Tag Archives: women entrepreneurs

If You Need a Little Kindness, They are Dishing it up at the Q Kindess Cafe!

I am excited about this interview because I want to share Lisa Metwaly and her story because I think you need to know about her! Lisa and her husband are the owners of Q Kindness Cafe in Downtown St. Paul. I love what they are doing in the name of kindness and how that has impacted their business. Lisa smiles brightly as she says, ” People dump buckets of love over my head all of the time.” I can see why, Lisa loves to do acts of kindness and share stories of acts of kindness. She is surrounded by kindness because, because of her passion for it and that make Lisa a kindness magnet!

The Q Kindness Cafe is tucked away on the first floor of the Lowry Building, an old office building in Downtown St. Paul. The Cafe website says; ” Back in 1961 The Lowry bustled with Doctors offices, Moms, Dads and Kids who visited. People flocked to the Q for comfort foods. Even though offices relocated, many remain regulars for a reason. They are part of a family.”

I was one of those kids going to one of those Doctors at the Lowry Building and I remember the Q. I don’t remember ever eating there but I remember it always being busy. About a year ago my friend Heidi took me to the Lowry Building to share the new treasure she had found, the Q Kindness Cafe. When I met Lisa that day, I knew I wanted to know more about her and she was one of my top picks for women I wanted to interview.

The coolest thing happened when I sent Lisa the email to ask if she would do an interview. Early the next morning while I was still asleep I had a dream.

Dream: Q Kindness was opening a new restaurant and I arrived for a meeting with Lisa when they were working on the front entrance. It had just been plastered and raised in the plaster where huge floral motifs, like a jungle, it was gorgeous. I was going to help Lisa roll out her new children’s menu by taking it around to kids to get feedback and give them a coupon to come in and try it. I had a plate of pancakes to show them a long with really cool, kid friendly menu. That was a perfect job for me because I had worked with children for years and could walk up to any child on the street and start a conversation and kids immediately connect with me. While we were talking Lisa brought out the yummiest sweet rolls and some kind of magic coffee that would break up the carbohydrates and gluten so they would just flush out of the body. That way you could eat the sweet rolls with no harm to the body. Pretty cool! While we were talking, a man came in who didn’t feel very good about himself and Lisa and I did a coaching session with him, in true Q Kindness fashion. I imagine that kind of thing happens a lot there.

I woke up thinking about my dream, knowing the interview was a go, when noticed I had an email. It came in at 5:33 and it was Lisa saying she would love to do an interview. I think I was probably dreaming about her at the same time as she was emailing me. It was Friday the 13th, a day I have always considered lucky.

5:30 AM is Lisa’s usually time to catch up on-line because she is a busy woman. When she is not at the cafe she is a flight attendant for Delta Airlines. She has done that for 10 years. It sounds to me like it is almost a full-time job. How she juggles all of the balls I have no idea!

When I told Lisa about the dream she said that one of her dreams is to franchise Q Kindness Cafe. With all of this synchronicity that dream might be closer to reality than she thinks.

I think you are going to love this interview!

Katelyn Mariah: Hi Lisa, thank you so much for having this conversation with me. One of the first things I would like to talk with you about is being an entrepreneur. Do you feel you have always had the entrepreneurial spirit or is it something you grew into?

Lisa Metwaly: Ever since I was a little girl I loved to serve. My mom used to make little yarn poodles out of yarn and I remember going door to door to sell them. They were the cutest things, I felt everyone should have one in their own special color.

As an entrepreneur, I believe it serves me well to want to serve others. My husband is the money and accounting side of the business and I am the community service and connector side. It’s who I am and always have been. We balance each other well. I keep spending time and money on others’ until he tells me I can’t. So far it has served us well. The more we help others, the more the business picks up.

KM: Can you tell me what lead you to become the owner of Q Kindness Cafe?

LM: The Lowry building, where we are located, used to be the Medical Arts building and we served the Doctors, Dentists and all those who visited them. When the building was gutted and sat empty, our business suffered beyond your imagination. My husband and his partner decided to sell and found that no one wanted to purchase it so he had the brilliant idea that I buy the other partner out and do whatever I wanted with it.

