In the News
Thursday June 3 2010
As Published in Fayette Woman
There are questions you hope you never ask. “Will I be able to work with my radiation? Should I tell my elderly parents about my cancer? How can I show my toddler I love her if I can’t pick her up?”
For those in Fayette County struggling with cancer, the answers have all been a traffic-heavy drive to Atlanta. With the opening this month of Piedmont Fayette Hospital’s new Cancer Center, some of that should be remedied.
The Cancer Center will provide many needed services for diagnosis and treatment of cancer as well as free wellness services for any cancer patient—like nutritional counseling, cooking demonstrations, gentle exercise classes, art and music groups and support groups. The wellness aspects of care are funded by the community.
One community group has taken on the challenge of helping to answer these questions.
“We want to provide those fighting with cancer with the support and resources they need for the greatest success,” said Vicki Turner, chairperson of the Red, White and Pink event for the Business Women of Fayette and Coweta County.
Scheduled for June 10, 2010 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., Red, White and Pink features the selections of a sommelier paired with small bites prepared by My Chef Nancy Jaworski. Attendees will enjoy the music of Capo3, and will have the opportunity to win a golf cart donated by Golf Rider. This Wine Tasting paired with Small Bites requires advance paid reservations of $100 per person.
To reserve your place at this gastronomic charity event, send a check to BWFC (Business Women of Fayette & Coweta) P.O. Box 692, Senoia, GA 30276. Checks must be received by June 7.
The Business Women of Fayette and Coweta County, a nonprofit organization, selects causes that will best serve the women and children of this community. For 2010, The Cancer Wellness Center is a key cause. The Red, White and Pink event was developed in order to raise the funding to cover the twice-monthly women’s support groups that will be conducted at the center when it opens in June of this year.
“Because of the generosity of the BWFC and Chef Nancy, nearly all of this donation will go directly to providing emotional and personal support to women struggling with cancer,” said Vicki Turner. “I hope that the men and women of our community will come out to support this important cause. Together we make this a better place to live and thrive.”
For additional information about this event, contact Vicki Turner at 770-639-6901 or Nancy Jaworski at 770-316-6437.
Wednesday April 7 2010
By: Maggie Worth/as published in Fayette Examiner
Domestic violence is on the news nearly every night: another pregnant woman killed by her spouse, another stalker who didn’t get stopped in time, another group of children facing foster homes. Abusers rarely stop on their own.
So where do the abused go when they are ready to escape their dangerous lives? One option is Community Welcome House, an emergency and transitional shelter for women and families fleeing violent homes. Because CWH is not a state-run facility, they can offer a different environment and can offer each recovering victim the customized support she needs. Some residents remain only a night or two; some remain much longer. Each resident is helped to create a “plan” for their next stage of life which may include educational, employment and housing goals. Counseling is offered to both on-site residents and off-site program participants.
“The goal,” explains facility director Linda Kirkpatrick, “is to transition these families from societal takers who require governmental assistance to societal givers who can support themselves and their families and who can contribute in meaningful ways to their communities.”
Residents are expected to comply with house rules that are created to help move families forward and, most importantly, to keep residents and staff safe. Cell phones are not used within the facility because the signals can be (and have been) tracked by abusers. The facility’s location remains undisclosed to the public for the same reason.
There are many prevalent misconceptions about domestic violence. It is everywhere and, contrary to what we would like to believe, it transcends income, class and race. It happens in “good” parts of town and “bad.” CWH certainly offers assistance to the unemployed, the welfare-dependant and even women with prior felony convictions. In addition, they assist emancipated minors who have aged out of the foster care system. They also see a startling number of professional women: lawyers, accountants and even doctors.
Linda elaborates: “People look at a woman who is being abused and they wonder why she doesn’t ‘just leave’. They think she must be stupid or bad. They don’t understand what a deep hold an abuser has over his (or her) victim. And most abusers don’t let go easily. ‘Just leaving’ is a major undertaking.”
It can be done, though. It takes courage, fortitude and a place to go. CWH is there to help. A former resident who prefers to remain nameless for security reasons says:
“Community Welcome House gave me strength and dignity. Also, they remained in my life after I left to check on me and my child. They have provided groceries, clothing, birthday presents and even our Christmas meal and presents. The staff loves very deeply and shows great compassion.”
Community Welcome House also wants to remind people that domestic violence against men does happen and is on the rise. While they do not have the ability to serve men as residential participants, male victims are offered the same support as women in terms of counseling, legal advice and escorts to court appointments. All program participants are offered continued support after they leave the facility. CWH is involved for as long as the former victim needs them to be.
