Have you noticed how women seem to be making history everywhere?
Women’s History Month is about women making history and it changed something for me. I was never a big fan of the month of March. I first realized how much I disliked March in the mid-1990’s when a friend from graduate school and I, Robert Sardy, commiserated about how many negative things we had experienced in previous years during the month of March. We both disliked the rapidly changing weather. I remember reciting losing a business deal one March and a very big diamond ring another. I remembered how much I disliked if Easter dared to fall in March. Then I realized what a mental hole I was digging for myself about something as mundane as a month of the year. I decided to change my thinking about the month. If memory serves me, that did not work very well.
I will now admit it took a lot of years and a global pandemic, and I declare I finally like March. The focus on all the extraordinary women throughout history from every country, color, and creed has me in a constant state of awe. I realized I began to see just how much good and great work is being done all around me. If you go to my Instagram feed you will see the incredible women of FEAST featured as we close out March.
By now you know all about the Hey, Boss Lady! Podcast. Since my Instagram is devoted to FEAST, I chose to feature a few of HBL’s incredible guests I have written about before. Why? When I think back on 2020 two things stood out. First, social issues intensified, and second, moms who worked full-time and had to home school their kids were talking about wine a lot! May you be reinspired by their stories in honor of March.
It goes without saying, the pandemic disrupted life as we know it. That statement is unfortunately more evident for the victims of domestic violence. Liz Ortenberger, the CEO of SafeNest, was determined to create positive change even in the midst of unimaginable obstacles. I wish you could have been in the studio with Kristi and me when we interviewed Liz. Her spirit and determination were incredible.
Since taking the helm of SafeNest in March of 2017, Liz has been a changing force for people in domestic violence situations. With a strong background in business, Liz viewed her new role a little differently than others. She began implementing unique programs to combat domestic violence in the Las Vegas valley. One of the programs that she is most proud of is a successful program that SafeNest launched in partnership with Las Vegas Metro Police.
Liz and SafeNest partnered with Las Vegas Metro Police about three years ago for a pilot program called “PS417” in an effort to reduce or eliminate domestic violence-related homicides. SafeNest crisis advocates began meeting officers on the scene to assist victims. In the first year, domestic calls in the test area were reduced by 30% and domestic violence-related homicides were reduced to zero. This led to the program’s expansion and being implemented across Las Vegas Metro’s jurisdiction. When the pandemic began, it forced Liz and the team to pivot again and, quickly.
“I joke that we ran into the fire hopefully with our masks on because we increased our shelter capacity by over 100 beds by utilizing apartments and hotels throughout town,” says Liz. “We increased our hotline capacity. And we went 24/7 with our Metro Response Program, which is the perfect example of what communities are crying out for. How can police work better with agencies like ours? We are the poster child for that program and we took it to 24/7 during the pandemic.”
Liz and the team at SafeNest work with hundreds of domestic violence victims and batterers across the Las Vegas valley to combat domestic violence. SafeNest offers youth programs, counseling, housing assistance, a hotline and more. Across all programs, SafeNest provides direct services to more than 20,000 clients annually, serving Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Mesquite, and surrounding rural areas.
To hear more from Liz Ortenburger or for more information on the Hey Boss Lady! podcast, please click here. The podcast is available on all streaming services. Be sure to download and listen on your favorite device now.
2. The Secret to Success: Linda Neal Talks Wine, Business and Joining the Peace Corps in her 60s
Linda Neal, the owner of Tierra Roja Vineyard and CEO of Obsession Wine Company, has been a friend since she first managed a small vineyard we lived on in the Napa Valley. Even I was shocked when Linda decided to join the Peace Corps in her sixties.
I did not know Linda in high school, but it was there that she began her interest in agriculture in a high school FFA program. It was there she learned the fundamentals of planting crops and the importance of making farming financially sustainable. Linda graduated from college with a degree in business and eventually made her way to the vineyards of Napa Valley in the 1980s.
The late 1980s were the beginning of the end for many growers in the Napa Valley, but Linda pivoted successfully with the creation of a small vineyard-management company. She and her then-husband began with a client such as myself who only had a quarter-acre and then they quickly grew into farming over a 1,000 acres for owners like Cakebread, Mondavi, and Opus One. Neal attributes her long-term success to one thing — love.
Linda says, “Well, I think the secret to any success is loving what you do. Now you know the old saying if you love what you do, you never work another day in your life. And that to me is the secret. Something that you can do all day every day that brings you joy.”
After three decades of pouring her heart and soul into the beloved vineyards that fill our favorite wine glasses, Linda decided to apply for the Peace Corps and requested an assignment in the Middle East. While Linda has spent her entire life deeply rooted in community causes, this new venture was one to expand both her heart and mind.
“I realized how little I knew about the world. I knew the tiny little version, I had been spoon-fed in school. I didn’t know hardly anything,” says Linda. “And I didn’t know anything about other cultures, other people, and I thought–how can I fix all this? Well, I’m going to join the Peace Corps. And I wanted an assignment in the Middle East. “
To listen to Linda’s interview and for more information on the Hey Boss Lady! podcast, please click here. The podcast is available on all streaming services. Be sure to download and listen on your favorite device now.
ABOUT THE HEY BOSS LADY PODCAST:
Women are in positions of leadership in the business world more than ever before. And for many women who make it to the top, it’s about more than just power and a big paycheck. They’re giving back, in ways that sometimes even they never expected! Hey Boss, Lady! is our new podcast about what women are doing once they make it to the top of their fields. The stories they tell are stories of transformation. They’re stories that inspire and, at a time in our world when we’re all facing challenges, they give us hope. For more information on the Hey Boss Lady! podcast, please click here.