Sandra Yancey Succeeding Inspite of Everything

the future

According to Sandra Yancey the Founder and CEO of eWomen Network Inc, International Award Winning Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Movie Producer and a Bestselling Author. “I didn’t realize that I was poor and that my mother was on welfare. I didn’t know  that these two very handsome men in suits that would come to the house once a month with  groceries were from the church, Saint Vincent De Paul, bringing food to the poor.”

Sandra may not have had lots of money but she had lots of love and support from her mom. Her mom inspired her to become a leader. My mom said “Sandra, go out and set yourself on fire. Everyone will come and watch you burn.” And I never really understood what that meant until later in life. We are attracted to those people that are bright, those people that have that glow, that essence, that energy, that vibration that is a quality of a great leader. People are drawn to you. You have to have followers to be a leader.

I first met Sandra at the Lisa Sassevich, Event Profit Secrets. I was so impressed with Sandra’s commitment to serving others is the eWomenNetwork Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit, which supports the financial and emotional health of women and children in need I donated 100 Art From My Heart books and became a member of eWomen. I had the opportunity to interview her for The Winning Adventure.                                                                                                                                                                                                         303

How did you get started in leadership?

My family  wanted me to go to college. So I went on my own, I paid my own way; I worked and was the first one in the family to graduate with a college degree.  And then I went after my advanced degrees. I worked my way up the corporate ladder from the clerical ranks to running a department.

After 13 years of being in corporate America, I moved from the “Little ‘D’” to the “Big ‘D’” – Dayton, Ohio to Dallas, Texas. At that point in time, I started a solo consulting practice, which is when I got my first real taste of what it meant to be really successful. I was making great money but I was just miserable, I mean I was always on a plane and my children were little that’s the time in my life where I wanted to be home– that’s part of the reason why I left Corporate America.

What inspired eWomen?

I started going to networking groups, which were predominately male and I had my “Aha!” moment about the “good old boys” network – I mean this in a good way! These groups focused on best practices, leads, strategic introductions, and me being a female and in the minority felt welcome, but not quite “allowed” to play the game.

I went to a few women’s groups, but they just didn’t compare. I said, “Where are all the women that want to build million-dollar businesses?”  I thought something’s missing that what we need is a hybrid, the integration of the focus and the strategy that I witnessed with the men’s group but in a way that was more comfortable for women, that’s relational.  I wanted to create a system and structure that allowed women to be very clear about monetizing their goals.

We’ve grown from being simply a networking organization to a success system. We have the richest online portal of resources from women subject matter experts that can be accessed at any time, by anyone.

What are the qualities of a great leader?

  What really differentiates great leaders is the secret sauce, relationships. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a really great idea, a great business model,  fancy website with all the bells and whistles today and you have a four color business card and you’ve got the perfect tool or the opportunity that can change the planet.  I mean if you aren’t good at building relationships you really do have nothing, I mean at some level I think we’re all in the relationship business no matter what product or service we sell. 


Do you have any secrets for people just starting out?

  Don’t fake it till you make it. I did that and I think that was part of  my early struggles and almost my demise. If someone asked how are you” oh I’m fine, yet I wasn’t sleeping and the doors were to about to close. When you do that you’re being an impostor.  When you’re being an impostor you’re not living your authentic self and I don’t think that you can really create sustainable happiness and success when you are faking it. It doesn’t mean you have to cry and tell everybody your problems but it doesn’t mean you need to tell the people that can help you most that everything is fine because then they can’t help you.

 I think that multitasking for women is the kiss of death.  We think that nobody else can do it quite like us, so we micromanage and struggle.  And that’s for everything, from your business to how you fold your towels. The truth of the matter is if your customer has a great experience does it really have to be done by you? Every towel can be folded slightly different, none of the corners match, but my guess is the customer, which is your family, would be more thrilled to know that the towels are available and they’re clean rather  than the frustration and pain you go through knocking yourself out because you feel like you’ve got to do it all.

What legacy would you like to leave?

I want my legacy to be that she talked her talk. She provided access to others to be able to experience and live their purpose, their greatness and their contribution. I want to be missed. The greatest gift for me, would be that someone would say I’m better as a result of knowing her.

What legacy would you like to leave? Would love to hear from you.







Creative Leaders Spark Change Around The World

Creative Leaders spark change around the world.

