“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” That’s the fridge door quote that sits on my Kenmore next to Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous suggestion, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
I find that these daily reminders to be brave are essential to staying buoyant and focused as an entrepreneur. After all, when dealing with the uncertainty of business, it’s not always easy to keep small-business dreams alive.
That’s why this month we are excited to feature entrepreneurs Chris Smith and Scott Doherty, the creators and producers of Rockin’ Road to Dublin. The hit Irish dance and rock show embarked on a 60-city tour on Sept. 22, which is taking them around the country.
In this issue of Be Inkandescent magazine, you’ll learn how they are making their dream of bringing the new generation of Irish dance to audiences nationwide. You’ll meet some of the 34 members of the cast and crew — including Broadway director Jeff Whiting and three-time world Irish dance champion Ashley Smith.
What’s it like to be in a bus traveling the country from show to show? You’ll get an inside glimpse thanks to Irish dancer and cast member Billy Kanaly. He is also a professional videographer, and on the tour he is creating a weekly webTV series that takes us behind the scenes. Click here to watch.
Are you living your dream? If not, take a tip from entertainer and entrepreneur extraordinaire Walt Disney, who said: “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Are You Ready to Take on the Rockin' Road to Dublin?
On Thursday, Sept. 22, the new generation of Irish rock and dance began when ROCKIN’ ROAD TO DUBLIN inaugurated its 60-city national tour with a performance at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in Henderson, NC. The entrepreneurs and co-creators who brought the show to life are Celtic rocker CHRISSMITH and Irish Dance World Champion SCOTTDOHERTY.
“We bring a wee bit of Dublin with a rockin’ edge to the stage,” explains Smith, who has gathered an elite class of musicians to perform in the ROCKIN’ ROAD TO DUBLIN band:
JOHNBALDWIN (bass player, The American Rogues),
KEVENEKNES (an award-winning guitarist from Norway),
MARITAMAY (classically trained on violin since age 5; Celtic Fyre),
KELLYMILLS (five-time winner of the Drum Corps and Percussion World Championships),
MIKEMOORE (Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion),
JOESCHERMANN (“Guys and Dolls,” “White Christmas,” “Grease,” “Smokey Joe’s Café,” and “Shout”),
COREYWALDEN (The American Rogues, and founder of The Suzuki School of Milford).
“It’s truly the music that gets the audience on their feet,” insists Doherty (“Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance”), who has worked his own magic choreographing the critically acclaimed show. The 2009 Men’s World Champion of Irish Dance, Doherty made his professional debut in 2005 with the North American tour of Michael Flatley’s “Riverdance,” and also has toured the world with “Lord of the Dance.”
The show’s star power continues with ROCKIN’ ROAD TO DUBLIN’s two lead vocalists — MEGANLYNNBROWNING (Harley Boone) and BRETTBENOWITZ (Born Blue).
“The lyrics of the songs tell a love story that weaves together the music and dance,” explains the show’s director, Broadway choreographer JEFFWHITING (“The Producers,” and “Bullets Over Broadway”). “Our goal is to have the audience walk away having had an experience that is entertaining, uplifting, and inspirational.”
Music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations are by BRENTFREDERICK; original costume design is by SARAHCOFFEY and ASHLEYWILSON; lighting is by CAROLYNWONG; scenic design is by BRIANBARKER; and sound consultation is by TREYSMITH.
Of course, ROCKIN’ ROAD TO DUBLIN wouldn’t be the show it is without the Irish dancing. For the cast, choreographer Doherty chose three-time international Irish dance champion ASHLEYSMITH to be his lead female dancer. On stage since the age of 3, at 16, Smith (no relation to Chris) was crowned the World Irish Step Dancing Champion in Belfast in 2004 — making her the youngest American female ever to win the world title at that time. A top-30 female finalist on the hit TV show “So You Think You Can Dance,” Smith was a featured dancer on the Oscar-nominated film “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Rounding out the cast are other well-known Irish dancers:
COLINBARKELL has earned three regional titles, a fourth-place finish at the North American Championships, and an eighth-place finish at the World Championships. He has been the lead dancer in Rhythm of the Dance and Celtic Fyre and is also a member of the Hammerstep Dance Crew.