As a Certified Franklin Covey Life Coach, I put my coaching skills to use and co-hosted events called Make Mama Happy, which was a workshop for women discovered their gifts and fully gave these gifts with a “pay it forward” mentality. It was the start of the global kindness initiatives at the Q. We called it the Kindness Campaign. A fellow life coach and friend, Amy Zastrow, recommended the name change to the Q Kindness Cafe. Even after we had made all of our new signs with the logo, the name stuck. We reinvested in new signage and started our journey forward to become known as a restaurant determined to change the world with kindness.

So many people have stepped forward to help with the business plan and re-branding process. I’m so grateful for the hands who have so willingly made this possible. Thank you for being one of those helpful people.

KM: I remember the poodles you are talking about. I had a teacher who made them along with bunnies and other animals. She brushed the wool yarn so they were really fluffy and I thought they were so cute too!

I love hearing about relationships that work as a true partnership like the one you and Jimmy have, it sounds like it works perfectly. Lisa told me that Jimmy is the kindest man she has ever met. He has a big heart.

KM:The Universe has a way of getting us where we need to go, even when we want to go in another direction. It seems that all roads lead to our destiny. It appears that is what happened to you to with the closing of the Medical Arts Building and the door opening to Make Mama Happy Workshops, which I imagine has led you where you are now. Many people would have given up when the building closed. I think it is important for people to see that good things come out of staying with what we believe in. How were you able to hang in there and open to new possibilities?

LM: There were many days that weren’t so easy. My husband is my primary resource to help me keep the faith. He told me, “There are good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, good years and bad years. It all works out in the end when you keep the focus on what matters most.” I think of this often and keep the focus on what matters. I work hard to stay in integrity and provide value through a quality product in a loving environment. That love has come back to me ten fold through the random kind acts that happen at the restaurant. It really is a fun place to be, regardless if we’re busy or not in any given day. Every day can be full of surprises.

When it’s quiet, we prepare for the busy days to come. We always plan to be busy. Being prepared and having faith is everything!

KM:Life really is that simple, isn’t it? We humans complicate it! I love your husbands philosophy, always focus on the positive/what you desire and it will come back to you in surprising ways!

Lisa and I talked about how easily people give up on their dreams and what kept her going. I think a lot of people give up when they run into obstacles. Not only does she keep Q Kindness going but she is a flight attendant with Delta full-time but she has had her share of obstacles along the way and yet she didn’t give up on her dream, as you can see by this article in the Women’s Press:

With a background in financial services sales, as a flight attendant, and as a life coach, Cotter Metwaly has a lot of experience and inspiration to draw from. It’s mostly personal challenges that have induced her positive outlook on life. “You appreciate the mountain when you’ve been in the valley,” she said, shaking her head slowly.

Her parents divorced when she was 15 years old, which led to a rebellious adolescence. Cotter Metwaly’s sister then died in a car accident in 1990. “A lot of people can focus on holding onto sadness instead of hope,” she said, but she chose to remain positive.

“You just have to put the roadblock up,” she said, making a “T” with her hands and shaking it. “I mean once in a while you have to go back there and go through the mourning, but then you have to switch gears, and it’s all about what you focus on.”

It was her father, Cotter Metwaly said, who guided her throughout her life. “My dad always said, ‘I trust you, I trust you, I believe you and you can do anything.’ And that has influenced everything I do. I mean, give a person a reputation and they’ll live up to it.” She says she uses this idea to influence the kids and teenagers who hang around the café.

As Cotter Metwaly spoke about her father, her voice wavered and she stopped mid-sentence. Eyes cloudy-a stark contrast to her ease when telling tales of kindness-she glanced around the room. “Instead of mourning for him I mourn for the people who didn’t get a chance to know him,” she said before adding, “He died a month ago.” She stopped, took a breath, but didn’t continue. After 30 seconds she had collected herself. She looked up, cocked her head and smiled again.

