Life Enrichment
Celebrating 2013 Over 40 and Fabulous! Contest Winners

Celebrating 2013 Over 40 and Fabulous! Contest Winners

Up close and personal with our Over 40 & Fabulous winners

"Life begins at forty." –W. B. Pitkin

The winners of the 2013 Over 40 & Fabulous! contest have followed their passions, achieved rewarding careers and stopped to help others along the way.

These amazing Atlantans seem tireless in their efforts to continue to improve themselves and the world around them in their own special way.

This year's top 10 winners were nominated by their friends, family and peers, and in accordance with contest guidelines, choosen by the number of votes they received. Here we celebrate this year's fabulous top 10!

 

 

 

 

kim-vaughnKim Vaughn – Winner

"In 54 years, I have learned that today I am the youngest me I will ever be. As a result, I choose to celebrate life every day and live it to the fullest."

Bio: Kim is a professional model as well as an image and pageant consultant who has coached numerous local, state and national title winners. She also served as a national spokesperson for the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I have learned that beginning my day with a positive attitude is critical and impacts everything and everyone. As a role model and mentor to young people, I must lead by example. This means that I must take care of myself first, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

What is your favorite quote?
"And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)" –Dr. Seuss

What is your favorite getaway?
Maui - it is heaven on Earth!

Name something on your bucket list.
Going to Australia.

Where do you go for "me" time?
I like to wake up early and have my quiet time with God before my family gets up. For me, beginning each morning with calmness and a heart filled with gratitude makes for a blessed and productive day. My daily motto is, "I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection."

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
I achieve my best self by surrounding myself with people who love me simply for being me. I am thankful for the "village" of folks who help me maintain optimum health. Living with a disease has made me keenly aware of how important it is to take excellent care of myself. In addition to my traditional physicians, I have gone to Body Logic for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. I believe chiropractic care (Dr. Jason Regis at Transition Chiropractic) as well as massage (Christine Klusovsky at Healing Solutions, LLC), have proven to be beneficial to my health. In addition, Tracey Prinzbach at Personal Best Personal Training has been an excellent trainer and helped me to gain a greater understanding of nutrition and taught me to love weight lifting. I highly recommend Barbara Weber, RN at The Image Academy for injectables and advice on skin care. For hair care, I love Siggers Hairdressers. My hairdresser, Brittany, is an amazing stylist and friend. Lastly, for my fashion advice, I rely on Randall K. Smith. His sense of style is amazing and he always knows how to make me look and feel like a star.

What is your favorite new experience/discovery?
Currently, I am learning deep breathing exercises as a form of relaxation.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
By far, my favorite ways to give back to my community involve youth and raising awareness for the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation, Inc. (SSF). I became an advocate for SSF after being diagnosed when my first child, Davis, was born. I was honored to serve as a national spokesperson, and currently I am focusing my charitable efforts on fundraising events for the foundation. My goals when working with youth include helping them achieve high levels of self-confidence through honing communication skills and earning college scholarship money. As a former teacher, I believe that education is the key that unlocks a lifetime of opportunity. In addition, I encourage my clients through my image and pageant consulting business to achieve their personal best.

 

ursula-lentineUrsula Lentine

"I feel centered, and no matter what happens to me, I am steady inside. I have happiness from within."

Bio: Ursula is a certified Pranic Healer, a practitioner of Self Leadership Therapy and has founded several programs for youth like Mountain Wisdom's First Rites of Passage Experience and Girls to Women teen camp.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I would say the fact that I design my life now. Everything about my world is because of my consciousness. I have peace. It takes work, but it's worth it. I am dedicated to my spiritual practices. I feel centered, and no matter what happens to me, I am steady inside. I have happiness from within. I am my only limitation. I may have learned these things the hard way, but it's mine now; I can own it!

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I am living my purpose; that is my greatest accomplishment. It's to the degree that each day the choices I make are deliberate and along with the spiritual truths as I know them. An effective way that purpose is expressed is through Pranic Healing®, which is a refined energy healing for emotional, physical and mental issues that are beyond what the eye can see. I also facilitate subconscious healing work at Internal Family Systems. Witnessing people's lives change is truly the best job in the world.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I absolutely love dirt bike riding and I go nearly every Monday. My runner-ups are West Coast Swing dancing, Red Hot Yoga and straight-up, hardcore yard work.

