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Archive for the ‘Arts/music’ Category

Melinda , CEO of Happy Quail


Melinda Marchiano

Melinda Marchiano established her business, Happy Quail, in 2009 at the age of fifteen. Her reasons for starting her business were not usual. Melinda became CEO of Happy Quail so that she would be able to publish the story she had written while she was recovering from cancer– without the harsh editing of a big publishing house. Believing her story needed to remain intact in order to truly help others with cancer, Melinda’s Happy Quail published Grace in October 2009. This first edition won two 2010 International Book Awards. In January 2010, Melinda began working with Greenleaf Book Group on her second edition, Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery which Happy Quail published in October 2010. The second edition is a finalist in the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Awards (winners to be announced in June.) Melinda is a passionate childhood cancer advocate, speaking at schools, cancer centers, cancer fundraisers, as well as churches and business events. Her associations include 2011 Livestrong Leader, United Way Youth Grant Recipient for her program Literacy & Advocacy Challenge, Imerman Angel, and dancer with the Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo and San Luis Jazz.


1. What prompted you to start your website?

Melinda: I started my website to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to share my book/story.

How do you manage areas of your life (school, hobbies, sports, family time, friends) that are most important to you?

I prioritize and try not to spread myself too thin. The most meaningful things come first… like faith and family.


2. You’ve been so successful with your book and helping others through your site.. What else would you like to get involved with over the next few years?

Melinda: Thank you, Edith. I hope to become closer to and more involved with childhood cancer organizations such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand, St. Baldrick’s, and CureSearch.


3. What’s been your proudest achievement?

Melinda: Beating cancer.


4. If you had the opportunity to bring all members of your school into one room, what message would you share with them?

Melinda: I love this question Edith. I would share that life is precious, and we must not waste a single moment. Be good to one another and fulfill your potential because our time here is short.


5. Who has been the most influential person to you?

Melinda: My mom has been most influential because of her strength, faith, and character!


To purchase Melinda’s inspiring book, click the link below.

Social Media For Melinda Marchiano:

Consuelo Costin, Founder of C & R Productions

Consuelo Costin’s BIO

With her innate talent for writing powerful hooks and infectious melodies; sultry, passionate, rebellious and innovative Billboard recording artist Consuelo Costin has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the world of dance pop music.

Born in New York City, this talented singer/songwriter has performed around the world; From Munich to Florence to London’s Royal Albert Hall, singing back-up vocals for Joe Cocker; She performed in Central Park with Mya, Tweet and Vanessa Carlton; Consuelo graced the fields of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles singing “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch and appeared before a crowd of over 400,000 in Washington D.C. for Capital Pride. Consuelo will perform for the second year running at Capital Pride on June 10th 2012.

Consuelo’s hit single “Naked” spent an unprecedented 16 consecutive weeks on the U.S. Billboard Dance Charts and peaked at #12. The smash hit also topped the USA National Club and Top 40 Dance Charts, and the ZipDJ and DDK Charts.

Her new single “Feel So Alive” took the biggest jump on the U.S. Billboard Dance charts, earning Consuelo the #2 ‘Breakout Artist’ slot for Hot Dance Club Play. The upbeat track was co-written and produced by Peter Amato (LeAnn Rimes, Miley Cyrus, Ricky Martin) with remixes by some of the world’s greatest DJs.

The video for “Feel So Alive” reached over a quarter of a million views on YouTube within the first week; achieving the honors of top 25 most viewed video in the entertainment category and top 100 most viewed video in all categories.

Her songs have been featured in film and television including “Beach Girls” starring Rob Lowe and Julia Ormond, “Pop Stars” with Nicole Scherzinger and “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best” with Joan Rivers. Costin has graced the pages of many international magazines including; Prestige, in which she was dubbed the “Rebel Heiress”; as well as the hallowed pages of Vogue’s infamous September Issue.

Consuelo has always chosen to do things her own way.  This eighth generation descendant of American railroad and shipping magnate, Cornelius Vanderbilt,  broke all the rules pursuing a career as an artist and performer and continues to carve out her own destiny.

Consuelo proudly embraces her heritage, often licensing her family name for products and apparel to help raise money for charity.  She is currently the vice president of the Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater California (OCC), consistently dedicating her time and her talents to the fight against Ovarian Cancer. She has lobbied in Washington and donated her songs to help raise funds for The American Cancer Society and several other related charitable organizations.

