Las Vegas is full of women who come from nothing. They’ve pulled themselves up by their bootstraps over and over, survived great hardships and climbed the corporate ladder thanks to their incredible drive, determination and passion. And many of them make it their purpose in life to inspire other women in this eclectic valley that we call home.
If you spend any time networking, you likely know a handful of these women. DAVID sat down for a chat recently with four of them: Lisa Ulshafer, transformational life coach; Kathlyn Jaramillo, founder of defining: WOMEN Worldwide and owner of CoBiz Coworking; Annmarie Feiler, president of Special Event Management; and Meital Bronstein, owner of The Bungalow. They shared their thoughts on: what and who inspires them; the future of Las Vegas; daily ways to keep a healthy, balanced life; and many more topics.
DAVID: Most of you have pivotal moments in your life that led you to where you are now. Let’s talk about that.
ANNMARIE: I grew up in Queens, N.Y., in an unconventional way. My grandparents
raised my brother and me. My father was a heroin addict and my mom was an alcoholic, so
my grandparents took custody when I was 2. This made a huge impact on my life, and my ‘grandfather’ was a driving force in teaching me hard work and (the) work ethic. And he wasn’t even my blood grandfather! We lived modestly but we never felt unloved. I learned as long as you’re loved by at least one person, circumstances don’t matter.
LISA: One evening in the summer of 2004, I was reflecting on my own life, and it wasn’t good. I was blocked, stuck and uninspired. I began writing what became my own personal dissertation to the universe. Days later, the universe opened up and introduced me to my future mentor, a master teacher and transformational life coach, who helped me understand myself, my life and my greater purpose. This was the beginning of my two-year journey toward becoming a successful life coach as well.
DAVID: What inspired you to do what you do?
KATHLYN: Good question! At the time there were few, if any, exclusive women’s groups in Vegas. I felt like I needed my ‘girl’ back, and what a better way than to surround myself with amazing women who, just like me, needed a safe place to tell our story, express ourselves and share our business solutions! Defining: WOMEN was born and continues to help and inspire women to live successful, balanced lives.
MEITAL: I honestly just always loved fashion. Buying, identifying new collections, putting together an ensemble of designers. It’s truly my passion. I also love the sales portion of it, building relationships with my customers – and the clothes, of course. It’s hard to find something that you love. And if you do, you’re really lucky.
DAVID: There has obviously been a lot of buzz lately about the growth and excitement surrounding the future of Las Vegas, specifically downtown. What are you most excited about when you think of the future of Las Vegas?
ANNMARIE: I love what’s happening downtown. Tony Hsieh and Zappos, new restaurants and bars like Park on Fremont and Commonwealth. Ten of us bought a building on South Commerce and Charleston in 2004; there are nine spaces in the building, and only one is still available. As part of the community, it’s been exciting to watch us grow together. I’ve recently moved into the building and created a co-op office. It takes a large team to create a successful event, and this is the perfect place to brainstorm, find inspiration and just collaborate.
KATHLYN: Having been born in Las Vegas in 1959, I have seen so much change. What excites me most is that so many smart people I know are part of a growing collective of ‘off the Strip’ thought leadership, business development and rising stars! We are a city that is so much more than sin, industry pool parties, T&A and gambling. We are a bright spot in the desert with so much to offer startups and entrepreneurs who truly seek connection and community.
LISA: Most people don’t see Las Vegas as a place for healing, but I have found that the energies here are extremely supportive of just that. I have been here for the better part of 10 years and my most intense and accelerated inner healing work has all been in Las Vegas. I feel with the right support in place we can create a healthier community of men and women, where we are more compassionate with each other, creating more cooperation than competition and more structure to foster healthier parenting styles for our future generations.
DAVID: What do you do every day to keep yourself focused, balanced and empowered? KATHLYN: My initial answer has to be “the best I can!” I do meditate; I call it a two-song meditation and endeavor to center myself daily. When I keep the big picture at the forefront of my mind, it goes a long way to support me with staying empowered and on my path. I do have those days that I think, “What am I doing and I am really making a difference?” Honestly, if I can make a difference in just one woman’s life, for her to know that she is so brilliant and talented and beautiful, just the way she is.
LISA: I have made transformation a lifestyle. I always continue to educate myself and let go of my fear and negativity. I have wonderful family and friends in my life and keep fun and humor high up on my list of priorities. I truly believe that joy and laughter are imperative in living an empowered life. I also keep simplicity in my life, as complexity creates stress and can disconnect me from my power.
DAVID: How about a fun question. What’s your guilty pleasure?
LISA: Chocolate, always.
ANNMARIE: Cigarettes, unfortunately. I recently switched to the electronic kind. My
daughter calls it my hookah stick. If I could have a cigarette and a glass of red wine every night for the rest of my life, I’d be happy. But I know the smoking is bad for me.
KATHLYN: Reality TV, my Hay Day iPad app and Vitamin D, in the form of sunshine, of course. I can’t get enough of it!
MEITAL: Oh, I have many. Isabel Marant boots, Golden Goose sneakers, Luv-It Custard, pizza. DAVID: What’s the best advice you ever received?
ANNMARIE: To understand what responsibility means and not to view it as a burden, but a privilege. Don’t place blame, or be disappointed in, the people around me, personally and professionally. I’m only responsible for me, but take great pains to nurture my team and help them grow.
MEITAL: Stay focused. My first business grew really quickly, and I’m committed to treating this as an organic project and business. Also, be ambitious, passionate and take it day by day.
KATHLYN: Be myself! Many women, including me, have felt at some time in our life that we were not living up to expectations. I ask who placed them on us and what are those expectations? I am the only me that there is, and I can choose to live at my own pace, my way. I now declare that I am me and “I say who and I say when” (my favorite line from “Pretty Woman”).
LISA: Embrace my femininity and there I will find my true strength.
DAVID: What are you working on next?
MEITAL: I’m launching a new website and developing a commitment-free, virtual dressing room for on-line shoppers. Browse my website, pick out some things you like, and someone will be in touch to discuss what you’re looking for, budget, etc. We’ll take a credit card but not charge anything until you’ve had the chance to receive the package and try things on. You can return what you don’t like and then you’ll be charged. It’s great for busy moms who may not have time to go shopping, and it’s literally commitment-free.
ANNMARIE: I plan to stay a boutique consulting agency and special event company with less than 10 good people and lots of personalized service. My priority is my husband and my kids, so I don’t want to get lost in a job that takes me away from them and celebrating Jewish holidays. Events are getting big again and that’s exciting. Since my kids are bigger, I can do a little more traveling for work, too. That’s what I love.
LISA: I have created an ongoing program consisting of weekly sessions that provides the kind of support needed to overcome challenges, while creating consistent forward movement and momentum toward dreams and goals. I am also in the process of writing a book to help people find their way back to their divine connection. I know how isolated and frustrating it can be to feel disconnected, and I also know how meaningful and even magical it is to reconnect.
KATHLYN: I am currently producing my new baby… defining:WOMEN Magazine. It will be a bimonthly, online digital publication, produced by women, for women. It is in the big picture of bringing women from all over the world together to support, connect and empower one another!
Want to learn more about these women and their services?
Special Event Management
6445 S. Tenaya Way
Las Vegas, NV 89113
7024 W. Charleston Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89117 702-477-0107