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
My teachers: Master Glenn Mendoza, MD, Master Marilag Mendoza, Dr. Valerie Davis, Master Choa Kok Sui and Dr. Dick Schwartz. Pranic Healing® and Internal Family Systems are the two models I use in my practice as a healing therapist. The children and young adults I have the privilege of serving at the Spiritual Living Center on Sundays definitely call me to be my best self.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Twin Hearts Meditation is a meditation group I started four years ago. It is an incredible gift to witness the personal growth of others and lives changing in such profound ways.

 

 

doug-barronDoug Barron

"Being able to raise ovarian cancer awareness though social, fundraising and educational events across the state is so rewarding."

Bio: Doug is the executive director of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance, an organization that spreads awareness and education about ovarian cancer throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
Not to take myself so seriously, to quit trying to impress everybody [and] to be comfortable with who I am and just be myself.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Finding a career I truly love. After 30-plus years in the financial services industry and following the death of my mother-in-law, Wendy Sheron, to ovarian cancer, I became the executive director of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Being able to raise ovarian cancer awareness though social, fundraising and educational events across the state in her memory is so rewarding.

What is your favorite book?
"For One More Day" by Mitch Albom. It focuses on the importance of living in the now and making the time and effort to recognize and appreciate the people who are always there for you.

What is your favorite way to work out?
Swimming. I have been a competitive swimmer for over 45 years and still compete in the Atlanta Adult Summer Swim League.

What is your favorite getaway?
Any beach – it is the one place I can truly shut down and do nothing.

What makes you laugh?
Silly, sophomoric humor.

Where do you go for "me" time?
The nail salon for a manicure and pedicure. There is something about a good pedicure and foot massage that is so relaxing. I do catch some grief from friends, but don't knock it until you have tried it. Also, [I like] being outside doing yard work.

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
I would have to say my mother-in-law, Wendy. Right up until the time of her death, her strength and composure never ceased to amaze me. I became involved with ovarian cancer awareness in her honor and continue to be guided by her actions.

How would your family and friends describe you?
Trustworthy, dependable, goofy, dedicated and devoted.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Educating women of all ages across Georgia about the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

 

 

dr-neil-cooperDr. Neil Cooper

"I try to find something enjoyable in every day and try to perform one act of kindness daily."

Bio: Dr. Cooper is the chief of diagnostic imaging services for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. He is also a physician, husband, father, volunteer and motorcycle enthusiast. After surviving a heart attack, he changed his diet and became even more passionate about his health and the health of others.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I know my strengths and weaknesses, have learned to accept who I am, understand my limitations and realize I can only control what I can control and not worry about the rest. The most important thing I have learned since passing 40 is not to take life's ups and downs too seriously. I have learned that staying connected with friends and family is most important. At this age I realize our time here is limited. So I try to find something enjoyable in every day and try to perform one act of kindness daily.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Recently, my best accomplishment has been returning to school for a Master's degree in health administration and now working on a Master's degree in health promotion and exercise science. Studying at this age is good exercise for the brain and keeps the cobwebs cleared.

What is your favorite book and why?
I have many favorite books, but the one with "staying power" that can be read over and over is "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. It's a reference book and a way of life. My favorite chapter and the one thought that stays in my head is Begin with the End in Mind. Very powerful.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I have exercised routinely for years with many good trainers. Up until a year ago, I thought training meant lifting heavy weights for strength. If it didn't include a bicep or a pectoral, it wasn't worth my time. How wrong I was! More recently, my trainers and my own reading have helped me see the light. I have learned that working out starts with a strong core. Next is flexibility, followed by balance, then strength, endurance and power. My favorite workouts are at FormWell Personal Fitness Training where they mix it up with circuit training, resistance, CrossFit and endurance.

What is your favorite new experience/discovery?
My new favorite discovery is the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet. With my wife, Shelley, leading the charge, we are on a path of discovery — learning how to stop and reverse chronic disease such as coronary heart disease. Together we are reading books by authors such as Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, attending conferences like Georgia Organics and Farms to Forks, and discovering wonderful vegan restaurants and ways to eat vegan in any restaurant. Giving up animal products and substituting with healthy grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits makes mealtime empowering, healthful and energy-boosting. After I became convinced that plant-based nutrition truly leads to a better lifestyle, I have found the journey to be a lot of fun, full of new flavors and experiences, and very satisfying.

 

 

dr-Leslie-C-grayDr. Leslie C. Gray

"I've found that in my 40s, I'm more able to appreciate my strengths, and that gives me confidence in all areas of my life."

