salvador attended the University of Florida with a BS in Advertising and Minor in Marketing. Salvador resides in Atlanta, is married to her husband John for 32 years and has two adult children.

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Dealership Toolkit CEO Rich DeLancey is Today’s Honoree

Rich DeLancey is the Co-Founder & CEO of Dealership Toolkit, Coast Technology LLC and technology developer and digital advertising specialist. Rich’s mission is to develop new technology and strategies that will make the sales and service departments in Automotive, RV, Marine and Powersports dealerships more efficient and profitable. Rich has worked with over 300 dealerships in the United States and Canada, including 4 of the top 5 highest volume RV dealerships in the United States and 33 RV Business Top 50 award winners. DeLancey has over 25 years of sales experience across traditional and digital mediums. Rich has spoken for many renowned organizations such as NADA, Digital Dealer, NIADA, AutoCon, RVDA, MRAA, MDCE, National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau.

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Big New York Bass Guitar Player Christian de Mesones is Today’s Honoree

Christian “Big New York” de Mesones has been playing bass guitar for over 40 years.  He was only 18 years old when he graduated from the world famous Bass Institute of Technology (now the Musician’s Institute) in Hollywood, California where he had the opportunity to study and workshop with greats such as Abe Laboriel, Louis Johnson, Tim Bogert, Howard Alden, Steve Morse, Pat Metheny, and the late Tommy Tedesco and Ray Brown.  By personal request from visiting guitar faculty member and legendary jazz guitarist Pat Martino, he performed an original composition for his graduation ceremony.

Christian has been part of several musical groups all over the country, including bands out of Hawaii, Hollywood, New York City, and Richmond, Virginia, and has performed a wide variety of musical styles.  His first major professional achievement as a musician was playing the military club circuit in a hard rock cover band on the island of Oahu in 1981. During the mid-eighties in Brooklyn, de Mesones’ heavy metal band Twice Shy was a staple of the local New York Metal scene and shared the stage at the legendary L’Amour Rock Club with acts such as Manowar, Twisted Sister, Overkill, White Lion and Trixter.  He was also a hired bassist for several other New York Clubs.

Moving to Richmond, Virginia in 1995, Christian was introduced to the urban music scene.  He laid tracks for local hip-hop artists, and played with various groups, performing R&B, Caribbean, Latin, and Smooth Jazz.  As bassist for Big Patt & Legion, he opened for several national recording artists such as Down to the Bone, Marion Meadows, Bob Baldwin, Chuck Brown, and Roberta Flack.  The show with Roberta Flack on Brown’s Island in Richmond was before an audience of over 33,000, making it the largest recorded attendance for an outdoor Richmond music event in history to that date.

de Mesones relocated to Northern Virginia in 2000.  He was the Bass Director for Mars Music in Springfield, just outside of Washington, DC.  Additionally, he became a contracted bass player for area churches, having the opportunity to play with gospel recording artist Luther Barnes for a Men’s Workshop at First Mount Zion church in Dumfries.  Christian can also be heard on the “Lifesongs” album by gospel artist Charles McPhatter.  A resident of Lake Ridge, Virginia since 2003, de Mesones currently teaches bass guitar at A2G Music.

In 2006, de Mesones’ smooth jazz band Groove Skool was invited to play the Capital Jazz, one of the largest jazz festivals in the country.  The band released “Limited Edition”, which has received international radio play, and has yielded a top 10 most requested song, “Latin Jive”, on the network in Mallorca, Spain.  Groove Skool sold out its debut at the legendary Blues Alley Supper Club in Washington, DC, and regularly garnered standing room only crowds at K2 Restaurant and Lounge in Woodbridge.  When the band played the 2nd Street Festival in Richmond, VA, they graced the cover of the Sunday Richmond Times-Dispatch.  They also played the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival in Maryland, both with crowds of over 6,000.  Their first New York City appearance was streamed live from S.O.B.’s (Sounds of Brazil), where they shared the stage with national recording artist Drew Davidson.

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Not On My Watch Founder Herbert Burnett is Today’s Honoree

Not on My Watch (NOMW) was started in the fall of 2009 by Herbert Burnett shortly after the death of 15 year old Kiwane Carrington by the hands of a Champaign police officer. The fact that some of the city officials tried to shift the blame of who was held accountable for this terrible tragedy triggered the desire to create an organization that would generate a spirit of accountability and genuine concern for each other. 

