“Listening to this podcast of everyday people will inspire your own story.”

Welcome to The First.  You have a story! You have unknowingly paved the way for others without knowing it, or acknowledging it.   This is where you tell your story so that those who come after you, can walk in your footsteps to build their own firsts!

To be a guest, please complete the following Podcast Intake Form so we can understand the impact of your being the first.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 49 | 5/25/2023

Sheila Volante – Industry 5.0

Sheila Volante is on a mission to create awareness of Industry 5.0. The term Industry 5.0 refers to people working with robots and smart machines. It is about robots helping humans work faster by leveraging advanced technologies such as big data analytics. Sheila is a pioneer in this area and her passion for improving our current world for tomorrow’s leaders shines through in this podcast.

#serialentrepreneur #femaleentrepreneur #industry5.0 #robotics #smallbusiness

Primer Chats – Episode 3 | 5/11/2023

Coaching & Advisory Board: Accelerate Your Take-off to Next-Level You

Dr. Sandi Webster and Audrey Lloyd discuss how coaching and having an advisory board can help business owners grow and sell their businesses. Both Dr. Sandi and Audrey are coaches. Dr. Sandi helps women form advisory boards to gain outside perspectives to scale and, ultimately, exit their businesses. Audrey is a long-time change management expert and coaches individuals and teams to affect change in corporations.

#coaching #sandiwebstercoachsulting #advisoryboard #smallbusiness #changemanagement

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 48 | 4/28/23

LaTeasha Davis – Therapeutic Focus

From a little girl with a speech impediment, LaTeasha is now the CEO of Therapeutic Focus, she is the first black female to create a pediatric therapy clinic in her Crittenden County, Arkansas town. She is the first entrepreneur in her family to have a 21-employee company and the first to pursue a doctorate degree.

#arkansasgirl #crittendencounty #doctorate #entrepreneur

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 47 | 4/22/23

The Mss. Francois Show

Patrice Francois hosts the Miss Francois Show and is a show all by herself! Hear how this multi-talented Trinidadian woman came to America at 17 with nothing, became homeless and carved a way for herself without stopping to breathe.

#trinigirl #themssfrancoisshow #comedian #enrtrepreneur #businesspodcast

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 46 | 3/2/2023

Hasina Echoles – The Speech Master

Hasina Echoles is the first in her family to attend college and start a business. Listen to how she became a speech-language pathologist and one of the first to move her speech services from in-person to online during the pandemic, providing convenience to parents.

#Speech #language #pathologist #pediatrics

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 45 | 2/16/2023

Monica Smiley – Enterprising Women

23 years ago, Monica Smiley launched Enterprising Women, a global magazine that was the first to be owned by a woman and featured women-only entrepreneurs. She and her husband were among the first couples to have an open adoption in the US, and she was one of the first in the US to undergo an innovative surgery for scoliosis to straighten the curvature in her spine.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 44 | 2/4/23

Sandi Webster – Creating Your Future

End January with me, Dr. Sandi, as I walk you through creating a vision board for 2023. About 15 years, I though a vision board was one of those “fru-fru” things people do to keep busy or to meet the goal of having a goal. Not only did I create a board but competed with myself to meet all the SMART goals. Strategizing the goals is even more important than creating the board. If you would like to create a vision board for you or your team, reach out to me at sandi@sandiwebster.com

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 43 | 1/6/2023

Samantha Williams – Entrepreneurship Adventure

Samantha Williams is a Queens, NY ex-corporate woman who is the first serial entrepreneur in her family and has 5 businesses geared toward helping black female entrepreneurs.

She belongs to several groups and was the first to have a billboard on Broadway twice! She created a black women’s golf tournament, Queens of the Green, her tournament is on 9/15/23 in New Haven. CT and I’m putting it on my calendar. And she tailgates at a golf-event!! She’s the first to have a trunks-open, tailgate party in a parking lot for a golf outing.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 1 | 4/16/2021

Dr. Larry McCord: Life Beyond Belief

When you listen to Dr. Larry McCord tell his story, you swear you saw the movie! He is someone whose life is simply beyond belief!

He has so many firsts that I couldn’t possibly list them all here. In this podcast, we focused on some key turning points in his life.

His athletic career made him the first in his family to win college scholarships, which enabled him to leave his hometown of Lutcher, LA. Since then, he was the first in his family to graduate from college and has received several degrees ending in a Juris Doctorate and a Ph.D. He was the first in his family to be President of a School Board and now teaches young people that they can get academic or athletic scholarships for college.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 42 | 12/8/2022

Precious Williams – The Killer Pitch Master

Learn from Precious L. Williams, Killer Pitch Master! She wrote four #1 bestselling books to become the first black woman outside of entertainment and sports to have 2 billboards in Times Square for business books.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 41 | 11/24/2022

Keisha Rivers – How She Did It

Keisha A. Rivers is the Chief Change Officer at the KARSGroup. She was the first child and only girl in her family. She set the pace for her siblings with these firsts: high school honors grad, attended a 4 year college, and graduated from an Ivy League School (Wharton). Then she pursued entreprenuership full-time, spoke on TEDx, and published books. You can reach Keisha at keisha@karsgroup.com and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/karivers/. Let’s hear how she did it!