Bio: Dr. Gray is a passionate dermatologist who founded Dermatology Center of Atlanta in October 2000. She is also a wife and mother of three. Today, she and her staff donate to North Fulton Community Charities, among others.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
The best thing I've learned is the peace and satisfaction that comes with accepting yourself as you are and not feeling the pressure to measure up to other people's expectations. I've found that in my 40s, I'm more able to appreciate my strengths, and that gives me confidence in all areas of my life. I also know my weaknesses, but I am better able to work on them than when I was younger.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Finding balance in my life with the things that mean the most to me. Especially after 40, I know what my priorities are and I keep myself accountable to them — family, faith, fitness, home, health, work and fun!

What is your favorite way to work out?
I have a library of the Beachbody DVDs and I mix and match cardio and strength. I also love that my children can see that my health and fitness are a priority and I hope that will positively influence them too.

What is your favorite getaway?
I have two favorite getaways. The first is Seaside, FL, where we have gone for our family summer beach trip for more than a decade. It's a great place for reconnecting and family time. My other favorite getaway is our lake house at Lake Burton.

Name something on your bucket list.
Learning Italian and then going on a trip to Italy.

What makes you laugh?
My husband, Glenn, has always made me laugh. He has a great sense of humor and he's especially funny with our kids.

Where do you go for "me" time?
Working out in my gym is the best "me" time. I always feel more energetic and clear-headed after a great workout.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Donating the services and resources of my practice to the many local charities, schools and causes that approach us. As a group, we also try to give back. Last year, instead of our traditional secret Santa gifts, employees could opt instead to donate to North Fulton Community Charities. This year, we are planning a group volunteer day at the Murphy-Harpst Children's Center, which helps children who are severely abused.

 

 

ann-marie-weeksAnn Marie Weeks

"Teaching fitness has never felt like a job to me; it is my passion and I would do it regardless of if I got paid."

Bio: Ann Marie is a Flywheel instructor and passionate about fitness. She is also a wife, mother of three and supporter and volunteer at Mary Hall Freedom House.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I am able to do what I love every day and get rewarded for it both financially and spiritually. Teaching fitness has never felt like a job to me; it is my passion and I would do it regardless of if I got paid. I look forward to every class I teach. I love my clients and feel so fortunate to be able to encourage and motivate them in their pursuits of a healthy lifestyle.

What is your favorite book and why?
"The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. It provides great insight on the benefits of staying in the present moment instead of holding onto the past or worrying about the future. It is about enjoying exactly where you are at the present time and fully embracing the experience.

What is your favorite way to work out?
Flywheel. I cannot get enough of this spinning class! I have taught in the fitness industry for over 25 years and this is hands down my favorite class to teach.

What is your favorite getaway?
My home on Peaks Island, Maine. I was born and raised in Maine and feel so fortunate to be able to go back and spend the summers there. Being on an island forces [me to] slow down and provides a perfect place for quality family time without being pulled in a million directions. My children love choosing the activities of the day with no schedule and the freedom of independence afforded to them with the safety of being on an island. There is just nothing more relaxing to me than laying in a hammock on the deck, and seeing and hearing the crashing of the ocean waves.

Name something on bucket your list.
Hiking the Inca Trail in Machu Picchu, Peru is number one on my bucket list.

 

 

 

 

 

kitsy-roseKitsy Rose

"I wake up feeling excited, creatively challenged and energized by my clients."

Bio: Kitsy has run her own boutique PR firm (KitsyRose PR), specializing in fashion and hospitality for the last eight years. She also sits on the board of the Humane Society and is an avid breast cancer awareness supporter.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I would have to say that, to date, my career is my biggest accomplishment. I have been extremely blessed to work with the people and businesses that I do every day over the past six years [and] that I have had my own business. I actually can say that I wake up feeling excited, creatively challenged and energized by my clients, [who are] the great media of Atlanta and so many [other] partners that I call for various event collaborations. Working hard never felt so good or rewarding.

What is your favorite way to work out?
As I started to approach 40, I really wanted to be my best self for the big day. I hired a friend and personal trainer from H.E.A.T. (High Energy Alternative Training) and was introduced to Flywheel. I quickly became addicted and loved the results.

What is your favorite getaway?
Traveling is a huge passion of mine and I feel fortunate to have experienced many places and different cultures. But my softest spot is for Paris – I love the art, food, fashion and the champagne! It was an honor that 14 of my closest friends made the journey to Paris to celebrate the big 4-0 with me. I will treasure those memories forever.

