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 www.aboutnatalieaddictioncomfort.com

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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.

Visit https://simonsaysentertainment.com/about-us for more information.

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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.

Visit https://www.tomcorner.net/meet/#top for more information

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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.

Visit www.Devereux.org for more information.  


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K. T. Wilson Law, P.C. Founder Kristina T. Wilson, Esq. is Today’s Honoree

Kristina, born in Detroit, is a former student athlete who developed a strong passion for sports and entertainment, which has served her well in her career pursuits. Kristina has years of contract experience from working with companies such as the Penske Corporation, Intersport Inc. and Salvi Sport Enterprises, where she drafted, negotiated and reviewed hundreds of agreements. Kristina is a very energetic and enthusiastic person with a strong work ethic that will be a strong advocate for her clients. 

Ms. Wilson also has many years of experience in marketing and promotions from working for companies like Palace Sports and Entertainment, CBS Sports, and Bowling Green State University. Having a business background provides Ms. Wilson with the unique ability to advocate for her clients from both a legal and business perspective. Ms. Wilson, through her firm, currently represents clients that range from professional athletes to major entertainment production companies. She has helped her clients form businesses, protect their intellectual property, cultivate their brands, expand their businesses and overall protected her client’s interests, as they pursued their dreams.

In addition to her legal work, Ms. Wilson loves to give back to the community. After law school, Ms. Wilson participated in the Challenge Detroit fellowship program, where she was able to use her marketing, business and legal knowledge in intellectually based team challenge projects in partnership with area non-profits designed to positively impact the city of Detroit. As a Challenge Detroit Fellow, she participated in a leadership program that focused on innovation and social impact while positively influencing perceptions of Detroit through social media and blogging. Ms. Wilson currently continues her nonprofit work. She is currently President of the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Blue Chip Academy of Basketball and a board member of a Detroit based non-profit organization, All Four One. She also is the Legal Advisory Board Member for The Collective Identity Mentoring, a LA based mentoring program for black girls/women ages 13 to 25 and is a mentor for The Bridge Builders Esq. National Mentorship Program for Aspiring Black Lawyers.

Visit https://ktwilsonlaw.com/meet-kristina/ for more information.

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Life On The Grocery Line Author Adam Kaat is Today’s Honoree

About The Book:

Families put food on their tables in 2020 thanks, in part, to people like Adam Kaat. Flying blind through a situation no one saw coming — and never knowing if what they were doing was enough to keep themselves and their customers safe — grocery store employees finally get their dues in Kaat’s eye-opening new book, Life on the Grocery Line: A Frontline Experience in a Global Pandemic. In it, Kaat captures society’s collective anxiety, divulges his interactions with the best and the worst of humanity, and reflects on the surreality of his fleeting fame as a “hero.”

About The Author:

My name is Adam. I began working as a cashier, at high-end grocery store, in an affluent neighborhood at the beginning of 2020. By March the world was falling apart from the Coronavirus Pandemic. As I write this bio, not much has changed. We are still under quarantine.

I started “Life On The Grocery Line” as a way to deal with the turmoil I began to see unfold before me as the structures of American and Global society broke down. I hope you enjoy what you read and share with friends. But most of all I hope you are safe and healthy.

Visit https://lifeonthegroceryline.com/ for more information.

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Author and Aging Expert Amy O’Rourke is Today’s Honoree

About The Book:

Inside intelligence you will need to make informed decisions, financially and compassionately, when caring for aging loved ones—whether they are living at home, in a care facility, or in the hospital or hospice care.

Do you have a parent or aging loved one nearing or in the most fragile years of life? Are you considering in-home care for them? Assisted living? A nursing home? Have they endured repeated hospitalizations, or are they facing major surgery? Are they refusing to give up their independence? Do they have adequate savings to pay for care? Are they getting the right Medicare, Medicaid, or VA benefits? This book by a veteran care management professional will help you secure the best possible care.