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 40

Sandra Eberhard – President & CEO WBEC Metro NY and Greater DMV

Sandra Eberhard discussed being the first in her family to be bussed to school in a different neighborhood when she moved from Harlem to their new home in Throgs Neck, NY. She was also the first to finish high school and college, traveled throughout Europe as a teenager, and ascended to management and C-level positions at work.

#Harlem #schoolbussing #Europe #C-Suite #C-level

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 39 | 11/10/2022

Andrew Frazier – The Small Business Pro

Two-time author, Andrew Frazier, is a small business coach and the first to bring the small business owner’s POWER Breakfast to Newark, NJ over 10 years ago. His firsts include being the firstborn, completing high school, joining the Navy, graduating from MIT with an engineering degree, and getting married among his friends.

#MITgrad #smallbusinesspro #coach #engineer

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 38 | 9/30/23

Adonica Black – Cancer Survivor

To survive a deadly brain cancer at the age of 14, Adonica Black’s surgery was performed by none other than the world-renowned surgeon, Dr. Ben Carson. She only went up from there. She became an attorney at 24 and now holds the title of Director of Global Talent Development and Inclusion at LexisNexis.

#survivor #braincancersurvivor #firstchild #drbencarson #lexisnexis

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 37 | 9/16/22

Maureen Borzacchiello – Midlife Strength Trainer

Podcaster Maureen Borzacchiello from The Real Talk with Maureen Borzachiello has a long list of notable firsts, including being the first of seven children and growing her business to over $1 million. She and I rang the bell together at the NY Stock Exchange where we were a part of the first all-woman team in the history of the Stock Exchange to do so.

#therealtalkpodcast #nystockexchange #firstchild #milliondollarwoman

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 36 | 8/18/2022

Judy Arazoza – Midlife Strength Trainer

Judy Arazoza started Grateful Fitness as a form of self-help to manage her own mid-life health and nutrition as well as over 50 adults. She places a high value on weight training and making sure women are strong.  Judy coaches women on body image and treating their bodies in a respectful manner versus hating them, punishing them, and feeling shame.

#gratefulfitness #nutrition #over50 #weighttraining #podcaster

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 35 | 8/4/2022

Audrey Lloyd – Rein in Your Mind and Your Career

Audrey D. Lloyd was the first Senior Class President at Central High School in Springfield, MA, and the first to pledge to The Exquisite Xi Nu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated ( Western Massachusetts).

As an ex-corporate exec, she was the first in her family to take the entrepreneurial route as an independent consultant. Audrey is now the proud author of Bold: Rein in Your Mind, Reign in Your Career, a book about mindset, finding your authentic self, and stepping into your personal power.

She found her power in being a change management and business transformation expert and an ICF-credentialed executive coach, speaker, inventor, futurist, and universal citizen.

#author #consultant #speaker #universalcitizen

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 34 | 7/21/2022

Alundas Havens: The Alpha Influence Media

After getting kicked out of his home during high school, Alundas decided to join the United States Marine Corp to get some discipline back into his life.

He got to a prestigious Enlisted Rank 6 position when he tore his cartilage and had to rethink his life. At 23, he used his Veterans Affairs (VA) loan to become the first in his family to get a house. While going through a tough transition from the military, he listened to an Underdog Empowerment podcast with Zachary Babock that changed his life. He decided to start a podcast and work for himself – another first in his family to become an entrepreneur! 

His Alpha Influence Media now helps people recalibrate their mindset when they want to make a change but don’t know where. Now, he’s back in college getting ready to graduate using his GI bill and thinking about getting a doctorate!  

#USMarineCorp #underdogempowerment #podcaster #podcasthost #firstentrepreneur #collegeboy

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 33 | 7/7/2022

Jasan Julius: King of Coffeejunkiez and PizzaJunkiez

Jasan Julius has spent the last 17 years pursuing his potential and vision of building Coffee Junkiez & Pizza Junkiez into national brands, a dual-brand food, and beverage concept under one roof. He is currently located in Indiana and has turned this brand into a national franchise opportunity. Starbucks’ success inspired him for more than a decade before he took action; however, he only started his entrepreneurial journey six months after his son died from cancer.

He is looking for people in the mid-West to expand in the area and then franchise and scale. He desires to run a congruent path of championing small businesses and bringing them into his billion-dollar master plan and legacy. His podcast, The Jasan Julius Files, is focused on helping small business owners.

