If there was ever a person who possessed the qualities described above it is Lidia Szczepanowski, Esq., Model Citizen’s 2021 Woman of the Year. She inspires and brings hope to others the way a beacon of light guides ships at night. Lidia exemplifies the real-life embodiment of the words success, independence, entrepreneurship, and glamour and she does so with humility, integrity, and passion. Lidia acquired a plethora of knowledge over the years as a litigation and business development attorney, business strategist, entrepreneur, black belt in karate, and international spokesmodel. More importantly, despite her extraordinarily busy schedule, she has always been most passionate about “giving back” through proactive “hands-on” participation in philanthropy and philanthropic activities.
This past election cycle has been a whirlwind of change. Many voices have risen claiming that the policing practices that have been in use for many years are inherently racist. This isn’t going to be about whether they are or not, this is a plea for people to realize the role of the police in our society, and why they need our support. Now the pushback to this trend has already started with the surprise win of the Republican Candidate for Virginia’s governor race upsetting the former Democrat governor, and the too close to call race in heavily Democrat New Jersey, not to mention the law to disband the police department in Minneapolis being voted down.
The news has been filled with the dramatic increase in violent crime since the “Defund the Police” movement started. Violent crime in Minneapolis is up nearly 30% this year compared to the first 10 months of 2019. The police force has lost about a third of its officers and response times for 911 calls now average about 15 minutes. Our major cities have abandoned the practices of upholding the “lifestyle” violations and following the broken windows method of law enforcement that cleaned up NY City under the Giuliani administration. In Seattle more than 300 officers have resigned or retired in the past two years. Seattle has seen some 443 shootings this year, up from 332 in all of 2019. The streets are full of homeless, human waste and the downtown businesses struggle with a rise in shoplifting and drug use.
Model Citizens Magazine the November issue features some incredible model citizens including Natalya Smolyakova and her daughter Alisa only the second mom and daughter to ever be nominated as model citizens together. A great interview with founders and proprietors of B2BESPOKE Men’s Clothier Mark Macaluso and Robert Bartol. Model Citizen & former Suffolk County Executive, author Steve Levy shares his thoughts on the presidential election results.
The November issue is the Gratitude issue and we have some great stories about Gratitude, Paying it Forward, and Cherishing your Chapters or love. Alure home improvements CEO and model citizen Sal Ferro shares his views on how our government is doing during this election year. Rhonda Klch shares her views on some current issues and her passion for the Equity First Foundation.
There are a plethora of additional stories in this issue that we hope you enjoy. Note that any of these spreads and stories can be printed on fine art glossy, matt, satin, or canvas archival/museum-quality prints. Just click here to find out more. As always Live in Gratitude. Pay it Forward. Cherish your Chapters of love.
Life behind the lens is a blessing. I still can not believe where my art and photojournalism has brought me. From New Year’s Eve front and center main stage Times Square NYC to exotic European cities like Paris and Venice. My love for people has always lead me to pay tribute to the human figure especially the female figure. I can remember every instant from every photo, from my entire life. It’s amazing to me how many portraits and people I have met on my creative journey.
It’s the beginning of October and we are only weeks away from the 2020 presidential elections, but it is hard for me as a leader in the community to voice my opinion about our two candidates without confrontation. These days as soon as you voice a political opinion about anything, even from a politically neutral standpoint, you are attacked by the “opposing party”. Not even the “opposing opinion” just an attack by anyone who supports the “other candidate”. Even so, I do have the right to have my own voice and my own opinions. But, to share them with the outside public really only subjects me to ridicule and attack.
So now when anyone asked me what my opinion is on a political issue or even who I am voting for in both local and national political campaigns, I simply withdraw from the conversation or change the topic. While my nomination as a model citizen and continuous contributions as a columnist to Model Citizens Magazine has given me a voice, it has also subjected me to ridicule, just like with my radio show, The Diversity Project. So all in all, staying on the safe side in a polarized political world, or being “Politically Neutral” as Model Citizens Magazine publisher John Dowling Jr. likes to put it, is a safe place to reside.
While it is somewhat heartbreaking to admit that, I do have friends and business colleagues on both sides of the political divide. As a politically polarized society, there is a new cold war in the making, and I am not referring to the one between the US and China which has been brewing for decades now, I am referring to the cold war that exists now right here in America between the far left and the far right politically. To most anyone regardless of political affiliation or how moderate or liberal you are, we all recognize that as a country we are on two extremes of the spectrum. You are either ultra-conservative or a socialist. There is no more middle of the road liberal republicans or conservative democrats. We are in a political world where you are either with us on our entire political agenda, or you are the enemy, with them, the opposing party.
We all should really stop and take hold of the fact that in this election cycle yet another seat in the Supreme Court is up for grabs, and it will determine just how far left or right our country goes for decades in the judiciary. The same polarization that is occurring in our society, with our politicians, and with us all, is also now expected to be represented in the Supreme Court. As I am sure you will agree, even judicial choices are based on political affiliations. Again, this is a full-blown cold war between the two parties.
John: Greg, you’ve been nominated as a Model Citizen for the October issue of Model Citizen Magazine because of your service to our country and our community, and because of the way you have battled cancer and survived, twice. For our readers could you first please share a little bit about what you have been through with your health and what your status is now?