She is also an actress who has appeared in such films as “Something In Between” opposite Brittany Murphy as well as on stage in London and Los Angeles.

Currently residing in New York, Consuelo is currently recording her highly anticipated album and is very excited for the debut of her next single “Here We Go.”


1. Please share with us what prompted your involvement with C & R Productions.

Consuelo: Freedom. I wanted to be able to express myself creatively, with my music as well as my image, without being molded to fit someone else’s vision.

2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Consuelo: It’s a little hairy sometimes and it changes from day to day.  I live in New York, but I’m working with my manager in France on music, as well as dealing with players in various other countries. Right now I’m working with my partner and team in London on the development of our website.  Generally I’m on Skype calls anywhere from 5 am to midnight, in the gym at 6:30, writing songs (sometimes in Nashville), working with producers, remixers and promoters in various countries, taking dance classes, singing lessons, guitar lessons, and working with fashion stylists, photographers and graphic artists, oh my!  Occasionally I eat and even less frequently, I sleep.


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Consuelo: iTunes, Garage Band and Microsoft Word .


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Consuelo: I’m terrible with time management and could actually use some good tricks!  Things change day-to-day and even minute-to-minute, so creating a structure is next to impossible.  I’m trying to be better about using the Calendar app and alerts on my iPhone.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Consuelo: Always write what you know and what’s in your heart.  Also, the quietest person in the room is often the most powerful.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of C & R Productions? ( what you do for short term and long term growth)?

Consuelo: It’s still a fledgling company, but name recognition has been my first priority. The success of my last single, “Feel So Alive,” kept the C&R name on the Billboard Dance Charts for some time and the release of my new single should reinforce that. Long-term, the goal is to attract other talented artists to the label so we can expand to other markets and create a more widespread recognition.


7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Consuelo: Working with my business partner on the formation of our creative networking website. We were tremendously proud to have raised capital based on our concept and to then go through the process of hiring the team, building the prototype and watching our idea become a reality.


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Consuelo: I can’t honestly say I’m there yet.  I work hard, but I put time into the things that keep me sane.  I keep myself in shape with exercise and I indulge in the arts with film and theater. I also love to spoil my beautiful dog, Bugsy Malone.


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Consuelo: The Power Of Now, by Eckhart Tolle; Off The Record, by Graham Nash; Many Lives, Many Masters, by Dr. Brian Weiss.


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Consuelo: Using my songs to raise funds and awareness for various Ovarian Cancer related charities and acting as a legislative ambassador for the American Cancer Society in Washington D.C.  A particular highlight was in September of 2009 when I performed at Dodger’s Stadium for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day.


11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Consuelo: Probably my first manager, Christian Seidel.  He taught me about discipline and how to draw from my own experiences as a songwriter.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Consuelo: Many people will give you reasons to stop moving forward or why you shouldn’t invest money in your own idea.  My advice is to believe in yourself, trust in your idea, and find the courage to go against the flow. Follow through with your dreams!  Don’t ever look back and say you didn’t try.

Gordon B. Lankton, Chairman of the Board of Nypro Inc.

Gordon B. Lankton’s BIO

Gordon B. Lankton

Gordon B. Lankton is Chairman of the Board, Nypro Inc.  An engineering graduate of Cornell University, he worked for DuPont and the Stanley Works before joining Nypro in 1962 as general manager and co-owner when the company had $600,000 revenues. Since then, and after buying the rest of Nypro in 1969, Gordon has overseen Nypro’s sales growth to its current billion dollar level. Gordon is a member of the National Plastics Hall of Fame, a founder and former Chairman of the National Plastics Center and Museum, and has received a number of lifetime achievement awards from the Society of the Plastics Industry, the Society of Plastics Engineers, Cornell University, the Entrepreneur of the Year competition, Plastics News magazine and others. He was a member of the Board of Trustees at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In 1998, he sold his Nypro stock to Nypro’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), creating one of the largest U. S. employee-owned companies. In 2007, he founded the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, with the largest collection of Russian icons publicly displayed outside of Russia. The museum has rapidly become one of the major tourist destinations in Central Massachusetts, attracting hundreds of visitors weekly from all over the world. In 2009, Industry Week magazine named Gordon to its inaugural class of ten in the Manufacturing Hall of Fame.


