Laurie Martin - January 2012

Laurie Martin has been teaching self-love and personal empowerment for over ten years. Her indomitable courage pushed her to transition from her corporate job as a Vice President to follow her heart. As a Professional Speaker, certified Life Coach, Author, Advice Columnist, and writer, Laurie passionately shares her wisdom, tools, exercises, and visualizations to help others connect with their infinite powerful being. She is the author of the published book, Smile Across Your Heart: The Process of Building Self-Love and audio downloads The Conscious Break Up Guide: Navigating Through The End of Your Relationship, and Becoming Your Own Best Friend. Website:, Email:
Past Featured Co-Authors
Joel Heller - February 2012

Joel spent twenty five years in the insurance industry in various underwriting and management positions before setting off on a new adventure in 2010. He decided to turn his passion for economic and social justice into a business. With a head full of ideas, a heart full of hope and a stomach full of butterflies he opened a small retail store in Vermont. The Dancing Sun LLC offers clothing, jewelry and gifts produced based on the principals of Fair Trade. By participating in Fair Trade, Joel believes that we all benefit by providing economic opportunities for producers around the world to showcase their talents and do so in a manner of cooperation that benefits all parties involved. 

Joel got involved with Life Carrots through his friendship with the author, David Mezzapelle, who he met while attending Fairfield University. Participation in Life Carrots was another leap of faith by Joel. He has no formal experience as a writer, but thought his life experiences could bring a unique perspective to the project. His submissions focus on the day to day people and events that shape our lives. 

Joel lives with his wife of ten years in New Hampshire and looks forward to sharing his unique vision of the world with you in the pages of Life Carrots. If you are interested in learning more about The Dancing Sun LLC and Joel’s vision visit them online at

Mary Ann Davis - March 2012 

Mary Ann is an experienced coach and counselor for life’s transitions. She often serves as an example for her clients – not only through her direct work with them, but also because of the changes she has made in her own life. She can point to the fact that, other than a brief time as a kindergarten teacher, she has spent her life working with adults. Mary Ann has been an airlines reservationist, a communications specialist, corporate trainer, academic/educational advisor, outplacement counselor, and director of career and educational services. For the last 15 years she has served as a career counselor and coach for adults in transition.

Mary Ann also demonstrated the ability of adults to make successful changes in their lives by returning to college to complete a bachelor’s degree 15 years after she first enrolled and graduated with honors. Mary Ann has maneuvered through the world of change and now serves as a guide to others. The Greater Cincinnati Counseling Association recognized her as Outstanding Counselor in 2010. In 2004 she was selected to participate in the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development sponsored by the Higher Education Collaborative.

These days, Mary Ann assists clients in person through Holistic Counseling Care of Cincinnati and online through Your Career Plan ( She serves as an objective observer as individuals make decisions and an experienced guide as they plan for and make transitions in their lives. Mary Ann has helped hundreds of individual complete career assessments and identify exciting new career options, cope with job loss, and to prepare for a job search or continue their education. She also teaches a non-credit career development course for the University of Cincinnati.  

Follow her insightful blog posts at

Lisbeth Calandrino - April 2012

Lisbeth believes that her love for business started when she missed the cut off age for attending first grade and spent the year carrying her dad’s lunchbox to his construction sites. Summers were spent with her grandfather on his fruit farm selling apples. She made her business debut at age nine when she started a fishing worm business. This allowed her to purchase her most beloved possessions: a bike and baseball mitt. Her money back worm guarantee won her praise from the local fishermen. 

 Lisbeth’s recent book, Red Hot Customer Service; is dedicated to her dad and his business teachings. The book is also the basis for a 52 week video retail training program. Her newest book, The Farmer’s Granddaughter provides the foundation for business lessons learned from the farm. 
A two time cancer survivor, she has spoken extensively about her experiences of cancer, offering words of comfort and inspiration. As an activist, Lisbeth has initiated and contributed to many charitable causes. She has worked with at-risk youth, spoken out against injustice and advocated to and helped to build resources for women. Lisbeth is active in her community as a board member the Animal Protective Foundation and education director of BRNG, a networking group.  

As a presenter, Lisbeth Calandrino is highly motivational, information-rich, and very entertaining. Her acute business sense, contagious enthusiasm, positive energy and fun sense of humor make her a dynamic presenter.

