As the state agency, the Rhode Island Department of Health remains the first line of defense, fighting for the safety, health and wellness for the people of Rhode Island.
Trade Mission to Israel …
During November 2013, Dr. Michael Fine, Director of the RIDH, asked the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) to develop and coordinate a trade mission to Israel. The mission would be ” … a great opportunity for Rhode Island and Israeli healthcare providers and healthcare-related businesses to exchange ideas and develop joint ventures.” said Dr. Fine.
In the spirit of this collaborative effort, RIEDC commissioned artist Gail Ahlers to create a Challenge Coin as a commemorative gift for the occasion. Made of hand cast pewter this beautiful, unique coin is symbolic of Rhode Island’s focus on increasing RI healthcare and economic growth. It is also emblematic of timeless perseverance. One side of the coin artfully portrays Rhode Island’s anchor seal-a symbol of hope-while the other depicts Israel’s sacred seven-branch menorah, gracefully framed by a laurel.
What are Challenge Coins?
Challenge coins have been created and shared in the United States since the early 20th century to build camaraderie and express pride and fellowship. Traditionally used within many military units, Challenge coins are highly valued and kept for a lifetime. Today, their symbolic power has taken hold beyond the military. These coins commemorate a variety of pivotal, historic events, and they embody exceptional American quality and craftsmanship.
Gail Ahlers believes passionately in what she calls “the sisterhood of prosperity.”
It’s a philosophy the artist and businesswoman from Pawtucket, Rhode Island says allowed her to rethink her approach to business, and to develop and implement a plan that is helping ensure her long-term success.
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Gail started a business, Ahlers Designs, making unique works of sculptural art and gifts from metal, glass, wood and recycled materials. But as an artist who lacked formal business training, Gail’s business journey was more adrift than direct.
“I think differently as an artist than someone who is trained in business and sells insurance,” Gail said. “My artistic skills were sound, but I lacked fundamental business skills and a focused plan to get me where I wanted to be as an artist and a businesswoman.”
All that changed in 2007 when Gail was introduced to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a national organization that trains, certifies and advocates on behalf of women-owned businesses.
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
For Gail, WBENC exemplifies her “sisterhood of prosperity” philosophy.
WBENC is the largest third-party certifier of businesses that are 51 percent or more women-owned, controlled and operated in the United States, and “the nation’s leading advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America’s corporations.”
According to the WBENC website, the non-profit organization provides certified Women’s Business Enterprises, or WBEs, the training and tools needed “to help grow their ability to better operate their business, grow their capacity to meet corporate needs, and better understand how to compete in a diverse procurement environment.”
Since becoming WBENC-certified, Gail has attended training programs, including an intensive six-day executive training program jointly sponsored by WBENC and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She has also participated in WBENC national conferences and business fairs, and events and programs sponsored by WBENC’s Regional Partner Organizations.
“I’ve learned something really useful at every event,” said Gail. “And being around women who share information is extremely helpful. I’ve developed lasting friendships with some really talented women who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences to help me succeed.”
Gail met Ricardo Barrientos, of PepsiCo, at a conference in Chicago in early 2012. Ricardo, who is responsible for PepsiCo’s supplier diversity programs, is a regular attendee at WBENC conferences and business fairs, which provide corporations an opportunity to network with women entrepreneurs.
WBENC and PepsiCo have a long history together. PepsiCo was a founding corporate member of WBENC in 1997, and has continued to support the organization and its regional partners across the United States.
“Gail approached me at the PepsiCo booth and said she was working on a special presentation for WBENC using recycled Pepsi cans,” said Ricardo. “She said she was doing the project as a gift to WBENC to show her appreciation for all it has done to help her grow and develop as an artist and businesswoman.
“Gail said her association with WBENC has been life-changing,” said Ricardo. “It helped define her niche in the marketplace, and provided her with the skills and confidence necessary to successfully promote her talents. I told Gail that PepsiCo would help promote her project once it was presented to WBENC.”
Gail presented her art sculpture, “Celebrating Women in Business,” to WBENC during a national conference in the spring of 2013. Later that year, WBENC commissioned Gail to create two sculptures that were presented to the co-founders of the Women’s Business Development Center in Chicago to thank them for 27 years of dedicated service to women entrepreneurs. (All of these sculptures used recycled Pepsi cans.)
