SPECIAL FEATURE: Meet the Dynamic Duo!

Posted on March 23, 2015. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Meet the Dynamic Duo changing the game in Women’s Leadership globally.


2015 has many initiatives taking place in the realm of women’s leadership, but one platform and movement in particular is standing out, and people are noticing. Janet C. Salazar and Constance J. Peak are the founders of IMPACT Leadership 21, leadership architects for inclusive, high growth economies. As a global social enterprise, the organization is committed to inclusive and sustainable leadership at the top level. This commitment is the driving force behind their core mission: ACCELERATE women’s leadership at the highest levels of influence in the 21st century.

Janet: Constance and I have a wealth of experience in many sectors. We have operated in corporate, governmental, non-profit, diplomatic, and entrepreneurial arenas. We observed that there were gaps across all sectors hindering the pace of advancement. We developed discussion forums and targeted training modules to address these gaps.

Constance: We grew tired of the same dialogue and not seeing the needle move very much. We grew impatient and decided to take action.

Janet: IMPACT represents the core values and principles required for transformational leadership. I – Innovation, M – Multiculturalism, P – Passion, A – Attunement, C – Collaboration, and T – Tenacity.

Together with our partners, we:

  • Convene catalytic conversations and forums that revolutionizes global leadership.

  • Provide tools, resources, opportunities and channels that equip leaders to succeed in a global, hyper-connected world.

  • Inspire emerging global leaders to be catalysts for change.

  • Engage men as powerful ambassadors for change and a gender balanced leadership at the top.

Constance: We provide discussions forums and trainings to assist companies and individuals. Through our framework, we help clients identify challenges, then structure actionable step to help them overcome those challenges. Our forums are designed to identify, build, and engage business/social ecosystems that are industry specific to accelerate leadership. If you want to build strong leadership, we are your architects.

Starting in 2012, IMPACT Leadership 21 has introduced 3 core programs: the Leadership Acceleration Training Program/High IMPACT, the Emerging Global Leaders Program, and Conversations with Men. The Emerging Global Leaders Program was taught at Columbia University (School of International Public Affairs and Teachers College) and as an academy at the United Nations. Conversations with Men was a featured content segment at the 2014 California Women’s Conference in Long Beach, CA and the 2014 GOLD Symposium in Tokyo.

Janet: I created these programs to address a need seen worldwide. Conversations with Men has a very special place. Women’s initiatives make the mistake of not including men in the acceleration of women’s leadership. The men hold the majority of the cards, you need dialogue to have people understand the importance of gender parity.

Constance: If you examine any great movement in history, you’ll see that the success come from the efforts of those immediately affected, partnering with those bystanders that are sympathetic to the cause. I mentioned this in 2012. We launched our first Conversations with Men in April 2013. We held it at the United Nations in February 2014. After that, others started developing like minded initiatives, such as He for She and Lean In Together. Many dismissed us at first, but history leaves clues to success. It’s hard to dispute the history. We’ve pioneered this level of forum and training for the 21st century.

A movement and platform cannot go far without support, and this couple has some remarkable people in their corner. Constance and Janet are also U.N. Representatives of a non-profit, the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations (FSUN U.N. Office) and both are Observers in General Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Their work at the United Nations brought in mighty advocates.

Janet: We are very humbled to have such incredible pillars to our success, very high profile supporters that have really rolled up their sleeves to help us. Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury ( Fmr. Undersecretary General of the UN), Ambassador Josephine Ojiambo (Dep. Secretary General of the Commonwealth States) and Ambassador Edita Hrda (Czech Republic Mission to the UN), and Michaela Walsh (Founding President, Women’s World Banking) are some that have been in our corner from the beginning. Leslie Grossman, founder of Women’s Leadership Exchange emphatically joined us immediately after our first event and now served as Vice Chair of our Global Advisory Council.

Constance: They are our “salmon swimming upstream”. Unheard of for most other fish, but second nature to the salmon. They are our mentors and guides as we challenge the status quo, as we challenge the ways it’s always been done, challenge the seemingly impossible. We’ve caught the vision of a changed world, now we are helping others see it. Someone always has to dream.

Janet C. Salazar and Constance J. Peak are the founders of IMPACT Leadership 21, a global movement and platform to accelerate women’s leadership at the top decision-making levels, and leadership architects for inclusive, high growth economies. You can meet the leadership architects of IMPACT Leadership 21 on March 25, 2015 at the United Nations, convening their original program, Power of Collaboration, now in its second year. For more information please visit www.impactleadership21.com or email communications@impactleadership21.com .