This article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press is an example of how Lisa turned adversity into something positive:

After the Q Kindness Cafe in downtown St. Paul was burglarized over the weekend, the owner didn’t get mad. She decided to respond in the spirit of her restaurant’s philosophy and practice random acts of kindness.

Co-owner Lisa Cotter Metwaly’s reaction to losing $250, including $50 in waitress’ tips, is to amplify the kindness- she’ll give away $100 worth of hand warmers Wednesday to her customers who ride the bus.

“People do random acts of violence, but what if they did random acts of kindness?” Metwaly said Monday. “This is my little test. I said to myself, “Practice what you preach, Lisa’. What you give comes back, so you just give more.”

KM: And what happened with your test?

LM: We got all of the money back and more. People stopped by the restaurant and slipped us a $20 or $5 and me got back more than we lost. We gave all of the extra money we got away.

That is just one example of the obstacles that Lisa has overcome. In 2007 she was not able to work for a year because she wasn’t able to walk due to a severe problem in her foot. So she is no stranger to overcoming adversity and building a successful business.

When I went to visit with Lisa at Q Kindness one afternoon, over a BLT, fresh squeezed lemonade and fries, the interview really got cooking. I left with so many things I wanted to write about that I have to find my top things so this interview doesn’t get too long. I chose the BLT because it is my favorite sandwich so I have become somewhat of a connoisseur of the BLT. I have had good ones and I have had bad ones. The one at Q Kindness is up there with the good ones, and the fresh squeezed lemonade was fabulous and I could taste the kindness that went into it. Liquid kindness, now how to that be anything but good!

So if it isn’t obvious by now, Lisa is passionate about Kindness and doing random acts of kindness when ever possible. Just like with the Law of Attraction, the kindness she puts out comes back to her 10 fold. She has created a global kindness initiative called “Kinactors”.

KM: Lisa I would love for you to talk about your kindness project, Kinactors. Can you tell my readers what it means and how they can get involved?

LM: When we started this kindness campaign at the Q Kindness Cafe, I started to look at people differently. I never knew where the kindness was coming from when it was anonymous. I see kindness potential everywhere. I know that we all have it in us to help the world be a kinder place. Our marketing strategy is based on kindness and it has served us well in business but the kindness initiatives have taken on a life of their own. Thank you for allowing me to share them with you.

We’d love for people to share their story when they receive a random act of kindness or hear about one at http://www.kinactor.com. Kinactor(kind actor/connector) is a word that we made up. ke’-nak-tor (noun) Someone who writes about kind acts to connect.

When we started the kindness campaign at the cafe, we had people from all walks of life coming in to share their story. I’d always pass the stories along to others’ at the restaurant or at various networking events. Eventually I realized these stories were meant for me to give in a much bigger way.

For instance, there was a man who came into the Kindness Cafe with his wife during the hockey tournaments and bought a whole team breakfast. He put $300 on his Visa and told me not to tell the kids until they tried to pay. I was not to take their money but ask them to “pay it forward.”

We have a wheel of kindness that people spin that everyone loves. Whatever they land on is the kind act they do for the day such as buy coffee, breakfast, lunch and various treats. These are given away later when a random customer comes to order that item. We keep a list behind the counter and when something is ordered that is already paid for, it’s a random act of kindness. The person is asked to “pay it forward” and do something nice for someone in the future.
A woman spun the wheel and landed on “share something” she emailed me saying she wanted to share her IPOD Touch , worth $350. She thought was could use it for a contest of some sort, which I was thrilled to ablige! Over 100 people posted kind acts on our Facebook page and we drew a random number at the end of the contest and gave away the IPOD. Out of this the Kinactor blog was born.

Kindness really is everywhere and it’s that heightened awareness that’s needed for maximum effect on the world and you can share your stories on the Kinactor website.

One of my favorite stories is the man who told me he disciplines his kids with a focus on kindness. He has a poster of kind acts up on the wall and when the kids misbehave, they are to go over to the wall of kindness and choose a more appropriate action that they will do next time. Another woman shared that same story only she made her kids write a report on the kindness action they will pursue next time.