“Gail’s art is an excellent example of the ‘out of the box’ innovation WBENC WBEs can provide to our constituent base,” said Candace Waterman, chief of staff of WBENC Certification and Program Operations.
“Gail’s 360 approach and creativity produced a piece that is representative of the relationship between PepsiCo, WBDC-Chicago and WBENC. I was more than honored to present it to the WBDC-Chicago co-founders,” she said.
What is PeaceLove … PeaceLove is a movement of hope and support for the millions impacted by mental illness. “1 in 4 people live with a diagnosable mental illness, but two thirds won’t get the help they need due largely to sigma.” PeaceLove’s mission is to “offer a rallying cry for acceptance and solidarity through creative programs, products, and spaces that celebrate the healing power of art and community.”
The Grand Opening Gallery Show will feature the artwork of 40 artists from across the country to be a part of this art show “Create Peace of Mind”. The finished Skateboards will be displayed and for sale during the event.
Skateboard as Canvas … As one of the artists participating in the Skateboard Art Show, I was very excited to get my hands and imagination started in making art that encourages peace of mind. Each artist was asked to submit a short statement of what brings them peace of mind, for me “being surrounded by nature, following my inner voice to create art, manifesting joy and happiness is what gives me peace of mind.”
My Skateboard expresses this through the organic free flowing design of vine, leaves and flowers that was done with a wood-burning tool. The leaves were hand painted and the flowers were overlaid with 23k gold foil.
The flowers were created from brass bullet casings that I split open, cut and formed into open blossoms adorned with genuine cultured pearls, symbolizing beauty derived from overcoming adversity.
100% of proceeds from sale of artwork and Alex and Ani “Peace of Mind” Bracelet, will support expressive arts programming for Veterans with PTSD.
Invitation To … The Grand Opening launch party celebrates PeaceLove’s new space in the Hope Artiste Village.
WHEN: February 13th
WHERE: 999 Main St., Studio 704, Pawtucket, RI (Hope Artiste Village)
Live music, food and drink.
With three simple words … Wear, Share, Experience – PeaceLove breaks down societal stigma associated with mental illness. By wearing PeaceLove Merchandise, sharing a story that connects to mental illness, or experiencing a PeaceLove Workshop (activities that inspire and heal) – you will be helping to make positive inroads against the stigma that impacts so many.
To find out more about PeaceLove, visit their website and join movement!
We would like to extend a very special invite to become a member of the Social Media Club, Providence Chapter. Through this organization we hope to empower entrepreneurs, students and local businesses to learn proper protocol and best practices using social media.
WHEN: Wednesday, January 29 @ 6:00 – 8:00 PM, 401.365.1010
WHERE: Ahlers Designs Studio, 999 Main St., Studio 707, Pawtucket (located in Hope Artiste Village)
Pizza & Lite Refreshments
Please, it is very important that you RSVP through Meetup, so we will have enough Pizza for all.
A think tank, a resource for learning, a platform for teaching, a community of change agents? Learn how you and your company, or non profit, can benefit from being a participating member of the Social Media Club.
As your co-Leaders, JoAnn & Lefebvre Gail Ahlers (We need to build a BOD, let us know if you’re interested), our mission for the club is to provide a local resource for education, a platform for speakers, and a core network of socialists who can help each other solve problems, as well as contribute to further development of the media.
As we grow locally we will also be able to tap into professional and financial resources available to official chapters of the global Social Media Club.
Come join us in this exciting venture and valuable resource for learning, networking, and community spirit. Visit us on Facebook and Become a member, https://socialmediaclub.org/membership. Be sure to choose the Providence Chapter when you sign up.
Please share with friends who have an interest in social marketing, social for good, personal branding, analytics, or setting up their first Facebook page. We will be covering it all!
Look forward to connecting with you! Gail Ahlers & JoAnn Lefebvre … Partners in crime & community building!