After serving 20 years in the military, the motto “I am responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen on my watch” was heard by Mr. Burnett a million times. After his retirement from the Army in 2006, he felt it was time to put this attitude to work in the community. As a result, Not on My Watch came into existence.

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Author Elaine Parke is Today’s Honoree for Friday October 8th, 2021 

Elaine Parke, MBA, CS, CM, NSA, is the author of The Habits of Unity: 12 Months to a Stronger citizen at a time. For 30 years, her scalable and evidence-driven 12 habits of social unity model has transformed several million community citizens and youth across the USA’s Midwest and in Rwanda, helping them feel more caring and connected to one another. In 1993, her monthly branded and colorful habit-forming model was deemed a “Social Invention” by the London Institute for Social Inventions.

Parke spent 25 years fine-tuning her mass-market media skills in corporate America. Then, in 1987, she redirected her focus to helping people get along better. Her first book, Join the Golden Rule Revolution: Practice One Habit.Each Month of the Year, was published in 2000. She has won many awards and recognitions for her work. 

Parke is certified in public speaking, violence prevention, conflict management, and mediation, as well as meditation, and has been a popular speaker in her field of driving health and positive social and civic engagement with managed media strategies. She has been an occasional guest marketing lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Carnegie Mellon University.

To learn more, please visit

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About Natalie Author Christine Naman is Today’s Honoree

When Christine Naman says that her daughter is “doing well,” the caution in her voice is palpable. Addiction recovery is a work in progress — not a quick fix — and Christine has learned to celebrate each day for the tiny victory that it is.

Her daughter, Natalie, was just 15 years old when she became addicted to heroin. They were everyday people, living everyday lives, and then the floor dropped out.

“It’s exactly where you don’t want to end up,” Christine said in a recent interview. “I was caught flat-footed, and I’m embarrassed to say that.”

Christine traces her daughter’s years-long battle with addiction — and her own struggles with denial — in About Natalie, a gripping, cautionary tale of how a child can suddenly end up on the wrong path, meet the wrong people and get lost in the unthinkable.

About Natalie takes readers deep inside Christine’s emotional and mental turmoil as she grows into her new, unfortunate role as the parent of an addict. She steps on syringes left on the floor and wrestles one from the family dog’s mouth. She lives the nightmare of finding an unresponsive child on the floor and uses Narcan to revive her. She chases away a drug dealer and stays up all night waiting for her missing child to come home. She rejoices during periods of recovery and hope and is devastated during relapses. When her daughter suffers, Christine suffers right along with her.

Interwoven with Christine’s reflections are Natalie’s brilliant poems that share her personal pain and the unvarnished truth of her struggle.

Full of compassion, understanding and hope for addicts, About Natalie is a story of fighting for — and right alongside — the ones we love, no matter how difficult the circumstances. It is a story of keeping the faith, battling hard and never giving up.

Bestselling author Christine Pisera Naman is a wife to a beautiful man named Peter and a mother to three fantastic kids named Jason, Natalie and Trevor. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting, which she does poorly; painting, again poorly; and volunteering at her local hospital, which she hopes she does well. She is the author of the Faces of Hope series of books that are now housed in the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City. Her other works include Caterpillar Kisses, Christmas Lights, The Novena and The Believers. About Natalie is her heart poured onto paper.

She hopes that by sharing her family’s difficult story she can bring understanding and knowledge to those who do not know the problem firsthand as well as provide comfort to those who know the nightmare of addiction all too well.

For the About Natalie Addiction Comfort Community, please visit

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Tony Award Winning Producer and SimonSays Entertainment CEO Ron Simons is Today’s Honoree

Ron Simons is a four-time Tony Award-winning producer, making him the highest African-American Tony Award-winning producer of all time. As a four-time Sundance Film Festival selected producer and actor of stage, film and television, Ron is the leading Broadway producer working today bringing diversity to the stage, with his work being screened at prestigious festivals all over the world, including Sundance, New Directors/New Films, the MoMA (Museum of Modern Arts) and many others.

As CEO/President of SimonSays Entertainment, he leads the strategic planning and development of theatre, television and film projects including the critically acclaimed films Night Catches Us, Gun Hill Road, Blue Caprice and Mother of George (all of which premiered at Sundance). His first documentary 25 to Life premiered at the American Black Film Festival where it won Best Documentary. He also produced the Broadway productions of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award for Best Musical), Porgy & Bess (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award for Best Play, Drama Desk, New Drama Critics and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play, Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play), and A Streetcar Named Desire (AEA’s Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award). Off-Broadway projects include Bedlam’s St. Joan and Bedlam’s Hamlet Awards (Off Broadway Alliance Award – Best Revival (for Saint Joan) and the Chicago production of 5 Lesbians Eating Quiche which received the FringeNYC Outstanding Production Award.  

