Featured Member: Perry Norton

by Nancy Marriott

Since Perry Norton moved to Santa Barbara and began her career as a voice-over narrator, engineer and editor for her company PanRight Productions, she’s gotten quite a lot of exposure.

perry norton“You may have heard my voice as a talking dachshund, a laughing pig, an alarm clock, the voice you love to hate for countless ON HOLD messages (including Barnes and Noble), as well as video game heroines and villains,” she told me.  “I’ve sneezed and coughed to the tune of The Blue Danube Waltz, read entire textbooks as well as kids’ books for the iPod, and provided audio-training for everyone from members of the National Notary Association to surgeons learning to use new tech devices. My latest adventure is narrating a ‘true crime’ series called Cold Blood for the Discovery Channel.”

Perry began PanRight after leaving New York City in 2001 where she’d lived for 22 years. She experienced the trauma of 9/11 up close as a volunteer for the Red Cross and as someone who lost friends and neighbors.  The event hastened what she knew was an overdue change. At mid-life (45), she left her home and a 10-year relationship to venture West for a new career and life. Through a series of luck and synchronicities, she landed in Santa Barbara after investigating a possible career in the wine industry, one of her many passions. A college friend suggested she try Santa Barbara, and so she did.

“I put it out, and the universe responded,” she said appreciatively, when recounting the people and opportunities she met up with in her journeys.

She started out back east in the DC area where she’d grown up. She’d attended the University of Maryland as a theater major before she  studied and worked in New York City. Perry was heavily involved in music, TV production and media. “I’m a former guitarist (electric) and singer/songwriter,” she mentioned. “I performed in bands at the top NY clubs in the 1980s and fronted my own band before leaving the music scene. Those were some of the happiest, most exciting and creative experiences of my life to date.”

Starting anew in Santa Barbara, she first worked for the Rehab Institute of SB, then for SONOS, a music tech start up.  But the stress from the 9/11 ordeal and other private, very difficult experiences finally caught up with her. Diagnosed with PTSD, she needed to find a less stressful, more controlled environment in which to earn a living.

In 2004, technology and fate converged, and she started her own business with the help of her neighbor who had an at-home music studio he let her use.  By 2005, business was really rolling.  “The digital transformation of everything completely changed the old model/paradigm of the voice-over industry, making it very easy to reintroduce this into my life as a career after a 20 year hiatus,” she explained.

Today, that neighbor is her partner, whose support was key to her making the transition and building a successful business. “Now, I can work from a home recording studio and do all the recording and editing myself.” Her business also affords her more time to do other things she loves, like going to Napa twice a year to attend wine tasting events and festivals.

Another key to her successful transition has been her 4-year membership with AWC-SB, where some of her repeat clients first found her.  Even more than the business, though, she said, “I met all my current friends at AWC and so enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded people. AWC has helped me get grounded in both my business and my social life.”

Perry’s clients include Gallup, NPR, Target, McGraw-Hill, NASA, AT&T, Pfizer, Bank of America, the US Air Force and the American Nurses Association.  She’s been a Producer  (Sci-fi Channel, USA Networks) and Associate Producer (NPR), as well as a Copy Editor for  RiverLee International, MNS Engineers and NPR. Recently, Perry contributed her time to our chapter, working pro bono with Board member Lisa Angle; together they produced a wonderful PSA for AWC-SB’s June 6 Women of Achievement event.

You can hear Perry’s voice samples at www.perrynorton.com and find out more about her services at www.panright.com. In addition to voice-over services, she supplies audio production and editing, remote interviews, podcast production and music supervision for clients across all industries.

Don’t forget to say hi to Perry at the next AWC-SB meeting!

Featured Member: Jude Bijou

Jude BijouThis month we welcomed therapist, educator and author Jude Bijou who is a natural fit for AWC-SB, because of her work in communication. In her private practice, her classes at SBCC Continuing Education and her new book, Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life (Riviera Press, 2011), Jude focuses on the kind of communication based on the healthy expression of human emotions.

Jude came to Santa Barbara in 1978 and opened a business on State Street called Enlightened Sights. She had begun to meditate in 1972 and gotten steeped in Eastern philosophy, so it seemed natural to graduate from retail to becoming a marriage and family therapist. She earned a BA in psychology from Reed College and a master’s in psychology from Carleton University, and then in 1982 began practicing psychotherapy with an integrated, holistic approach. Her award-winning system, Attitude Reconstruction, was birthed into the world. She also began teaching communication courses through Santa Barbara City College Adult Education. Word spread about the success of Attitude Reconstruction, and it wasn’t long before Jude became a sought-after workshop and seminar leader, teaching her approach to organizations and groups.

About the Attitude Reconstruction approach, Jude says: “Emotions are the core. There are six basic emotions: Joy, love, and peace, sadness, anger, and fear. All of our bad attitudes arise when emotions are not expressed, not because of the emotions themselves. Sadness to joy, anger to love, fear to peace—they all balance each other.” She added, “Underneath everything are the emotions we’re not expressing. If we can learn to express them, we can make choices and live a better life.”

The culmination of Jude’s groundbreaking work can now be found in her new book, Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life, based on simple principles that have impacted countless clients, seminar participants, and students. The book recently was a winner in the Los Angeles Festival of Books’ how-to category, and earlier was a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards in self-help. It also earned two USA Book awards, being a finalist in two categories, self-help and in psychology/mental health. You can buy the book locally at Chaucer’s and Tecolote, or go to her website, Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life book coverwww.AttitudeReconstruction.com. It’s also available on Amazon.