In my last blog I introduced the concept of the creative edge. It is the way you live your life. It is the way you parent, solve problems, and make a difference in the world. It is being resilient, inventive and original. It is supporting your unique visions and going to the creative edge. The  qualities of a  creative leader are:  Courageous, Resourceful, Enthusiastic, Authentic, Tenacious, Inspired, Vibrant, Empowered.

Meet Jonny Imerman



Jonny Imerman was a typical college graduate, working in real estate during the day and attending classes at night for his MBA. Jonny played basketball, worked out at the gym and hung out with friends. Then at 26 his life changed.

 Jonny was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After doctors surgically removed one of his testicles, he underwent five months of chemotherapy and was declared clear. But almost a year later, four tumors popped up again near his spine which required another surgery, an 11-inch incision and three months of recovery.

Jonny has been cancer-free since 2003. He left the business world behind and began Imerman Angels a not-for-profit organization that connects a person fighting with cancer with someone who has survived and beaten the same type of cancer. The mission is to provide a big brother or sister to help inspire, provide tips and knowledge. They have created a global healing community of over 4000 survivors and 1500 caregivers . The service is available to anyone touched by any type of cancer living in 60 countries around the world for free.

Rae: What inspired you to create Imerman Angels?

Jonny: “I had made a vow to myself during the time that I was battling cancer. I had looked at others in the oncology clinic and realized that I was different. Each day, my mom was there.She was there every step of the way.  My room was filled with family and friends. As I walked down the hall with my chemotherapy IV-pole on the way to the bathroom, I saw other people fighting cancer alone. They were lying in bed, motionless, watching television or staring in space.  I knew this was not right. It really upset me. So I started chatting with other cancer patients.I’ d say hi my name is Jonny. We could talk about our emotions, our experiences, things our family couldn’t get like sucking on lemonheads to get the metallic taste out of our mouth.

“I wondered: “What if every cancer fighter could talk to a cancer survivor who was uniquely familiar with their experience; who not only had beaten the same type and stage of cancer, but who also was the same age and gender as the fighter?” The cancer survivor would be an angel- walking, living proof that the fighter could win, too. What an amazing connection. “

“Let’s say a 19 year old girl at University of Richmond get’s sick, she is alone and afraid. She can go on facebook and talk to an angel  to find out know what is going to happen to her,” how sick will I get, will I be able to have kids?   Also cancer caregivers, family members and friends also benefit from one-on-one connections with other caregivers and survivors.

 Rae: How would you define courage?

 Jonny:  Courage, when you reach a certain point where you absolutely have no fear of failure.You don’t listen to other people saying others have had that idea. Ultimately courage is listening to your own voice and believing that you can do it.

Rae:     What are the qualities of a great leader?catalyst of change

Johnny:   I think a great leader, number one is focused on a mission. A great leader believes in the service for the product that they’re delivering.  They believe in their soul, every part of their body, everything about them screams that they get it. They’re so fired up to build it and that’s what creates a movement. They have unwavering passion.

Rae: What is your definition of success?

 Jonny:” For me it’s really simply we’re changing lives, we’re improving lives in cancer, we’re making a difference.  I think the most successful people in the world are the people in social enterprise that are building a for-profit company that has a social component that makes the world a better place or nonprofits that simply make the world a better place. 

Rae: What continues to drive you?

Jonny: I love people. Everyone’s got a story. Everyone has been through challenges. I always say that if you talk to somebody for five minutes there’s always something that you don’t know that they do. You can learn from their experiences.

Rae:  What would you say to somebody who said they don’t know how make a difference but would like to?

 Johnny:    I think what you need to do is to dig deep and you think about what your family  has been touched by. It could be diabetes or cancer. Get in touch with one of the groups  that serve people in those arenas and start volunteering.  Be part of the solution.

If you want to be part of the solution visit for information on how to support or join the network of cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.

Cancer used to be said in a whisper. Now we have football players marching down the field in pink. How did that happen? We have people sharing their story or their families challenges. We have  creative leaders like Jonny Imerman  who brought to light the problems young adults face with cancer and did something about it .

If you know a Creative Leader who I should feature…please write me.



What is the Creative Edge?

desert island

During one of my workshops I asked the participants to close their eyes and imagine they were suddenly stranded on a desert island. You have nothing with you. No family, friends, home, car, job or possessions. What would you have left?

They were stunned, they grumbled nothing. But I asked is that really true? One lady raised her hand and said. “I have lots of things. I have my health, memories, my intellect and my senses. With a new way of looking at the situation, one of the gentleman in the group said ” I have courage and faith.” One of the women wearing a t shirt that said inspired on it shared” I have talents and I have my creativity”.

