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Speak Well Being

Serving hospitals, healthcare and women's groups

Humor Is A Woman’s Best Friend

October 21, 2004, Vol. II Issue 22

Dear Friends,

It’s such a busy meeting season right now, I don’t have room to write about every event, but I have in mind ways to work the stories into the coming months, so stay with us. You won’t want to miss a single story.

In this issue, I’m thrilled to be writing about another double feature event. Last month we featured Dr. Karen Wolfe and Dr. Deborah Kern, co-creating a program for ProHealth in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This month,  the Michigan (my old home turf) Cardiovascular Institute Foundation recently hosted their all-day women’s event, featuring Zonya Foco, RD, CSP, and Jana Stanfield, CSP. The results: “Hands down, our 9th Annual event was the best ever,” according to Becky Felker, Director of Marketing.

And wait ‘til you read about Sharon Baker and her Georgia Calendar Girls. Have you volunteered for a Board lately? Be careful. You could end up in front of the camera (and we’re not talking media interviews here).

Yours truly,

Women Come Back and Bring Their Friends

The Women’s Heart Initiative event in Saginaw, MI, started with 50 registrants in 1996. Approaching their 10th year next fall, the Michigan Cardiovascular Institute Foundation attracts 350 regulars and their recruits to the event in Saginaw that they now call the Annual Women’s Health Initiative.

“Each year, we’ve dropped more and more of our advertising costs due to the tremendous response we get by word of mouth advertising,” according to Becky Felker, Director of Marketing for the Foundation. “Many of our participants are repeat visitors and they usually will bring someone new with them.”

Two years ago, Zonya Foco, RD, CSP, wowed the audience with her analysis of the fad diet crazies. She was invited back this year and she was thrilled to be on the same program with her friend, Jana Stanfield, CSP. This time Zonya treated them to some of her interactive audience demonstration from the hot topic, “The Power of Positive Eating.” If you’ve ever seen her life-size (or should I say king-size?) GI tract or been invited to the “healing table” on stage, you know that Zonya loves getting her point across with lots of humor.

“The primary purpose of the program is to educate women on women’s health issues,” Becky said. “In the beginning, this event was more serious (not a lot of humor). In the past few years, I have realized that humor is definitely the way to go. I think that people learn more and tend to want to learn more when humor is involved.”

It has always been a day-long program with four to five speakers, and everyone hears and sees all the speakers (in contrast to a program with breakouts where attendees choose between programs). “To plan our speakers, we listen, read, and respond to the evaluation forms our attendees turn in,” she said. “We brought Zonya back by popular demand.”

In the morning, Christopher M. Genco, MD, presented, “Along Came A Spider: The Diagnosis and Treatment for Spider and Varicose Veins,” and then Birgit H. Amman, MD, gave her presentation about “Women in Psychiatry Treating Women with Depression and Anxiety.” Right before lunch Kay M. Wagner, RN, BSN, CTM, delivered humor lessons in her program, “Loosen Up! By Getting A Grip on Humor.”

The fee for the day which includes lunch is $30 and 6.0 contact hours can be earned by health professionals. The Foundation also awards an annual scholarship of $1,000 to a deserving student in the medical field.

“The 2004 Women’s Health Initiative was by far the BEST program ever. That’s not just my opinion,” Becky said, “I heard it from many of the participants as well. I definitely think that is because of Zonya Foco and Jana Stanfield.

“This was Jana’s first year with us. She is awesome! What she brought to this program is beyond words. Her music added something that I truly feel the conference needed.

“What’s really extra special about having Jana, is she is willing to participate in the entire day. She opened the day with her whimsical song, ‘Woman at 33,’ (which progresses up the age scale). At lunchtime, she gave us a musical break with her song, ‘Whatever It Takes.’ So we were all warmed up to her when she closed the day with her keynote  concert, ‘I’m Not Lost, I’m Exploring, An Adventurer’s Guide to Keeping Joy in the Journey.’ Her music and compassionate, uplifting words left the audience wanting more. We’re inviting her back for the 10th Anniversary program. And we’ll have Zonya back again in a year or so.”

I also received a nice accolade from Becky about my services and I’m saving that for my new website where it feels more appropriate to toot my own horn. Thanks, Becky. You are a joy to work with as well!

CALENDAR GIRLS:  Get a Health Lift

You never know what you might be getting into when volunteering to serve on a Board of Directors, especially if it’s a women’s group dedicated to serving their community.