Lisbeth resides in historic Hudson Park in Albany, New York and admits she is happiest when she is working out at the gym or training her cat, Raineyday., Facebook and Twitter

Dee Cascio - May 2012

Dee founded the Professional Counseling and Life/Retirement/ReCareer Coaching Center in 1986. She works with individuals, couples and groups to achieve healthier and more satisfying lives now and as they transition to a more fulfilling lifestyle. Dee is a private practice licensed psychotherapist who successfully entered the coaching arena as a certified life coach and a certified retirement and Re-Career coach. Dee writes a retirement planning newsletter on various aspects of creative lifestyle planning. She makes presentations about life planning to financial planners, professional groups, church and civic associations. She is also a member of Rotary International and the Dulles Chamber of Commerce, and she volunteers in her community. 
Karen Lyons Kalmenson - June 2012

I am older than dirt and proud of it! I have managed to incorporate my eternal 60's nation spirit with the high tech 21st century world. 

I am poet/painter who dabbles in rhyme and sometimes reason. My passions are my husband, who is truly the wind that ruffles my sails, animal rights, yoga, the beach, and waking up in the morning. I find inspiration in too many things to list, and far too many more to remember. I have added sketching, watercolor painting, and photography to my ways of expressing joy and gratitude. From living with a chronic illness, i have learned the beauty of each day and to treat each as another sun salutation, and another chance.

 Follow Karen at her blog

Check out Karen's ebook

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Alan A. Malizia - July 2012

Alan attended Sacred Heart University in Bridgeport, Connecticut and earned a B.A. in mathematics and a M.A. in education. His professional experience included corporate positions with companies such as Walden Books and then he shifted gears to teaching, his true passion.
Alan taught at Our Lady of Fatima in Wilton, Connecticut and then at Stamford Catholic High School in Stamford, Connecticut where he ultimately became renowned coach for the girls volleyball team. Under Alan, the team earned 4 state championship titles, one county title and numerous city and division titles as well. Many of Alan’s players earned athletic scholarships. Alan earned Connecticut Coach of the Year in 1988 and was selected for the Connecticut volleyball hall of fame in 2007. Alan wrote 2 self-published books: "The Little Red Chair," an autobiography about his life experience with polio and "A View From The Quiet Corner," a selection of his poems and reflections. Alan received book awards from the USA Book News National in 2009 and was the International Book Award finalist in poetry for the inspirational category and winner in the religious category in 2010. 

"I am a 62 year old retired teacher and athletics coach. At the age of four I contracted polio. After a lengthy recovery I was able to walk using crutches and braces. I attended school, full time, in the second grade. My interest in the space program led me to a degree in mathematics and a position as a systems analyst with an engineering firm after graduation. In time, I realized my dream profession was anything but that. During this period I was coaching recreational girls basketball. I found more fulfillment here than in any other endeavor I had pursued. This led to a change in direction, resulting in a change of careers and a masters degree in education. I became a secondary school mathematics teacher and high school athletics coach. High school girls volleyball was my most prominent sport. During a twenty two year coaching career our program had produced, 4 class-S state championships, a county championship, and a number of division and city titles. In 1985 we had the rarest of seasons; a perfect 25-0 record. A good number of my players would go on to play in college under scholarship. In 1988 I was named the Connecticut High School Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year, and in 2007 was inducted into the Connecticut Woman's Volleyball Hall of Fame. In 2012, one of my former players would follow me. All was made possible by all who had a part in the program, from players to assistants coaches, athletic director , and administrators.

 In 2000 I would retire from it all due to the effects of post polio syndrome. At the request of my mother, before her passing, I would write the story of my life experience with polio, “The Little Red Chair.� This experience, besides being cathartic, would also open a new door of interest and possibility through writing. My second book, “A View From The Quiet Corner,� is a selection of poems and reflections. Since the publishing of these books, I have written a piece on Religious Freedom, published in my diocesan monthly paper, and of course, have been honored to become a co-author for “Contagious Optimism.�

 Some may say, I was dealt a bad hand in life. However, the most important thing is to stay in the game and play the hand out. You'll never know what would result, if you quit. I'm a very fortunate person. I was blessed with parents and a family that my trials required. And polio has brought into my life, so many wonderful experiences and people I otherwise would not have known. My grateful thanks to all and a benevolent God, who blessed me with the gifts I have, and the opportunity to use them. And hopefully, my efforts give Him pleasure."  
Nancy Koenig - August 2012

Nancy is a writer and certified life coach, dedicated to teaching others how to stretch beyond illusory limitations and be open to receiving the gifts of their ideal lives. combines Nancy’s personal stories with the tools and resources necessary for readers, interested in learning how to shift their internal focuses and their external realities, from scarcity to abundance. Sharing the methods that helped her transform her own relationship with money, Nancy teaches readers to allow monetary prosperity and other forms of true abundance.