Another woman started a kindness patrol for kids in the fourth grade to monitor kind acts. The incidents of bad behavior went from the 300’s to the 30’s in only a few years time because the kids are more focused on kindness.

Kinactor.com is a vision of hope for companies and people to connect and learn from each other; to create a culture of kindness wherever you are; to be more focused on kindness.

I’ve written a manual that has all the components of our kindness campaign. I’m happy to share with others that would like to start a kindness initiative. Currently I’m working with Delta Airlines on this project. Feel free to contact me via email Lisa@Kinactor.com or my cell # 612-387-4977 for more information or if you’d like to do a random act of kindness as an incentive for more kindness stories

KM: I encourage everyone reading this who lives in the Twin Cities to stop by Q Kindness Cafe so it is always busy and so Lisa can do what she loves to do all the time. If you don’t live in the Twin Cities, stop in when you are in the neighborhood. It will be the kindest think you can do for yourself.

Visit Lisa at The Q Kindness Cafe
350 Saint Peter Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102-1514
(651) 224-6440
Website: http://www.qkindness.com/

Facebook page:

Kinactor Blog

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Filed under Entrepreneurship, Interviews with Magnetic Business Women!

Interview with Twin Cities pianist and composer, Michelle Glaser

I have known Michelle for a few years, before she was an accomplished, well-known local pianist. Michelle’s passion is music, and it becomes evident upon listening to the vast styles she can create. I was privileged to be at her concert at Steven Anderson beautiful home on Summit Avenue when she released the CD “Between Times”. I purchased the CD and listen to it often because it is such relaxing and peaceful music. The music is a lot like Michelle.

Michelle was generous to take time to talk to me in this interview and I am excited to introduce her to you on a deeper level. My intention through these interviews is to capture the soul of the entrepreneur and Michelle embodies that perfectly.

Katelyn Mariah: I have been impressed with how your career has taken off in what seems to be a short period of time. Can you tell me when music became a part of your life and what happened to line things up so perfectly for you to get you where you are right now?

Michelle Glaser: Well, I know that music became a part of my life in the womb. My mother loved music, and it’s proven that babies can hear what the mother hears or sings with her voice. As far as when my instrument, the piano, became a part of my life… I started piano lessons young, at 5 years old. I’m so grateful to my mother, because she wanted her children to have everything that she didn’t have growing up – coming from a small, Ohio farm. I was classically trained until I turned 18 and then left for college.

I spent the next 10 years learning a lot of life’s lessons. My piano playing stopped altogether, and I was just ‘going through the motions’. At the time I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to be so I started working full-time in the administrative assistant field, and got married, way too young. Thankfully, that relationship ended, and a new Michelle emerged.

I bought my first digital piano to bring music back into my life, not realizing at the time how important that decision was. I was surprised to learn that because I hadn’t played for 10 years it was difficult to ‘sight-read’ sheet music. I just started making up my own music; improvising for hours. Music is healing in so many ways and creating music became my therapy. It’s also how I give my thanks and praise to God.

Seven years later, I met my soul mate. What a difference love makes! It changed my life to meet someone with the same spiritual beliefs. I love learning and growing with her on a daily basis. What knowledge she has shared with me! The first time I played the piano for her it made her cry. Because of the strong emotions the music evoked in her, we decided that we should bring the music to others so they could feel it too. My partner said, “Give it at least 6 months” and see what happens. So, we decided to give my dream of following my passion and doing what I love to do a chance.

After shopping around and doing the research, my partner, Rowan, found a place to record my first CD. We were ready to get my sales and exposure going. Now 2 years later, I have written 3 CDs of original music. I have toured the coffee shops; played some pubs; entertained at expos and shows; performed at churches; have been streamed live on internet radio; was interviewed in the Edge Magazine and I currently have intro music I wrote for them playing on their Blog Talk Radio show every Wednesday. (You will hear Michelle on the piano in the intro) My songs have been played on KFAI radio; and last fall I had my first television appearance on NBC KARE 11’s “Showcase Minnesota.”