You can find him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasan-r-julius-1b724a213/ – he’s always looking for guests.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 32 | 6/23/2022

Shannon Wilkinson: Online Reputation Management

Shannon Wilkinson was among the first in the industry to establish an online reputation management (ORM) firm. Now, after more than 20 years in business, Shannon is a nationally recognized expert in digital reputation management. She is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” column. She is the author of Reputation Reboot: What Every Business Leader, Rising Star & VIP Needs to Know.

After becoming the first in her circle of friends to start a business, Shannon continues to share her knowledge by publishing extensive thought-leadership to educate the greater public and new prospects about how Google and online reputation management work.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 31 | 6/9/2022

Sharise N. Johnson-Moore: The Hope Builder

Sharise N. Johnson-Moore, Your Hope Builder, loves lifting others out of their sorrows by guiding them to see the Christ within through scripture and practical applications. Ministry is her first love, and her ministry has opened many doors for her to become a business owner, author, gospel artist, motivational speaker, podcaster, and executive producer of shows.

Sharise is the author of Coming To Loving Yourself. It is an inspirational/autobiography that details her life for her first 40 years. Coming To Loving Yourself-Study Guide To Building Your Self-Worth is a workbook created to help someone get back to the things they love and cherish in their lives.

Sharise N. Johnson-Moore is the proud Owner/CEO of Sharise N. Johnson-Moore LLC & Channel LBM-TV. She is the Executive Producer of Morning Word & Worship, Let’s Talk Sunday, Think About It Sunday, Author’s Excerpt Sunday, and Sharise Johnson-Moore’s Podcast.

She doesn’t take her assignment from God lightly, and it is an assignment she is proud to have.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 30 | 5/26/2022

Karina Kantas: The Book Coach

When I speak to Karina Kantas, who is a prolific author of 14 titles, including the gritty MC thriller series, OUTLAW, and the exciting YA fantasy duology, Illusional Reality. Her podcast, Behind the Pen, is a YouTube show and audio podcast where she chats with artists from around the world about how they got started and their future plans, their journey, their books, songs, films, and poetry.

Today, Karina takes a turn discussing how she got started in the publishing business as an author; then, she decided to learn as much as she can about the business before becoming a publisher and a virtual assistant to other struggling authors. We also discuss the myth that writing a book makes an author wealthy.

#author #authorlife #myths #poetry #bookcoach #fiction #shortstories

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 29 | 5/12/22

James Owen Roberts: ParaOlympics Athlete Extraordinaire

Who is James Owen Roberts? He is an Amputee Empowerment Coach, host of The Mindset Athlete Podcast, TEDx speaker, and author with over 15 years of experience in exercise, diet, and mindset as a coach, 2x Paralympic athlete, and alum of both Swansea University and the University of Chester.

He was born without a femur – a femur is a thighbone, the longest and strongest bone in your body that allows you to walk. His mom was told he would never be able to walk. He has defied the odds and learned how to swim butterfly strokes at a young age to build his upper body strength.

James had academic and socialization issues during primary and secondary school, but came into his own in high school.  Because he was told he wouldn’t amount to anything, he was afraid to apply for college. More self-doubt crept in when the British swimming team dropped him. Now, look at James.  Retired from sports at 26, his purpose is to motivate others and he’s made it his mission to help fellow amputees to get and maintain fitness.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode | 28 4/28/22

Kerry-Ann Facey – A Woman of God

Canadian businesswoman, Kerry-Ann Facey, knew she had an unequally yoked relationship with her now ex-husband. Like many women, she tolerated nearly 17 years of abuse because she didn’t want a broken home for her three children. Her unwavering faith in God, and constant prayers, eventually gave her the strength to leave her marriage.

The result is her book, Faithful, Anchored, Blessed, which is a testimony to having faith in God in good and bad times. She shows how God turned her pain into blessings, and shares how her faith, Bible passages, and favorite gospel songs brought her through that dark time.

#womanofgod #businessowner #faithful #anchored #blessed

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 27 | 4/14/2022

Dr. Sonia Russell – With God, All Things Are Possible

Dr. Sonia L. Russell is known for her prolific poetry based on religion and spirituality. She is also an author, an Assistant Professor, has a doctorate in Education, and is a pastor. She was ordained into the Living Water Church ministry and is currently the Associate Pastor at New Birth Christian Ministries in Uniondale, NY.

Dr. Sonia is now an advocate for people who are depressed and have considered suicide. Why? She is the first family member to admit to suffering from depression and has credited an intervention and vision from God with saving her life and bringing her closer to God, who saved her several times. With the thoughts of suicide behind her, she wrote and published her first romance novel, The Cost of Love. Now, the sky’s the limit for Dr. Sonia, with God guiding her.

