City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
HAGER CHEMALI. PHOTOGRAPHER: Elliott O'Donovan. Elliott O'Donovan

Featured Article

Love for the Local Ladies

Celebrating Powerful Women in Town


Have you drawn professional inspiration from other women? Tell us about someone who has inspired you. 

I'm inspired by anyone with a colorful and carefree personality that is passionate about their profession, anyone who is so determined to make a difference that you just know they're going to wind up on The Today Show. And certainly people who can laugh at themselves and keep moving forward when they make a mistake. My most recent inspiration comes from a woman I met locally via a women's networking group, who now acts as my mentor. She is that rare type of person who really lives out her authenticity in every area of life. She is the least judgmental, most supportive person I have ever met. She is teaching me right now that my talents are meant to be shared with the world, loud and proud, something I struggle with from time to time. Her name is Georgette but I call her G. I also just read the biography of Anna Wintour (a fascinating read) and am particularly inspired by her intense focus to keep Vogue the iconic magazine that it is.

What would you tell young women who are just starting to work? What would you like them to know? 

Oh man, if I could go back and do it over again, I would. Mostly because it's so fun figuring out where you fit in, what you're good at, and what type of people you work best with. Know that finding your footing in your career plays such a huge role in your identity, but it's important to remember your job does not define you. I would tell them to follow their curiosity and interest over everything else, and to accept that things will feel unfamiliar and scary at the beginning because that's just how it goes. My biggest tip is to not burn bridges and treat everyone you meet like they're a reporter for The New York Times. You are not above or below anyone. I believe if you lead with excitement — instead of fear — you will attract the career that is meant for you. 

What are ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself? 

So many ways. I'm pretty ritualistic when it comes to staying happy and healthy — something I've gotten rather good at being a wellness writer. My days have to start with a piping hot oat milk latte (made by my trusty Nespresso maker) and have to end with me reading a book or magazine before bed. I'm extremely disciplined about working out every day, always have been. I do a mix of HIIT, strength training and walking during the week, and weekends are reserved for spin class. I miss Joyride dearly but I love CycleBar. The mental and physical benefits of sweating in a dark room with music blasting are insane for your mental health. In terms of social health, a hack I've found works brilliantly is scheduling things to look forward to with friends or my husband every week, no exceptions. Friday night dinner at a new restaurant, cocktails with girlfriends, day trips with my kids, or going to the movies all fall under the "taking care of myself" category. I love life and aim to have fun and help others in the process whether I'm working or playing. One more thing: remember that getting dressed for your day is the quickest way to feel centered. Adding some element of style, like red hot lipstick or an unexpected pair of heels will change the trajectory of my entire day if I'm feeling off.

Fast Five

What is your job title? Wellness Writer + Fashion Designer

What was your first job? Key Holder at Calypso St. Barth boutique in Chicago. I loved that job for many reasons, but mostly because my boss was incredible.

Who do you text most? My sister, her husband and my husband (big group chat about anything and everything)

Where did you grow up? Ohio

What time do you wake up? 7 am


IG: @ashleyalt_ & @valtbrand


What is the secret to your success?

Dr. Michele Volchonok is making waves in the dental community with her cutting-edge techniques and commitment to personalized dental care. As a female doctor in the Greenwich community, Dr. Volchonok has been able to bring a fresh perspective to the field by combining her extensive dental knowledge with a deep understanding of the unique needs of women.

“I believe my success is due to my personal dedication to the pursuit of knowledge. The true beauty of dentistry is the dynamic nature of the profession. Techniques are constantly being perfected and innovative new approaches are being developed everyday. I believe it’s my duty as a practitioner to provide my patients with this top level of care. In doing so, I have become an expert in many advanced techniques to conservatively enhance smiles and laser-enhanced rejuvenation of the face without the introduction of harmful toxins or chemicals."

What is unique about your business?

