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Personal Business
Success for women a matter of balance, author says

Monday, June 18, 2001

By Michael Kolber, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Jayne Nespoli, 57, said she needs venture capital to expand her business, but she wouldn't be using the funds to hire a cutting-edge ad agency or to build a Web presence. She would buy massage chairs to equip more teams of masseuses for her 2-year-old company, The Touch Team.

Nespoli, of Greensburg, was among the more business-focused attendees of a daylong conference Wednesday at LeMont restaurant. The "holistic conference" was intended to demonstrate the importance of balancing health and financial success for female business leaders, even though many of the attendees were the wives of major clients of Mellon Bank, which sponsored the event.

Gladys Edmunds, founder of Edmunds Travel Consultants, talks with Sonya Toler of the Pittsburgh Courier before speaking at the Holistic Conference for Women Business Leaders at LeMont on Mt. Washington. (Martha Rial, Post-Gazette)

Gladys Edmunds, who with Mellon is organizing a series of these seminars throughout the country, is an entrepreneur and motivational speaker who emphasizes a holistic approach to living, the unifying theme of the conference.

The day's speakers attempted to show the links between physical and psychological health and professional success. But many of the women appeared more interested in getting specific advice on either health or finance instead of melding the two.

For instance, Andrea Gansley-Ortiz, Greenfield, was tagging along with a friend who was a financial professional. Gansley-Ortiz, 31, was trying to pick up tips for her planned launch of a company that would provide cultural programs for high school Spanish classes.

Still, the more popular programs had nothing to do with high finance. While a dozen attendees heard about the travails of starting a new company, two movable partitions away, nearly 50 women peppered Stephanie Nicholas, a gynecologist at the Magee-Womens Research Institute, with questions about osteoporosis and menopause.

But as Edmunds, 53, tells it, learning about those problems is an important element of financial success for women.

"I'm here to remind you about what you already know," Edmunds said. Women, she said, often feel pressured to sacrifice their physical health for the sake of financial success.

Edmunds, who lives in Pittsburgh, said she spoke from personal experience.

When she became a mother at age 16, she realized that women faced a unique problem of balancing their professional and personal lives. She went on to found Edmunds Travel Consultants, which her daughter now runs, and write the book "There's No Business Like Your Own Business: The Six Practical and Holistic Steps for Entrepreneurial Success."

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