#depression #suicide #author #thecostoflove#intervention #vision #advocate#pastor#DrSoniaLRussell #poet

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 26 | 3/31/2022

Ian Tolson – From Homeless to Owning a Home

How do you go from homeless to owning your own home? Ian Tolson told me that forming great habits is what helped him. With the help of numerous therapists during his life, Ian has learned how to move from destructive habits to lifelong and life-sustaining ones.

In a small town in Montana, he was put on Ritalin by a psychiatrist who was also the school principal. The principal told his parents that he would have to leave school in the fourth grade if he did not get on the drug. The drug changed his life and did more harm than good by mentally depleting him. Ian eventually became a drug abuser, became homeless, and moved around quite a bit before returning to Montana.

Ian developed his Habit formula based on his life experiences. Now drug-free for many years, he enjoys reading and doing simple things like playing the harmonica. Let’s listen to how Ian can help you overcome negative habits on Thursday, 3/31/22 (today) at 6pm on The First with Dr. Sandi Webster podcast.

#homeless #nohome #drug-free #habit #ownahome #destructivehabit

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 25 | 3/17/2022

Fatoumata Issifi: Creating Change Across Continents

In the male-dominated culture in Niger, West Africa, where education for women is not supported, a young girl, Fatoumata Issifi, is determined to change her life. Against all odds and with no family support, she came to the United States alone to follow her dream.

Fati is the first person in her village to come to the United States, the first female from her community to graduate from college and obtain a graduate degree in business, and the only female in her town to support her entire family.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 24 | 3/3/2022

Part 2 | Tanesha Butler: From The Projects to College Grad

Meet Tanesha Butler. Even while living in a tough neighborhood in Monroe, Louisiana, she grew up very sheltered. This social worker gives hope and inspiration to others in their lives to become the best version of themselves. Tanesha is the first in her family to become a cheerleader, graduate from college – she got Bachelors and Masters degrees – never moved home after college, planned her pregnancies, and planned to get and remain married. By doing so, she shifted the culture in her entire family. 

#entrepreneur #collegedegree #thefirst #socialworker


The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 23 | 2/17/2022

Tanesha Butler: From The Projects to College Grad

Meet Tanesha Butler. Even while living in a tough neighborhood in Monroe, Louisiana, she grew up very sheltered. This social worker gives hope and inspiration to others in their lives to become the best version of themselves. Tanesha is the first in her family to become a cheerleader, graduate from college – she got Bachelors and Masters degrees – never moved home after college, planned her pregnancies, and planned to get and remain married. By doing so, she shifted the culture in her entire family. 

#entrepreneur #collegedegree #thefirst #socialworker


The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 22 | 2/3/2022

Elizabeth Beskin: Out of the Picture, Onto The Business Stage

Elizabeth Beskin comes from a family of college-educated homemakers; however, she was the first to take her education and create a business. Despite their expectations, and Home Ec classes, Elizabeth was the first to want a career outside the home.

Having private tutors and going to a private school inspired her to learn, and she realized she was excellent in math, became valedictorian, was sought after by Princeton and Rensselaer for engineering…but became a music theater major at Syracuse University, where she started a photography business with her college roommate.  After a stint at Merrill Lynch in the Futures Department, they built a successful decades-old photography business.

Today, Elizabeth owns her own photography agency where she

created the photobooth that we know today. She is the proud solopreneur of Fifth Avenue Digital. This dynamic photography agency works alongside many of NY and NJ’s top event planners and venues to provide the perfect photographer forspecial occasions. 

#valedictorian #entrepreneur #homemaker #syracuseuniversity #photography #photobooth

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 21 | 1/20/2022

Vikram Rajan –Networking Genius

Vikram Rajan, the co-founder of Videosocials.net, was the first to take the winning formats of different networking structures and integrate them into a subscription-based video application that produces a marketing video for the business owner.  The networking session

that I attended fascinated me because he used the timing card from Toastmasters to keep participants within the allocated 2-3 minutes introduction.

Vik knows that entrepreneurs put off creating videos because we think of it as tedious so it goes on the back burner. Vik records our online introductions during our networking sessions. Then, he edits in the bells and whistles like close captioning and your logo so, within a few hours, you can utilize this video for social media marketing or to use as a part of your speaker reel.


#entrepreneur #videosocials #thefirstwithdrsandi #networking #Toastmasters

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 20 | 1/6/2022

Arvin Cielo – Trailblazer

At 25, Arvin Cielo is an expert in technology.  In 2021, he launched his Filipino company, Cloud Aide Solutions, to provide technical virtual assistants to help business owners around the world. This is in addition to his online pet store, Fur Paws.

He is the first family member to graduate from college, participate in a college pageant (Mr. University), the first in the family to create a company and to purchase a house and own property. Arvin is also in charge of the family farm.

Arvin is a trailblazer.  He works in silence in the background and lets his work be the noise. He is focused on accomplishing his goals and has an annual checklist and vision board to ensure he stays on track.

He is admired by his friends who all want to join his entrepreneurial journey. His goal is to curate young entrepreneurial talent and ensure that they can own their businesses in the Philippines.