Drive, dedication and determination were factors when it came to how things lined up for me; you know, ‘how bad do you want this?’ I believe in the Law of Attraction the ability to visualize what we want and can make it happen. Thoughts are very powerful and the universe is abundant and we have the capability to manifest anything we need.

KM: Can you talk a bit more in-depth about how you use the Law of Attraction in building your music business?

MG: Sure. The Law of Attraction simply says that you attract into your life whatever you think about. Your dominant thoughts will find a way to manifest. I continually see myself where I want to be, and believe that I will be there. I give positive affirmation that what I want to happen, happens. Words have power, but thoughts are very powerful too. It’s easy to fall into that trap of “I can’t do it.” If something that I need to accomplish seems challenging, it’s important to keep my thoughts positive and stay focused with the intention that I will succeed.

Just recently, for example, I submitted some of my music to an internet radio station. My New Age and Classical songs would compliment this particular station really well. My heart and soul were saying “this is where my music will be showcased.” I didn’t say or think “I wish my music could be played on this station.” It’s a matter of clearly defining what you want and stating it as if it will happen. And as it turns out, I just found today that Enlightened Piano.com would like to use three of my songs for airplay which go live in the next couple of weeks. I’m already using the Law of Attraction with your interview, Katelyn, and know that the right person will read this and hire me to compose some music for them!

I believe self-realization is an ongoing process and I’m thrilled with how far I’ve come and where I’m now, but I don’t settle. I am constantly exploring what makes me tick and what brings me the most joy? Recently I discovered that I would really love to be a film composer so I found some ads and people looking for original music, applied and got to write the score for the short film, “The Collective.” They’ve already asked me to write for their next film, which will be playing at the Saint Anthony main theater this Spring/Summer.

KM: Isn’t it amazing how quickly things line up when you are in alignment with your true self? As a visionary artist and an art therapist, myself, I totally understand how creating can be therapeutic and a way to express from a spiritual level. I know that you have done personal recordings for people, which I would assume are messages from their soul. Can you talk about the spiritual aspect of creating music a little more?

MG: “Why, yes. Last fall I was commissioned to compose a song for someone’s husband, which would be a surprise gift for their wedding anniversary. She gave me samples of music he enjoys, artists and composers names, and at first I tried to write a song that was similar to his tastes. She didn’t care for the first song idea I came up with so I went back to my keyboard and started from scratch. That is when it happened. I let go and the song wrote itself. I took myself ‘out of the way’, stopped trying, and a beautiful melody emerged, and all of the other instrumentation just fell into place. I thought, “Well, this doesn’t sound like what he usually listens to, does it?” But I kept-on with writing it, trusting that what was coming out of my hands, was supposed to be in this song. When the woman heard the final version of the song, she wept and told me that I must have channeled their soul song. The husband loved the song too. I feel so blessed to have had this experience with them. Click this link to learn more about Michelle’s custom work.

Composing music is my gift and I connect with music on a level that is connected to my soul. When people find their gift and use it for the greater good, I believe that spirit helps and guides them. Everyone has the ability to co-create with source. It’s a matter of learning how to tap into it. For me, it just comes naturally when my heart is wide open and I’m full of love. My whole goal is to compose music that reaches people on a soul level, to nourish their soul in the forms of joy, love or passion. I’m in ‘Zen’ when I play piano, and I think that energy, or what is coming from my hands onto the keys, is conveyed in the sounds I create and is able to be experienced by my listeners.”

KM: That is exactly what happens to me when I paint a soul portrait. It is like everything around me disappears and I am in a sacred space and what comes through is always perfect.

Do you have favorite composers or a favorite style of music? I know your music is a combination of styles, can you talk about that?

MG: Wonderfully said, Katelyn!