MARKCHICHESTER won the All England Tap Championship, All England National Championship, and was crowned UK’s Young Tap Dancer of the Year. He went on to join the cast of “Excalibur: The Celtic Rock Opera,” “Gaelforce Dance,” “Dance Masters,” “Celtic Dream,” and “Rhythm of the Dance,” as well as Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance.”
DECLANCROWLEY is an eight-time Mid-Atlantic, two-time National, and All-Ireland champion. He also won the coveted Minor Belt National Championship in 2005, and has placed within the top three in the world times over. Crowley’s filmography credits include “Feet of Flames RAW” (2010), “Irish Celtic Generations — Live in Paris” (2016), and “West Side Story: Mashup” (HBO, 2012).
BERNADETTEDEVEREAUX has won multiple titles during her competitive career, including winning first place at her Regional Championships five times, placing in the top five at the National Championships, and placing at the World Championships. She toured with Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance” and achieved her dream of dancing the lead, performing alongside Flatley.
MEGANKIRKDRAKE first began touring with Celtic Legends and has since performed with Atlantic Steps, A Gaelic Gathering, Raglan Road at Disney World, and in “Rhythm of the Dance,” where she performed as principal female dancer. She has competed at the World Championship level and placed in the top five in the Western US Region multiple times.
PATRICKHOLLAND, a two-time Mid-American champion, has placed as high as fourth in the North American Championships, and 10th in the World Championships. Holland has performed with various productions, including Cherish the Ladies, Michael Londra’s Celtic Fire, and The Chieftains.
BILLYKANALY has been a professional Irish dancer for eight years, performing around the world, including four years as a cast member of “Riverdance.”
EMILYMACCONNELL has achieved competitive career highs of eighth in the world, third nationally, and first in her own and Southern England regions. She has danced and toured both nationally and internationally with “Magic of the Dance,” and “An Irish Christmas.”
ERIKANIELSEN has competitively achieved Southern Region Oireachtas Champion three times, top five at the North American Nationals, and medaled at the All Ireland and World Championships. She also performed in Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.”
TYLERSCHWARTZ has won many dance titles, including the Midwest Regional Championship, the All-Ireland Championship, All-Scotland Championship, North American Championship, and Great-Britain Championship, and he won the Senior Men’s World Championship in 2013. He has been principal lead dancer for the Magic of the Dance, and “Gaelforce Dance.”
CIARASTILLSON has performed with renowned Irish music acts, including Solas, Eileen Ivers, and Cherish the Ladies. For three years she danced in Celtic Fyre at Busch Gardens and recently graduated magna cum laude from Gorham High School.
MAIRÉADSTILLSON has spent the last seven years as a principal dancer and dance captain of Busch Gardens’ Celtic Fyre. She recently performed the lead role of Morrighan in Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.”
Making more people aware of the silent, deadly disease of ovarian cancer is the mission for Rachel and Bob Gendelman — the daughter and husband of Sherri Gendelman, who died Nov. 22, 2014, after a 17-month battle with the cancer that annually kills about 14,000 women.
On July 30, 2016, more than 400 people came out to support the 2nd Annual Sherri’s Walk by the Water, an event designed to raise funds that will help put an end to a disease that the American Cancer Society calls a silent killer.
“Our goal was to raise as much money as possible for ovarian cancer research initiatives,” explains Sherri’s daughter, Rachel Gendelman, who with her father, Bob, created the Sherri S. Gendelman Fund and organized Sherri’s Walk by the Water, which was hosted by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition this year.
Starting at 8 AM at Margate, New Jersey’s famous Lucy the Elephant national historic landmark, a sea of sweaty but determined supporters took a two-mile walk down the beach to the pier that Sherri and her family strolled to for decades. By 10 AM, they raised $79,149.
Scroll down for our interview with the friends and family members who are keeping Sherri’s memory alive through this annual event.
Be Inkandescent: Barbara, you and I were childhood friends, and I am so impressed with the work you have done creating your own remarkably successful video firm based in Philadelphia, BTK Communications Group. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend Sherri. Take us back to the beginning of this organization. How did it come to fruition?
Barbara Tarlow Radler: Bob and Rachel told me they had an idea to start a fund to raise money for clinical trials at Abington hospital — and help provide access to patients who couldn’t afford care.
