August 24, 2008
By Betsy Simon,
The Sentinel Record
Women can have children, hold down a marriage and still achieve any
goals they set for themselves if they have the motivation to ride
out the tough times in life and keep striving for a better day
ahead, according to the panel of speakers at this year's EMwomen's
Nation EMerge Conference and Expo.
Staci Wallace, a Hot Springs resident and founder of EMwomen, a
global organization founded by Wallace and her husband to inspire
females to find a balance between their personal and professional
lives that will allow them to live positive lives while excelling
at the multiple roles they play in life, brought the event to the
Hot Springs Convention Center on Saturday to inspire women to
change their lives today with motivational speakers at Horner Hall
and a business expo.
Wallace was one of the day's motivational speakers, which also
included Joseph Christiano, a naturopathic doctor; Dianna Booher,
CEO of Booher Consultants; Sally Carder, president of National Park
Community College; and Gracie Updyke, CEO of Gracies-Gear.com.
As the first speaker, Wallace encouraged the audience to keep an
open mind as they listened to the tips from each speaker and think
about how their messages can fit into their lives.
"My husband and I moved to Hot Springs two years ago and started
this organization because we are passionate about seeing women
emerge to the next level of greatness," she said. "Each of us can
do better that we're currently doing, whether it's with our
finances or health. No matter what has happened in your past
history, you can always do better. By the end of the day, the goal
is for you to be able to laugh and leave at the end with a feeling
that you can go out and conquer the world. Whether you're a mom or
a CEO of a company, you have to believe in your brand - 'You
For women to begin feeling a sense of strength in their lives,
Updyke, a former fitness trainer and physiologist at Duke
University who started an exercise clothing line for women, said
they have to decide what their dreams are and set goals that will
help to achieve them.
"I want to empower each of you to meet your fullest potential, and
if you're not following your passion ask yourself why not," she
said. "I used to see women in my office every day who didn't feel
comfortable in their own skin, but there wasn't clothing out on the
market they felt comfortable exercising in.
"Well, I' m a risk taker and I told my husband I wanted to start my
own clothing line for women and he supported me when I started my
company Gracie's Gear."
Through family issues and the birth of her daughter, Updyke
weathered criticism from potential buyers of clothing and came out
swinging when Dick's Sporting Goods agreed to begin selling her
gear in a quarter of their stores next year. She asked the audience
to remember that every setback in their lives are just set backs
and not the end.
"Success in your lives won't happen overnight, but stay committed
to your passion," she said. "Even if you're afraid, it's better to
go after your goals than to sit back on the sidelines and watch
someone else achieve theirs."