10 Leading Ladies of 2015



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sylvia weinstein oyster pointer coastal virginia magazine leading ladiesSylvia Weinstein

Occupation: Publisher/Editor, the Oyster Pointer.

What makes her inspirational?

With more than 45 years in the communications field, Sylvia S. Weinstein offers expertise that encompasses every aspect of advertising, public relations and marketing. Sylvia’s highly visible 26-year career with the Virginia Peninsula Economic Development Council culminated in an 11-year term as the council’s Director of Public Relations. In July 1988, she put her business development skills to work with the Weinstein Agency, a public relations, advertising and marketing firm. In June 1993, Sylvia closed her successful business to join Waters Advertising as a public relations consultant. Today she spends her business day as Publisher and Editor of the Oyster Pointer, a monthly business newspaper distributed throughout the Oyster Point Business Park and surrounding areas in Newport News.

What do you feel has been the key to your success?

“My strongest motivation came from my parents and the example that they set for me. I have always admired leaders who have a strong work ethic and sense of loyalty and service to the community. My particular passion has been education because of my positive experiences in the local public school systems. This passion drives my desire to work toward improvement of education at all levels.”

What has been your proudest moment?

“I have a number of proud moments: I am proud to be involved in the education of our youth, from elementary and high school to college. I enjoy watching these students of today strive to become leaders of tomorrow. Another moment of pride is being the owner of a successful local publication, the Oyster Pointer. The paper has been honored with many national and international awards, the result of the talented and creative staff who help to make this publication so well received by our readers. And I’m most proud of being mother to four loving and devoted young women who are successful in their own right.”

What’s the best advice you can offer young women?

“Remember that the stepladder to the top in the business world has many rungs. Be willing to start small to grow big. Along the way, be kind and respectful to all peoples. Love what you do and do what you love. And never, never, never give up.”

 

melanie waters the deloreans 80s cover band coastal virginia magazine leading ladiesMelanie Waters

Occupation: Musician/Owner, The Deloreans

What makes her inspirational?

In Melanie’s words, the business of The Deloreans—America’s Favorite ’80s Show Band—is to make people smile, give them a release from the day-to-day stress of life, take them to another place, a place they had forgotten, to find their inner child. To dance, to laugh, to sing, to shout!

With a playlist of songs that tops 10 hours yet still leaves people begging for more, Melanie and her band can tailor their show to the needs of any crowd, from small and intimate weddings to city events drawing tens of thousands of people. Collectively they have performed in more than six countries, for several heads of state and three sitting U.S. Presidents.

What do you feel has been the key to your success?

“Confidence and constantly moving forward. All projects are not always finished, but there is always a new phase, another idea, something to reach for. Constantly reaching for improvement and setting new goals for future growth has been key in the success of The Deloreans.”

What has been your proudest moment?

“There is no one proud moment. I’m proud of my team for the hard work they put in and the trust they put in me to continue to grow the business for all of us. I grow prouder each day that we continue to do what we love while inspiring others and putting a smile on their faces through great music and entertainment.”

What’s the best advice you can offer young women?

“No matter how much you want to do what you want to do, what you love, don’t quit school and open your own business so you can do things your own way—complete your education first. There is no greater empowerment than that of education and being armed with knowledge to do things right the first time around.”

 

keri penland xoxo pet rescue, coastal virginia magazine, leading ladiesKeri Penland

Occupation:  Co-Founder/President, XOXO Pet Rescue, Inc.

What makes her inspirational?

If you want a nice, steady, 9-to-5 job, don’t start a pet rescue. It’s not all about cute little puppies and happy little children at adoption events. In fact, the process never ends, with Keri being on-call pretty much 24/7—answering calls from shelters that need help, traveling to pick up dogs, calming fosters who have sick dogs or dogs that aren’t getting along in their current environment, trying to find money to pay for expensive surgeries or treatments for abandoned dogs and costly treatments for sick puppies, and coordinating foster events. Because of her commitment and drive to saving lives, Keri and XOXO save, on average, more than 800 furry lives a year—a number that is growing exponentially.

What do you feel has been the key to your success?

“Sticking with it! This is a very tough business, both emotionally and physically. Keeping your eye on the bigger picture and not letting terribly sad and devastating moments weigh you down. Marching on through the sickness of animals and cruelty of people is tough. You have to always see the good in every situation and celebrate that tiny success. Do not give up! Setbacks happen—learn from them, keep them in your back pocket, as it were, and remember them for the future.”

What has been your proudest moment?

“Perhaps our latest success is with Peanut—a little Corgi mix who was run over by his owner then dumped in a shelter without the use of his back legs. We took him directly to a specialist in Richmond. He had a fractured spine, but his prognosis was good. He has been my companion for several months, and I have watched him go from crying in pain if he moved to walking, wagging his tail and giving kisses. There have been many such moments over the past five years.”

What’s the best advice you can offer young women?

“Never give up on your dreams. Five years ago when I told my family and friends we were quitting our jobs to start a rescue, there were many nay-sayers. But we marched on. It was not easy, and it’s still the hardest job I’ve ever done. We work all hours of the day and night, we have heartache and tired, bleary-eyed moments, but we are loving it. Do not give up. Decide what is your passion in life, what you want to be or do and do it.”

Read this article in its entirety in the October issue of Coastal Virginia Magazine.

See 10 Leading Ladies from 2014.

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