CWH is supported exclusively by grants and private donations. Fundraisers such as the annual ‘Coweta’s Dancing Stars’ and events held by organizations like the Business Women of Fayette and Coweta provide much-needed funding. CWH also recently became the first non-profit of its kind to receive grants for going green. The parent charity runs a donations-only thrift store where program participants can shop for free. It is open to the general public as well and proceeds go directly to CWH.
Despite these funding options, Linda confides that every month is tough money-wise. Last year CWH was “in the black” for only four of the twelve calendar months.
Asked about the ultimate goal of CWH, Linda says she hopes and prays to eventually go out of business, not due to lack of funding, but due to lack of need.
For more information visit Community Welcome House on the web. Offers of assistance can be emailed to email@example.com.
Author’s note: while Community Welcome House is actually located in Coweta County, they provide services to and draw substantial support from surrounding counties including Fayette.
Monday April 5 7 2010
By: Maggie Worth/as published in Fayette Examiner
Once upon a time, Nancy Jaworski spent a lot of time riding mass transit home from her high-powered corporate job. As she chatted with other women on the bus, she heard the same plaints over and over again: “What am I going to fix for supper?” and “I wish I had time to cook, but my kids are so hungry by the time I pick them up that fast food is our only option.” Surely, thought Nancy, there must be a better solution.
But on she went with the commute and the pressures and the stress. Then one day, faced with delivering another round of layoffs to her staff, she decided she’d had enough. She volunteered to be a part of the layoffs and took some time to reflect on what was next. Then one day, she had several good friends over for dinner and a brainstorming session. She presented to them all of the many ideas she had for her next career move. They smiled and they nodded and finally someone said “well, sure you could do any of that but, you know, this food is pretty good.”
Nancy remembered those stressed-out mothers on the train and My Chef Nancy was born. She marshaled her cooking skills and corporate background, then sought out additional training and market feedback. She learning which foods freezes well, how much preparation to leave to the client and how to run and market her own business.
Today, My Chef Nancy has a base of customers that order meals weekly. Clients fill out an easy but detailed online survey that covers allergies, likes, dislikes and special needs as well as preferred preparation styles. Nancy then provides weekly options from which the client can pick five entrees and five sides. Entrees provide a typical family of four with one meal or a family of two with two meals. Meals are easy to prepare, healthful and require little clean up. Nancy can work with all types of requests from food allergies to vegan or vegetarian diets to organic requests.
Regular customer **** says *****.
My Chef Nancy also offers catering services. While she often caters full meals for weddings and other events, her specialty is “small bites receptions” featuring easy to eat, “clean” food that allows for the hugging, hand shaking and other interaction common to graduation and retirement parties, bridal and baby showers and especially funeral receptions. She caters to retreats and meetings and will even cater an intimate dinner party or a romantic meal for two in your home.
Nancy offers some truly unique services as well. Far-away parents with students in local colleges can have their child’s favorite pie, cake or cookies baked and delivered to them. One out-of-town customer called when her spouse was temporarily relocated here for a special project. My Chef Nancy delivered his favorite pie once a month for almost a year. Nancy also teaches cooking classes for children and adults and conducts cooking-themed team-building events.
Does she ever regret her decision to leave the ‘rat race?’ “I look back at it with an increasing appreciation and much less anger as I move forward. That experience, as all of my experiences, has taught me so much. Starting a business without those business skills would have been very difficult. I feel much more gratified every day when I do this job as I feel far more in control of my destiny. The time I flash back with a a little envy is when I pay my health insurance bill!! All in all, every step I take I am lucky enough to have miles behind me for the march forward.”
For more information visit My Chef Nancy on the web.
Monday March 22 2010
by Maggie Worth/Examiner.com
AJAKO. That’s an interesting name for a business and it isn’t the last name of the owners, either. Actually, the name reflects owner Patti Kadkhodaian’s passion for family; the letters are the initials of her sons. Armand, Justan, Artemis and Kevan all have names based in the paternal family’s Persian roots. Since Patti began her business as a way of helping to support her family, it only made sense to name the business after them.
In fact, her business began small, literally. She received an embroidered bib as a gift when she had her second son and thought “I could do this!” For the next few years, she sold hand-embroidered bibs. But, once word got around about the quality of her work, people started asking for other items to be embroidered as well. Eventually, she bought a commercial embroidering machine, a machine that is still used in the shop today.
AJAKO is now a thriving business with a large customer base. They custom-embroider a remarkable number of items and also offer engraving services, both in-house. They can work with a single piece or an order of thousands of pieces, depending on the customer’s need. Schools are a large portion of their business. They also work with screen print orders which are outsourced but project-managed by AJAKO staff.
“Our focus is on getting the job done right,” Patti says. “We do our best to do it right the first time and if it’s wrong, we fix it. Period. We want each customer to have a good experience with us.”