“Guided by Travel” is their motto, offering guided travel to all seven continents for the past 95 years! From the first small motorcar touring company, to the inspirational three-day mystery tours, Collette developed an exquisite sensibility in delivering wonder and delight into people’s lives, as shown here in their video: http://www.youtube.com/user/collettevacations12
Ahlers Designs custom designed this award, crafted from reclaimed, and recycled materials. This piece illustrates their logo colors of blue and green, highlighting one of Collette’s key destinations – Ireland. The blue is represented with blue flax flowers and the green with Shamrocks; both plants readily distinguished as Irish symbols. The flowers & shamrocks are made of recycled cans from Rhode Island’s local Narragansett Brewery. From the back of the artwork you can see the green shamrocks are Narragansett Bock Lager cans, and blue flax flowers are Narragansett Cream Ale.
This is the second year we have created these awards for Collette, but this year celebrated one person for 50 years. To make that award extra special we added real 23k gold leaf on an additional inner flower with a genuine cultured pearl placed in each flower center. The pearls represent beautiful things that can come from overcoming difficult situations, ( Just ask any clam and they will tell you. )
Ahlers Designs creates singular works of appreciation art to commemorate milestone events in people’s lives. We make one-of-a-kind works of art that will be admired and treasured for generations. My passion is making art, creating joy and empowering people.
The farmer’s market is open Wednesday Night 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. and Saturday mornings 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. This season goes all the way up until May 17, 2014 so spread the word!
Don’t forget to stop by at Ahlers Designs and pick up some gifts for your family and friends. Our huge holiday sale and open studio happens every Saturday morning 9 a.m.-1 p.m.! Made from recycled materials, our gifts such as mirror compacts, business card cases, pocket angels, and frames are great stocking stuffers for the holidays. These incredibly amazing deals won’t last long so get them while you can. Maybe even snag a picture with the designer Gail Ahlers like this lucky customer did!
Follow us on Twitter @GailAhlers or find us on Facebook at Ahlers Designs!
Since 1993, BUST has been publishing in rhapsodic delight of girl culture on the cutting edge. BUST magazine is a powerhouse of Whimsical, Serious, Laugh-out-loud, and Impassioned contemporary women’s lit, becoming an icon for the “proud to be female” campaign: raw and uncensored in all its glory.
The award sculpture is fashioned as a vintage “Madonna” brassiere, cast of pewter with gold plating, and mounted on a custom base of recycled lumber.
Ahlers Designs and the art of recognition are at the heart of every project. Our original works of art and commemorative gifts are designed specifically to support and illustrate your branding – accentuating each organization’s unique culture and mission. We help celebrate your people and make you memorable.
Ahlers Designs helps your celebrate and motivate your people. With purpose and impact, our art of recognition process is inspired by your mission, core values and industry. My commissioned artwork and unique gifts is an investment toward building a prosperous workplace that honors individuals and community.
Take a look at our Facebook and Twitter page for pictures of the final piece and candid shots from the party! Ahlers Designs (Facebook)
Follow along with Ahlers Designs latest project, “The Bust Golden Bra Awards.”
The Bust Golden Bra Awards are being created for Bust Magazine 20th Anniversary Extravaganza, happening on July 25th at The Bell House, in Brooklyn, New York.
These awards handcrafted by Ahlers Designs own, Gail Ahlers, will be presented at the extravaganza to trailblazing women such as, Gloria Steinem!
Be sure to check back to see the finished product along with pictures of the empowering women that receive this spectacular award!
Big Mother’s Day Sale at Ahlers Designs Studio To Benefit PARL: Providence Animal Rescue League. Saturday May 11th 9 am to 2 pm
Hope Artiste Village - enter at 999 Main Street, Studio 707, Pawtucket, RI. Call us if you have any questions at 401.365.1010
Great gifts for Mom, Mirror Compacts, Jewelry, Handmade Flowers, Magnets and more. Get your PET’s picture taken by professional photographer Gail Claypool for only $8.00 ( all money goes to PARL)
Enter to Win special door prices.
*GNC Women’s Health Gift Basket with Daisy Compact Mirror, Valued @ $125.00
*Cross Billfold Card Case Wallet, Valued @ $80.00
*Family Activity Pack that includes:
· A Family Pass to RISD Museum of Art,
· 2 Tickets to the Roger Williams Park Zoo, and
· 3 Ahlers Designs Clip-Magnets,
· Value – Priceless!