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People to Watch

Kathy Becker

Some people wait for the right break; others seize the moment. They are the ones who know there is no time like the present, that the moment to shine is now. When opportunity knocked, these dynamic individuals opened the door wide.


The Mystic

Since he was a child, Panache Desai has been gradually building spiritual awakening through sessions that he started with 20 to 30 people. He now draws more than 150 attendees per session throughout the United States. Since marrying Neapolitan Jan Goldsmith in December 2008 and adding her marketing expertise to his mission, he has expanded his tour schedule and website. In one month in Florida, he visited 20 cities. Desai’s primary message is that people are okay the way they are. “It’s about coming into loving acceptance of themselves,” he says. “They wake up and see how loved, accepted, awesome, supported, elevated and encouraged they are.” Next year, he plans to expand to more places. “From this it will go global itself. This is the only country populated by people from all over the world.”

On time or tardy? “I’m English. I’m on time. It would be rude not to be.”

Title of life story: How the Bloody Hell Did That Happen? or Why Me?

Learning curve: “If you plan too far in advance, you are not allowing for spontaneous acts. The greatest things that have happened have been completely unexpected.”

 

 

 

The Entrepreneurs

More than seven years ago, Kathy Ellis, 50, a licensed esthetician, started concocting cosmetics and beauty products in her kitchen. She had great merchandise, but didn’t know how to market it. Enter her boyfriend, Swiss-born Steve, 42, a computer programmer whom she met on match.com. He showed her how to sell on eBay. They dabbled in traditional retail with Spa Excel for a few years, but the online business outgrew their ability to handle orders. Now the couple’s business, coastalscents.com, has contracted with overseas manufacturing plants and has a distribution center in Naples. Started with about $2,000, the enterprise has become a multimillion-dollar cosmetics company. For three years they worked seven days a week with no salary, but they now employ many, including Kathy’s sister and brother.

On time or tardy?
“Always five minutes early,” Steve says. “To be late is disrespectful.”

Title of life story:
Swiss Meets West or Technology Meets Creativity

Learning curve:
“I could write a book about how not to open a business. So many things happened we never expected,” Steve says.

 

 

 

The Queen of Hearts

When April Masini dropped out of college to go to New York and start her modeling and acting career, she auditioned for The Actors Studio, not realizing the program was a collaboration with The New School’s masters-level theater program. She was accepted. “It never occurred to me to be scared. I didn’t know.” From there she got a role in the soap All My Children. She was married from 1995 to 2000 to Al Masini, the creator of Entertainment Tonight, Star Search and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, who taught her about the television industry. They moved to Hawaii, where Al retired and April ran Al Masini Productions and Masini Television & Film. After working with Al on Baywatch, Miss Universe and Pacific Blue, she was asked by the Learning Annex in Los Angeles to teach a class on how to date a model. The class sold out in two hours. “I’m an accidental advice giver,” she says. Four years ago she wrote her first of four books about dating, and has since written 1,500 columns for her advice site, askapril.com, ranked the No. 1 relationship advice column by Google. She produced the film Blue Crush, has been a movie screener for industry awards for six years, has optioned the show Mistresses of the Rich and Famous, and is developing a TV program called The Love Judge.

On time or tardy? “On time, unless I’m lost. I’m chronically lost.”

Title of life story:
Why Not Me?

Motto:
“Beauty fades, dumb is forever. Beauty will get you in the door, but you better deliver when you get in.”

 

 

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