Some called it the BEST DAY EVER and we certainly witnessed women and girls who were 100% engaged in the work and fun of the day. Our girls were with us for most of the day, which was really nice, but they also had two sessions that were geared to young women and the issues that they face. Before they left us though they walked off with colorful boas that culminated the presentation by our first keynote speaker Roxanne Kaufman Elliott! Roxanne inspired and taught the keys to holding onto your dreams.

Next up was a two-part session by Rick Grahovac and Keelie Webb that challenged women to look at the things that are holding them back from being their best selves. Their gentle guidance provided the support needed for women to engage in some very meaningful table conversation. Part two included an art project where participants created boards that depicted the barriers that were weighing them down. Sound negative?????Well wait for the description of the big finale!
Lunchtime featured Amanda Messer from “Because I Said I Would”. This non-profit, born in Lakewood Ohio and now a global social movement, really captivated everyone. Amanda witnessed tears, laughter and yes- big promises -from those in attendance who better understood the value of keeping your word.

Oh yes, the finale —- Guinness Book of World Records Holder Leif Becker demonstrated his unbelievable Karate Board Breaking abilities, but this was followed by the story of his journey to the place he now holds. Filled with wisdom about work, dreams, persistence and surrender, Leif set the stage for women and girls alike to break those boards that represented their personal barriers to happiness and success. What a sight to behold! 

The day also provided time to explore side bar tables that provided opportunities to learn and to try some different health related opportunities.  Health checks, Essential Oils, Chair Massage, Reflexology, Trail mix by Whole Foods are just some of the people present to add to the experience of the day.

A big thank you to the wonderful Eleanor Hayes who was our emcee, our co-chairs, sponsors and committee who made this all possible and especially to the women and girls who attended!

The date for next year is set so mark your calendars! October 15th, 2016 and the topic…”The Keys to Happiness”! Make and keep a promise to be there!


EMCEE: Eleanor Hayes

Eleanor Hayes is Director of Communications for the HR Division of Cleveland Clinic, northeast Ohio’s largest employer with more than 43,000 caregivers.

A journalist, Eleanor is also a multi-Emmy award winning investigative reporter and has anchored television news for stations in Nashville, Milwaukee, Columbus and right here in her own hometown of Cleveland. She has reported on major news events from throughout the United States, Europe and Cuba.

Among her national honors, in 2008, she was presented with the Death Penalty Information Center’s Thurgood Marshall Journalism Award, for enterprise reporting on the imprisonment of an Ohio man whose conviction was described as one of America’s most egregious cases of wrongful conviction. She has been honored by several communications and broadcast organizations and was inducted into the Ohio Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.

Eleanor holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with a double major in government and communications from Oberlin College. Her MBA is from Cleveland State University’s Monte Ahuja College of Business where she now serves by appointment of the Dean, as a member of the Diversity Council. She also serves as a Trustee of CIM, the Cleveland Institute of Music.

As an entrepreneur, she owned and operated several McDonald’s franchises. Eleanor is also a freelance writer and voice over actor.

“i to the power of 3” –  Roxanne takes us on a journey through the pain, joy and process of self-discovery… delivered from the heart with strong words of wisdom, rich stories and experiences.

This is a talk that will help you discover your “i to the power of 3″… to inspire, ignite and impact your own and others lives, happiness and growth; and to breakthrough
your barriers and unleash your potential to become your most genuine, authentic and beautiful self.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Roxanne Elliott-Kaufmann

Roxanne Kaufman Elliott is President of ProLaureate Ltd, a leadership development firm dedicated to helping individuals and companies achieve extraordinary levels of achievement and success.

Roxanne is an i3 Leadership Master Coach; certified SOAR facilitator; certified LPI Coach; author, speaker; and an award winning business/marketing strategist. In both her one-on-one executive coaching and group facilitation, Roxanne’s clients range from privately held businesses to global corporations in the manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, financial services, real estate, consumer

In addition to her individual and corporate clients, Roxanne has served as a business coach in Case Western Reserve University’s Entrepreneurial program within the Weatherhead School of Management; as a strategic planning, marketing advisor, leadership development coach and subject matter expert to Cuyahoga Community College’s Corporate College; and as an Executive Coach in the YWCA Women’s Momentum program, while working with numerous other for profit and not-for-profit individuals and organizations as a coach, facilitator and advisor.

“Because I said I would” – What if all we really need to do is just keep our promises? Could that make all the difference?

SPEAKER: Amanda Messer

Amanda is the Director of Technology and Co-Founder of Because I said I Would, a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Because I said I would encourages and supports making and keeping promises to end suffering, establish peace and build happiness.

The world faces many challenges. In this adversity, we often hope for miracle solutions; an incredible new technology, a huge policy change or billions in funding. What if we really just needed to keep our promises?