1. Please share with us what prompted your creation of Nypro Inc.?

Gordon: I’ve been a collector since I was 8 years old and collected all of the US pennies. I had a complete collection that I gave to one of my daughters.

Then, as a boy scout, I collected WWII posters when the Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor, and our troop was asked if would deliver way posters to the shops around town in the windows. Keeping one of each poster for myself, I now have a complete set now of those .

I also collected art from my motorcycle trip around the worlds in 23 countries.   During that trip, I was not able to enter Russia, so when I finally got to Russia 30 years after my motorcycle trip, I heard about icons right away and was interested.  I was traveling to Russia every few months for Nypro and while there, I read an article in a newspaper about Aloyna Knzveza opening up an icon painting school – the first painting school in a 70 year period without icons in Russia.  Alyona got me interested in icons and I fell in love with them. I started collecting them in 1989 have continued ever since!  I built the Museum of Russian icons 6 years ago and we have over 500 icons; the largest icon collection in North America.

2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Gordon: At the moment, I am phasing out of my business of 50 years in the plastic Industry where I was CEO of Nypro Plastic Molds, the largest molding company of plastics. In those days, I was very busy with the business, finding customers, quoting prices, and making profits.

Now, my days are split between my hobbies which are icons and African carvings. I basically come to work in the early morning 5-6am and do my work at the plastic office, and then I go over to the Museum at about 10:30 to talk with the staff and visitors there.  During the meantime, I have many phone calls with people who are interested with icons. No day is ever the same!


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Gordon:I am not computer literate. I’m 82 years old and I’m probably not going to be using smart phones or desktop computers, and I don’t think I ever will. I have basic cell phone which is as good as it’s going to get.  I would probably be much better off if I learned about technology when I was younger, but I’m getting by without them.  That’s all an old guy can do!

Ironically, enough Nypro made Blackberry’s plastic cases for their phones so I’m somewhat connected to the technology world…just indirectly!


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Gordon: My main trick these days is if I’m going to get things done, I need to get them done immediately.  Take for instance this interview – I learned about it 5 minutes ago!    I also work best in the very morning with I’m sharp- I come in early when no one else is around and then do more work at night where I can focus.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Gordon: Funny you should mention that!  I was taken to a psychiatrist because my parents didn’t know what career advice to give me.  He told me that I should either be a patent attorney or mechanic engineer and gave me colleges to visit such as Cornell and Purdue.  Then I talked to colleges that provided those majors and settled on Cornell, which is where I went to become an engineer major.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of Nypro Inc.? ( what you do for short term and long term growth)?

Gordon: We find and buy the best icons that we can find anywhere in the world which is basically Western Europe (you can no longer take icons out of Russia as they are now considered a national treasure). I go to western Europe and Moscow every four months and have been doing that for 22 years so I constantly am looking for outstanding Russian icons and, if I can find the best, I buy them.

We have increased our marketing efforts in the last six years at the Museum as we find that word of mouth is the best way for people to visit.


7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Gordon: I have a good time doing what I’m doing and I don’t have any other major achievements other than trying to convince people that business is fun and find the best way to do it.  Also, I think that over the years that I kept my customers happy all the time and worked hard!  We built the largest and best plastic molding firm in the US out of 2,000 or so that existed over the last 50 years so we’re doing something right!


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Gordon: I sleep a little bit which is necessary and I constantly try to balance my time between work and study.  I’m not a good reader so I learn most everything from people and I pick people who I consider the best and learn from them and how they live their lives.


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Gordon: I’m sorry to inform you that I’ve always had an eye condition and it’s not practical for me to read books so I try to get my knowledge from others.


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Gordon: You probably wouldn’t classify this as a charitable involvement but during my motorcycle trip around the world, I lived among the downtrodden people of the world for 9 months and learned a lot about them. When I came home, I was a misfit in society but I was very able to work with the working class in the factory and the others in the community.  That trip made me whole I am today and the lessons that I learned helped me in my success.

As the founder of the The Museum of Russian Icons and the Gallery of African Art, we strive ourselves in helping colleges, schools, interest groups, or just visitors  and educate  them daily on what we have here.

In my personal like, I am also an active Rotarian in Clinton and have done that for 50 years. I was on the board of trustees at WPI for 25 years.


11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Gordon: I cannot pick out one person who has influenced my career the most.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Gordon: Most importantly is that successful entrepreneurs have to like people and they have to spend time with people of all levels high and low. Try to develop friendships that bring together the best employees that anyone can find to manage the business.