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Feminism 3.0 White Paper Excerpt

Posted on July 29, 2014. Filed under: Memes and Quotes | Tags: , |


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Baby Steps to Leaps!

Posted on July 11, 2014. Filed under: Memes and Quotes, My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Baby Steps

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Yeah, But Did You See the Juggling Penguin?

Posted on June 6, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Have you ever done the “Brain Game” test where you count how many times a team bounces a ball within a circle?  You are diligent in counting those bounces and at the end, you give an answer that is close or spot on.  The next question from the tester is, “Did you see the Juggling Penguin?”.  Say what?  Then the tester replays the video and sure enough, there is a Juggling Penguin that walks on set,  juggling, even waving to the camera, then walks offscreen.  How could we not notice that?  Sometimes, we focus so much on one thing, we miss Giant Juggling Penguins right in our face.wpid-img-20140524-wa0002.jpg

Recenty, I’ve met some amazing women and have embarked on a wonderful exploration with them.  My day started with a laugh and updates from Annie Lim, then a beautiful and moving video from Sahar Paz.  Next was a reconnect and update with Jenny Craig (Live Your Power, not the diet!) and settling my day with Ladina Greenwell.  As Ladina and I discussed motorcycles and crashing them (I lo-sided, she hi-sided OUCH), we touched on spirituality. Ready to roll! What Ladina said stopped me in my tracks, I got a chill, then a startling reminder 27 years in slumber.

When I was in college, both of my parents fell ill.  It was an incredibly stressful time and I remember being in a dark place most of, but not all of the time.  Talking to Ladina showed me that in telling my story, I missed Cindy.

Cindy was the Juggling Penguin.

In my despair, I did have support, friendship, and a beacon of positive energy.  Cindy was a free spirit, a hippie-chick, and I started to remember how I would feel when she walked into a room.  Everyone smiled with her, she always brought a calmness of spirit.  I remembered that she did reveal some of her challenges and how she addressed them.  Now I realize 27 years later that I’ve incorporated the lessons she shared with me.  Cindy was there all along, my Juggling Penguin, my light in the darkness.

How many times have the wings of angels brushed up against us?  How many times will we, being carried by those wings, brush against another’s life?  Honestly, we’ll never truly know.  Keep your mind open and know we all have blind spots, moments we don’t fully comprehand especially under stress.  Perseverance often comes at the hands of a Juggling Penguin.

juggling penguin

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EVERYTHING is Just a Conversation Away…

Posted on May 24, 2014. Filed under: Memes and Quotes, My Lemon Recipes, Other Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

You can meet a person for a moment and be drawn to them.  It’s a wonderful feeling as an adult, transporting you to a simpler space and time when saying hello was not complicated.

I met so many great people this past week at the California Women’s Conference.  One person I met and I’m learning more about is Sahar Paz.  We have traveled separate paths, but converged this week to realize our mission of helping others is side by side.  The Fashionista’s (I caught your style, Honey) backstory is heartbreaking, but she found how to deal with her lemons and make sweet, refreshing lemonade.  Sahar, this Lioness salutes you and your courage.  Thank you for sharing your words and the reminder that resolving life’s difficulties are just a conversation away.Image

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Watch “Defining Moments – Choose your Battles.” on YouTube

Posted on May 5, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Defining Moments – Choose your Battles.:

My mother taught me early that I must choose my battles wisely, decide what issues are worth my attention and efforts.  Sometimes, you may have to lose a battle to win a war.  Here’s my story of when I finally realized the gravity of actions and consequences.


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Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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The Doors of Destiny

Posted on March 3, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Doors of Destiny

The doors of Destiny await, what is meant for you is the key, your belief and energy turn the lock.

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Hospital Gowns

Posted on October 2, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Some of you know I maintain an organic garden. Janet can I rely upon what we grow for good health.   Lately we’ve been incredibly busy and we’ve not kept up with our large garden as we should.  Just when we thought we had the major items covered, Janet walks in with a surprise. 


Life is like a hospital gown.  When you think you’ve got everything covered, you catch a breeze letting you know you missed a spot.  You didn’t put the gown on incorrectly,  it’s designed that way.  We all at some point catch the breeze.

Excellence and perfection are two different matters.  Strive for excellence,  but don’t get caught up it’s well meaning cousin. Don’t beat yourself over matters outside of your control, because they were designed not to be controlled. Save your energy for what counts.