Name something on your bucket list.
Skydiving.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I'm a softy for dogs and was thrilled to have been invited to spend the last four years as a member of the 1873 Society Club, which is the "junior board" for The Atlanta Humane Society. I am also a huge breast cancer supporter. Every year for the past four years, I have walked with my friend Mia's family. It is an early Saturday rise, but [it's] such an empowering feeling when you see the masses decked out in pink.

 

 

 

mary-pompeo-williamsMary Pompeo Williams

"My son makes me laugh - the innocence and honesty of a six-year-old is priceless!"

Bio: Mary is a dedicated champion for Open Hand, having successfully co-chaired and elevated their event Party in the Kitchen from 2010 to 2012. She is also a mother, wife and community advocate.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I enjoy running with friends every morning! Since all of us have such busy schedules, it is a great way to catch up and work out.

What is your favorite getaway?
One & Only Palmilla Resort in Cabo San Lucas.

What makes you laugh?
My son, Harrison, makes me laugh. The innocence and honesty of a six-year-old is priceless!

Where do you go for "me" time?
My afternoon walk. It gives me a chance to unwind a bit and clear my mind before the nighttime routine starts. I have always said my morning run is for my physical health and my afternoon walk is for my mental health.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I volunteer for several charities and organizations; however, I am most passionate about Open Hand. They do so much more than deliver meals to people in need; they cook and prepare fresh, nutritional [and] healthy food that is medically appropriate for homebound seniors and those who are chronically ill. Their main focus is the importance of preventive health care and nutritional education. One of the things that really impresses me about Open Hand is that they don't just deliver meals to the person who is ill, but to every member of the family.

 

 

 

maryclaire-andresMaryclaire Andres

"Life is too short not to do the things you want to do."

Bio: Maryclaire is a dedicated mother of four. She also owns a promotions and event company. She sits on the board of Arts with Heart and works with the Boys & Girls Clubs, among others.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
Don't sweat the small stuff. I plan events for a living, so I am used to being in a high stress, high-energy environment. The key to succeeding at that is to be flexible and not too easily rattled. I also realized that life is too short not to do the things you want to do. I have learned how to live in the moment.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Besides my four children, it's the work I have done on events in Cobb County and building my business from scratch. I have been working with Taste of Marietta for 14 years now and we are now the largest one-day food festival in Georgia. I am also proud of another event that I started with a wonderful committee from the Boys & Girls Club of Cobb County in 2009. It is called the Whole Hawg Happenin' BBQ & Music Fest.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I use the StairMaster. I also get a lot of exercise through my work and keeping up with four young children! I like to hike and do things like zip-lining, skating and bike riding.

Name something on your bucket list.
I want to visit the current Seven Wonders of the World.

What makes you laugh?
Almost everything! My children do — they are 8, 10, 10 and 13. I have two boys and twin girls and they are my joy. My husband and friends make me laugh too.

Where do you go for "me" time?
If I do get any free time, it would be to go out with my girlfriends or go away on a girls' trip.

How would your family and friends describe you?
Probably bubbly, crazy, funny — always going and not ever resting.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I work with several non-profit organizations. In addition, I donate my company's (Promo-Photo) services to many different organizations for their fundraising events. I also involve my children in non-profit charity work.

 

 

sean-okeefeSean O'Keefe

"Most of my life has been dedicated to the belief that even the smallest effort can be rewarding."

Bio: Sean is an event stylist, designer, chef, non-profit specialist, equestrian and founder of Sean O'Keefe Events. He has helped raise nearly $2 million for the fundraising community.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I would have to say that it has to be that I am truly happy being me.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Creating Sean O'Keefe Events and finding my voice in the Atlanta non-profit community.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I love hiking!

What is your favorite getaway?
Anywhere my car feels like taking me — most often it is Kentucky. I just love the Highway 127 garage sale. It is always so very beautiful there and the people are almost as nice as the people in Georgia.

Name something on your bucket list.
Does it have a handle to help me carry it? Buckets can only hold so much and there is way too much on my list.

What makes you laugh?
To be honest, almost everything. I find that in order to survive in this world we have to laugh. Everything is funny if you take the time to feel and see the laughter.

Where do you go for "me" time?
The river in Roswell. There is something so peaceful about walking along the banks of the Chattahoochee. It's such an amazing place to be and it is the best alone place that I have ever known.

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
There are so many people that I consider to be blessings in my life. As they say, "It takes a village..."

How would your family and friends describe you?
I think that my family and friends would describe me as a fun, loving and dedicated man. Slightly odd, but definitely fun, loving and dedicated.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Most of my life has been dedicated to the belief that even the smallest effort can be rewarding, and that if we can tap into our best self, all that we do can be a way of giving back.