#business #entrepreneur #mentoring #thefirst

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 19 | 12/16/2021

Nadine Vogel – Dive In!

Nadine O. Vogel is the CEO of Springboard Global Enterprises which is home to Springboard Consulting, Disability Mama, The WIP Group and The Springboard Foundation which is an affiliated charity.  Springboard Consulting was the first for-profit group to work with corporations to mainstream people with disabilities as candidates, employees, or customers.

Nadine was a corporate executive when she created a company division that helped special needs family plan for the future.  This new idea was important to her because her oldest child had significant disabilities.  Her boss asked her why she didn’t start her own company – so she did! Her boss became one of her first clients as well an advisory board. Her family and friends thought she was having a midlife crisis when she started her company because they knew that she always wanted to be in the corporate world. However, she felt the idea had merit and she trusted her instincts – now, she’s a huge success.

Because she was the first to enter the disabilities market with corporations, mentoring is important to her and she has mentored at the Harvard Kennedy School and serves as a guest lecturer at the Harvard Business School.

Best of all, her daughter who was the inspiration for Springboard Consulting has now started her own company for disabled artists! Full Circle moment!

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 18 | 12/2/2021

Molly Creese – It’s All About Networking!

Molly Creese is a shy, talented woman who grew up singing in her parents’ church (both parents are pastors) in St. Vincent & The Grenadines.  Her parents wanted her to become a gospel singer – any other kind of singing was not accepted; now, she sings a different song of self-confidence.

Molly came to New York to attend school and went to Monroe College for her Bachelor’s degree and LIU for her Master’s degree.  Like most people, Molly was heads-down working hard towards graduation.

When Molly started to look for work, she realized that she did not use college to form alliances – she was too busy with school work.  No one told her to foster those relations because she would need them later. She was introduced to networking through the National MBA Conference.

Now, her company, We Network Services LLC, provides coaching, workshops, and events to women business owners, using networking as a means to meet other business owners with whom they can potentially do business.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 17 | 11/18/2021

Howie Zales – Lights! Camera! Action!

Emmy-award-winning cameraman, Howie Zales, makes money every time you watch a TV show!  He provides independent camera people to TV stations and networks to broadcast games or events like football, wrestling, golf, or NASCAR.

Howie is the first entrepreneur in his family, and today they own three different businesses within the TV community.  His great-uncle was a photographer for the New York Times, but he’s the first videographer.  He stays on top of the newest communication needs in the industry, pivoted during the pandemic to morphed his business into customized live streaming for everything from cooking shows, concerts, talk shows to corporate meetings and medical interviews!

Since he’s the first to provide this camera service,

he’s learning as he goes along but has become an expert in resolving the

problems that they are encountering for the first time in the industry.  Howie has become a mentor for some of the best cameramen in the business and gives back whenever he can.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 16 | 11/4/2021

Ketriana Yvonne

Ketriana Yvonne is a woman with two first names! She is a force in her community and believes that “Everyone is a celebrity…we just don’t know their names yet!” She is a talk show host and producer at BRIC where The Ketriana Yvonne Show features the best of people you need to know about, mainly in the arts and local neighborhood. She’s the author and poet of Sequin Soul, which is a book of poetry from the heart.

She says, “I wrote these poems from my soul to help someone on the journey they may be walking. Life is like shiny sequins sometimes flashy most times you lose some pieces.”

Ketriana is a member of the Old Brooklynite Society and feels strongly about giving people their flowers while they are here and let them know they are a positive force in your life. She honors the elders and her neighbors who support her.

#sequinsoul #theketrianayvonneshow #oldbrooklynite #poems

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 15 | 10/21/2021

Linda Hamilton – A Persevering CFO

Linda was the first to go to college in her family and to become a Certified Public Accountant.  She was born to very young, uneducated

parents who reinforced the importance of school.  After her uncle shamed her for getting a bad report card in first grade, it had a tremendous effect on her – so much so that she never brought home a bad report card again!

After high school, she was not thinking of going to college until her boss on her first job at Lloyd’s Department store recognized that she was good with numbers and encouraged her to go to school for bookkeeping…and she fell in love with it.

After many years of school, and supporting herself, she got her accounting degree, and later became a CPA at Coopers & Lybrand, a prestigious New York financial services company.  Now, she is the CEO of her 30-year old company, Linda Hamilton, CPA LLC.  Linda gives back by mentoring and supporting the community and other business owners.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 14 | 10/7/2021

Beatrice Weber – Paving The Way

Beatrice Weber is truly a First!  She took a path that no woman in her

ancestral Jewish lineage had ever taken – leaving her dowry behind.  Beatrice was an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish mother of 10 who chose to believe in herself over her husband.  By choosing herself, she decided to be on her own, manage her own finances, and fight for custody of her children.

