Looking back at 2009, a year crippled and crushed by the recession, it seems that there was bad news coming from every angle, affecting our families and our workplaces, and in the especially hard-hit not-for-profit community, donations were way down and money was very tight.
In dealing with everyday life, sometimes the minutiae can cloud your vision and not allow you to see the remarkable things that people continue to do every day, no matter what the circumstances.
As I think about the women I met this past year, I realize that those remarkable things do exist, and people really do have the power to change the world.
I learned from Terrie Magro of the Michael Magro Foundation that no matter what God hands you, you can go on and make a difference in thousands of children’s lives, even when your own heart is breaking.
I learned from Rene Giacalone of the Honeysuckle Foundation for Children with Cancer that you can grow from a tragedy. Rene has published a book called Alicia’ Updates, a compilation of e-mails she collected during her daughter’s struggle with and recovery from cancer.
I learned from Hillary Sweet of Friends for Life that a diagnosis of breast cancer isn’t a death sentence and that many new friendships can be forged out of a devastating diagnosis, and that there is strength in numbers.
I learned from Christine Miserandino Donato that you have to count your “spoons” to get through the day, and that just because you’re only 34 years old you can be really sick, but still have more strength than Superman.
By attending one of Debbie Metz weekly sessions of Kyle’s Sports for Special Needs I saw that there are no barriers for children with disabilities. Her grandson, Kyle, is one of the most powerful people I have ever met, and he’s only 5 ½.
This April I met Leslie Adler, who has become an online personality with her “Vuv Club” blog. She has been featured by More magazine and Betty Confidential and has just been named an honoree by the LI Center for Business and Professional Women for their 2010 gala.
The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is working with Jennifer Rennie of Stanco Construction on getting more involved with mentoring young women.
Lilya Popovetsky of A Multilingual Development Agency was just named a 40 Under 40 rising star by Long Island Business News, and Paula Geonie of Baiting Hollow Farm and Vineyard was given the Women In Business Advocate award by the Long Island Association.
Lillian and Leisa Dent, of LL Dent restaurant fame, carry on their mission to educate the community on healthy eating.
Gail Roca of The Kid’s Kloset continues to help those in need with her children’s clothing consignment sales.
Jen Gallozzi of Helping Hands in West Islip extended her reach well beyond her town with her annual Helping Hands Toy drive, allowing thousands of Suffolk county children to receive gifts from Santa this year.
There aren’t enough pages to print all of the contributions the Fortune 52 honorees have made to our community. They are shining lights and beacons for us to follow.
If you know a super woman who deserves good Fortune—and a profile—e-mail your nominations to Beverly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Beverly Fortune, Christine Miserandino, Debbie Metz, Fortune 52, Gail Roca, Hillary Sweet, Jen Gallozzi, Jennifer Rennie, Leisa Dent, Leslie Adler, Lillian Dent, Lilya Popovetsky, Paula Geonie, Rene Giacalone, Terrie Magro