Rays of Hope for RAYS of HOPE

As I mentioned in the first post, this blog is dedicated to the entrepreneurs in my family.  In line with that theme, I’m dedicating this post to RAYS of HOPE, a private in-home rehabilitation therapy and personalized exercise service founded by my sister, Lisa Haneke Tooman. 

Lisa H. Tooman, OTLR/L, AHFH, Rehab Specialist/Home Healthcare Consultant

Before founding RAYS of HOPE, Lisa achieved her degree in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University (my alma mater too – go Rams!), did internships in Denver and Riverside, and eventually began her professional career as a registered occupational therapist at the Veterans Administration in Denver.   After the Veterans Administration, she moved to a hospital setting at Mercy Hospital in San Diego and eventually became the Rehab Director at Sharp Home Health Care where she directed 55 physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and nurses.  During her tenure, she became a well-respected rehabilitation specialist providing therapeutic quality of care services to the adult and aging population in an effort to assist them achieving the most productive, healthy and satisfying quality of life. 

Shortly after the birth of her daughter, she was laid off her job at Sharp.  Faced with all the uncertainties, stress and self-confidence challenging emotions that come with unemployment, she carefully considered all her options and decided now was the perfect time to strike out on her own; to take the risks in building a business in the hopes that she could also have more flexibility to raise her daughter and step sons.

Seven years later, she provides individualized intervention and treatment to a solid base of private pay clients based upon their area of need and personal goals.  Recently she achieved certification as an Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist that further advances her skills in providing a comprehensive, holistic, and multifaceted approach to rehabilitation that takes into consideration the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional well being of aging adults.

To elevate the awareness of RAYS of HOPE and grow her private pay client base, Lisa has given Caregiver Training Courses and speeches on Body Mechanics and Transfer Training at care management companies.  She has been the feature of a recent article entitled RAYS of HOPE Offers Quality Care in the La Jolla Light and been a guest speaker at National University and on the Gerry Graf Radio Talk Show. 

As with many small businesses, the shrinking economy is impacting RAYS of HOPE, so when the final project for my Marketing via New Media course was posted, I knew my topic.  I created a social media plan for RAYS of HOPE that would allow my sister to build trust and awareness among caregivers and continue to establish herself as an expert in rehabilitation by engaging with her audiences in online forums and leveraging social networking platforms such as FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to elevate awareness.  We’ll see if little sis’ plan can help RAYS of HOPE generate a few of its own rays of hope in the form of a few new professional consultation referrals and private pay clients. 

Like my sister Shirley who founded a medical transcription business and Catherine B Design jewelry, my sister Lisa also had the courage to take risks and determination to succeed with RAYS of HOPE at a time in her life when it was imperative to provide for her family.  That kind of courage and determination is at the heart of all entrepreneurs including all those that came before them that ultimately built this country into a cultural and economic world leader.

RAYS - Rehab At Your Service


Valuable Vintage or Chinese Knock-Off?

Vintage Ruby Necklace
Image via Wikipedia

 Inspiration and passion certainly fueled the creation of Catbdzine but as all accomplished entrepreneurs know, expertise is paramount to success.  Armed with a high-speed connection and mounds of sheer determination, Shirley spent countless hours researching vintage jewelry and educating herself about the various art eras, designer collector pieces and how you determine a Chinese knock-off from a vintage Chanel.  

Here are 10 characteristics that impact the value of a vintage piece:

  1. Designer – crafted by a well-known designer.  Pieces by Coco Chanel for example can demand anywhere from $75 – $2,000; more if it’s in the original box.
  2. Signature – value significantly increases if a piece is signed or marked by a known designer.  A Chanel piece will be marked with its iconic forward C and backward C.  If you discover the all too familiar “made in china” signature, needless to say, run the other way.
  3. Vintage – it drives the interest in the category… typically the older the piece the higher the value.  Chanel pieces date from 1883 – 1971.  Pieces by Miriam Haskell, worn by Lucille Ball and Joan Crawford, date from 1899 – 1981.
  4. Gem – no surprise here… the more valuable the gem, the more valuable the piece.  Many vintage pieces are made from precious and semi-precious gems such as crystal, carved glass, milk glass, and thermoset.  Bakelite comes in a rainbow of colors and is very hot right now. 
  5. Craftsmanship – the more artistic, intricate and detailed the more valuable.  Pieces that are carved and give a three dimensional perception are of highest value.  See the intricate metal and gem detail on the vintage gold and ruby piece (upper right). 
  6. Physical Condition – unlike modern jewelry, vintage jewelry should look its age, not shiny and new but well cared for.  That means no missing gems, no broken clasps, etc… you get the idea.
  7. Weight – it must have substance and feel heavy in your hand.
  8. Metal Quality – gold and silver still fetch the bigger dollars.  It shouldn’t look cheap, discolored or chipped.
  9. Settings – the more unique and artistic the better.   Prongs of good quality are of greatest value.
  10. Historic – last but certainly not least, pieces with documented information on the wearer, its history and story greatly increase the value.