As Beatrice said in her Medium post, “Choosing myself over the financial support of my parents was one of the most life-affirming choices I have made.  It allowed me to spread my wings, explore new experiences, and connect with my true inner strength.”

Now, the mother of 10 is an Interspiritual Minister, writer, speaker, and coach. She empowers people who have experienced religious, familial, or community trauma to connect with their own inner voice and create

empowered and joyful lives.

I thank Beatrice for her brutal honesty of life then and now.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 13 | 9/23/21

Jessica Gardner – The Majesstic Party Girl

Jessica Gardner was a 15-year workforce professional who left her job to form an event planning company on December 31, 2016 – she did not want to go into a new year without starting her business.  She is the first of her Costa Rican family to graduate from college and to start a business. After watching the women in her family (her grandmother, mother, and aunt) plan events, she knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur and decided that she too was blessed with event planning genes.  Her company, MaJesstic Occasions, is a full-service event planning & event styling company focusing on corporate, social, and nonprofit events in New York and Georgia.  Jessica sees a bright event industry taking off after the pandemic and now is her time to shine in the new Black Hollywood in Atlanta.  Jessica is leveraging her professional experience to put systems into place in her business.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 12 | 9/10/2021

Erna Alfred: Caregiver Extraordinaire

Have you ever thought about getting old and who would take care of you? Most of us do.  But what if you’re pretty young and something happens to you as it did to Erna’s mom who had a stroke? Erna became an unpaid caregiver at 21! That became her reality.  She changed jobs and had to move.  Now Erna has decided that this is happening far too frequently, and there should be resources to help people like herself who didn’t know where to turn to get advice or help. She’s creating a platform that gathers all the resources to make it easier to take care of our loved ones.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 11 | 8/27/2021

Rickie James: College Is A Must

What made Rickie James the first in his family to go to college? During high school, he realized his siblings left high school and went to work – sometimes out of necessity. Rickie grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and went to Fort Hamilton High School where they stressed going to

college. He went to NY Technical College because it was the only college in the state that had the course he wanted – The Technology of Architecture. He wanted to learn how to take apart things and put them back together again. He now works for an associate architectural

planner for NY.

His family supported him without fully understanding his need for college. Rickie told his professor that no one in his family would attend graduation because none explained the significance of having a college graduation or the importance of education in his field. He decided he would not attend graduation. His professor singled him out and called attention to him in the hallway, then handed him his degree in front of everyone – that gesture gave him the feeling of getting an accolade.

He looked up to his uncle and aunts who took him to work to expose him to other professions. His aunt gave him a rapidograph—an architectural pen—and a portfolio as graduation gifts. He cherished them for years and called the pen his “sword” and the portfolio his “shield.” Today, his nephews and nieces followed his lead and took it for granted that a college degree was a must.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 10 | 8/13/2021

Peggy McHale

Full disclosure, @Peggy McHale is my business partner in our current company, Pandi-App, LLC and our former company, Consultants 2 Go. I still learned a lot of new things about her after almost twenty years.

P eggy McHale’s story started with her mom, Beatrice, who had her own real estate business that she sold, and then managed properties.  However, even though Bea went to Hunter High School and had a college scholarship, she chose the traditional marriage route.  She channeled her energies into making her daughter, Peggy, the first woman on both sides of her family to graduate from college.  She felt it

would give her independence. Kudos to Bea!

After college, Peggy went into the corporate world, entering into a management trainee job at a young age.  That “job-for-life” position laid the foundation for her career in telecommunications. She also became the first in her family to continue with a graduate degree – an MBA in Finance.

After leaving the corporate world, Peggy and I started a marketing and analytics consulting company, where we grew and sold that business.  We learned how to impact our employees’ lives. Peggy now gives back by advising other small business owners and companies.  Through her quest for knowledge, she is now the first among her colleagues to be on a paid for-profit Board of Directors, where she provides guidance and oversight.

Peggy is also the first author in her family, co-authoring Black and White Strike Gold, a business book of tips to small business

owners.  Now that Peggy has her Firsts, she is contemplating her Next in career and in life.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 9 | 7/30/2021

Allan Berger – The Making of A Man

Today, Allan Berger is a business architect and strategist working with established, successful, privately-held technology, professional services firms, distributors, and manufacturers. But there was a time when Allan was a young man, finding his way to college and becoming the first to graduate. He is the son of first-generation Americans who didn’t have the finances to go to college, so he stayed local – attending Rutgers University in Newark. Like most immigrant families, they chose to

invest their money in their children, ensuring that those children would have a better life. Allan succeeded with not just graduating from college but became the first to also go to grad school, making college education a mandate for his children.

After college, Allan went into the military and went to Vietnam because of the draft. Thank you for your service, Allan! The military taught him leadership skills and attention to detail that he utilizes today in helping other business owners to be successful.