Ron Simons is a highly sought out worldwide speaker, advisor and expert in keynotes and workshops educating filmmakers, producers, entrepreneurs and artists on achieving success in the entertainment industry. Ron teaches thought provoking exploration into the essence of ‘the why’ and ‘the how’ when pitching successful projects. With numerous awards in film, television, theater and leadership, Ron is transforming the entertainment industry by encouraging and supporting the next generation of storytellers through establishing symposiums and other initiatives for aspiring producers to increase the presence of diversity.

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Author and Speaker Tom Corner is Today’s Honoree

After a highly successful career in the restaurant and hospitality industry that shifted to a 20-year career in the Financial Services Industry working for Vanguard, the Hartford, Symetra Financial calling on Wells Fargo Advisors, Merrill Lynch/ Bank America, LPL Financial, Cetera Financial, T.D Bank, Union Bank of California and many more.

Gradually after many years of success in business Tom realized his greatest contribution was not filling tables, crunching numbers or managing a team. He realized it was waking people up to their true potential.

Without realizing it, most people live their lives based on the expectations of others. Whether or not they admit it, most men and women feel stuck. Having done so himself, Tom knows that most people compromise who they are meant to be and live lives of “quiet desperation” until one day it all falls apart.

His drive to help awaken those who are sleepwalking through life, makes Tom the perfect guest speaker. As a seasoned radio and podcast guest and speaker Tom explores topics that others are often fearful of touching on. His dream is to help people of all ages find their path in life.Tom published his first children’s book in August 2014; List for Santa, List for Life! His follow-up publication Positive Thoughts, Positive Life! was released in the Fall of 2015.

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Devereux Georgia Assistant Teacher Yasmin Esperon is Today’s Honoree

At Devereux, employees are heroes in every sense of the word, helping children, adolescents and adults with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences lead more fulfilling and rewarding lives. These committed and compassionate individuals humbly dedicate themselves to serving – and inspiring – others. Yasmin Esperon – Devereux Georgia Assistant Teacher – was recently spotlighted

In your role, what are your main responsibilities?

My role as an assistant teacher is to assist and/or facilitate student learning and growth. When substituting, I help individuals grasp the material being taught, while also managing their behaviors. When assisting in a classroom, I work in small groups or with individual students who need more one-on-one attention in order to understand the content. I also have other miscellaneous responsibilities, such as helping teachers with content, grading, cleaning, decorating bulletin boards, and assisting with the overall success of the education department. My role can look completely different day to day, depending on the need.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is gradually seeing growth in the students, and the effort that we teachers put in, have a tangible and measurable effect. Some of the individuals I work with in the Journey program, which serves adolescent and young adult males with intellectual and developmental disabilities, have low literacy. I have seen several students grow exponentially in their ability to read and write, which is always so fulfilling. I also enjoy seeing individuals get excited about their school work. I have learned when you make it interesting, they can get very passionate. Lastly, seeing these students be proud of their own work is always enjoyable.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

The best piece of advice I have ever been given regarding how I feel about myself is, nothing I do or don’t do can take away from the fact that I am whole, important, worthy of good things and loved by God. The best piece of advice I have been given regarding how I treat others is, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” What a high calling.

How do you demonstrate Servant Leadership principles on a daily basis?

I’d like to think that at my job, one of the Servant Leadership principles I often try to exhibit is leading with moral authority. Moral authority is defined as “trustworthiness to make decisions that are right and good.” Even on the more difficult days, I can truly say my mindset is always on doing the thing that is right and good for the individuals we serve. Even if I am hurt, upset or frustrated, I fight for the mindset to do whatever is beneficial for our students.

What is one thing your colleagues don’t know about you?

I don’t think my colleagues know I am obsessed with plants. I have about 100 plants in total. I love to buy, grow and propagate different plants. I have a unique collection that even includes very rare tropical plants – I have to take extra special care of them.

Why are you a Healthcare Hero?

I am a Healthcare Hero because I care for my students, and I do everything in my power to help them. I try to make a difference by being a friend and a positive influence, not only to the individuals we serve, but to my fellow employees, as well. I often try to think of new and creative ways to do my job, or to bring fun and excitement to our education program.

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