There are so many great artists out there and I’ve been influenced by all of them in one way or another. I don’t necessarily have one favorite style of music. As a teenager I listened to Level 42 a lot and their lyrics enchanted me because they spoke of things outside of the world I was growing up in. I love the way their melodies aren’t predictable. Mark King is incredible on bass, and Mike Lindup is a keyboard genius. Enigma is another love of mine because their music takes me to a higher vibration. My mp3 player has mostly up-tempo, dance music on it though because I wear it when I go walking and running. I also listen to it when I need to relax or focus. Funny thing, I don’t tend to put on slow, meditation music to feel more connected to the divine, although I love to create that on the keyboard.

My music indeed is a combination of styles. My first album “…and The Piano Fell in Love” was a collection of New Age and Classical music and that was how we decided to market my music at first. I had friends and colleagues who said that I should stick to one genre. I don’t understand why that has to be. Why limit yourself? “Between Time,” my second CD release, was recorded on a $150,000 Bosendorfer piano. Some of the songs were re-recorded for better sound quality and improved upon by adding beautiful cello accompaniments performed by Jacqueline Ultan, and written by Steve Yeager. Some of the songs on the CD were new compositions. I worked with producer Anthony J.W. Benson of injoi Music to create a professional and organic-sounding product. My third release “Dance, Trance and Romance” features dance, groove and electronica music. I guess I can’t contain my creativity to be molded into one market. I like the freedom of enjoying the process and getting different end results. There’s so much music I’ve recorded at my home studio that has not been released. I’m currently submitting that music to be licensed in FILM and TV.

I agree with Michelle, why is there a push to limit creative expression? It happens in music, art and in writing. I believe that authentic expression is unique to the artist and there should be no labels placed on it. I am excited that Michelle is listening to her inner voice rather than the voice of public opinion because I love what she is creating. I hope each of you get to hear her music in person someday soon but until that time here is a special creation for you to enjoy.

Here are what others are saying about Between Time:

“Between Time” is the only CD I play in my car. I take it everywhere.” – Carol R.

“My acupuncture & chiropractic patients enjoy relaxing to your CD, “Between Time.” – Cynthia S., D.C.

Listening to “Between Time” makes it easy to create in my drawing class” – Matt S.

“I could get lost in Michelle’s trance music all night long.” – Robert S.

Michelle’s Website


Filed under Interviews with Magnetic Business Women!

Supporting Women to be Financially Free!

In October of 2009 I started a women’s business networking group. I had several reasons for starting it. First I wanted to make it free and non-exclusive. I have spent hundreds of dollars over the past couple of years to be involved in networking groups. I wanted a way for women to come together, network and support each other that would not cost anything.

I also wanted it to be non-exclusive; meaning I didn’t want to exclude anyone for any reason. I have been in networking groups where only one person from an industry could be at a meeting. I believe in the law of attraction and I believe that people are attracted to people, not because of what they sell but because of who they are. There could be 4 Mary Kay reps, for example, and different people would be attracted to each of them. It doesn’t mean that if there were only one rep everyone would be attracted to them because that is simply not true. We draw people to us by selling who we are, not by selling our business.

I also wanted a group that wasn’t just about trying to get people to join your business or opportunity. I want to create an environment for support, where we share information that would be helpful to other in the group, such as books, workshops, events as well as referrals.

Magnetic Business Women Network is such a group.

The name and philosophy has magnetized 240 members so far, and our meetings are not like other networking meetings.

Here are what people are saying:

These women are amazing, fun, friendly, and very gracious to new people. It is a great networking opportunity.

It’s great to be able to present my business to a group of engaged women, hear about their ideas and find ways to network with each other.

This group is about building relationships and being support and resources for each other. If you want to connect with other entrepreneurial women and expand your network this group is for you.

Do you have a vision of abundance for yourself and your business? Surround yourself with positive people that share a similar passion for life and success. You will attract like-minded people wherever you go. This Meetup Group has good intentions and real people.

It’s fun, progressive, and the women are powerful movers and shakers.

I have benefited from this group in so many ways that I would never have imagined and I have met so many fabulous women entrepreneurs.

If you live in the Twin Cities join us!

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Filed under Law of attraction in business