AJAKO moved into their present Peachtree City location in 2005. The facility combines shop, offices and a public showroom. In 2009, they were awarded Small Business of the Year by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.
Long-time customer Cele Eifert explains why she chooses AJAKO:
“They are local, and I believe in keeping my money local when I can. But also, they are extraordinarily honest and friendly, they do quality work and they bend over backwards to get me what I need. What more could I ask?”
So, about the “O” in the company name, what does that stand for? Originally, the business was incorporated as AJACO to stand for the first three sons and “co” for “company”. Then son Kevan was born and the C became a K. Now, Patti admits, they use the O for the important “extras” in their lives like pets. “We’ve had an Oliver and an Olivia,” she says. “We just keep finding more ways to use that leftover O.”
For more information visit AJAKO on the web
Monday March 15 2010
by Maggie Worth/Examiner.com
Everyone experiences life changes. Most of us have moments when we wonder if we’re doing what we’re meant to do and living the life we’re meant to live. Usually we move right past those moments until they start coming too frequently to ignore. When it comes time to reevaluate, a life coach can be a valuable resource.
Amy Anderson, owner of Aim Me. understands clients in transition. She first investigated a life coaching class while trying to find a cure for her own feeling of having “lost herself.” She was so taken with what she learned that she decided to pursue a career in life coaching. She is now in the process of obtaining her CPCE certification.
Amy focuses on helping her clients become “creative, resourceful and whole.” Through visualization, planning and goal-setting activities, she helps people discover what they want, what they don’t want and how they want to achieve it. Her goal is to help people find fulfillment and to teach them the importance of valuing themselves.
One of Amy’s jobs is to find each client’s “saboteur,” the voice inside that responds negatively to life opportunities and changes. She works by asking powerful questions to aid clients in thinking through options and helping them to feel connected when they feel disconnected from themselves or their lives.
Clients also have responsibilities when working with a coach, cautions Amy. They must be open to change, willing to work through issues that may be stopping them and must truly want more out of their lives.
People generally fall into two mindsets about Amy’s job. Many are very enthusiastic about the idea of having someone with an outside perspective to help them figure out where they want to go in life. Others are skeptical and feel this is the kind of thing people should be able to do for themselves. But Amy encourages those people to remember that you go to a doctor when you’re sick and a mechanic when your car isn’t running correctly. Engaging a life coach shouldn’t carry any more stigma than hiring a personal trainer.
“Living a fulfilling life is a radical act,” says Amy. “It’s all about balance.”
For more information visit Aim Me on the web and try out the “Wheel of Life” activity on her home page.
Thursday March 4 2010
By: Maggie Worth/as published in Fayette Woman
The Business Women of Fayette & Coweta Counties (BWFC) held their first meeting of the year on February 23rd. Over 50 members, prospective members and guests gathered at Maguire’s Family and Friends Restaurant in Senoia to review 2009 achievements and discuss plans for 2010.
The BWFC is a dues-based community services organization comprised of female business owners and leaders who place a high priority on giving back to the communities in which they live and work. Members represent a broad spectrum of industries throughout Fayette and Coweta counties. Begun only a year ago with 12 founding members, the BWFC has grown to 50 members dedicated to networking, supporting one another and investing in the community.
One main focus of the February meeting was the announcement of 2010 cause focuses. Members voted to continue support of the Community Welcome House, a safe haven for women and children escaping domestic violence. Members further voted to support the Fayette Piedmont Cancer Wellness Center, opening in June 2010. The Cancer Wellness center will compliment clinical services by providing cancer patients and their families with whole-life wellness programs in nutrition, exercise, art and more. In addition, the BWFC will again participate in the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball, a western-style fundraising event in support of the fight against cancer.
The meeting also marked the first annual presentation of The BWFC Award. Member Jalon Burton, who presented the awards for 2009, explains that this award “recognizes high achieving women leaders within our organization who have established a legacy of excellence and contributed significantly to their community.” Awards were presented to Wendy Maguire, co-founder and president of BWFC and to Patti Kadkhodaian, co-founder and Recording Secretary of BWFC.
Other high points of the evening included a positive living program presented by life and career coach Amy Anderson of Aim Me and fundraising for Community Welcome House in the form of raffling products donated by members Beyond the Door, Artworx and Gina Pace as well as corporate sponsors e.l.f. cosmetics and Long Winter Farm organic soaps and lotions. Attendees enjoyed a buffet meal at discounted cost and owner Wendy Maguire contributed a portion of the proceeds to Community Welcome House as always. Additional information on the Business Women of Fayette & Coweta Counties may be found online at www.bwfcc.org. Guests considering membership are welcome to attend the organization’s next meeting on April 27th at Maguire’s Family and Friends Restaurant.