Claibourn Hamilton, Designer at Le Métier de Beaute

Claibourn Hamilton’a BIO

Claibourn Hamilton

Resume of Claibourn Hamilton
Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Magna Cum Laude, December 2008
Graphic Design

design / artistic direction
Le Métier de Beauté Luxury Cosmetics, New York
Designer, 2011 – present
Managed all aspects of design department; conceptualized
and designed consistent communications across every
platform; from packaging and advertising to print collateral
and web; art directed and retouched product photography;
maintained brand voice for consumer loyalty and equity.

Metro U.S. Newspaper, New York
Graphic Designer, 2009 – 2011
Designed and developed creative print advertising solutions
for maximum readership and greater revenue; prepped and
trafficked final advertisements on timely basis; maintained
editorial and production guidelines throughout.

Phillips De Pury & Co., New York
Catalog Design Intern, 2008
Assisted art department with file organization and image
management of art & photography; designed print-ready
layouts for seasonal auction catalogs.

Deutsch Inc. Advertising, New York
Art Studio Intern, 2006–2007
Assisted art directors in brainstorming creative concepts,
building comps and design solutions for national
advertising campaigns; Aided in cutting and mounting
for in-house presentations.

freelance design
Parenting Magazine, Bonnier Corporation, New York
Freelance Graphic Designer, 2009 via Creative Circle
Designed print-ready advertising and marketing units for
monthly publication; performed photo research and change
requests; trafficked final designs to production on a timely
basis; adhered to editorial and design standards.

Waterfront Media, New York
Freelance Digital Production Designer, 2007 via Update Graphics
Designed web-ready home page modules, photo galleries
and banner ads for; acquired ‘on-brand’
licensed photos, styled type, re-touched images and
maintained stock photo budget.
other professional experience

Museum of Modern Art Soho Design Store, New York
Furniture Specialist 2003–2006
Assisted customers with purchase of furniture products,
ensured inventory levels; updated manufacturer info;
Increased product performance through membership
sales and in-store promotions.

professional affiliations
American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York
Member, 2006–Present

Society of Publication Designers, New York
Member, 2006–Present

skills / acknowledgements
Proficient Use of: Adobe Creative Suite 6, MS Office,
Featured Design Work on AIGA Member Portfolios Gallery, 2013
Featured Design Work on Adwe


1. How did your design career begin?

Claibourn: I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in 2008 with a BFA in Graphic Design; this coincided with the 2008 economic crises when the job market greatly deteriorated. Luckily, soon after, I obtained a few short-term freelance jobs through creative agencies and also sought out my own clients. This helped me gain professional job experience until I secured my first full-time design job at Metro New York newspaper.

Currently, as the sole Designer for Le Métier de Beauté cosmetics, I manage all aspects of the design department, ensuring consistency in the brand’s corporate communication across all platforms.


2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Claibourn: The cosmetics & fashion seasons dictate my day-to-day schedule of design tasks. I was involved in every aspect of beauty product launches and, since the planning seasons were very short, my priorities usually focused on the following:
* Product development
* Product packaging & labels
* Shooting & retouching product photography
* The concept and design of related marketing & promotional communications for both print & web.


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Claibourn: The Adobe Creative Suite, which includes Photoshop, InDesign & Illustrator; these are programs essential for creating necessary design assets for the brand.


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Claibourn: Many times in the design & review process, there are several revisions & edits that need to be made. As the sole Designer in a fast-pace environment, it was important to organize my workload. To meet deadlines in a timely fashion, I created an Excel spreadsheet, prioritizing tasks for all short & long-term design jobs.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Claibourn: The best advice I received when I started my design career was from Vincenzo Vella, my Adjunct Assistant Professor in Graphic Design at FIT. Prof. Vella encouraged me to be flexible and open-minded about my career choices; he also assisted me in further editing my portfolio during my initial job search after graduation.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building professional short term and long term growth?

Claibourn: I am very fortunate to have worked in my designated profession as a graphic designer, but considering the economic climate, it is important to stay competitive and desirable. Personally, I update my resume & portfolio with new work entries. To stay proficient, I also upgraded to the most recent version of the Adobe creative software to learn new editing tools.

I also make new professional contacts to expand my network; Linked-in has been my primary source for doing this.


7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished professional?