Dr. Michele Volchonok’s practice believes that dental care is not just about fixing teeth, but also about building trusting and long-lasting relationships with each patient. She understands that many patients may feel anxious or uncomfortable during dental appointments due to traumatizing past experiences. Dr. Volchonok strives to create a safe and welcoming environment where each individual can feel at ease. 

“Developing personal relationships with each patient is the key to providing exceptional dental care. I believe that when a patient not only trusts your skills and judgements as a provider, but also feels relaxed in your chair because he or she genuinely values you as a confidant and friend, this is powerful enough to change the dental experience altogether.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out in your field?

Strive to find your passion within the dental field! Dentistry is a rapidly evolving field with new techniques, technology, and research emerging all the time. Each practitioner is part of that endless venture for knowledge. Make sure to attend continuing education courses, read dental journals, participate in study clubs and dental conferences to stay informed and enhance your professional development. 

A final note, figure out what makes you unique! There is a current trend for individual offices to be caught up in a large rollup and choose corporatization. While at the other polar end of the spectrum, there are doctors who choose to differentiate themselves and create distinctive value. While it takes courage to go against the flow, this is exactly where I want to be and what I recommend to strive for!


Host & Creator of Oh My World

What is the secret to your success?
It’s a mix of things, but, if I had to pick one specific ingredient, it would be that I truly believe in myself. I believe I will succeed. No matter what effort or endeavor I’ve pursued or launched, I have always had a positive mindset – that I’ll tackle the challenge at hand, or that I’ll get to the finish line, or that I’ll achieve my goal. The tougher the challenge, the more I’m motivated to go after it. While I do think that confidence has been the “secret” throughout my career, there have also been some other key parts to my success. I am deeply passionate about what I do – I love my work and am driven by its mission. For better or worse, I also have a really hard work ethic. I mean I work like a dog – but I do because I love it. Of course, that means I often have to remind myself to set boundaries and take care of myself too. And lastly, but critically – my network of mentors who have supported and guided me along the way
have played a major role in my success. I call them my “champions,” because these are people who literally champion me – who help me get to the next step, who advise me, and who catch me when I fall.

How do you persevere through the tough times?
What tough times? Ha, just kidding! When I hit any bump in the road – and I’ve hit some major bumps – jobs I didn’t get that I was certain I was getting, business deals that fell through, wrong decisions, or simply phases when I’m just entirely overwhelmed as a working mom – the very first thing I do is reach out to my network of champions, whom I’ve collected throughout my career. They include former bosses, good friends, and leaders I respect and admire. I share my situation with them and ask for their perspective and advice. When you hit a rough patch, it’s hard to see things clearly – to know all your options, to know what next step to take, to strategize, or even just to know that things will be fine. With any tough phase I’m going through, I reach out to a mix of mentors and friends who are always willing to listen and impart advice. And not only do I walk out of those discussions with a clearer idea of my next steps, but I walk away feeling happier, relieved, and confident I can tackle whatever challenge is at hand. I guess you could say my network of champions also serve as a group of therapists and coaches!

What do you want to achieve next?
Right now, I’m working on the next chapter of my media brand, Oh My World (please subscribe, it’s on YouTube!). Oh My World explains world events and complicated geopolitical and foreign policy stories in a fun, easy, and satirical way; and the mission of Oh My World is to educate by entertaining because I deeply believe that by raising awareness of these world issues that matter and giving viewers the tools to act, we can fundamentally affect change for the better. My goal now is to expand Oh My World further into a next generation news media business that explains a broad range of
complicated issues, beyond just foreign policy and geopolitics, and through a wider variety of platforms. And you know, once that’s done, hopefully by then we’ve taken down dictators, human rights abusers, and changed the world! I tell people all the time that just by watching and subscribing to Oh My World, you help change the world.

Fast Five
What is your job title? YouTube Host, Creator and Political Satirist
What was your first job? Technically, a personal assistant in my dad’s company, but my first real job was as a Legislative Fellow for CT Congressman Christopher Shays
Who do you text most? My college girls’ text chain…by far!
Where did you grow up? Here, in Greenwich, CT!