Monday February 8 2010
By: Adrienne Leon/Fayette Daily News
Most business organizations have one goal in mind – networking to create more business. But a new local group is using its resources for a generous cause, while seeking members to join the mission along the way.
As the name suggests, the Business Women of Fayette and Coweta County (BWFC) consists of women entrepreneurs and business leaders, but what’s unique about this savvy group is that they also share a heart for public service.
Formed in 2009, BWFC members put their heads together to focus on three local causes to support through fundraising or service efforts during the year.
“You have a lot of women looking to make a difference, not just in finance, but in how we can make a positive change in the community,” said Ellie White-Stevens, BWFC spokeswoman. Three years ago, BWFC President Wendy Maguire, owner of Maguire’s Family and Friends Irish Pub and Family Restaurant in Senoia, introduced the idea of forming a service group to fellow business woman, Patti Kadkhodaian, who would later become the co-founder of BWFC.
“I frequented a coffee shop that Wendy had, and she came to me with the idea for us to give back through charity,” said Kadkhodaian, owner of AJAKO promotional advertising company in Peachtree City.
So in their first attempt, the women teamed up to gather volunteers, who raised $3,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society’s “Cattle Baron’s Ball” in Fayette County, the world’s largest single-night fundraiser for cancer research.
Kadkhodaian said the initial success encouraged them to make their group official, which is a process on the verge of completion.
The Cattle Baron’s Ball remains one of the three projects BWFC is currently working on. The group is also sorting out renovation plans for the Community Welcome House in Coweta County as the second project, which ties into the third in the series, an “extreme home makeover.”
The BWFC has elected to assist the Community Welcome House, designed to be a safe haven for women and children of domestic violence, by supplying decor furnishings that withstand the volume of families at the facility.
A committee is also spearheading room renovations, to include wall-painting among other spruce-ups, to make for a cozier environment.
BWFC is looking for women in the business community who have a heart for giving to join the organization.
The cost for membership is $50 for a year. Meetings are held at Maguire’s Family and Friends Irish Pub and Family Restaurant in Senoia on the fourth Tuesday of every even month Senoia, 7 p.m.
The next meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 23, featuring Amy Anderson of Aim Me, who will facilitate with tips on life and career transitions. Food will also be available to order.
Thursday October 29 2009
By: Ben Nelms/The Citizen
It is all about giving back, no matter what. That is the idea and the mission behind the recent formation of the non-profit Business Women of Fayette and Coweta.
BWFC was formed with the intent of empowering women, promoting networking and helping the less fortunate. The organization’s most recent bi-monthly meeting was held Oct. 27 at Maguire’s Family & Friends in Senoia. Speaking after the meeting were Wendy Maguire and Patti Kadkhodaian, two of the groups organizers.
Maguire said the precursor of the organization formed about three years ago with nearly a dozen women doing low-key fundraising for different charities. Then earlier this year the group decided they needed to up the ante on their participation.
“We decided we needed to do more and to pool our resources,” Maguire said. “But it’s not about the money we raise. It’s about what we bring to the table.”
That idea is an attractive notion to an increasing number of local business women, this desire to expand their impact in their communities in areas of need. So starting with nearly a dozen in February, the metamorphosis of intent and empowerment had transitioned into a group of 33 that attend the Oct. 27 meeting. And it was at that meeting that a $2,000 check was presented for the Cattle Barons Ball/American Cancer Society fundraiser.
“We needed to do something more,” Kadkhodaian said of the group’s emerging efforts and its current application for non-profit status. “We want to have a networking venue for members and we want to empower women and we want to give back to the community.”
BWFC will typically have three ongoing fundraising and assistance efforts each year, Maguire said. One of those efforts is assisting the Community Welcome House shelter for abused women and their children in Coweta County. Shelter representative Linda Kirkpatrick and one of the shelter’s staff attended the Oct. 27 meeting to make a presentation.
Other items on each meeting’s agenda also include a variety of informational and networking opportunities. Upcoming speakers will include life coaching, fitness and nutrition and obstetrics/gynecology. Agenda’s are structured so that each meeting will have something women can take with them and better their lives, Kadkhodaian said.
If the energy and zest of the 33 women at the Oct. 27 meeting is any indication, it will be interesting to see in the near term what the Business Women of Fayette & Coweta will accomplish.
“We have to give back, no matter what,” Maguire explained.
BWFC dues are $50 per year. For more information on the Business Women of Fayette and Coweta contact Wendy Maguire at (770) 361-3716 and firstname.lastname@example.org or Patti Kadkhodaian at (678) 472-1199 and email@example.com.