Claibourn: Contributing to the creative evolution of the for Le Métier de Beauté brand. My beauty photography was recently featured on the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Member Portfolios Galleries; I was among the few selected that promoted new creative thinking |


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Claibourn: I love cooking, traveling, and attending museum & art exhibitions for personal balance in my life. These small and simple pleasures give me the chance to make new discoveries, observe trends and stay creatively inspired.


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Claibourn: My top three book recommendations are:

The Graphic Design Reference & Specification Book: Everything Graphic Designers Need to Know Every Day by Poppy Evans, Aaris Sherin, Irina Lee
Art Direction Explained, At Last! by Steven Heller
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Claibourn: I once volunteered my time to review graduating students’ work at my alma-mater, The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).  I actually would like to do more of this. Additionally, I created a poster design for an anti-corruption campaign of a Member of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Most recently, I designed the cover for a book on LGBT issues in the U.S.


11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Claibourn: My afore-mentioned design professor, Vincenzo Vella for his objective design critiques at FIT; also my design peer and fellow FIT alumni, Tomasz Modzelewski who always offered me his time for effective design critiques and for his professional design savvy.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in starting a business?

Claibourn: Starting work as a Freelancer is a great way for any designer to start his/her own business. It gave me the freedom to not only choose my own clients, but also allowed me to acquire an entrepreneurial spirit. I learned how to negotiate design contracts, speak intelligently about my work and ultimately build up a great design portfolio. Additionally, I would advise any designer to join their national chapter of AIGA, The American Institute of Graphic Arts. The membership offers abundant opportunities to attend design discussions & panels, enter design competitions and attend events to meet other designers and expand your network.

Melinda Marchiano, CEO at Happy Quail, College Student, Dancer, Author, Public Speaker-Cancer Survivor

Melinda Marchiano’s BIO

Melinda Marchiano

On December 18th, 2007, at age thirteen, Melinda Marchiano was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Two days after Christmas, she began her first of four rounds of chemotherapy, followed by three weeks of daily radiation. When treatment ended, Melinda struggled with post-treatment effects; horrible digestive problems morphed into a life-threatening eating disorder that destroyed her physically, spiritually, and emotionally. During this time of recovery, she began writing her story in spiral notebooks.

In October, 2010, Melinda’s book, Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery, was published. In May, 2011, Melinda accepted the Benjamin Franklin/Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book (Nonfiction) and a Silver Medal Ippy Award.

Melinda regularly brings her message of hope to others as an inspirational speaker. During the summer of 2011, Melinda traveled over 7,000 miles, through 28 states, and visited 15 children’s hospitals. She named her trip Children’s Hospitals Hope Tour. The following summer of 2012, Make-A-Wish made Melinda’s wish of visiting children’s hospitals and bringing awareness for childhood cancer come true. This month-long journey, called Melinda’s Make-A-Wish Hope Tour, sought to bring hope and joy to pediatric cancer patients throughout the Western United States. Melinda visited patients, gave presentations at hospitals, and spoke with the media to raise awareness for childhood cancer. Melinda gives generously of her time– out of her passion to help others fighting cancer. She hosted the powerful childhood cancer documentary, The Truth 365, and speaks for Children’s Miracle Network, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, The American Cancer Society, children’s hospitals, schools, churches, and community groups. For her tireless work in childhood cancer advocacy, Melinda received the “Hope Award” in 2013 from Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation. She is a sophomore at Pepperdine University and is excited about her future plans to continue dancing, writing, and working to end childhood cancer. Melinda’s life mission has just begun…

Melinda Marchiano resides in Malibu, CA where she attends Pepperdine University as a Creative Writing major. She is deeply involved with the university’s dance company as a student director, choreographer, and performer in Dance in Flight: The Film. Melinda regularly brings her message of hope to others as an inspirational speaker. During the summer of 2011, Melinda traveled over 7,000 miles, through 28 states, and visited 15 children’s hospitals in what she named the Children’s Hospitals Hope Tour. The following summer, she made a similar journey—visiting patients, giving presentations at hospitals, and speaking with the media to raise awareness for childhood cancer. Melinda gives generously of her time, out of her passion to help others fighting cancer. She hosted the powerful childhood cancer documentary, The Truth 365, and speaks for multiple cancer organizations as well as various church, support, business, and school groups. Melinda is excited about her future plans to continue dancing, writing, and working to end childhood cancer.

