I have embodied the spirit of change through innovation and reinvention throughout my career with leadership positions in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors and in diverse industries such as trade magazine publishing, consumer book publishing, health and wellness, metaphysics, education, hospitality and high tech. I have been a computer salesperson, advertising and marketing sales manager, trade publisher, CEO, executive director, book author, blogger, freelance writer, workshop leader, lyricist, screenplay writer, inspirational speaker, health & wellness coach, meditation teacher, business consultant, fitness instructor, fashion retail manager, presentation coach, hypnotherapist and realtor! For me, learning a new skill or industry is exciting. It allows me to think outside the box, break down the barriers and rise to a new challenge.
Turn Challenges into Opportunities
Back in the day, when I was publisher of Network Computing Magazine and publishing director of Internet Week, there were only a handful of female publishers, and none as young as me. It was a rewarding career path, but during the height of it, I suffered devastating tragedies in my family. In a period of four years, I lost four family members—one from suicide. These experiences changed the trajectory of my life and career. I could’ve wallowed in self-pity, but instead I decided to turn my experience into something positive. I left my corporate job and executive compensation and started writing books to help people overcome challenges in life. That launched a whole new career as a personal growth expert and speaker, with an emphasis on increasing one’s self-awareness and happiness. Since then, I have spoken to, written about and advised thousands of business groups and individuals alike in adopting healthy lifestyle and work habits from active exercise to passive meditation (which corporate circles now call “mindfulness”).
Keep Reinventing Yourself
In 2010, I was asked to join Stillheart Institute as Executive Director (and later became CEO) to launch the organization as a spiritual, health and wellness retreat center. I never planned to run a nonprofit, overnight facility with a full housekeeping staff and clients who ranged from spiritual gurus to corporate leaders, but it was an amazing experience! After four successful years, I initiated and led the sale of the property and facility. Managing the sale was so interesting to me that I eventually earned a real estate license and became a referral agent.
Another opportunity came my way in 2016 that combined my passion for business leadership with women’s empowerment. It seemed as if all roads prior led to my current role as CEO for the Professional Business Women of California (PBWC). I jumped at the chance to take over the helm! PBWC is a nonprofit organization founded by California Congresswoman Jackie Spieir to promote gender equality and women’s success and advancement in the workplace. We are a membership organization offering networking, programming, mentoring and conferences for professional women.
In addition to my position at PBWC, I continue to stay current with business trends by offering my business consulting, speaking and writing services.
Speak from Your Heart
While my background is business leadership, the books I’ve written have an overarching theme of self-empowerment and finding happiness no matter what obstacles you face in life and work. I know first hand that personal growth is intrinsically linked to professional success, and that to be a great leader, you need a healthy dose of self-worth and compassion for others as well as a keen set of tools to manage stress and change. My two nonfiction books are: The Goddess of Happiness: A Down-to-Earth Guide for Heavenly Balance and Bliss and Vita’s Will: Real Life Lessons about Life, Death & Moving On. In 2013, I wrote my first novel: Note to Self: Love, and since many of those who read it thought it would make a good movie, I also wrote an accompanying screenplay. Here’s a link to my book page on Amazon. My blog has appeared on multiple platforms including the Huffington Post.
Speaking to audiences of all kinds from corporate executives to women’s groups to teen girls comes very naturally to me. I also enjoy conveying messages via Internet radio as a regular contributor to “America Weekend with Valerie Smaldone...and Friends.”
I’m an advocate for healthy living, gender equality, women’s empowerment and LBGTQ rights. My passions in life include food (eating, cooking and entertaining) fashion, fitness, funky music (from the 70’s), films (without violence), dogs, dancing (like nobody’s watching), laughing out loud (healing medicine), my husband and two huskies, and anything Italian (yes, I’m Italian from “Da Bronx”, although I live on the CA “left coast” now).
CEO, Consultant, Author, Speaker
I’m an energetic business leader, best selling author, speaker and entrepreneur with a passion for inspiring personal and professional growth, empowering women and helping businesses succeed. I’m currently serving as CEO for the Professional Business Women of California (PBWC), a nonprofit organization that empowers women at all levels to achieve ambitions and gender equality in the workplace. In addition, my ongoing consulting practice includes business strategy, freelance writing, speaking, workshop facilitation, panel moderation and presentation coaching.
Copyright © Debbie Gisonni. All rights reserved.