These days, Board members for Women’s Information Network (WIN), are known on the streets of Rome, GA, as “calendar girls,” much like their inspiration from the movie, The Calendar Girls. Just in case you missed it, the 2003 movie is based on the true story of the controversy (and giggles) created when a women’s group creates a semi-nude calendar, featuring themselves in modest poses, as a fundraiser for leukemia research, after one of their member’s husband is diagnosed with leukemia.

WIN is a 501 (c)–(3) organization, dedicated to providing an educational forum for non-pregnant women, founded by Sharon Baker, BSN, MN, CWHNP, in 1991. “My professional passion is to provide an educational venue for perimenopausal women that becomes the norm, similar to the way Lamaze classes are for pregnancy,” Sharon told me. And, she’s very creative when it comes to achieving that goal. “I convinced my Board of Directors that we needed to do the 2005 Midlife Momentum Calendar Guide in order to bring attention to our Midlife Momentum workshops.”

This calendar however, is more than a wall hanging with pictures of mischievous, if not demure, middle aged women. “Our interpretation is designed to familiarize women with health issues pertinent to midlife in a spirit of playfulness typical of midlife women,” Sharon said.

The Southern calendar girls, Sharon explained (as she is one of them) are actually clothed, but the poses create the illusion that they are not, much like the original English version.

For all the intended fun and whimsy, this is a very health-oriented calendar (but be forewarned it’s not one with room on it to record dental appointments and soccer game times). It actually has activities created to engage women in improving their health. For instance, in the month of February, there are three hearts in each date box, and for every meal where you eat a low fat or heart healthy food, you may cross off a heart.

This reminds me of getting stars for practicing the piano, or even as an adult, I’ve recorded my exercise regularity on my kitchen calendar with symbolic hieroglyphics. Hey, seeing recorded progress works for me!

“The calendar is very playful and focuses on a different health issue for midlife women each month. We included information, web sites, daily activities, resources, etc.” Sharon told me the educational formatting is based on the Organ Wise Guys Calendar model developed by Wellness, Inc. for children.

“As you know, getting women to “peek” at the condition of menopause is a challenge. We think we might have finally stumbled on a playful way to get critical information into their hands and homes. Our ultimate goal is to familiarize women with the need for accurate information about menopause, to offer our trademarked Midlife Momentum workshops across the country, and to assist women to make sound choices on an individualized basis. Decision making at menopause affects the next 30 years. Current information and lifestyle assessment are essential to optimizing this important life stage and the years to follow.”

The calendars are being distributed in shops, car dealerships, hospital gift shops, women’s clothing stores, herb shops, and anywhere else the board members have a friend. The retail price is $16. Some of the developmental costs were covered by sponsors, with each sponsoring a particular month.

Organizing all of this was a huge job, including locating seasonal props out of season. “Then getting midlife women into a hot tub for the Christmas shot,” Sharon shared, “when it was August in Georgia, was as one board member said, ‘The biggest hot flash she had ever had!’”

“All my board members are now being referred to as ‘calendar girls’ and are being constantly stopped and asked where the calendars are being sold or for a look at their calendar,” Sharon said. “It has certainly brought a lot of smiles and outright laughs. Then later we hear, ‘There’s really a lot of good information in that calendar;
I read every word.’”

For more information about the calendars, or to order, contact Sharon at, Home: (706)234-8483, Cell: (706)506-2000 Calendars can be customized with an institution’s logo if ordered in bulk.

In the News: New Women’s Health Magazine Debuts

First there was Men’s Health Magazine and now it’s companion, Women’s Health magazine has debuted on the newsstands this fall. Promising to break the rules when it comes to women’s magazines, the editors pledge, “no more pandering fluff and patter.” Sounds good to me. We’ll see. Best of all, it has a column by Dr. Deborah Kern, called CALM, “Words to Chill By.” Look for it on your newsstands.

And in closing, I have one word, “VOTE,” for our country, our world, our children and grandchildren, for your well being and those you love.

Yours truly,

My vision for The Speak Well Being Group is to be a connector for speakers I know, love and believe in, with the audiences who will be inspired, motivated, and transformed by their perspectives, knowledge, empathy, compassion, information and, most importantly, capacity to enjoy the process, laughing at themselves and with you along the way.

You’ll find many of our speakers on our website:
Or please call anytime and let us assist you: 503-699-5031


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