The Ripple Effect

book-prototype
The book prototype I had created and almost completed writing when I got the hosting job with Evine – then Shop NBC 12 years ago

Have you ever hit hard times and needed help?  I have- I’ve always believed that when you are blessed, you should be a blessing to others. Over a decade ago, I struggled to find my niche-even after getting my Broadcast Journalism degree, I felt the News wasn’t for me—I would want to give the woman who lost her son at the murder scene a hug, not just report the news!  I needed some direction — my life coach asked,  “What is your passion?” I responded sarcastically, “I’m really good at shopping!”

Not the easiest thing in the world, to find a career that marries shopping, acting and improv background and the one that utilized the “talkative” comment most teachers would write on my report card growing up!  “Have Faith, ” she said.  I struggled for quite a while, trying many different sales jobs, but no real passion for any of them- I was feeling defeated.

On my wedding day 13 years ago, I walked up the stairs to Beverly Hills Town hall. My phone rang- it was my agent asking if I would like to host a Home Shopping Network (back then Shop NBC)—I said YES!

I sent in my demo reel-a prototype of me hosting a show I created “Inside LA”, showcasing the best places to dine, club and shop in Los Angeles. Soon after, I booked the job! My new husband and I moved to Eden Prairie, MN where Evine is broadcast and I’ve been a part of the Evine family for the past 12 years.

Remembering how lost I felt and fearful, I now help women identify their skills, to believe in themselves to find a job and a better future for their family with Dress for Success.  As a Career Advocate I speak to the women engaged in the 8- week program about what it takes to “sell” themselves to an employer through their words and body language/energy to get the job.  As a One-on-One Mentor, I’ve been able to impact many women’s lives by giving advice and encouraging them to reach their dreams through daily action.

wendi2I was so proud of our Evine hosts for agreeing to be a part of the Dress for Success annual 5k fundraising walk to support this job program!
I was even prouder that our President, Bob Rosenblatt, was kind enough to donate $1500 on behalf of Evine for our Dress for Success team!  Hosts Kendy Kloepfer, Heather Hall, Kimberly Wells, Allison Waggoner and Melissa Miner all donated to the cause, helping us to raise over $2100!

wendiEarly the morning of the race, Evine Hosts Skip Connelly, Lynne Schacher, Brian Kessler, Kristine Kvanli, Sam Simmons and Fatima Cocci and I all rallied together at 6am, walking to raise money to support the women in the “Going Places Network”.

We had a ball!  Sam chose to run it with Kristine, while Skip walked alongside Fatima and I was busy Snap Chatting on the Evine account—hopping from host to host, jumping into each conversation.  At the end of the walk, we ran and crossed the finish line hand-in-hand!  The ladies from Dress for Success were at the finish line and cheered us on with their kids.

dress-for-succeess

We all bonded in a very unique way that day, and vowed to do it again next year!  I call this the Ripple Effect because if each of us helped someone and then they helped someone once they were on their feet, we would magnify the impact!

What are you doing this holiday season to give back?  Leave your comments below!  If you want to donate clothing for this program, find your local chapter at www.dressforsuccess.org.

“Be Good to Others” and stay tuned for my “5 Days of Kindness” Initiative December 5-9th on my Facebook Page and Evine’s social media platforms! Fine me at:  Wendi Russo Evine Live.

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When life gives you lemons . . . make lemonade!

It’s a quote my grandmother stitched onto an embroidered piece of fabric and framed it, placing it in my bedroom – it had 2 bunnies that reminded me of Beatrix Potter bunnies – very simple crisscrosses created the words to a very complex life message.  I’ve thought of this quote many times as I’ve experienced tough times – how do I make lemonade out of this?  It means to find the silver lining to the dark cloud, or to make something positive out of something negative.

Like cancer—how can you find the positive in that? One little girl did just that.

For many, summertime is the time to drink lemonade because it’s hot. However, for my family, it’s a time to do our part and fundraise to help find a cure for cancer—one cup at a time! 

Chloe stand blog

Each summer my daughter, Chloe has held a neighborhood lemonade stand outside of our home where she sells cupcakes, cookies and brownies to raise money for Childhood Cancer Research through Alex’s Lemonade Foundation.   It’s an annual fundraising event that Alex’s parents continued on well after their 4- year old daughter Alex’s death from brain cancer.  She was an inspiration to kids across the nation for telling her mom she wanted to raise over $1 million dollar for a cure for all children who have cancer.  Alex doesn’t know it- but she has more than doubled that goal!  Chloe was just one of the kids she inspired to take action!

Chloe brownie blogDaddy is handy so he made the lemonade stand with pink and yellow strips when she was just 6-years old, soon becoming an attraction to all of the kids in the neighborhood!  Everyone wanted to come and help pour lemonade and sell cookies!  

Wendi group blogIt’s a whole weekend event and, of course, I invited all my fellow hosts – this year Sam Saboura from One World stopped by and did a live Facebook chat with me from the Lemonade stand – AND he contributed!  Laura Duffek from your favorite bedding and Tiffany Style Lighting shows also came around, as well as host Kimberly Wells, who was a big donor this year (thank you Kimberly!!) and even  easy and breezy Becky Wright from OSO Casual!  Host Kendy Kloepfer comes every year and got Chloe police blogto witness the fire truck pulling up onto the block, along with Chloe who, of course, was screaming and jumping up and down (sidenote- why are firemen always cute? Where were my single girlfriends?)  Another donor was even our own CEO Bob Rosenblatt (who is a doll by the way), Invicta Ryan . . . and the list goes on!

 

So, all-in-all, it was a huge success!

By the time Chloe was 6-years old, she had raised over $1,000. Each year since then, she has surpassed that goal, with over $8,000 donated so far!  That first year the local news station came to interview her and last year, a local company who chooses one “little fundraiser” to help raise BIG money, presented her with a $1500 check.  It’s been amazing to witness how people really come out to help, and have been moved by the big heart of a ‘little’ person.

Chloe stand 2 blogThis year Chloe’s Lemonade stand was held in honor of Cheryl,  a long-time beloved friend and nail technician to many of the female hosts at EVINE, who’s had cancer for over a year and is undergoing a major battle for her life.  Prayers for her would be wonderful . . . .

 Learning about compassion and helping others is a lesson I wanted to teach my daughter at a young age—what are you doing to touch the life of others this summer?

 

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