Nancy also specializes in addiction recovery coaching. Her mind-body-spirit approach has helped clients renovate their false identities, let go of disempowering beliefs, regrets and resentments, and live an empowered present. Nancy escorts clients to and from treatment centers around the United States, and beyond, and occasionally works with clients in person as they acclimate to home recovery after inpatient treatment. For more information, visit

Nancy’s writing career began with the National Hockey League. Without a degree in Journalism, any relevant experience or contacts in the industry, Nancy learned to use the law of attraction and visualization techniques to pave an unlikely path to her dream career. For well over a decade, Nancy contributed to several NHL publications, most notably the league’s official website, She wrote columns, player features, bios, interviews, and one of the earliest blogs on This fan favorite provided readers with an inside look at what went on behind the scenes at practices and games. 

In 2002, a higher calling led Nancy from the world of sports to a halfway house for chemically dependent women. After five years as a CASAC, she learned there was a more empowering way to help clients. She attended the Los Angeles branch of iPEC Coaching, a process she found life-changing in and of itself. "When I graduated, I realized even if I never coached a day in my life, my training would have been worth every penny,� says Ms. Koenig.

Nancy currently resides in a beach community on Long Island, New York. She is honored to be a Contagious Optimism! co-author and is currently completing her first manuscript, which she describes as the perfect blend of fiction, memoir and inspiration.  

Connect with nancy on Facebook at  or email her at   

Becky Woodbridge - September 2012

Prior to becoming a speaker and Professional Coach, Becky Woodbridge was the former President and Founder of a highly rated South Florida Real Estate Company, and as a 25-year major airline Zillion Miler in the aisles. In two distinctly different work environments, Becky saw commonality in the way that customer service is highly affected by poor communication and can limit successful results both personally and professionally. As the owner of a Real Estate company and a Flight Attendant for a major airline Becky had firsthand knowledge of the mood shifts between employees and the customer. Her very own mood created a company identity and is acutely aware of the shift in business. “Plane Speaking� Mood Matters is an interactive workshop that entertains, educate and empowers participants to unleash their extraordinary way of being to reach their fullest potential.

Originally from Bangor, Maine, Becky Woodbridge migrated down the coast and has become an active participant in the South Florida business community. In 2007, she participated in Leadership Boca Raton and Leadership Delray Beach as a member of each respective Chamber of Commerce. Formerly served on the Board of Aid To Victims of Domestic Abuse, Delray Beach Film Festival and Founder of Holiday Angels Foundation. Becky is a member of the National Speakers Association, Florida Speakers Association, American Society of Training and Development, and the International Coach Federation.

Becky currently resides in Delray Beach Florida, where she is often taken on long walks by her friend Benney, a Brittney and Golden Retriever mix.

Connect with Becky at

Barbara Kazdan - October 2012

Contributing author Barbara Kazdan knows that optimism is contagious – she caught it from her parents, who started from humble beginnings, lost everything in the Depression, but lived with confidence in themselves and the future and, in time, achieved the American dream. Barbara charged into uncharted territory in the arena of social justice armed only with her conviction and the power of the pen. As a homemaker and lay leader of a national voluntary organization, she used her writing skills to raise money and public awareness of the need for a new approach to adult literacy. The campaign she led convinced Houston’s Mayor and City Council to establish a new adult literacy organization – with Barbara at the helm - that became a model for other cities. That was the start of her successful career as a social innovator.

At a recent high school reunion, a woman approached Barbara to say, “I want to thank you. Your self-confidence inspired me.� It was contagious!

It isn’t just self-confidence, but her belief in possibilities, that makes Barbara an effective leader and trusted mentor. She loves finding a crack in what seems to be an impenetrable barrier between an individual or a group and the solution to their problem, then clearing the way for them to achieve the goal. That’s why she founded Achieving Change Together, a consulting practice for social innovators and individuals who are shifting their talents into the non-profit sector. She became a Certified JobsOver50 Coach, which led her to Contagious Optimism. Writing mini-chapters is her first foray into writing for a general audience.  

