Women Supporting Women: Elizabeth Blount McCormick

“I have been given an opportunity,” said Elizabeth Blount McCormick. “And it is my duty to reach back and give another woman an opportunity as well. “

ElizabethMcCormick
Elizabeth Blount McCormick, owner of UNIGLOBE Travel Designers, believes women must pull each other up to continue seeing females in higher ranking positions. (Photo courtesy UNIGLOBE Travel Designers)

It’s a mantra that Elizabeth, owner of UNIGLOBE Travel Designers, located in German Village, lives every single day of her life. She is a rare breed of woman who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.

Sure, Elizabeth was awarded the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Columbus Chapter’s 2016 NAWBO Columbus Visionary Award last year, as well as named a 2016 Forty Under 40 Honoree by Columbus Business First, but it’s more personal with this warm-hearted business and community leader. She wins awards because she makes a tangible, personal difference.

How do I know? I was one such woman who benefited from Elizabeth’s belief that women supporting women is the single greatest thing females can do to help us all reach higher, dream bigger, and lead better.

I met Elizabeth when I called to interview her for an article in Columbus CEO about women CEO’s and the challenges they face. Immediately, I was greeted with a warm voice and passionate advocate for helping women become more than even they imagined for themselves.

“Let’s have lunch!” she said at the end of the call.

“Of course!” I said, already excited to make a new friend, who, not only inspired me, but was simply fun to be around.

After a few months, we finally connected and when I told her about starting my company, Eleven One Productions, she immediately said, “How can I help? What can I do?”

She was interested in being helpful, being a mentor, being a supportive business owner, and being a confidant. We’ve since met over several afternoon breaks at Pistacio Vera and I count her as a friend. She is, without a doubt, a woman who will stand by another woman’s side, and help her walk through the trial by fire that is the modern day working woman/business owner/CEO/Manager/Director/Executive. If you’d like to learn her personal thoughts, check out her blog post on supporting business women owners here.

I count both myself, and the city of Columbus, better for her presence within the community.

And true to form, Elizabeth’s company, which helps manage travel plans for businesses large and small, has started a new program called Vitamin D to give back to the community. This month they’ve partnered with the United Way of Central Ohio’s Women’s Leadership Council’s E3 Initiative.

The E3 initiative was created to help low-to moderate-income working women in central Ohio become “educated, empowered and elevated” to a new level of financial stability for themselves and their families. Every vacation booked in March will have a $25 donation go to this initiative.

Though where the Vitamin D donation goes is, ultimately, up to the company who gets its travel services from UNIGLOBE, a woman-owned minority business founded in 1981 by Elizabeth’s mother, Elsie Blount. Read more about how the Vitamin D program works here.

Elizabeth’s dedication to both her personal relationships and her professional community have earned her business from The Ohio State University Athletics Department, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus City Schools, State of Ohio’s Department of Administrative Services, and Vizient’s Supplier Diversity Program.

Under Elizabeth’s leadership, UNIGLOBE Travel Designers, which is part of UNIGLOBE Travel International, the world’s largest single brand retail travel franchise company with more than 750 locations in more than 60 countries, is expanding its local offices beyond Ohio to Michigan, California, Texas, and wherever the road may lead to next.

No matter where Elizabeth goes or how she expands her full-service travel company, she will always lead with a selfless heart that’s focused on bringing other women up.

“I think it is vital for people to come from a selfless position,” said Elizabeth. “Don’t approach your relationships looking for business, but, rather, looking at how you can help another business grow. When we empower each other, our community flourishes.”

Spoken like a true woman who leads by supporting other women.

 

~ Cheers.

 

 

The beauty of Emerson, Thoreau, and Critical Theorists

I have always been in love with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Since the first time my 19-year-old eyes absorbed the inky words of “Self-Reliance,” one of his most popular essays, I was transfixed on his thoughts of transcendentalism and the belief in the essential good of man and nature.

“My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle,” wrote Emerson in Self Reliance. “I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady.”

