What do these people have in common?  Blake MyCoskie TOMS, Tory Johnson, Shameeka Ayers & Joyce Bone to name a few!  PASSION

Lately I have been soaking up a lot of stuff or “drinking from the fountain” as they say!  Well it’s time to give some of it back!  

If you follow my blog & me personally, Ava Roxanne Stritt you know that the past few months have been surreal.  I have met some of the greatest CEO, Leaders and Entrepreneurs of our time.  I am still in awe of my day with Dan Cathy and Jim Perdue.  Maybe I did not realize how great some of them were until I got to listen, speak with & get inside their heads this summer.  Leaders don’t always verbalize their intent or actions I found out.  Possibly because it is just natural for them to be so focused or maybe they are not quite sure of their path.  They are beating down the brush and making the paths for the rest of us at times so we need them to focus! Focus is a trait that all entrepreneurs are born with per Amy Cosper, Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine.  Leaders and entrepreneurs have a role to play.  We need these great leaders to show us how to get from “Here to There” as Bill Hybel explained to me at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit.


Passion is also what I have encountered a lot this year. Remember what George Clooney in the movie Up in the Air told those that he was firing?  He said they would look back to see it was the best time of their lives, since they were free to follow their passion! Passion rises to the top just like cream in a bad economy in those that are driven.  Drive is what Daniel Pink‘s new book is all about too.

This passion has risen from many entrepreneurs like a phoenix during this recession.  An entrepreneur is a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome per Webster. Has anyone seen of lot of great new invention during this time?  Just think about Bloom Energy to see a great example.

While attending an event held by  Tory Johnson of ABC’s Good Morning America I saw the most passion in one place I have ever encountered.  Her conference Spark & Huustle ‘s motto is “Passion into paychecks…Potential into profit”.   What brings out this intense passion during these harsh economic times?   Possibly in women it is a type of motherly self defense mode, but none the less it is a great asset.  Tory Johnson’s Spark & Hustle turns these passions into profits for those who attend her conferences.  Shameeka Ayers “The Broke Socialite” was there and has to hold the record on Passion!  Watch out for this one Oprah! Also Cindy W. Morrison is now a Girlfriend 2.0 of mine along with Taryn Paisaneschi,  Alyson Steiniger Howard-Hoag, Tiffanay Krumins, Vivien Tenorio and so many others. There are so many more that I now considered great new friends.  I promise to tell you about all of them in the coming year. 

Joyce Bone now comes to mind as one gal who knows how to hustle all the way to the top! She scraped up $10,000 of her own money while working as a young stay at home mom.  She turned that into a $150 Million publicly traded company.  She is now sharing her insights on her website Millionaire Moms, with her book and by speaking. She doesn’t stop there!  She is also an expert Environmental Sustainability Consultant.  Something that all business owners need advice on to get from here to there! She is giving back to other mothers and the environment too.

Now I want you to get to know two women who tell their story the best.  Both have a much bigger story to tell us, but I will leave that for them.  Now take a look at their passion! 

Christy Annis

“It all started with a Pea.

Peas for Prosperity sells Black-eyed Peas in celebration of the Southern tradition of eating Black-eyed Peas on New Year’s Day for Good Luck and Prosperity. Our Peas come in stylish, eco-friendly, gift packaging and include a short history of the New Year’s tradition as well as a recipe for “Mom’s Famous Peas”. We are also excited to launch our new eco-friendly jewelry line. Each piece in this collection is carefully handcrafted from recycled, upcycled, vintage, thrifted, found or free materials. Instead of taking up space in a landfill, we use these items to create unique pieces of wearable art. Peas for Prosperity is committed to the local community and has partnered with the Samaritan House, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization which provides employment readiness skills to homeless men and women. Guests of the Samaritan House work with us on a part-time, temporary basis to perform product packing, production, and assembly for all of our products until they are able to secure full-time employment. It’s an opportunity to “get back on their feet’, learn new skills, and ultimately, attain self-sufficiency. At Peas for Prosperity, we believe in luck and prosperity, and our mission is to spread them to those in need of a second chance. Thank You for joining us! 
It started with a Pea. 