Jude will be leading two roundtable discussion on the subject of uprooting old attitudes at the March 10th Women’s Festivals, held at SBCC. Frustration, for example, is an attitude she believes is rooted in the emotion of anger. Through acceptance of how things are—no more shoulds—we learn to handle anger. Jude advises using this mantra to replace old negative thinking: People and things are the way they are, and not the way I want them to be. Her prescription is for 100,000 repetitions daily of this simple statement—advice that is humorous in intent, but nevertheless points to how many times most of us say the exact opposite to ourselves every day!

Featured member: Stephanie Riordan

Stephanie Riordan believes in serendipity, which is what led her to discover an “amazing group of women” and become a member of AWC-SB. New to Santa Barbara, Stephanie was looking for a way to connect and learn from others in her field. That opportunity presented itself via an unexpected but wonderful introduction from a fellow AWC-SB member.

So far in her 18-year career, Stephanie has been met with many other happy accidents.  She recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary at Coca-Cola (positions held in Minneapolis and Dallas before moving to Santa Barbara), where she’s a Senior Marketing Manager. Prior to that, she worked at advertising agencies in Minneapolis and led planning and implementation for a variety of clients – Little Tikes Toys was a favorite! Fortunately, strong female managers offered developmental challenges in her key interest areas. It truly shows that if you make your strengths and passions known to co-workers, then opportunities become available!

One such area that energizes Stephanie is focusing on innovation. She is dedicated to uncovering breakthrough solutions to help brands grow. Through a partnership witStephanie Riordanh Coca-Cola and WhatIf!, Stephanie was able to get her “green belt” in Ignitor Innovation Leaders Training. She also participated in an Inspiring Creativity Course at the Disney Institute. The creative techniques she learned helped her conduct productive client brainstorming sessions and unique consumer promotions, all helping to bring multiple parties together to pool creative thought and grow the bottom line.

Another of Stephanie’s passions is delving into the fast changing world of social media. She managed the development of a massive sampling program for Coke Zero and helped gain interaction with teens by building a solid digital campaign.  She is currently working with other food service customers to help them stay relevant and grow.

Stephanie loves being in Santa Barbara and, as a new member to AWC, looks forward to the chance to get to know more members. There’s so much more to her than what can be written here, so please say “Hi” next time you see her!

Dr. Kathy Gruver

Dr. Kathy Gruver, author of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, recently finished her PhD in Natural Health, earning Highest Honors. Kathy was thrilled to be a special guest on Lifetime Television’s award-winning morning show, The Balancing Act, which can be viewed on her website, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet.

Recently, Kathy had the privilege of studying at Harvard Medical School with the famous Dr. Herbert Benson, at his Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine. Dr. Benson, author of the best-selling The Relaxation Response, is known for his pioneering work on the physiological effects of meditation and stress. The main thrust of the weeklong course was the difference between the stress response (fight-or-flight) and the relaxation response, two ways we respond to stimuli in our environment. Here’s her report:

Kathy Gruver

“I never considered myself a ‘good’ meditator. For those of you who know me, I’m type A and a go-go-go sort of person. I never felt like I could quiet my mind long enough to meditate. But I’m doing it right now and in a matter of moments can get into a relaxed place where I feel great and those intruding thoughts stop. You don’t need to contort yourself into some weird body position, either. Just get comfortable and follow these two simple steps.”

Step 1. Repetition. Use a word, phrase, or concentrate on your breath. For example, on the inhale, think the words I am, and on the exhale think pure health. Then repeat. This gives you something to concentrate on and relaxes the body. Some people like to count to 10 on the exhales, one number per breath. Others repeat a chant or spiritual phrase. Do whatever works for you!

Step 2: If thoughts come through, acknowledge them without judgment and go back to your repeated word or phrase. Soon you’ll find fewer intrusions.

Try it, even for a few moments.

That’s it. You’ve just meditated and invoked the Relaxation Response to stop the effects of aging and make yourself a healthier person. Congratulations!”

Editor’s Note: Kathy Gruver currently has a medical massage and alternative health practice in Santa Barbara.

Lisa Angle

Lisa Angle always had a vivid imagination, probably spawned from watching too much television, while growing up in Santa Barbara, California. When in high school she became interested in computers while taking a Basic programming class taught on Commodore 64s. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Computer Based Education from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

But technology didn’t fulfill her creative spirit, so she began writing fiction and won First Prize in a CWC short story contest in 1993. She became involved with SLO NightWriters, and served as President from 1997 to ‘99. While living in San Luis Obispo she did marketing for the SLO Art Center, taught creative writing at Cuesta College, and received a grant from the SLO Arts Counsel to write and produce a children’s play.

Since moving back to Santa Barbara in 1999, she has worked as stage crew for Ensemble Theatre, and written articles for Montecito Journal, The Independent, and Examiner.com. The opening of her book, Whiskey and Old Stogies won Honorable Mention in Byline First Chapter of Novel Contest in 2001. She’s currently Vice-President of the Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara.

Technology is still a large part of her life. She has taught computer classes at Santa Barbara Adult Education and Braille Institute. A weekly online newsletter for the Santa Barbara County Film Commission (2004-08) was just one of the websites she’s created and maintained, and she’s become adept at building community on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. As a Production Assistant at The Santa Barbara Channels, she learned video production, and has produced videos for Women in Communications, the SB Zoo, and the SB Writers Conference.

Her love of the ocean and the outdoors is enriched by her involvement in the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps. As a part of this group she has lead hikes on Santa Cruz Island and talked to passengers on whale watch boats.

Visit Lisa’s site: www.ninetydegreesmedia.com