What time do you wake up? The latest my kids allow me to, which is usually 7 A.M.

Founder, Ganias Media Lab

Describe a woman who offers you professional inspiration.
I think Arianna Huffington is fascinating. She may be best known for co-founding The Huffington Post, and most recently, leading Thrive Global as CEO. Her ability to reinvent herself and step into different worlds is something I admire deeply. She’s had endless titles: prolific author, commentator, political activist and candidate, blogger, podcaster, entrepreneur… the list goes on and on. She is controversial as well, but I love that Huffington transcends categories; no one can put her “in a box.” I think it’s important for women to open up to this idea of constantly trying again and evolving and Huffington obviously mastered this. We have many passions, so why chose just one? Personally, I dedicated my 20’s to building my dream career, my 30’s to building my dream family, and now my 40’s are about blending the two and channeling my talents into new challenges. I’m excited at the idea of having careers ahead of me I don’t even know about yet! Arianna Huffington was also the first celebrity I heard to question hustle culture. Her book, The Sleep Solution, really resonated with me because both journalism and motherhood required me to constantly be “on.” Likewise, the mission of Thrive Global is to minimize stress and burnout. Who doesn’t feel burnt out, right? Our world obsessively glorifies being busy. Being too busy leads to my feeling disengaged, and that’s my cue to take a step back.

How do you encourage women not to give up?
Women are strong and resilient creatures. What we can sometimes lack is confidence and that makes us prone to throwing in the towel. To boost confidence, I teach my clients to reframe their limiting beliefs; that is, erase the idea that you can’t do something.
1. You’re already doing the thing you fear. If we break down a lofty goal we’re trying to reach, there’s some element we have already mastered. Build on that. For example, in teaching people to become confident public speakers, I start by showing them that they’re already sharing, convincing, and advocating on a daily basis. Owning your skills places your goals within attainable reach.
2. There’s no right time. Jump! As someone who doesn’t identify as a risk-taker, I’ve gotten so much better at accepting the idea of failure. So, what? I’ll try again. It’s been my experience that men feel more comfortable acting on a hunch or idea, while women feel we have to plan every move and possible outcome. Figuring things out as you go is a perfectly good strategy.
3. You’re never too late. I’m so genuinely inspired by the women I meet in Greenwich because each is driven and accomplished. In their families, in their careers, and in our Town, each is on her individual path. What used to intimidate me now propels me forward. As I meet more women and watch their achievements, it’s clear there’s truly no timeline for success. Just as I have learned this, I share it too: keep your head down, work hard, and learn from those around you.

What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is tuning out the noise and doing what needs to be done. There will never be a shortage of opinions, of course, so consider that freedom to do what truly feels authentic. Both in my family and in my life, leadership often means wearing blinders. It’s easy to look around at what everyone else is doing and compare. I am not immune to that. But I’ve learned with each passing year to really trust my gut. My values and priorities are mine and I’m in charge of shaping my life.

Fast Five
Who is your hero? My mom! It’s the same answer I would have given as a little girl, but becoming a mother myself made me appreciate her in a new way.

Describe your style in one word. Colorful. I know wearing black is the ultimate in chic, but I always feel more comfortable in bright hues.
Where did you go on vacation last? Our yearly trip to Greece is non-negotiable. It’s all about returning to our roots, uninterrupted family time, no schedules, delicious food, and living simply.

What is your go-to pastime? Cooking. In our big Greek family, food is our love language. Our olive oil comes straight from our own trees outside Sparta.

What time do you go to bed? 10pm is my goal, but it’s typically 11. I’m an early to bed, early to rise kind of woman and mornings are my most productive time.


  • HAGER CHEMALI. PHOTOGRAPHER: Elliott O'Donovan. Elliott O'Donovan