Peas for Prosperity sells Black-eyed Peas in celebration of the Southern tradition of eating Black-eyed Peas on New Year’s Day for Good Luck and Prosperity. Our Peas come in stylish, eco-friendly, gift packaging and include a short history of the New Year’s tradition as well as a recipe for “Mom’s Famous Peas”. We are also excited to launch our new eco-friendly jewelry line. Each piece in this collection is carefully handcrafted from recycled, upcycled, and vintage!

Mission:  Helping those in need ……. one pea at a time

Products:  Lucky Bags of Peas,  Eco-friendly Jewelry

Visit her at Peas for Prosperity

As Matthew Kelly says a Leader should be the “best version of themselves every day”.  I recently heard him speak and he also says that a person, leader or business should only measure their greatness in this way.  “The greatness of a company should be measured by how and who would suffer if the company did not exist!  A company should prosper due to its vision.”  

Now Amy Rzepka’s turn!

“Let me introduce myself. My name is Amy; I met my husband David while attending The Ohio State University. We have been married for over 20 years. We have three teenage children, Molly, 18, Rachel, 17 and Nathan 14. 

    My family has always been then natural, “outdoorsy” type and has fun doing the unusual in Cleveland. We have taped our Maple trees, planted apple and peach trees at our house, build a tree house in our woods and most recently, we decided to have beehives for fresh honey.  We could not decide what to do with our excess bees wax. Making candles was too mundane for us. We decided to try lip balm. After many attempts, we came up with a product we thought was great. We tested it on our family and friends; they agreed.    That is where our company, Beecology started. Beecology is marketed through the Internet, regional farmer’s markets and boutique retail outlets in Ohio, Michigan, Colorado and New York. Beecology offers products that we handcraft from natural, renewable ingredients for the body—inside and out. Product assortment currently includes, essential oil nourishing soaps, preservative free body wash, sulfate-free hair care products, antioxidants creams, raw natural honey and Buzz Balm, lip balm.    When creating the business model for Beecology, there were two priorities. One was to create high quality, ecologically friendly products using completely natural and renewable ingredients. The other was to ensure charitable giving. We donate 10% of our net profits to our consumer’s charity of choice. Each supported product contains a charity code. After the purchase, consumers can visit their charity web site, www.sweetyear.org to enter the code and designate to which charity their percentage should be donated.”

You can see what all the buzz is about here Beecology!

BOTH of these women are great “marketers”.  Whoa that was not what you expected me to say was it?  They might have not done it on purpose, but they have made their customers part of their own vision.

Also this summer I was in the presence of Blake MyCoskie Chief Shoe Giver at TOMS. His company is self sustaining and not dependent on contributions. His business mission of One for One transforms customers into benefactors.  Customers feel invested and part of the vision thus willing to see more value than a similar price product.  Something I found out this summer is in all CEO’s minds right now. Yes Blake likes to be referred to as Chief Shoe Giver, but I also think of him as one of this times greatest Innovative Leaders!

Blake and many of leaders mentioned here have followed Daniel Pink and Matthew Kelly’s advice.  They both feel that Leaders must strive to be the best version of themselves everyday and drive their organizations to also be the best versions of themselves.  

TOMS One for One

My Skin Concierge, Ava Roxanne Stritt has taken this challenge.  This blog did not start off as a money making adventure.  It was just a download of thoughts, but some momentary value is trickling in.  I pledge to give 10% of all funds from this blog to TOMS Shoes going forward.  I also challenge all others to do the same with their own visions.

I direct this challenge most openly to Ted Rubin of www.ShopOpenSky.com It would be a great idea for them to feature those that give back!  That way Open Sky could become our go to place to find products of companies that also give back.  Open Sky is where passion, relationships and commerce meet.  Open Sky is a community changing the way the world shops.  Let them know by commenting below if you would like them to feature items that give back.  Maybe we will someday see a department on OpenSky which only features such products!  We can always dream…and make sure to dream with PASSION!

COMMENT below to Tell the World how YOU plan to GIVE BACK!