Check out these Catbdzine pieces and judge for yourself.

Catbdzine Flower & Leaf Bracelets

Honor, Beauty and Giving Back


Shirley & Carly Anne Haneke

My sister’s love for my mother and her strong desire to honor Oma’s (grandmother in German) memory drove the desire to create a hobby business that became Catherina B. Design.  The idea for Catbdzine came to my sister, Shirley Haneke, after mom passed away in 2007.  She was looking through her jewelry, reminiscing about mom and how she always liked to look nice.  At 2:30am a few weeks later, the origins of a plan to market jewelry to women that appeals to their own sense of beauty and appreciation for that which is timeless was born.  With mutti (mother in German) the “lovely lady” as her muse, initial jewelry design concepts began to flow. 

Beyond the desire to honor mutti and create timeless pieces that speak to a personal sense of beauty, another desire grew that would become core to the passion and purpose for Catbdzine.  After reminiscing about visits to a skilled nursing facility during moms last few years, and watching her and the residents light up with excitement from singers and dancers bringing them back to the happiest, most alive days, in their life, a strong desire grew to dedicate a portion of the proceeds of the sale of the jewelry to a fund for nursing home recreation.

Now the hard work and determination to build the business continues.   Here is a preview of a few Catherina B. Design

Catherina B. Design Vintage Bracelets

pieces that are driven by desire to honor, inspired by beauty and make it possible to give back to those that came before us.

Catherina Maria Bokenfohr

It’s a tall order but I’m going to attempt to share a glimpse of the inspiration behind my sister’s vintage jewelry business, Catherina B. Design.

Catherina Maria Bokenfohr

Catherina Maria Bokenfohr was born and raised on a farm in Alberta, Canada.  She was one of 11 children born to first generation German immigrants.  Milking cows and gathering eggs with her sibling in sub-zero temperatures every day without fail were a few of her usual chores.  The typical meal of sauerkraut and bratwurst spread amongst 13 people left precious little money for anything else but essentials.  On one rare occasion her mother took her to town and bought her a dress.  It was glamorous, her prize possession and she wore it on the rare occasion of her favorite activity, a town dance.  

Ben & Dena Haneke

My mother, affectionately referred to by family and friends as Dena, met my dad when his parents came to visit.  My grandfathers came from the same town in Germany and were good friends.  In 1955 my mother left her beloved Canada and the comfort of her close knit family to start a new life in a foreign country working my dad’s family farm in South Dakota. 

First there was Freddie, then came Shirley and not long over a decade she had her own family of ten.   Now running a farm and ranch on their own, my parents worked literally day and night plowing, planting, and harvesting corn and wheat in the spring, summer and fall, feeding cattle two times a day and raising their 10 young children – no weekends off, no sleeping in, no summer breaks – just a lot of hard work, guts and an unyielding drive to provide for the only thing that mattered to them, their children.

Catherina B. Design was born out of my sister’s drive to pay homage to Mutti/Oma (mom/grandma) and her self-sacrificing dedication to her family, as well as my sister’s own passion to be self-employed, build a business and provide for her daughter.

Ben & Dena Haneke Children

Blog On!

The genesis of this blog is driven by a class I’m taking at UCSD Extension called Marketing via New Media. One of our first assignments is to read a few chapters in Crush It!  by Gary Vaynerchuk and start a blog.

After reading Gary’s very personal description about his immigrant parents and their hunger to provide for their family, it reminded me about my parents who were born to German immigrants.  As a farmers and ranchers, my parents were very entrepreneurial and as Gary put it, worked their butt off, day and night to put food in our mouths (and there are plenty of us) clothes on our backs and put us through private education.  Many of my siblings also have an entrepreneurial spirit and are driven in the same way to provide for their family. 

The matriarch of my family, Shirley, a single mother of one, has started two businesses.  After talking to a girlfriend about how challenging it is to raise a newborn, it’s hard to fathom how my sister did it.  She started a business in medical transcription and supported herself and my niece from the time she was born until she graduated with honors and went off to college on a full scholarship a few weeks ago. 

Recently she started a new vintage jewelry business called Catherina B. Design, inspired by and named after my mother, Dena Haneke (married name), who passed away in 2007. 

This blog is dedicated to her, my other entrepreneurial brothers and sisters and all those that had the proverbial cajones to strike out on their own, take risks, struggled through hardships and do whatever it takes to build a business and provide for the ones they love.

So, as Patti, a close family friend, fellow entrepreneur and business development exec @ Blogworld, would say… BlogOn!