Be Inkandescent: You must have been devastated by your loss. It’s so awful when our parents and grandparents pass, but to have a friend die must have been a blow beyond belief. Some of our readers may have struggled with similar grief.
Barbara Tarlow Radler: It’s definitely a process. And a year and a half later, I still can’t believe this happened. Sherri was my healthy friend who went to the gym every day. She was the best listener, never judged, and always made me feel like family. I remember going out for lunch with Bob several months after Sherri passed. I was thinking I should be cheering him up, and he said, “Man, you’re depressing.” He actually gave me his grief counseling papers and made me read up on them … and made me take the thousand pictures I had of her in my office and downsize to my two favorites … one day at a time. Now when I get my signals from her, I smile and think of the memories we shared. Yes, I still have my rough moments — and this is one of them … but I get a warm feeling in my heart, instead of that sick empty feeling every time I think of her.
Be Inkandescent: What I think is truly a testimony to Sherri is how you all banded together, gathered your personal strengths, and curated this event. Was the first one tough to create?
Barbara Tarlow Radler: Actually, for the first event, we were on a mission We had no idea what we were doing — we just jumped in. I knew I could produce a video to tell our story, but it was really Rachel, Bob, and Sue with the vision of the event, and how to fundraise. I just tried to help where I could.
Be Inkandescent: So how did the second event, on July 30, 2016, come to fruition?
Barbara Tarlow Radler: The second event was trickier. We all knew how hard the first event was, and we were all starting to heal a little bit, and the thought of doing it again felt very overwhelming … but I called Rachel and said, “Look, I understand if it’s too much — it feels overwhelming to me and your dad, Sue, and our friend Lori … we all were worried it would be too much — but whatever you decide, I am here to support you. And Rachel said, “I know it will be hard, but I want to do this.” And here we are.
Be Inkandescent: That brings us to you, Rachel. You are clearly a powerhouse when it comes to making things happen. Tell us a little about yourself — what you do for a living — and what you learned from your mom.
Rachel Gendelman: I currently live in Center City, Philadelphia, and I work for a healthcare company in sales covering the Southern New Jersey area. In my free time, aside from our mission on curing ovarian cancer, I enjoy volunteering with animals and spending time with friends and family. I learned so many things from my mom, and the older I get the more I start to see her ways in me — from being able to find the best deals when shopping, to my love for animals and music, to being extremely compassionate toward everyone I come in contact with.
She said to me the day before she was moved to hospice that you never know how strong you can be until faced with a challenge. Whether it was cancer, work challenges, or personal challenges, she reminded me that no matter how difficult something is, you are able to face it and deal with it. When she said this, she was talking about her 17-month battle with ovarian cancer, because she tried everything she possibly could to stay with us, and faced her fears and the unknown. Although it was not the outcome we wanted, she was able to get through the daily challenges she was faced with in those 17 months.
Be Inkandescent: Every mother who reads this knows that your mom is insanely proud of you. Does this event keep you closer to her? I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to move on from this loss. How are you doing?
Rachel Gendelman: It does. This event for me is about keeping my mom’s memory alive and at the same time helping thousands of patients, whether it’s in research, clinical trials, or patient assistance. I remember my mom telling me to keep her Facebook active and make sure that no one forgets about her. This is the best way for us to honor her memory and to shed light on a disease that most are not familiar with.
We are not only able to save patients through the funds we raise, but also by shedding that light on awareness/symptoms. Even though challenging, this event does make us feel good about helping people while keeping her name out there. Each day is still a bit like a roller coaster. Though it has almost been two years, we still take it day by day. It’s still very hard to believe and accept, but we keep moving forward and try to enjoy life the way she would want us to.
Be Inkandescent: Tell us more about the second annual walk. What are your hopes and goals from this year’s event?
Rachel Gendelman: Our first year doing the walk was such a success that we really wanted to be able to build on last year, meaning a reach of new people, raffles, a DJ, massages, two silent auctions, more participants, and the ability to raise more money!
The Sherri S. Gendelman Fund teamed up with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition this year, and we were able to make all of those things happen already! I hope that those who attended the event really took away the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. It is a disease that has a 90 percent, five-year survival rate when caught at an earlier stage. Last year alone, we were successful at explaining our mission and awareness, and we were able to help three people go to their doctors who were diagnosed with very early stages of ovarian cancer. One is now cancer free!