Throughout college, I read with voracious lust the thoughts of men and women who dared to rise above the fold and observe life from a new angle. Henry David Thoreau being another favorite, with his quote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

To live deliberately, to not apologize for who I was ~ these were the battles I fought every day of my life, but were now placed before me in eloquent text. The prose was life-changing for its ability to simply and succinctly describe what was common to every man, but could not be translated into the written, nor spoken, word by him.

Once I graduated, it was rare I had time for such thought-provoking text that allowed me to observe the world from an angle that rose above the clutter of everyday life. Until recently when I enrolled in Ashland University to pursue a master’s degree. An MFA in Creative Writing, to be exact. On my journey to receive my degree, I ended up taking a master’s level course in critical theory.

IMG_1741

I had never been exposed to critical theory or its complicated text before. Initially, I was excited and intimidated by the fact I had to read the textbook alongside my Webster-Merriam dictionary just to understand it. But the deeper I got, the more I became absorbed in the complicated ideas of theorists and philosophers such as Karl Marx, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse. The purpose of the class was not to master the notion of critical theory and its philosophers, but to simply be exposed to who they were and what they brought to society.

The class, for me, was eye-opening. The notion of the individual as an entity battling external forces in order to maintain his or her freedom, and how that individual responds, is a battle we all experience on some level. I, like most, had been part of that struggle in many facets of my life, from social constructs to political and socioeconomic hierarchies. I could relate to much of what was said and wanted to explore the text more.

We all jokingly talk about fighting “the man,” but this class puts that notion into perspective and helps broadly define what it actually means and how philosophers and theorists view it from its many different angles.

I now have a reading list I’ll be working on over the next few months if you’d like to join along. Some will be revisiting old loves, while some will be first reads of texts I find fascinating.

  • Thoreau, On Walden Pond
  • Emerson, Self-Reliance, Nature, and The American Scholar
  • Marx, Communist Manifesto
  • Horkheimer (with Theodor Adorno), Dialectic of Enlightenment
  • Marcuse, One Dimensional Man
  • György Lukács, History & Class Consciousness

Do you have a book in the same vein I should check out? Or perhaps a counter-argument to these theorists and philosophers?

I’d love to hear your suggested titles!

Cheers.

Women Supporting Women: Missy Carvour Gleason

“Strong women lift each other up.”

It’s one of the first lines on Missy Carvour Gleason’s accountability group website, where she’s part of the Beachbody family of coaches.

“I feel strongly about supporting other women because I believe we have been taught to be critical of ourselves and each other – sometimes to the point that we don’t believe we’re capable of the change and future we’d like to build,” said Gleason, known to many as MissyFit, her alter ego focused on helping women find their own personal “fit.” “I once thought I was just destined to feel stressed, run down and not good enough. But that all changed when I found my fitness and then my faith.”

Missy, like many women, found herself facing weight gain after several traumatic life events. She was uncomfortable with her weight, but not sure which step to take next. Through dieting and exercise, and the Beachbody family, she reached her goals in excess of her wildest imagination, being able to now, as she says, “pay the monthly mortgage,” with her earnings from being a Beachbody Coach.

15726303_10209365552230677_3875492162375639032_n
Missy Carvour Gleason is proud of her before and after, and wants to support other women in their journey, too, far beyond just fitness and exercise. (Photo courtesy Missy Gleason)

But Missy, a wife and mother, is so much more than just her fitness.

This kind soul, whom I came to know through the media world when I was a reporter and she was a spokesperson for OhioHealth, has said prayers with me and for me in my darkest hours; and in my brightest, she was always interested in hearing who I was, inside and out. Anytime I need support, have a question, or just want to bounce an idea, Missy, who still works for OhioHealth as the editor of its wellness blog, is one of the first women who will take the call. She is, for all intents and purposes, a “girl’s girl,” the one who will sit at happy hour and have a drink, or she’ll sit with you on your couch, while your nose runs and your eyes swell, with Kleenex and cookies.

She is the epitome of women supporting women.

And women need that kind of bonding more so than men. In fact, according to a blog post on Mind, Body, Green, not only do female relationships help us ladies live longer, but a UCLA study said that women, and women alone, have a unique “tend and befriend” response to stress. In fact, when women are stressed, the study said, they don’t have a typical fight or flight response, instead they release the hormone oxytocin, which triggers them to soothe their stress by finding and bonding with someone ~ typically another woman. This is why girlfriends are so important.