Perfection is a stairway to nowhere. 

By the way, that is a zucchini I’m holding, at least 4x ths size it should be!

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Courage is ACTION

Posted on September 10, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I was watching a video the Mrs. sent me about a graduate from Harvard Business School.  In it, the graduate spoke of Courage.  I began to reflect on the various challenges I’ve come across and how Courage played a part.  There were countless times I was told I’d lose the ability to walk, but Courage changed that.  I remember the evil that was pervasive in my old career, but Courage got me through, and even got my job back.  I recall fighting my introversion (still do) in speaking to people, but Courage made a way and allowed me to make a difference in my life and others.  

Simply put, Courage is the belief in a transformation, then taking ACTION to make it so.    

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Childless woman gives birth… twice!

Posted on July 29, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , |

Childless woman gives birth… twice!

We all have our challenges, I am definitely no exception.  Here’s a fantastic story by my friend, Deborah Goldstein of Women’s Advancement Compact about facing challenges head on, with some help.

Yesterday I gave birth for the second time.


Panic attacks are a personal 25 year battle

Panic attacks are a personal 25 year battle

Those who know me well have heard about (and some have witnessed episodes of) my 25-year battle with panic attacks.

The full attack I endured, a mere three months ago, brought paramedics to our little apartment on Main Street in Cold Spring. As I was on the bed, laboring for breath, trying to do my breathing exercises as my brain was going foggy, I told Michael that I felt like I was in labor. He asked if I was in physical pain and my reply was “no, emotional agony”. Five minutes later, I asked him to call 911. As Michael left the room to make the call, I questioned if I’d ever see him again.

As the female paramedic came into the room, her team was prepping an oxygen mask. After a 30-second interview, Ms. McSorley confidently concluded that I did not need oxygen, and sent everyone away. She had seen dozens of these cases before, and said to me in an authoritative voice that I was safe and was going to be okay. Then she innocently asked if I was feeling undue stress lately. I began laughing and sobbing at the same time as I labored to utter ‘yes’. More would come later as she talked me down from my desperate ledge, but ‘yes’ was all my ragged breath could manage at the moment. Before I knew it, I was Me again.

In processing that terrifying day I realized that I was birthing my new business; it was quite a dreadful process. The pressure continuously building for months, the perpetual nausea and fear of uncertainty and failure found an outlet that day. One of the realizations that occurred during the self-analysis was that my brain brought this on— my brain, and my brain alone.

Fast forward to yesterday morning, a quiet Sunday on the very same street; I felt the early signs of the next panic attack. All of the symptoms came on quite suddenly, a confluence of circumstances interrupting the quiet of my workspace, as most residents of Cold Spring were hours from rising. As the familiar and devastating pattern began to reveal itself, the words of the heroic McSorley rushed back to me. “You are safe” rang through my brain. Those words proved more valuable than gold as I averted disaster all by myself.

While still frightened, I did all of the right things. I trusted that I was truly safe, I took a slow walk to reset my breathing with new confidence that I would not collapse and be found unconscious. I acknowledged the adrenaline that was pulsing through my body, and after about an hour, I knew I’d thwarted the symptoms and prevented the attack before the vital point of no return. The only real side effect: pure exhaustion for 24 hours to follow.

The two big ingredients: the paramedic’s insistence— which mimicked countless doctors over the years, and my newfound knowledge, combined to yield one immediate conclusion. I was birthing something new, but this time, it would be a seamless and beautiful occasion.

I have more processing to do, but quite a few pieces came together yesterday. I understand exactly what triggered the attack, and will continue to work with the knowledge I’ve gained about levels of energy. This is a work in progress, but I’m triumphant. Unbeknownst to me, I was a guinea pig of a future energy session, and I’m glad to be here to tell about it!

I’ve learned much about stress and its relationship to personal energy over the last few months, as the Women’s Advancement Compact has been preparing our September community event “Personal Energy: Sustainable and Abundant”. We will be exploring how stress and anxiety affect energy, in the body, and in the self. There will be something in here for everyone.

– See more at: http://www.womensadvancementcompact.com/2013/07/childless-woman-birth-twice/#sthash.Bx1VGVDL.UIt9yTA7.dpuf

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The whole world is waiting for YOU!

Posted on March 27, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The first time I heard this song, it brought tears to my eyes and still does. Your dreams are beautiful, and your dreams make you beautiful.