Amanda helps propel the mission forward through maintaining and the technologies that have been used to send over 3.15 million promise cards to over 153 countries since September 2012. In November of 2013 Amanda became Because I said I would’s first full-time employee after over a year of volunteering her time to the cause. Prior to joining because I said I would she worked at a software company in Westlake, OH with Because I said I would Founder Alex Sheen.

Amanda grew up in Lorain, Ohio, graduated from DeVry University with a degree in Electronics and Computer Technology in 2006, and has worked in the technology field for all of her career. She currently resides in Westlake, OH with her 7 year old son and dog, Miska.

Breaking Barriers –  There is a champion living within each of us!  Leif Becker, 2 X World Record Martial Artist and author of Breaking Barriers, Your Guide to Personal Mastery leads individuals through a journey to ignite their inner champion.  Leif is not only known for his entertaining, inspiring and exciting presentations but also ones that deliver purpose driven results for his audience. Leif is instrumental in helping participants shift from living with uncertainty and self-doubt to living with anticipation, excitement and empowerment. 

SPEAKER: Leif Becker

Often referred to as “Chairman of the Boards”, Multiple world record holder, successful entrepreneur and author of the bestselling book Breaking Barriers, Leif Becker has combined his experience of leading teams and training organizations with his deep understanding of personal and business achievement. He has created a revolutionary system to help individuals break through barriers and achieve even greater business success.

Leif is a champion on and off the platform and it shows. He has the unique ability to generate enthusiasm combined with unbridled energy to deliver exceptional business results that last well beyond his presentation.

Leif is THE breakthrough specialist holding multiple world records for board breaking and is known as “The Fastest Breaker in the World.” However, his achievements weren’t produced by physical strength, but built on power and determination that most people don’t even realize exist within them. It is Leif’s goal for your organization to master this technique to achieve your greatest goals and do something they never thought possible!

“Leif Becker can see things in people they often don’t see in themselves.”

WOMEN’S SESSION: –  Get out of Your Way

PRESENTERS: Rick Grahovac M.A., A.T.R.,  and Keelie Webb

Rick is the President/CEO of Common Ground, The Cindy Nord Center for Renewal. Rick has a Bachelor’s of Fine Art degree from the Columbus College of Art and Design and a Master’s of Arts in Art Therapy from Ursuline College. Prior to working at Common Ground, Rick was the Director of The Center for Body, Mind and Spirit of the Ireland Cancer Center at Community Health Partners and the Director of The Phoenix Center for Grieving Children. In addition to working directly with clients of all ages as an Art Therapist, Rick also has extensive experience in nonprofit administration including strategic planning, program development, marketing, budgets, grant writing, and public speaking and overall operations.

PART 1 – Identifying Common Barriers to Personal Growth

We often want to make positive changes in our lives but find ourselves stuck and unable to create lasting, positive changes that lead to a happier, healthier life. What prevents us from living a life of deeper meaning, satisfaction, and contentment? It’s us – we get in our own way!

Learn what some of the biggest roadblocks are that prevents you from living the life you want to be living. This workshop will describe and explore common barriers that stop us from true personal growth and development. Facilitated discussion will lead participants through a process to open awareness, identify personal barriers, and begin to look at ways to overcome those barriers.

Part 2 – Seeing the Change

In order to make positive changes in our lives and breakthrough the barriers that stand in our way, we need to see and understand what blocks us. Insight is a wonderful and necessary step to personal growth but it can also be very helpful to actually see what needs to be changed. Participants will be led through an exercise to create a visual representation of personal barriers that can deepen the learning and support lasting change. No art experience necessary!

GIRL’S SESSION –  Breaking Free To Be Me

PRESENTERS: Stephanie Grahovac, Lydia Lee

Lydia is the Program Coordinator at Common Ground and has extensive experience delivering empowering programs for youth that are fun, educational, and meaningful.

Stephanie is a Kindergarten Teacher in Elyria City Schools and has years of experience working with children of all ages in a wide variety of settings.

PART 1 – What’s Keeping Me From Being Me?

Sometimes in life people may say or do things that hurt us and get in our way of truly being who we are as individuals and showing our true colors. Because of these hurtful messages we may develop fears that keep us from embracing new experiences that could help us grow. Our time together will be spent on exploring the messages that we receive from others, which often become the messages that we tell ourselves; and how they impact our lives in both positive and negative ways.

Part 2 – What Can I Do About It?

We have to do something. We have to make the choice for ourselves to be careful of what we allow to impact us. Being aware of how external messages impact our lives is great, but is not enough if we are only aware of them. Our time together will focus on creating artwork that represents all the negative messages that keep us from being who we are and how we can replace them with positive self-talk. This will be used in the final workshop as a tool to break through the barriers that hold us back.