It’s also why having ladies like Missy out there, willing to be that girlfriend, is so very encouraging, especially when you’re faced with change, like losing weight and starting a whole new lifestyle. If you know Missy, I hope you’ll take a moment to remind her just how great an example she sets for us ladies when it comes to supporting other women. If you don’t know Missy, get to know her on her MissyFit Facebook page, where she posts inspirational tidbits daily.

If you need a boost, Missy’s your girl. I promise you that.

“I know there are women like the old me out there,” said Missy. “I want to help them see the beauty and strength that’s already inside of them.”

Spoken like a true woman supporting other women.

Cheers!

The way I see my daughter & mother

As mothers, we come to know our children by more than just quirks in their personalities or the way they eat their breakfasts or the kinds of foods they like. These things, these tangible ways of “knowing” our children, are fleeting. They last only so long as the child doesn’t change. But the minute you put your child next to another child at school who’s bringing Ho-Ho’s for lunch, your child suddenly has a craving for Ho-Ho’s that never was before.

The tangibles change with the changing child. A child not seen by friends or family for months or years will hear them marvel at how he suddenly likes his vegetables or she is now funnier than she used to be.

So, how then, does a mother always know her child? It boils down to the intangibles. The way they smell, a look in their eye, a certain way of being in the world ~ an attitude of “this is my place.” The things that are indescribable with words, but are known without pause by a mother’s heart to say “this is my child.”

My mother, like all mothers, will say things to me like, “You’ve always been like this.” Or, “I remember how you used to be like this.” They are never specifics she gives; they are always intangible in nature, as in “it was your way of being.” Headstrong, quiet, thoughtful, trepidatious; these were my qualities. And I always preferred being defined that way ~ as a set of indefinable qualities that bore out my essence of being, rather than a changing set of tastes.

My daughter, who now loves broccoli and doesn’t care for Lucky Charms, is defined by a relentless, fearless spirit. Since the day she could walk, she threw her shoulders back and owned her space in the world with a quiet confidence that made you want to look twice. Inside her was peace, kindness, joy, and a touch of mischievousness that I admired. Even now, there always seems to be a glint in her eye and a spark in her step as if she just did, or is about to do, something good for her memories but bad for my wallet.

The same is true for how we see our own mothers.

Photographs attempt to capture these elements of being on film. A great photograph is less about the technical aspect of the picture, and more about the qualities the subject expresses within the layers of ink. And in this, I feel lucky to have a couple photos of my daughter that almost perfectly capture these qualities of who I see her to be in this world. But the one that speaks most of her inherent being is the one below. Perhaps it is her posture, perhaps it is her eyes; but I guarantee, it is the essence of who she is. This is how I see my daughter.

Photography 1_Greegor

As for my mother, the photo below is how I have always seen, and will always see her: A tireless smile working to evoke a laugh from everyone around her. Not so she could laugh, but so they could. A form of empathy working overtime to bring joy to those closest to her.

17342905_326342954435088_831122408331232228_n

Do you have a photo or two that shows the essence of your mother or children? I’d love to see them!

Cheers.

Women Supporting Women: Sasha Levinson walking the walk

My friend Jami Cullen, a Columbus-based actress, recently sent me an article on IndieWire that was posted in our Columbus Women’s Filmmaker group, which I greatly appreciated.

The article, by Kate Erbland, pointed out, yet again, that women in film continue to be sorely misrepresented in positions of power. Only eight percent of films currently set for release by major studios in 2017 and 2018 will be directed by women, as initially reported by The Wrap. A sad, and disappointing, statistic at this point in history, as women continue to battle hurdles for equality in the film industry.

One answer to the inequality is to have more women in decision-making positions, where they can reach down and pull other women up through the glass ceiling. And they can’t just talk the talk, they have to walk the walk. Which is why I like to highlight such women any chance I get. Once such woman is Sasha Levinson.

Grandville
Sasha Levinson, l, directing “Welcome to Grandville” in Granville, Ohio, in 2016, with D.P. Kate Arizmendi. Photo courtesy http://www.sashalevinson.com.