We are so much more than we realize. We are not defined by our “things or toys” or our status at work or even our physical bodies. When we can see beyond our current thinking, when we can change our habitual patterns of behavior and thoughts, we can make our life and work a winning adventure.

 I think two celebrities did just that. Christopher Reeves, best known for being Superman, was paralyzed after a riding accident. Sitting in a wheel chair, head supported, aided with a ventilator he made movies, spoke about the need for spinal cord research. He was an inspiration for millions. Then you have Michael J. Fox with Parkinson’s disease …he didn’t silently disappear. He now uses his tremors as part of his humor and acting on his new television show.

Marcel Proust said “The real voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes.” That is the essence of being creative.

Being creative is a mindset and an attitude. It is a skill set that can be learned. It is a willingness to play, explore and experiment. You don’t need to be a genius like Albert Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci. It is not about being a great artist like Renoir or Frieda Kahlo. It is not about being a writer, photographer, musician, or dancer. It is the way you live your life. It is the way you parent, solve problems, and make a difference in the world. It is being resilient, inventive and original. It is supporting your unique visions and going to the creative edge.

When you reach your Creative Edge you will be more:









I would like to introduce you to one of the people I interviewed for The Winning Adventure who has gone to the Creative Edge.

Meet Sue Ellen Allen who found her passion and creative edge in prison.Sue ellen Allen

Sue Ellen Allen is a former University of Texas grad, former educator, former business owner, former community leader. Having spent 7 years as an inmate at Arizona State Prison she now serves as Executive Director for GINA’s Team, an organization that brings educational programs and speakers into prison to inspire and empower inmates to strive for a better future. She says that “watching her  cell mate Gina die from medical neglect was the” defining moment” of my life. It gave me a new passion and purpose.”

Sue Ellen walked into prison battling advanced breast cancer. She told me she knew she wanted to make a difference. “I asked the deputy warden if we could have our own cancer walk during National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Surprising everyone they said yes. So one sunny Saturday morning in October dressed in our bright orange uniforms we walked around our track. The first year we raised $10,000 for breast cancer from inmates who make about 25 cents an hour on average. There were so many women touched by breast cancer with family and friends they were excited to participate. I’m proud to say that walk is now held in every state prison facility in Arizona and has raised over $100,000 for the American Cancer Society. It’s a huge event inside.”

Her inspiring story, The Slumber Party from Hell shares her journey of prison and transformation. Her legacy continues in prison with Toast Masters and a 14 week life skill class she designed which is now taught by other inmates. She inspires others to triumph in the face of adversity, to go to the creative edge and be unstoppable. Get involved with Gina’s Team or to get in touch:


Make your life and work a winning adventure. Go to  the Creative Edge at

Who do you know has gone to the creative edge?




What Is Your Winning Adventure for 2014?


Welcome to 2014 and The Winning Adventure!                                                                                                                                                                      biggest adventure

I’m Rae Luskin Chief Explorer and Tour Guide around here. But let’s be clear on one thing – while I have started this new facebook community, you are the ones who will make it what it is. It is not mine, it’s OURS.

I see my mission as pretty simple: Explore, Listen and Share

To explore myself, to listen to your story, and to share new tools so you can live your legacy now and become the hero of your own epic adventure.

Most of my life I lacked the confidence to go after my dreams. I was stuck in I am not good enough or I can’t mentality. I walked around with my head down, tip toeing around the elephant in the living room (gramps sexually abused me) trying to be a fly on the wall. I did not want anyone to find out my “secret.” I was afraid if you knew the real me you would go running from the room. Furthermore, I thought that if I was too visible, too outspoken, bad things would happen. In my family there was a lot of rage and verbal assaults.

My inner critic was on high alert most of the time. Who do you think you are? Don’t get too big for your britches? What are you stupid or crazy?

So I played it safe. I kept myself invisible. I did what  was expected of me. But I was miserable. Depressed. Obese. Lonely.  But with a sense of Adventure, Curiosity, and Creativity I was able to overcome my limiting beliefs and fear based behavior.  

 I became an author, artist, speaker and coach.  I went from shy to outspoken. Writing controversial opinions or often voicing the dissenting opinion at board meetings. I became an effective leader and community activist. As a radio talk show host I was able to share stories of victim to victor, from stuck to unstoppable and change my life and the lives of thousands of other people.