Greg: Currently, I’m in remission from cancer. In 2013, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and immediately had to go into aggressive chemotherapy treatments for six months every 3-weeks having chemo sessions. I’ve made it through that.
John: What is it like to be on chemo, for someone who has never gone through it?
Greg: First I’d like to say I had a really good doctor, Dr. Gostanian of Medical Oncology,I must give her a lot of credit. She did warn me about my first chemo treatment brutal and would only get worse over time. It’s cumulative, a lot of people don’t know that.
John: A lot of people do not know anything about it.
John: Is it a chemical or a pill?
Greg: It’s a chemical.
Greg: That’s why you need to be closely monitored for your heart and lungs issues, there can be scarring of the lungs and other side effects. What it does is it kills cancer, obviously, but it brings you close to death.
John: Is it like I’ve heard where they bring you to the brink of death, so that they kill off all of the cancer cells they can, but it is still killing you slower than cancer?
Greg: You can’t stay on for too long, it actually does a lot of damage to your body, but it’s killing cancer at the same time. So it’s a good thing, but also a bad thing. A lot of people come out of it with a lot of side-effects that they must live with for the rest of their lives. Before I say anything else, I have to say I come from a family of seven. I had a single mother and I give her a lot of credit. She’s a very tough woman. I think that’s where I get my toughness from and my sense of tomorrow will be better, I get that from her.
Social media is an essential tool for building your brand, making connections, and finding work. In fact, it’s become so important that many top modeling agencies now require their models to be on social media. Here’s how you can use Instagram to further your modeling career and your business.
Instagram is like a modern-day photographic portfolio. Whether you like modeling or photography or anything else you are passionate about, social media is your online portfolio. You define your personal style and let your Instagram grid or photo album display it. Don’t just show us your but (as so many Instagram influencers do) show us your personality and what interests you. Anyone can accumulate likes and views by taking off most of their clothes, but to use Instagram to obtain tangible results, bookings, and reach to major brands you need to define who you are. It certainly does not hurt to show your but, however, unless you are endorsing lingerie your views and likes may not translate into bookings.
John: Congratulation on your nomination as a model citizen for the September issue of Model Citizens Magazine.
David: Thank you so much it is an honor to me to be nominated.
John: You have been nominated because you are kind of a behind the scenes guy. I show up at many Charities and see you bought a table, made a significant donation, and you never say anything about it. When did you first start supporting charities and why do you do it?
David: Many years ago I was working for Harley-Davidson. Harley-Davidson at that time supported Muscular Dystrophy Association and the dealership would support the national and local MDA. The dealership would provide special events and with the help of the motorcycle community raise money. It made me feel good to provide support to people who are struggling. So I just kept on doing it and made it a lifestyle.
John: I know you are support of The Ferro Foundation. Tell us why you are so passionate about the Ferro Foundation?
David: I first meet Sal while I was producing a sports internet radio show. His passion for sports provided a common interest. We meet again at the PinkTie Gala charity event. His passion for philanthropy inspired me to do more for our community and get more involved. The Ferro Foundation created a Scholarship fund to help Long Island students receive a college education. Providing a scholarship to students who meets certain community and academic qualifications. Being a Long Islander it was important to keep my efforts local to help our immediate community. So that sold me on the philanthropy lifestyle.
Morphing your life to the new norm can be quite a challenge, but for model citizen Asher Allweiss his career trajectory changed overnight because of this pandemic. Asher is a top young real estate agent with Keller Williams Points North, but he also WAS the Chief Business Development Officer at his company Impetus Management. Impetus Management was started in August 2019, they are a small business loans brokerage firm who take a holistic look at the lending process as well as creative ways to assist their client’s growth. They would refer their clients to one another so they could collaborate and grow together. Impetus was growing rapidly in both revenues generated and in size, then cut to the end of March of this year and the pandemic hits. After pouring his heart and soul into his new company, which was only eight months old, he and his partner Brian had to make the decision to shut down because of the pandemic, Asher thought it was the end of the world. Then one day during quarantine and a lot of self-reflecting and talking to God trying to find the answer of what to do now, he comes to the realization that with every ending there is a new beginning. Asher decides to put his faith in God and with the love and support of his family and friends, he decides to put his head down and just follow his dream and open his Real Estate Investment Firm called “AAM Ventures LLC” as well as his Commercial Mortgage Brokerage, partnered with Michael Mills, called “Cobra Commercial Capital”.
Heidi: Yes, so I had an amazing career in Manhattan when I was a young mother and I decided to give that career up when my son got sick. I left my six-figure job at Xerox to be a mother. I decided to dedicate all the time I used to spend commuting in and out of Manhattan. working my tail off to be with my children. So, I threw myself into the world of PTA. I became a girl scout leader, a cub scout leader. I really embraced motherhood and loved every second of it.
I took all the talents that I had in the business world and focused them on helping others. One of the organization’s I felt the most strongly about was Kiwanis International. I stepped into a position there where I actually do a service leadership program. It’s called the Key Club and I’ve been running that career program for about 10 years now.
I work with all the kids at Wantagh High School and Nassau BOCES Center for Community Adjustment teaching the children how to become future Leaders. I teach them all about community service, helping others and giving back to the community. I absolutely love it and I’ve embraced that now, and I’m now going into my 11th year.