Be Inkandescent: Do you hope to host a third event next year? If so, what are your goals and expectations for that one?
Rachel Gendelman: I do. Each year I think emotionally it gets harder. This past year compared to our first year was very difficult for all of us. It starts to make you realize how long it’s been since my mom passed away and how long it has been since I have seen her or had a conversation with her, especially because I used to talk to her multiple times a day, every single day. But the event has been so successful that we are all excited to plan for our 3rd Annual Sherri’s Walk by the Water. My mom deserves to have this event, and those diagnosed with this disease deserve to have the treatment they need and advanced research towards finding a cure.
The expectation, in a sense, still says the same — continuing to build on what has been successful: the ability to reach more people, raise more money, and save lives while keeping my mom’s name out there. It has been amazing to see the ongoing support from friends, family, and even participants we did not know. We also had five ovarian cancer survivors attend the walk, which made it even more special.
Be Inkandescent: Let’s loop in your dad, Bob Gendelman. Bob, from your entrepreneurial perspective, what have you learned? And what would you have done differently knowing what you now know about creating a cancer fund, and hosting events like this one?
Bob Gendelman: Honestly, I would have stayed calmer through every step of the planning phase. As you can imagine, the year following Sherri’s death was very emotional for all of us. Tempers ran high, my internal micromanager took over, and I don’t think I was always on my best behavior. After doing this event two years in a row now, and seeing how successful we were in attracting people to participate and raising funds, I know that everything will be fine. That’s true for any event, and for life in general. I learned again not to sweat the small stuff.
Be Inkandescent: And I have to say to you, of course, how sorry I am for your loss. How are you coping? Does this walk help?
Bob Gendelman: It’s two years later and I sometimes wake up in the morning and I can’t believe this has happened. I try to keep myself busy and be there for Rachel the best I can. I try to be both the best dad and mom I can be for her, but knowing how close Sherri and Rachel were, that’s tough. So this Walk by the Water event for me is mixed; it definitely stirs up emotions that I’m trying to deal with.
But I’ll tell you, the high point was on what would have been Sherri’s 60th birthday, which was a really hard day — and, it was the day the fundraising for the Walk passed the $60,000 mark. I know everyone involved in the planning of this had the chills when that happened. What truly touches us is the outpouring of support. Sherri was worried people would forget, so when hundreds of people signed up and supported our cause in Sherri’s name, it does lift us up.
Be Inkandescent: Now let’s turn the discussion to Sue Epstein, who was a good friend of Sherri’s and took the lead on getting sponsors, as she had the most fundraising experience in the group — and also had the most friends in common with Sherri between their high school class, Zumba, and the Jersey Shore. What kinds of things are important when fundraising?
Sue Epstein: I always feel when people give to fundraising that people give to people, I think sometimes even more than to a cause — although it helps knowing that it’s good cause. Knowing the person who this is in memory or honor of makes it easier, too. The people I reached out to knew this was personal to me, and they knew Sherri and that helped. When they turn you down, just keep a smile on your face and don’t accept “no” for an answer — and eventually they will support your cause.
Be Inkandescent: What happened when you started reaching out to people to be sponsors for the first Walk by the Water? What was your strategy and what did you learn?
Sue Epstein: I knew I would do anything for Rachel, so of course I volunteered to be on the core planning team with Bob and Barbara. And I thought I would just do what I do and reach out to everyone I know. I also know that can be challenging because everyone has their own causes, and it can be awkward to ask people for money. But with all of my years working on fundraisers, I never had such an easy time raising money and finding sponsors. I think it was because to know Sherri was to love Sherri, and people just wanted to be a part of it and support our cause in her name.
Be Inkandescent: What was the second year like for you? Was it harder? What advice would you have for other people trying to start a fund or hold an event?
Sue Epstein: Yes, it was harder the second year. In my opinion the first year is the easiest because you strike when the iron is hot. Especially when it’s in memory of someone who passes, everyone is mourning and remembering and they jump to give. The second year, people may not be as apt to give as much as they did initially because they have gotten busy with their lives. So you have to be persistent, and eventually they will get back on board. But it’s definitely harder as time goes on.
It’s also important that they believe in the cause — and knowing that ovarian cancer can touch so many women and their families means so much to so many. And in this case, I think it helped that a nice portion of the money stayed local … our local people loved that.