Allan was one of the first advisory board members for my former company, Consultants 2 Go. He is an active member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce where he helps to guide small business owners. He is also a volunteer mentor with SCORE, the nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education. SCORE is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 8 | 7/15/2021

Shavine Webster

Hear how my Jamaican cousin, soccer superstar, @Shavine Webster, got to play on a male school soccer team at ten years old. She knew that soccer was her future and the means to a better life. In high school, she played for Lennon’s male soccer team and then helped to form the first

female soccer team for the school…and then went on to the Jamaican national soccer team at 15 years old! Shavine was groundbreaking! We hear about girls doing that now, but imagine being the only female in your neighborhood, in your school, in Jamaica, a country that doesn’t tolerate anyone who is not a part of the “norm!” She had to be better than best, so at the top of her game that boys recommended her to their male coach for the male team. Wow!

She tolerated asking to be “searched” to see if she was really a guy because she could keep up with the boys both in stamina and skill. Through all that, her mom has never seen her play the game. She got motivation from the boys and men who recognized her skill. Her mentor was the St. Jago men’s soccer team coach and brought her to train with them; however, he would not allow her to play on the team.

Through her mentor, one of her teachers, and the help of others, Shavine got a soccer scholarship to come to the US and took the opportunity to immigrate to play in Alabama at Faulkner University on the girl’s team. Understand the difficulty immigrant athletes have in the US since they are not supposed to work. What does

an athlete do when they don’t have money to return to their country? Find out! Shavine became the first person in her family to go to, and complete, college.

Today, after being hurt in college, losing her scholarship, finding God and spiritually, getting jobs, Shavine graduated from Bacone College. She is the CEO of her own company, Fitter Than Your Average LLC, specializing in in-person and virtual personal training, coaching soccer camps, and providing super-nice workout apparel. She is also an essential worker at a hospital in the Bronx and will be working towards a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy.

I love this podcast because I get to hear transformational stories like this – I learned a lot about someone who is a part of my family! Listen Here! Give us feedback and if you like what you hear, Subscribe to future podcasts.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 7 | 6/30/2021

Tynesha Frazier

Tynesha N. Frazier is a member of my Omni Toastmasters club. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.  This club is a little known “secret” group that helps professionals or family members to overcome speech impediments or overcome their fear of public speaking. Tynesha is the first in her family to join a group aimed at self-improvement and has become an extremely active leader within this organization.

Tynesha has become the first in her family and circle of friends to go on to many firsts! She is now a member of multiple Honor Societies, she has participated in a Rush and pledged a sorority in college, and is also a member of a national fraternity. These college opportunities opened up a new world of education for her and she has gone on to get two undergraduate degrees and a graduate one.

Definitely a big first is her venture into entrepreneurship.  Even though she has a degree in Vision Care and that’s her day job, she is an independent owner of Paparazzi Accessories. Go pick up some jewelry at https://paparazziaccessories.com/join/342239/ while you listen to her podcast – everything is $5!

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 6 | 6/16/2021

Liz Castelli: The Ivy-League-School-Teacher -Entrepreneur

Meet Liz Castelli. She is a co-founder and COO of Tinsel Experiential Designs – this name gives me visions of joy at Christmas time! She started this company with college friends when they found each other after separate careers. They entered the Power Up Business Plan contest at the Brooklyn Library and won. Now, they are in their eleventh year of business!

Liz comes from a family of mechanics, engineers, teachers – people who worked for others. She followed the expected family career path to become an educator and did the business on the side. As she put it, she was wearing “rose-colored glasses in a mentally and physically challenging environment.” Her family thought this was a side-gig, but she showed them by becoming The First entrepreneur and grew her company into a multi-million-dollar enterprise with top Fortune 100 clients.

Liz feels the entrepreneurship mindset opened her to new possibilities and made it easier to become a risk-taker. She became unafraid and tried surfing, snowboarding and other activities because she knew that failure is temporary, and you try again. That mindset allowed her to accomplish another First by moving out of New York to Utah during the COVID pandemic, which is a significant shift for a family woman who grew up in NY.

Liz’s go-get-it attitude will inspire you to make some changes if you have been afraid to do so. Listen here on Liz’s First time participating in a podcast!

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 5 | 6/2/2021

Lina Rugova: From Kazakhstan to the American Dream

Lina Rugova is not the typical immigrant – she did not want to leave Kazakhstan to come to America because her mother immigrated here! On June 2, 2021 at 6pm, listen to how a fifteen-year-old Lina arrived in the USA speaking British English and going directly to the Bronx with a Spanish-speaking stepdad in a Puerto Rican-dominant neighborhood! Of course, hilarity…and life…ensued.

She got married young, had a child early, put college on hold – and it brought out the resiliency in a young Lina. She got energized by figuring out the priorities in her life. She got bored quickly, switched jobs frequently, and landed in medical billing. Her first business was as a medical billing contractor. Then she moved on to medical billing and management for clients from the previous company.