In the Spotlight Interview

1. Please update us on your achievements since your 1st interview in April 2011. Among your successes, you’ve received the “Hope Award’ and you’ve written “The Truth 365”.

Melinda: Wow, a lot has happened the past three years!

I graduated from Nipomo High school in June 2012 and am now attending Pepperdine University as a Creative Writing major. I will be entering my Junior year in the Fall. I’ve had many amazing opportunities to share my experience and advocate for children with cancer—I’ve spoken for organizations such as Children’s Miracle Network, American Cancer Society, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, and more.

In the summer of 2011 and again in 2012, my mom and I went on what we called “The Hope Tours”. The first, in which we drove over 7,000 miles and visited 28 states, brought us to 15 different children’s hospitals where I spoke and visited with kids and their families. It was truly a trip I will always remember! The following summer, we undertook a similar journey, this time through states on the West coast. The Make A Wish foundation sponsored our trip and created an incredibly meaningful and unforgettable time!

I was honored to be recipient of the 2012 Hope Award through Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation. This foundation works endlessly to advocate for less toxic treatments for kids with cancer—I am very grateful for what they do and am very humbled to be recognized as someone who has had an impact in the childhood cancer community by those who I respect so much. The Truth 365 was actually a Childhood Cancer documentary that I was asked to host. I flew to Washington D.C. to film various parts for it in September of 2012.

One last experience that I was so fortunate to take part in was a dance film called Dance in Flight: The Film. The dance company at Pepperdine filmed the movie last summer—it tells the real-life stories of eight dancers and the influential role it has played in their life. I was able to share my cancer experience and even re-shaved my head for re-enactment purposes! However, it wasn’t too long at the time, just a few months before I shaved it to raise money for pediatric cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation! It has been a whirlwind of amazing opportunities and experiences!


2. Take us through a typical day, start to finish.

Melinda: As you can imagine, a typical day for me varies quite a bit depending on whether or not it is during the school year. Both, however, start at about 8am with a good breakfast and some time reading my Bible.

During the school year, it typically continues on like this: classes mid-morning to mid-afternoon with library/studying time in between, cross-training/conditioning for dance in the afternoon/evening, more studying, and possibly dance rehearsals at night. I tend to complete more “business” type tasks (emails, etc.) as I’m walking around campus and from class to class. This summer, my days have been more like this: Advocacy work/emails, etc. mid-morning, workout midday, have a yummy lunch, write, nap (they help so much with life!), dance class(es) in the afternoon/evening, time with my family at night. It has been great to have some rejuvenation time!


3. What was the best advice you received when you started college?

Melinda: The best advice I received, oddly enough, was “just do your best”. There’s a tremendous amount of unnecessary pressure that college students feel to “keep up” with everyone else. Often times every mediocre paper or unfortunate exam grade is seen as being detrimental to that person’s entire future. Additionally, many of my fellow students come from a background of seeing nothing but A’s on report cards—all of a sudden just turning in assignments and showing up isn’t enough. I’ve learned more of the truth in “just do your best” as I’ve struggled (and seen others struggle) with obsessing over perfection and the end goal of “creating a future”. This advice has helped me to, strangely enough, take more away from my classes and lead a more balanced life as a college student. Above all, it has helped me to enjoy the college journey much, much more.


4. What are your strategies for building awareness your book ‘Happy Quail” for the short term and the long term?

Melinda: Happy Quail is actually the name of our publishing company while the book is entitled, Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery. The effort to raise awareness of the book, thankfully, goes hand in hand with simply sharing my story. Short-term, we have speaking engagements and other various events on the agenda. In terms of the future, a second edition of the book is underway, with a re-release planned for early next year. With this, we hope to reach larger audiences in the Christian market as well as through healthcare and educational outlets.


5. What is your proudest achievement?

Melinda: That’s a very difficult question for me. I can’t do anything without the help of God—I feel so grateful and fortunate to have had many successes. Above all, I would say that my proudest achievement is not letting cancer hold me back from love, joy, and happiness. Even now, as a survivor, I am faced with daily challenges—both emotionally and physically—that are a result of my cancer treatments and overall experience. The daily decision to not let it suffocate my life and keep me from living out my calling is, I believe, the most fundamental achievement of all.


6. What are your top 3 book recommendations?

Melinda: Delights and Shadows by Ted Kooser (It was assigned for one of my classes, but Kooser has such beautiful poetry that gives amazing insight into life and the human condition.)