About The Author:

Amy Cameron O’Rourke (M.P.H., CMC) is a dedicated Care Manager with a passion for helping people and their loved ones find peace and joy as they age. Amy is the author of The Fragile Years and the founder of O’Rourke and Associates and The Cameron Group (sold in 2019 to Arosa). Amy has over 40 years of experience, including 20 years operating The Cameron Group (Care Management Company), as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Health and Master’s Certificate in Gerontology. A Licensed Nursing Home Administrator and Certified Care Manager, she is currently Director of Care Management at Arosa.

Visit https://agingexpert.com/about for more information.

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Teen Entrepreneur and KB’s Boutique Owner Kendra Floyd is Today’s Honoree

Kendra Floyd at only 14 years of age is a student at Stewart County High School and a young entrepreneur that turned her love of clothes and creating fashion trends into KB’s Boutique.

One of the main reasons Kendra started her business is because she loves to give customers new, pretty, and different looks. When you shop with KB’s Boutique you become a Baddie!

Success comes to Kendra Floyd online and off line as you can find her in the community or in other cities promoting her KB’s Boutiques brand at meetings and markets.

A few items that you can find within the KB’s Boutique brand are purses, bags, plus size clothing, masks, jewelry, crocs, slides, shades and many more.

Visit http://www.kbsboutiqueshop.com/ for more information.

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Venture Capitalist and Entrepreneur Diane Yoo is Today’s Honoree

Diane Yoo is a results-driven entrepreneur and venture capitalist with more than 15+ years of experience. As an accredited investor, she has invested in 35+ companies with a focus on diverse founders. She created 15 funds in the last year alone and is in the 1% of Asian-American female founders who are also a partner. Diane has founded angel networks, venture funds, and investment networks. She is Founding Partner for a Medtech and Healthtech venture capital firm in partnership with the largest medical center of the world. With VC and accelerator expertise, she works extensively with over 700+ global companies and her firm has deployed significant capital into the startup ecosystem. She has launched numerous venture funds for over 15 universities across the US and has built a powerful co-investor US network with offices in Texas and New York. Diane is Co-founder of Global She Ventures, an accelerator in partnership with Rice University to catalyze global women entrepreneurs. Diane is also Co-founder to a national media platform, Identity Unveiled highlights trailblazing Asian American women who have broken barriers and become firsts in their industry. She is also an investment partner to several Silicon Valley funds including the largest women’s fund and the first FemTech fund in the nation. 

Diane is also mentor/partner to Global Venture Accelerator, a Rice University initiative. She serves as mentor/judge to Rice Business Plan Challenge, Rice University’s 48 Hr Accelerator, Gener8tor, Brandery, and Mass Challenge. She sits on numerous boards and advises other venture capital funds, diversity funds, and the largest women’s fund in Texas.  Diane was awarded “Diane Yoo Day” on August 26th for her international achievements in diversity leadership.  She received her MBA from Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Rice University. 

Visit https://www.dianesyoo.com/ for more information.

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Lady Logistix LLC Founder Tristen Simmons is Today’s Honoree

Tristen Simmons, a South Carolina based Logistics Consultant, Freight Broker, Fleet Owner, and Real Estate Investor has been in the transportation industry since 2009. Her professional experience encompasses many facets of the industry, including towing and recovery, freight dispatching, auto hauling, intermodal, OTR trucking and brokering. 

She is currently CEO and Founder of Lady Logistix LLC, a minority owned Freight Brokerage Firm headquartered in Summerville, SC.

Over the past 12 years, Tristen has assisted over 150 new Carriers and Freight Brokers with obtaining motor carrier authority and launching their trucking companies. In collaboration with Samantha Smith, she has trained over 600 individuals in the area of logistics. 

Tristen is one of the original founders and managing members of the Leading Ladies of Logistix. She is a South Carolina native and a Air Force Veteran. Tristen is looking forward to growing the organization with her partners and assisting women with their careers in transportation. 

Visit  https://www.ladylogistix.com/staff for more information.

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