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The Person Inside of Us, Part One.

Posted on December 29, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

cj speaks

Often, I get sidetracked and don’t post in the moment.  Well, I can’t let this moment slip by.  This is a two parter, as I tell my story of the past two weeks.

On 12.12.12, my lovely Wife conceptualized and executed a high level leadership summit, in the span of 57 days.  She brought together two of the most powerful female ambassadors in the world, Academians, Feminist Pioneers, high power Wall Streeters, Philanthropists, and Entrepreneurs to discuss increasing the number of women in leadership roles.  So many times, we hear parallel goals amongst women’s groups, but the entities never converge.  History has shown that the greatest gains have occurred through collaboration, and that is what we presented.  I watched a 91 yr old activist laughing with a 23 yr old chemist and a 40-something entrepreneur, sharing common ground.  When I gave the welcome remarks, I gave three takeaways I’d hope the attendees would take to heart:  1.  “The years teach what the days will never know.”  I learned this in the police academy, that there is a wealth of knowledge in this world, and someone has already traveled the path you will soon embark upon.  Learn from them.  2.  “We need each other to make the greatest strides.”  We all have our differences, but we have common ground, too.  We need to work with each other to accomplish our common goals, any major victory in this world has occurred when people reach across the aisle.  3.  “We need men.”  When delivered by a burly lesbian, one would have a hard time taking this statement out of context.  My father was hugely instrumental in who I am as an activist, businesswoman, and humanitarian.  Whether is be  a family member, friend or colleague, we need men as allies for the advancement of women.  The gathering was a success.  www.impactleadership21.com

cj group 1

As we’re riding high off our event, breaking news comes over the airwaves.  A shooting has occurred in CT.  As time goes on, we get more details, and they are horrific.  The last time I had information hit me this hard was 9/11/01.  Obviously there would be similarities and differences.  I was a first responder during 9/11 and I knew I would be in CT.

Dear Friends:  I thank you for your accolades, but please know, I have difficulty accepting them.  I do appreciate your words, I just have difficulty expressing my appreciation.  Taking compliments is one of my flaws.

Jann and I put up a public “car share”, so others wanting to help could have a ride.  Minerva Diaz of the NYMLK Center for Non-Violence and Dr. Judy Kuriansky, our friends, took us up on the offer.  Both have a wealth of experience in healing dialogue, so we were confident we could help.

We had reports of road closures, but that was not the reality.  I drove through back roads for no worth other than scenery.  We arrived at the Reed Intermediate School where we knew they had counseling teams.  We were warmly greeted by volunteers from Billy Graham Ministries, then not so warmly by the Red Cross.  When we were introducing ourselves, one of the women in charge walked away mid sentence.  We looked for the grief counselor sign in and signed up for available slots.

I’ve had difficulty identifying as a first responder, but by definition, any entity that secures the front lines is a first responder.  Cops, EMT’s, counselors and grief/stress handlers are first responders.  Training only gets you so far, the rest is having a heart for it.  Preparing for something like this is limited, but some components remain the same.  People would need support.

Dear Red Cross:  Cold meals and no smiles, even to children, does not count as support.  You take in tons of money but what you give is mediocre.  YOU SUCK.  Support is placing a sterno so kids can have some hot baked ziti, or a $39 40 cup hot pot (I know, I bought one and brought it up) so that people enduring sleepless nights had a point of comfort.  Support is returning a smile from a kid that was covered in blood a day before.  That family was looking for comfort and you failed to deliver.  Yes, you had lots of stuffed animals, but did you hear the kids saying they felt guilty taking presents?  They Yankees donated the Christmas monkeys, but who did they really go to?  More volunteers than affected persons.  The world will know what you did, signed The burly black woman in the cowboy hat.

We talked to some of the first responders while Dr. Judy talked to the clinicians.  There were a few townspeople around, but they were slightly standoff-ish.  Understandable.  We kept smiles for all and asked how people were doing resident or visitor.

Dr. Judy suggested we go to one of the churches.  We got in the truck and went to New Hope Community Church.  There were news crews outside, but we walked past them withut a word, finding our Billy Graham friends inside.  We sat in the back waiting for services to begin when we noticed a news crew filming within the sanctuary.  TACKY and DISRESPECTFUL.  We noticed a reservation among the people until the crews exited.

That’s when the tears flowed.