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (An old one, but such wonderful inspiration!)

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (Another older one, but I love dogs and it’s all about traveling with his dog, Charley!)


7. What other charitable causes are most meaningful to you & why?

Melinda: I love what United Blood Services does! I received two vital blood transfusions during my treatment and now have a whole new appreciation and respect for those who donate blood! I also really love Be the Match, which is a registry for potential bone marrow donors. Although I was fortunate enough to not need a transplant, kids who do are often faced with an extensive search for donor who is a match. Be the Match assists in connecting patients in need of a bone marrow transplant to those who have been tested and are listed under the registry as donors.


8. Who has influenced your career ambitions the most?

Melinda: Originally, I was inspired by Dr. Joshua Schiffman, a pediatric oncologist who survived the same type of cancer that I had (Hodgkin lymphoma) when he was fifteen. I thought that the idea of coming full circle was so beautiful! Having loved science all of my life, I began at Pepperdine as a Biochemistry major under the Pre-Med curriculum. However, I slowly felt more and more called to write and dance and began to develop a newfound love for each. I am very grateful to have been led down the Pre-Med road—if I hadn’t been, I would have not discovered this. Now considering dance and writing, I have been most influenced by my mom, who is always ready to remind me that God has given me a special affinity for the two.


9. What is your advice for anyone recently diagnosed with cancer?

Melinda: I would ask them this question: What do cherish? Believe in? Find those things and hold on to them tight—they are the things that cancer can never take away. They are the things that will get you through the toughest moments.

G. Andrew Maness, Founder of Absolutely Music / Four Guys in Tuxes

G. Andrew Maness’ BIO

Professional theater, studio, and live musician for over three decades;

“Society” dance bandleader for almost three decades;

Guitar Faculty at Berklee for over 25 years;

Voice overs/Narrations (including being the voice of New England Telephone’s Automated Phone Repair System during the era of Hurricane Bob);

Extremely adept at keeping Live Music alive during a period when it had all-but-died;

Extremely adept at making the complex understandable;

Cited publicly by the president of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce as a “promotional genius;”

Obsessed with the twin goals of keeping Live Music the first choice of intelligent, discriminating, high-class clients, and of partnering with non-profits to help them exceed their past fund-raising successes.


February 2009 – Present (5 years 7 months)
Making the complex understandable…

September 1986 – Present (28 years)
Making the complex understandable…

September 1983 – Present (31 years)
Live music: Soloists to Ten-Pieces, playing Swing, Society, and Classic Rock for Listening or Dancing. Corporate, Private, Political, and Charitable events, and WEDDINGS ARE A SPECIALTY! Fund-raising experts. Locations in Boston, Cape Cod, and Newport, RI.

1983 – Present (31 years)

2008 – 2011 (3 years)
Making the complex understandable…

In the Spotlight Interview

1. Please share with us the inception of Absolutely Music/Four Guys in Tuxes.

1983, concept arrived in a hurry when I was offered a chance to book a band for an Alumni Association booze cruise, last minute… my first booking as a bandleader.


2. Take us through a typical day, start to finish.

At the desk by 9AM, phone messages and email returned, client conferences, postal mail support, and gigs allowed precedence to interrupt the routine.


3. What was the best advice you received as you began expanding your business?

Turn nothing down.

What are your strategies for building awareness of Absolutely Music/Four Guys in Tuxes for the short term and the long term?

The short term is the long-term. Small overtures, large promotions… it never ends


4. What is your proudest achievement?

Professionally: Keeping 30 musicians working through the current economy.

Personally: My family.


5. What are Your Top 3 book recommendations?

“Atlas Shrugged,” Rand

“Tarzan of the Apes/The Return of Tarzan,

” Burroughs”

“What It Means to be a Libertarian,” Murray.


6. What other charitable causes are most meaningful to you and why?

Whichever charities become our clients. Once we’re on their team, we become the greatest asset they’ve ever had.


7. Who has been most influential toward your career successes with Absolutely Music?

Every one of my competitors, back when I was in their employment. In particular,observing the mistakes they made and learning from those.


8. What is your advice for entrepreneurs who are 1-3 months away from launching their business?

Think, re-think, and be prepared to have no personal life for the first year.

If there is anything else you’d rather be doing besides running the business,then you shouldn’t be running the business.

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