Be Inkandescent: Vanda Soldati, let’s turn to you. You are the Delaware Valley chapter manager from the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition who worked on the 2016 walk with Sherri’s team. Tell us about the statistics.
Vanda Soldati: The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015, more than 21,000 women in the United States received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and at least 14,000 U.S. women died from it. In fact, ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100.
Be Inkandescent: From your perspective, why is ovarian cancer still such a problem for so many women?
Vanda Soldati: It’s because the symptoms are nonspecific, and there is a lack of early-detection tests. Women need to look for things like bloating, urinating frequently, getting full quickly, and abdominal or lower back pain, which are symptoms that all women experience at one time or another. Therefore, only about 20 percent of cases are diagnosed early. The key here is to pay attention if these symptoms persist for more two weeks. Since early detection is critical to survival rates, this is the challenge. So knowing this, and alerting your doctor if you experience these symptoms, is essential.
Be Inkandescent: In addition to fundraising and awareness events like Sherri’s Walk by the Water, what is being done to cure this disease?
Vanda Soldati: Remember, the five-year survival rate is high when the cancer is found in its early stages, which is why funding is needed to find early diagnostic tools. The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition is proud to support Sherri’s Walk by the Water because money raised will be going directly to NOCC research initiatives in conjunction with Stand Up to Cancer research initiatives. We are excited because a portion of the money will be going to the Sherri S. Gendelman Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health, which is local to our NOCC chapter.
In fact, Stand Up to Cancer team leader Dr. Alan D’Andrea says, “We now see defective DNA repair as a more general vulnerability of ovarian cancer. We hope to extend the use of PARP inhibitors to many other patients and find combinations with other drugs that will be effective against ovarian cancer.”
Be Inkandescent: What do you want all of our readers, listeners, and viewers to do to help spread the word?
Vanda Soldati: I’d ask everyone to go to our website, Ovarian.org, where they can see our upcoming events and contribute to and join the fight against ovarian cancer.
For more information about the Sherri S. Gendelman Fund, visit SSGfund.org.
The best reason to start an organization is to create a product or service to make the world a better place.”
There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”
I have spent a good part of my life convincing people that a blank sheet of paper is the greatest opportunity in the world, and not frightening at all.”
Marty Skler, executive vp, Walt Disney Imagineering
We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”
General Omar Bradley
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
When I was younger I thought success was being a star, driving nice cars, having groupies. But today I think the most important thing is to live your life with integrity.
Some things are destined to be—it just takes us a couple of tries
to get there.”
J.R. Ward, Lover Mine
If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
If you were independently wealthy and never had to work a day in your life, would you still choose to spend your time attempting to become a successful entrepreneur?”
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci
Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience.”
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.”
Henry David Thoreau
Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.”
Letting go of expectations is a ticket to peace. It allows us to ride over every crisis—small or large—like a beach ball on water.”
If you want to be busy, keep trying to be perfect. If you want to be happy, focus on making a difference.”
Lisa Earle McLeod
Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.”
Edgar W. Howe
Inspiration and genius — one and the same.”
The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”
Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"
The only way to compel men to speak good of us is to do it.”
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.”
A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”
A truly forgiving person is someone who experiences all the anger merited by injustice and still acts with fairness and compassion.”
The person who makes a success of living is the one who see his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.”
Cecil B. DeMille
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
No longer talk at all about the kind of man a good man ought to be, but be such.”
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.”
Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton
Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”
Traveling is one way of lengthening life, at least in appearance.”
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”
Mary Kay Ash
A lot of people have ideas, but few decide to do something about them now. Not next week. But today.”
Nolan Bushnell, founder, Atari
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
Do you believe it is important to give back some portion of your wealth to support charitable causes?”
It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”
If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.”
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
To find what you seek in the road of life, leave no stone unturned.”
Edward Bulwer Lytton
Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.”
Robert H. Schuller
Almost anyone can start a community, but it takes real talent and commitment to get people to show up and keep coming back.”
Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”
We are not meant to resolve all contradictions, but to live with them and rise above them.”
To follow, without halt, one aim: There’s the secret of success.”
Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.”
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
Be Inkandescent Magazine's Back Issues
Don’t miss the great advice our entrepreneurs have offered in the past. Click below to view our back issues.