Most of the right side of the church were parishioners.  They all knew someone killed, and some of their children escaped.  They started venting their anger, frustration, hurt, fears and we listened.  At one point, Jann went to the truck and got Puffs, distributing them amonst the teary-eyed attendants.  We heard so many stories of pain.  One woman was wailing in the foyer, saying she was a bad mother for not knowing how to talk to her kids about this.  I reassured her that healing will come in due time, and she will find the words, and to not lose hope.  This community needed to feel love and support and I’m so glad we could be of comfort.

On the ride home, we shared notes and made an assessment.  This community will need long term healing.  They are a spiritual people, with several churches, synagogues and  mosques.  It seemed this communtiy did everything right.  What went wrong?  Could they have prevented this?  What will they do, what will the children do?

Part two will answer more and tell more.  For now, I need to recuperate physically.  The mental is ready.

cj newtown

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Gangsta White Walls…

Posted on June 11, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , |

We have been frantic getting ready for Afsheen’s visit.  We’ve been overdue for a spring clean-up, so quite a bit has been chucked, scrubbed, vacuumed… you get my point.  Monday mornings mean garbage pick-up, so we put everything out Sunday night.

I forgot to let Bowie out before bed, so I got up (3:30am) so he could do his business.  Our garbage bags were opened and rummaged through, including our kitchen trash!!  Earlier, someone took the metal items we put at the curb (scrappers), but to tear into and search our garbage, and leave trash strewn on our neatly swept sidewalk is a different bird.  I was so mad…

Then it hit me:  people opened the garbage bags, searching for anything of value.  There but for the grace of God go I.  


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Losing Your Job, Part Three (Finale)

Posted on May 26, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This is the last of this series on my blog, www.MoreLemonsPlease.com, but not the end of the story.

Life is not a straight line.  If it were, I’d be a veterinarian.  Life has twists and turns, and nothing is promised, other than nobody gets out of this life alive (except Enoch and Elijah).  I’m not religious, but I am a woman of faith, and I have relied on my faith to turn the corners of life.  When my parents fell ill almost at the same time, I left my veterinary studies and joined law enforcement.  When I got fired, I took on modeling and ran an apparel company (and still DJ’ed around the US and Canada).  I accomplished things I never pictured myself doing.  Now that I was separated from the apparel company and was driving back to NJ from the St. Louis area, I found myself crying from the instability of my circumstances (no job, no home, almost broke, etc), but little did I know I was driving smack dab into a reality check.

I made it as far as Indianapolis (Nap Town!).  All the time I was in the Midwest, I didn’t experience any tornados.  That day, I drove into my first tornado. No, make that FIVE tornados!!!  It was May 1999 and the area had five different sightings.  I stopped crying about instability, and prayed to see tomorrow.  I remember the howling, how the sky lit up.  It was unreal and I was scared, and alone, painfully alone.  I managed to get a call in to my mom before the power lines went dead.  There was one conversation left for me to have.

I got down on my knees.

The next day, my Chulo (Toyota 4Runner) was waiting for me, not a scratch on him!  I found a working payphone and called Mom.  She told me mail just came and there was a letter from the State of NJ.  They wanted to settle out of court and give me my job back.  Life made another turn in 24 hours time, and faith kept me on course.  I was reinstated time and position-wise, but of course they weren’t giving back pay (that would be another lawsuit).  I walked back in and those that caused the issues tread lightly in my presence.  Those that were victimized, officers and inmates alike, called upon me to help them with their challenges and issues of injustice.  They knew I was fighter, but more importantly, I knew I was a fighter.  I knew I was a survivor.  I knew the challenges, the lemons of life, were there for a reason, even if we don’t know or see why immediately.  I accepted life’s lemons, and made it my business (literally and figuratively) to amass as many recipes to deal with all these dang lemons, giving thanks for each one.  Even my car accident in 2002 which left me with permanent injuries was a blessing.  I have no regrets on this journey.

To close this series, there are certain things I would hope the reader could take away.  Life is tricky.  We all have challenges.  Our challenges shape us because we are works in progress, and we come out of it sculpted as works of art.  That’s character.  Some of us are “pieces of work” as some folk would describe it.   We ALL are the offspring of survivors and fighters.  We all have it in us to take adversity and reverse its course.  Hope and Love will forever be your friend and often show up when you are alone.  Looking at these, my hope for the reader is to take those lemons, create something beautiful from them, then turn to this big ole’ world and say “More Lemons Please”.

Feel free to drop me a line and share your recipes.

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