The BELLA Team shares about the amazing women they admire…
CEO + EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Jeanette LeBlanc wrote, “A circle of women may be the most powerful force known to humanity. If you have one, embrace it. If you need one, seek it. If you find one, for the love of all things good and holy, dive in. Hold on. Love it up. Get naked. Let them see you. Let them hold you. Let your reluctant tears fall. Let yourself rise fierce and love gentle. You will be changed. The very fabric of your being will be altered by this, if you allow it. Please, please allow it.”
This year I am proud to celebrate 10 years of ETTWomen alongside one of the fiercest BELLA bosses I can also call my friend, my work wife Lynette Barbieri. Through ETTWomen, we have created a community of women entrepreneurs that networks with intention. We learn from and support each other in personal + business growth. Lynette has shown me what true business partnership is. The friendship has been an added benefit.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with incredible women, from mentors to peers, but among some of the strongest women I know are my mother and godmother. My mother, especially in this past year, has had to assume a lot of responsibilities, and I’m constantly in awe of her strength to push forward despite some of the adversities she faces. My godmother has played a role in teaching me about unconditional love and the power of being faithful. Both continue to inspire me, and I will always be grateful for the roles they have each played in shaping the foundation of who I am today.
My daughter, Victoria, is someone I admire greatly. Having her at such a young age, all I prayed was for her to be a self-sufficient woman and to follow her passions. She has surpassed any expectation I have ever had of her with grace and determination. She loves without condition and is one of the most compassionate souls I have ever met. I am extremely blessed to be her mother, and if I was only put on this earth for that sole purpose, she has fulfilled my life in every way.
SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN AND DIGITAL EDITOR
My mom, Denise Henick, is my inspiration each and every day. She is a truly amazing, intelligent, kind-hearted, loving, and beautiful human being. She is extremely hardworking and determined to achieve all of her goals and successes. I applaud her for the dedication and motivation to accomplish everything she sets forth to do. She is the definition of an influential women. I am so incredibly grateful to be her daughter. I am thankful for my role model and best friend for life! She’s the Lorelai to my Rory!
MINDY GURA + PAULA ORLAN
As little girls interested in both fashion and music, it was no surprise that we fell in love with Cher back in the 1970s. She was a singer and actress who embodied glitz and glamour like no other celebrity of the time. The Bob Mackie designer dresses she wore were to die for, and her avant-garde style was second to none. She was cool and hip with her midriff-baring ensembles, and we were obsessed with everything about her. We tried to dress like her and even begged our mom to invite her to our 5-year-old birthday party! As the years went by, we were impressed by her strength and poise as she navigated some hard times. Besides her outrageous fashions and musical and acting success, Cher is also known for her trailblazing political views and social activism. To this day, we are huge fans and would still love to invite her to our birthday party!
FOOD + TRAVEL EDITOR
I am lucky enough to have been surrounded by inspiring and influential women my whole life—my family members and friends all inspire me every day. These past few years have been trying for all of us, but there’s no one more resilient than a mom to young kids during the pandemic. My sister has always been someone I look up to, and since the pandemic began she has moved to a new house, raised two incredible children, gone to work, been a support system to her friends and family, and now has another baby on the way! I don’t know how she does it all, but what could be more admirable than all of that?!
As my daughters grow up into young women, I am more and more fascinated by how amazing they’ve become. My oldest is currently pursuing her first year of college, maintaining a Dean’s List GPA while finding her place in the world. She’s had some adjustment ups and downs—as we all have—but she is making her way, on her own, with strength, courage, and a fierceness I don’t think she is even aware of. Similarly, my youngest has embarked on high school this past year with her books and basketball in hand as she focuses on her dreams of becoming a student-athlete. She has earned herself a spot on the honor roll, and improves upon her basketball skills each and every day. My girls may not realize it, but they influence me tremendously. There have been and will continue to be tests and challenges along the way, but I’m confident they will succeed, and I’m honored to have a spot from which to observe, be a cheerleader or shoulder to cry on, and ultimately be able to celebrate what they create for themselves and how their hard work and accomplishments influence others.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
I am blessed to be surrounded by inspirational women who have influenced me throughout my life that it’s hard to pick one or two. My grandmother was my greatest influence growing up. She was always there for me, encouraging me to be myself and telling me I could be anything I wanted. She was selfless and rarely had a bad word to say about anyone. (If she did dislike somebody, she was always right!)
The woman who has influenced me over the last 10 years has been my business partner, Vanessa Coppes. Some of the top traits of women of influence are determination, creativity, adaptability, and resilience. They set lofty goals, and are driven, authentic, and strong-minded, but soft-hearted.
When you have a circle of close friends you can relate to and rely on so immensely, it’s hard not to feel incredibly lucky. Lisa, Debbie, Giselle, and Renee—I admire you all for your strength, sincerity, sense of humor, and so much more! I feel so blessed to have you all in my life, to not only raise a glass and celebrate the good times, but to also lift me up during the bad times. You each in your own way have greatly influenced my life, and I am incredibly grateful!
MIND + BODY CONTRIBUTOR
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the women around me. When I began my first company in 1997, I didn’t know of many women business owners. I sought out others; I looked far and wide. Twenty-five years later, those women are still my closest friends and we became champions for one another through the good and the bad. We can only be as strong as the women we choose to surround ourselves with, so I think it is so important to raise up women, share stories, mentor, guide, and be a support system. To these women and my mother and grandmothers (Irish immigrants), I am never not in a state of gratitude for their beauty, courage, and grace.
There are many women in my life I admire. I’ve been fortunate to have family and friends to turn to for guidance, love, and support in times of need. One woman in particular is Diane Menichella, who in 2001, started out as my therapist, but has become so much more to me than just someone I sit down with in a professional capacity.
For the last 21 years, she has not only been there to help counsel me, but she has also become a friend and a confidant. What started out as needing a lifeline to help me through a difficult period has turned into one of the most profound and cherished relationships in my life.
To this day, if I need Diane’s words of wisdom or clarity to help center me, I know she is just a call or text away. Her words and advice always leave me feeling strong and empowered. She is also one of my biggest cheerleaders. And while it may have been a situation in my life that led me to seek her out, the friendship that evolved is one of my most treasured possessions.
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