Local Leaders Who Inspire Us
The Leader: Carol Lucio
Being able to impact the life of one person is an accomplishment; Carol Lucio gets to impact the lives of approximately 7,000 Butler County students each year. Lucio serves as Executive Director for the Butler County Junior Achievement Program, an organization that educates students from kindergarten through twelfth grade on its three pillars: work preparedness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
The program offers in-class and experiential learning. For the in-class portion, volunteers take the Junior Achievement created curriculum and visit classrooms to lead each lesson with the students. For an experiential perspective, students are given the opportunity to participate in job exploration days in various companies around Butler County to see what the working world is like.
“I was a Junior Achievement student in high school, so it’s fun for me to give back to an organization that I benefitted from. It’s part of my passion,” Lucio explains.
Lucio has been affiliated with the organization for 32 years. As executive director, she oversees the organization’s resources, including financials and volunteers. Lucio works with each school individually, recruits and trains volunteers, and organizes fundraising efforts to ensure they can continue to offer their program at no charge.
“My goal is for every student in our region to get to have the benefit of Junior Achievement at least once. We always come up short on our resources to meet demand,” Lucio says. “I would love if that never happened.”
Because of Lucio’s dedication and passion, students can develop a new perspective and make a connection between the education they’re receiving now and the career they can have in the future.
“We are changing their outlook and their futures,” Lucio explains.
For additional information or to volunteer, go online. JuniorAchievement.org
The Creator: Jenny Gutman
Jenny Gutman has fresh tastes and big ambitions, her biggest being her passion to show all women that they are understood and loved. This has led to the birth of Modern Moms Products, a line of hand-crafted soy candles for moms of all types. Gutman is the creator and co-owner of the brand, which officially launched last October.
“I was telling my son to get ready for soccer while I was throwing laundry from the washer to the dryer. Two seconds later I was snuggling my other son and I just thought, ‘I wonder if all moms can relate to this,’” Gutman says, as she describes what led to her desire to make moms feel loved.
Gutman, who has been crafting candles since 2010, strives to create a feeling as opposed to a product. Each candle is designed to embody the confidence that women carry and references a different kind of “mama.” From Super Mama to Stressed Mama, Gutman currently creates 13 unique concepts that honor women and the many different hats they wear.
“Sometimes we’re stressed and sometimes we’re sweet; we just do it all,” Gutman says.
Gutman has experienced remarkable success with her company. In less than a year, Modern Moms Products has amassed accounts with major retailers. The line is available in Art On Symmes, Uncorked at The Spicy Olive, Mitchell’s Salon in West Chester, Whole Foods, Sarah’s House and Joseph Beth Booksellers. Orders can also be placed online. ModernMomsProducts.com
“I am so happy to make a product that makes people feel appreciated,” Gutman says. “That is the most important thing to me.”
Visit West Chester and Liberty Lifestyle on Facebook throughout May for a chance to win one of her candles.
The Athlete: Abby Prohaska
At just 17 years old, Abby Prohaska has what it takes to be one of the best in her field. Indeed, ambition and dedication are personified in Prohaska, who is a Lakota West High School junior and nationally-ranked basketball player.
“I fell in love with the sport because of how challenging the game is,” Prohaska reflects. “My favorite part is being part of a team. They become your extended family and friendships are made that last a lifetime.”
Prohaska’s passion for the sport gleams throughout her list of accolades, including a bronze medal she earned with the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s Under-17 World Championship Team. To qualify, 140 women from across the country participated in trials at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. Prohaska was one of the final 12 team members selected, who competed in the FIBA Under-17 World Championships in Zaragoza, Spain last year.
“Each country played different styles of basketball,” Prohaska explains. “The experience helped me learn a lot and grow as a person and a player.”
Locally, Prohaska became a state champion with the Firebirds in 2015. She was also selected first and second team All-Conference, first team All-State, and participated in the McDonald’s Butler County All-Star Game. Even with impressive achievements under her belt, Prohaska doesn’t focus on awards.
“It’s an honor to be considered a top-level player, but I always remind myself that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the coaches and teammates who believed in me,” she says.
Prohaska’s basketball career shows no signs of slowing. Though she’s only a junior, Prohaska has verbally committed to attend Notre Dame University and hopes to play for the WNBA or on an international level.
“I would like to play basketball as long as I am able to,” Prohaska says. “I enjoy being a part of a team and creating meaningful relationships.”
The EVER Expert: Andie Wafzig
From makeup to anti-aging products and beyond, women are not strangers to applying chemicals to their skin without knowing what they are. Andie Wafzig strives to bring safer, healthier skincare options to our community.
Wafzig, a wife and mother of two, works full-time in consumer and media research, and in her spare time serves as a Founding Leader for EVER Skincare, a Stella & Dot Family Brand. She is credited as the first person to bring these products to our region.
“Usually, you’ll find a product that isn’t healthy, but it will work, or something that is healthy for you, but doesn’t do anything if applied to your face. Our products are botanically-based, good for you and actually do what they say they will do,” Wafzig explains.
While the products are critically acclaimed, including winning the Allure’s Best of Beauty Award for two years, it isn’t just skin care that drives Wafzig to work with EVER. Wafzig’s goal is to educate people on healthier options. Additionally, the business is designed to empower women, whether it be through flexible work options or helping them achieve goals. Wafzig coaches and mentors about 40 women.
“My biggest goal is to empower women. I feel successful when someone tells me they didn’t think they could do it and they go do it,” Wafzig says. “I want to help them realize their potential and achieve any goal, whether that’s a few hundred dollars extra per month or a new career helping others.”
To learn more about EVER products, go online. EVERSkin.com/with/Andie