At The Winning Adventure we believe that everyone has a unique gift. It does not matter if you are a little league coach, head of the local PTO or the CEO of your business you have a sphere of influence. We are all leaders. Doing work you love and creating impact is your birthright.

You just have to be willing to do the work, make the discoveries and surround yourself with the people who make it possible. If we commit to doing that, the ‘impossible’ starts to become possible.  That’s when everything begins to change.  

That is what this community is designed to do for its members – for YOU. For all of us.

So in case you’re wondering what The Winning Adventure stands for around here, this is a breakdown of what we believe and how we live at The Winning Adventure. If it resonates, I hope you’ll stick around. This is just the beginning…

How an Idea Begins to Change the World

I heard a whisper… Interview 100 leaders across the country

The inner critic jumped in and said are you crazy? Who would listen to you?

Did the inner work and tapped into my courage.

In the last year I was blessed to interview over 120 leaders around the country.

Started writing Stuck to Unstoppable and the Creative Edge.

They inspired me and I am sure their stories will inspire you.

What I know for sure is everyone wants to be seen, heard and understood.

I want to create a safe space for you.

I want to know what makes you come alive.

Travel makes me come alive. It has been a passion of mine since my first trip to Europe with my family when I was 16. I was entranced by the people, the natural beauty, the aesthetics and different cultures and communities. I have traveled first class staying at five star hotels  or gone steerage in a cabin without a port hole. I have ridden a camel in Israel, had a snake wrapped around my neck in Morocco, and walked through the rainforest in New Zealand. I have found travel inspirational and transcendent. I got to act differently, try on new behavior, be anyone I wanted. I became an expert in resource management: money, time, energy, fun and learning. I got to tap into my courage muscle and be pioneer, an adventurer, navigator…a creative  leader. It was where I found out who I was, what was essential to  my well being.

The summer before my senior year in college while traveling with my best friend I made the decision to leave school and go into therapy for the first time.

After my trip to New Zealand in 1998 I came home and decided to open my own healing art center called Art and Soul Connections.

In 2001 during my trip to Italy I got to play tour guide and came up with my agenda for my new job as President of the National Council of Jewish Women Chicago, North Shore

I believe that life is an adventure.  It does not mean you have to go around the world. You can have an adventure at home, in this moment. It is an attitude. It is a calling. It is committing to your dreams. It takes some planning. So begin today.


  What is The Winning Adventure for you in the New Year?

where we belong

Here are some prompts:

If you knew you could not fail  would you like to do?

What are your greatest talents?

What have your life experiences prepared you to do?

What “problems” in the world touch your soul?

Who inspires you?

What are you curious about learning?

What makes your heart sing?

What do you want to be known and remembered for?


By listening to our inner voice we are actually being the change we want to see in the world.

I would love to hear from you what makes you come alive. What is The Winning Adventure for you? I want to support you on your journey.

Please like my new facebook page and tell us how we can support your dreams.




Free Your Diva Manifesto

3_Divas Are you standing in your power? Do you believe in yourself?

Are you courageous enough to speak your mind?

  Do you have the confidence to go after your dreams?

 Then you are certainly a Dazzling DIVA

  You are Daring, Inspired, Vibrant, Authentic


As part of my healing journey I would write short stories and fairy tales. My favorite was the Secret Life of Dazzling Diva Rae.

The Secret Life of Dazzling Diva Rae: twelve joys that have me jump out of bed every morning before caffeine.

1.   Being creative 

2.   Loving in a deep heartfelt, rich way

3.   Helping others while sharing my giftsstrawberry

4.   Engaging in guilty pleasures (all legal)

5.  Exploring new and exciting places

6.   Laughing out loud

7.   Being a grandmother

8.   Breaking the rules or redefining them

9.   Wearing glitz and glitter

10.  Being deeply grateful and in a state of grace

11.   Escaping to serenity

12.  Living life in Technicolor: enjoying an out of the box, bodacious and succulent life based on my own unique self expression, unlimited possibilities and coloring outside the lines.

No matter what your past, you can choose to live creatively, passionately and joyfully at every moment. You can live HAPPILY EVER AFTER NOW. Find the DIVA in you.

What makes you want to jump out of bed everyday? Please share it in the box below?

Rae Luskin, a Chicago artist, teacher, activist and the author of ART FROM MY HEART and soon Stuck to Unstoppable, she is a leader in using creative expression to foster self-worth, resilience, healing and social change. If you want to find her traditional biography go to the about me page at  or