Owning a business afforded Lina to accomplish the American Dream of purchasing a home and sending her daughter to private school. However, she closed that successful business because she got burned out from doing it all.  She stayed in the medical field by opening a medical collection agency with her husband and learned how to hire people to help her. As Lina said, “that business destroyed my soul,” and she left.

Lina feels her immigrant hustle mentality helped her to move seamlessly from one business to the other without thinking about the

possibility of failure. With the support of her refugee in-law family, Lina chartered new territory by opening up a jewelry designing business. She moved from Bronx, New York to San Antonio, Texas, to explore a new market and culture during the pandemic. She is now funding and launching a nonprofit business incubator in San Antonio to support underdeveloped and underserved communities of minorities, immigrants, and ex-felons.

Her brother followed suit with the entrepreneurial gene in Russia and started his own business.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 4 | 5/19/2021

Tanya Ricketts: Breaking Generational Curse

Tanya Ricketts is the host of The Tanya Experience, a Canadian podcast that she started during COVID.  One of her favorite topics is courage.

We all have a Tanya in our lives – people whom we’ve known forever but don’t know anything about them.  Tanya is that person for me – I had no idea who the adult Tanya is —a wife, mother, daughter, friend.  Tanya discusses how she displayed courage in breaking the generational cycle of women who do not raise their children themselves.

Tanya started to create the idea of what her family would look like at a very early age using Sears catalogs to cut out the perfect family.  At 26 years old, she was successful in the corporate world as a marketing executive, and left all that behind when her second daughter was born.  Because of the survival mentality of the women in her life, she realized she would be repeating the process of not being there for her children.  That realization forced Tanya to step out of the workforce so that her children would have a mother who they see everyday, active and in their lives. She was blessed to have a great husband who supported her without understanding her drive to be perpetually present for her children.

Listen, as she discusses the impact on the next generation of women who she is raising.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 3 | 5/4/2021

Elman Woodson: The Power of Self

Elman Woodson started his young life with firsts! He put some “super” into his “natural!” As an undergrad, he helped to start a college program to teach English in China. He then travelled to Granada, Spain for the first time to fulfill another dream and lived with a family there.

After college, he wound up in the banking industry and knew that was not his calling. He wanted to change industries and jobs, but, like many of us, got stuck with fulfilling the obligations that comes with a great salary.

But Elman was different…he believed in himself, and that belief pushed him into the law field. He lives by his mantra, “faith without works is dead,” and take the steps to put his belief into actions.

Now, he’s living his dream of being an attorney. That’s what he wanted regardless of what anyone said to him. He’s teaching others how to live their dream – how to get their birthright of creation to create the life they want with the power of choice.

His new book, Looking Up, hits Amazon in May. I’m sure it will be as amazing as Ellman since it was brewing inside of him for ten years!

Listen to our discussion of how society puts us into a box. Were you put into a box? Who put you in a box? Are you in a box now? Mmmm! Food for your thoughts.

The First with Dr. Sandi Webster – Episode 2 | 4/22/2021

Nell Merlino: A Living Legend for Women’s Rights

Nell Merlino is an icon and a legend in her own right. She has a list of firsts that will impact generations.

She was at the forefront to change the outlook on AIDS during the AIDS epidemic by handing out condoms with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis as an Awareness campaign.

She utilized that campaign opportunity to springboard starting the first girls’ initiative, Take Our Daughters to Work Day, while she worked with Ms. Magazine – yes, the Gloria Steinem magazine that changed women’s outlook.

After reading some research that said girls’ self-esteem dropped dramatically after reaching adolescence, she decided to change the way

that girls see themselves by bringing them to a physical space where they could see themselves differently – the workplace! That movement is still around today and has expanded into Take Your Daughters and Sons To Work Day.

Every year in April (this year, it’s April 22), children trek into the workplace with their parents to understand what they do and learn about different career options in preparation for real life. This year, quite a few of them will be leaving their at-home classrooms to invade the work-from-home environment created by their parents. For a few hours, they will listen in on how to negotiate, make tough decisions, and have fun doing at work.

Her next adventure was Make Mine a Million $Business, where I met her. She was on fire to help women grow their businesses to the million dollar mark. Again, research showed her that only about 3% of women business owners ever passed the million dollar revenue goal. That program was sponsored by corporations like American Express and closed when sponsorship declined.

Now, during COVID, Nell was moved to restart that venture to help small business owners take advantage of loan opportunities and to discuss the issues they are having during the pandemic; now in her next chapter with Count Me In Revival, she’s again following her calling.

As I spoke wi Nell, I couldn’t help wonder what it’s like to be her – from kicking down doors for women business owners to hosting Queen Raina of Jordan – all the time, fearless in forging new paths for women! Listen in and see if you feel the same way.

Podcast Epsiode 2