I met Sasha, who co-wrote the feature film “The Bad Penny,” (which won The Golden Palm Award at the Beverly Hills International Film Festival and Best Feature Film at the Soho International Film Festival) at one of the Columbus Film Summit meetings and we instantly clicked. She was asking good questions about tax incentives for filming, as she commutes between Columbus, Ohio, and New York City. I, at the time, was starting my very first film project, Olsky, and was looking for a director. She was interested in the possibility but, ultimately, another project came along for her. We both agreed, I would make my debut behind-the-camera and she would support me in that role.

While I was excited and confident to direct, I was also nervous. It was my first time at the helm and I knew I was going to make mistakes. A lot of mistakes. I wanted to minimize them as much as humanly possible, so Sasha took time to mentor me, to walk me through my decisions, to help me understand the lingo and what it would be like. We had lunch at North Market and by the time we were done, I felt good about stepping on that set and putting my vision into action.

A short time later, Sasha, who wrote and directed one of four short films that comprise, A Force For Good, to support the Dalai Lama’s vision for the world, was making her own short film here in Granville, Ohio. I got a surprise call from her that they needed a production company to shoot the behind-the-scenes footage for her short, interactive film, Welcome to Grandville, and would my company, Eleven One Productions, be interested? It was a paid opportunity and it was more experience for me ~ someone who was still new to the field and learning. So, of course, I said yes, and expressed how grateful I was that she remembered me and provided me the opportunity.

And I needed every opportunity I could get, so I could learn. I was desperate for knowledge.

And what Sasha did ~ remembering, reaching back out, pulling me up, helping me along, using her experience to help me find a way, is humbling, inspiring, and an example of how women need to help and support other women. As individuals, we stay at eight percent of women in charge; but when we come together, who knows how high we can push that percentage?

Sasha is currently working on two short films for Bai and Tribeca Content Studio about people who go against the grain to follow their dreams. She also just finished a great spot for Boom Chica Pop Popcorn, which you can see here.

Oh, and that interactive film that she gave me a chance to do the behind-the-scenes work? The one that had multiple women working the set, from the D.P. to P.A.’s ~ it’s almost done. Sasha says she expects Grandville, a “story of three generations of women struggling to gain their footing in the wake of tragedy and the imprint they make on a small town,” to be completed next week.

See more of her work here.

Cheers!

Promos for purpose

One thing I believe in with all my heart is giving back when you’ve been given so much. I feel I have been given tremendous opportunities in my life and so, when I can, I give back as much as possible.

With my company, Eleven One Productions, it’s part of my mission statement and business plan, to provide up to three, :30 second promos, every year, for free, to nonprofit organizations that support animals, the environment, female empowerment, single parents, or children.

In 2016, we did three: ROX, Water for Good, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. Our Water for Good promo, featuring the wonderful actress, Dianna Craig, is one of my favorites. It’s simple, it’s clear, and there’s a very specific call to action ~ $5 to give people in third world countries clean water to drink.

Water

Check out Water for Good and our other promos for purpose, here. And if you, or someone you know is interested in receiving a free promo as part of my business mission, please reach out to me at steph@stephgreegor.com

Cheers!

Interview with Framelines TV

I was thrilled to have an opportunity to sit down with Framelines TV, operated by Columbus filmmakers Peter John Ross and Scott Spears.

Framelines

It’s always a little nerve-wracking when you get interviewed because you never know what the interviewer is going to use for their story or how they’re going to frame it. But Spears made me feel very comfortable and conducted a fantastic interview. And the results were wonderful.

I’d love for you to take a peek and hear my thoughts on being a female filmmaker, as well as a little about the making of my very first film, an 8-minute short set in the hockey world, titled Olsky. You can view the interview here.

Olsky is the short based on my feature length script, The Third Period, currently in pre-production.

Framelines TV is an Emmy-award winning show that takes a look at local and national filmmakers, as well as offers tutorials on editing, like this one on match cutting. You can keep up with them on Facebook here.

You can check out the Framelines TV website here. They have some quality content coming out of there.

Enjoy!