Just as her immigrant grandparents passed their faith in the future to their children, they in turn exemplified the power of positivity that encouraged Barbara to follow her heart rather than conventional wisdom. Having grown up “under the influence�, her children also stepped out into the world with confidence. And today, Barbara’s grandchildren are discovering their special talents and aspirations. She hopes her readers will catch the bug as well.

Connect with Barbara at

Inez Bracy - November 2012

Inez is a lifestyle transitions coach, speaker, award winning author, radio and TV personality that helps boomer women rejuvenate, reinvent and redefine their life. Inez started her coaching business in 2005 to help boomer women deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting a new life in their boomer years. Through the medium of TV, radio, web, etc., she has helped tens of thousands deliberately create a life by design. As the creator of “SPICE� (Sassy-Phenomenal-Inspired-Conscious-Empowered) woman, Inez believes that each woman has the right to unleash her femininity and live the life of joy she desires. 

Inez has been featured on Lifetime TV’s The Balancing Act, giving tips on how to start a home based business. She is a frequent guest on the Fox 4 Morning Blend as their career coach giving tips to help boomers successfully navigate the workplace. She is a columnist for the Coastal Breeze Newspaper, Senior Stuff and former columnist for The Island Voice. 

Learn more at
Ira Scott - December 2012

Ira grew up on Long Island, NY and graduated from The State University of New York at Stony Brook where he studied political science and psychology. After college, he worked for 17 years in financial services dealing in both mortgages and wireless infrastructure. Ira was in the top 3% of producing sales executives nationwide and then as a Regional Sales Manger led a sales force that produced more than 50% of the total production for the region with less than 10% of the region’s total sales force. After leading others to higher levels of success Ira decided it was time to formalize what he felt had always been a life calling -Personal Development Coaching. In 2009 Ira became a Certified Life Coach by an ICF (International Coach Federation) accredited school and founded Lean Into Life, Inc. As a professional coach Ira provides an ongoing partnership to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Ira is a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming ®, Certified in "Belief Craft ™� (Knowledge Engineering and Sleight of Mouth), an American Board of Hypnotherapy Board Certified Hypnotist (Neo-Ericksonian Hypnotherapy), and has studied Human Needs Psychology, Strategic Intervention, and Havening (A Psychosensory Therapy). 

In using the core components of NLP, NEH, Human Needs Psychology, as well as Spiritual Consciousness Ira empowers clients to find their answers that are inherently within themselves AND to take measurable action for positive, lasting, empowering, and fulfilling growth. Ira has a track record of success helping individuals and couples to recognize and understand their own personal power - their own ability to change their lives - to enhance all the experiences of their lives - in the ways that they desire - by stretching beyond illusory limitations with unprecedented levels of well-being, peace of mind, clarity, focus, creativity, and purpose - leading to deeper connections with self and others. Ira is a member of the ICF (International Coach Federation) as well as LICA (The Long Island Coaching Alliance).
Colleen Georges - December 2011

From as far back as she can remember, Dr. Colleen Georges felt a calling towards helping others. As a child and teen, this calling manifested itself in providing support, advice, or a shoulder to cry on for friends and family. As a young adult, it led Colleen to pursue an undergraduate degree in Psychology and to serve as a Therapeutic Assistant for teens in foster care encountering emotional and behavioral challenges. The emotional reward of serving as a confidant and mentor for these teenagers during a difficult time of their lives solidified Colleen’s dedication to the helping professions and she subsequently entered a doctoral program in Counseling Psychology.

Over the last 14 years, Colleen has served in multiple roles that have allowed her to help others achieve their personal and professional goals. Colleen had an extensive career in higher education administration providing personal, academic, and career counseling to undergraduate and graduate students. Ultimately, she served as director for two federally-funded programs that promoted the academic and professional success of low-income, first-generation college students. Colleen also worked as a Psychotherapist for a non-profit organization for women in crisis. 

Today, Colleen runs her own business, Colleen’s Career Creations (, where she provides career coaching and résumé writing services for clients across the career spectrum, and facilitates career development workshops for colleges, public libraries, and professional associations. She also teaches Women’s & Gender Studies and Counseling Psychology courses at her two alma maters—Douglass College and the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education.