IS THE KEY TO HAPPINESS You.? An Interview with Toni DeMauro, Founder of You.LLC

For my whole life I was so damn happy. Dare I say euphoric!? My natural gait may actually have been more of a skip than a stride. I am not sure what knocked me off my happy high horse over the past year or so, but it had the force of a Mack truck. Maybe I am having a midlife crisis? I was not going to just accept this new way of being without a fight. So i began to turn my world upside down to figure out why I lost my "happy" and how to get it back. I tried it all...from extreme dietary trials to spiritual exploration. But, I am not a therapy kinda girl. Not a talker. Not a feelings sharer. So, it never dawned on me to find out if this malaise was being experienced by my peers.

While in the thick of things, an invitation to a HAPPINESS SEMINAR landed in my in box. I would have normally deleted it as fast as I delete the "4 ways to reduce belly fat" spam mail that I have finally learned is really just an infomercial... But, It came from a well known force of nature in my community, Toni DeMauro, who is ALWAYS so damn happy! She had recently started an exclusive womens networking/support group called You. LLC, and this was an invitation to their inaugural event. Because of the private way i have always been comfortable dealing with my feelings, bonding with other women was the one thing I hadn't tried in my quest to regain my skip in my step. But this email seemed like a neon sign from the gmail gods and I had to learn more. So I grabbed my laptop and asked Toni to meet me at Starbucks for a rapid fire Q&A. Here is what I found out from Toni...

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE You.?
I have been blessed with having met the most wonderful women over the years. Women who truly care about making the world a better place. I have been privileged to be someone they felt comfortable confiding in. Women in their 40s and 50s have shared with me beautiful ideas for starting a new chapter in their lives - they have raised their children and are ready for something new. Young women in their 20s and 30s are facing the challenges of a confusing job market and building their careers. It occurred to me that these groups should mesh together to share their strengths and mentor one another in ways that would empower them all.

There has been a recurring theme in my life of service and connection.
I love people and I love to bring them together in ways that support their goals and change the world for the better.
It's what life is all about for me -- helping others help others.

WHAT IS THE BIG PICTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION?
You. is an exclusive empowering womens membership group designed to bring strength to the female community in Greenwich CT/Westchester NY. This is a very sophisticated community of high powered, highly educated women at all stages of their professional and personal lives. The reasons people join You. will be varied but the positive energy and contacts they bring for each other are beyond compare. You. will also provide women access to the kind of intellectually stimulating speakers that are hard to find outside of a large city. In addition to delivering cutting edge and high-powered content, You. also provides an intimate and caring network. We believe strongly that when you surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you and with whom you can develop deep and genuine relationships...the kind of relationships that celebrate and encourage your strengths and help you succeed anything can be achieved. You. is much more of a family than an organization.

WHY ONLY WOMEN? IS THIS A FEMINIST THING?
There is something very special about women connecting in a non-competitive atmosphere.
Men are wonderful and they are integral to our lives personally and professionally, of course. However, professionally, men in their 40s and 50s are beginning to kick back a bit and women want to take off. You. is about bringing back the feeling of sisterhood from long ago. Sometimes we don't even recognize our own strengths and others can help us see them more clearly. With this powerful support network, we can cross-promote and build up one another's businesses and careers.

This is the year of the woman; it is time!

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST EVENT... THIS "HAPPINESS" SEMINAR.
The event is on April 6th from 5:30-9:30pm at the Indian Harbour Yacht Club in Greenwich CT. When you walk in the door you are greeted with a hug. We are expecting you -- we will have planned ahead of time exactly who we will introduce you to because we will have discussed with you what your interests and goals are for the evening and we will connect you with others who best support them. Everyone will wear a conversation-starter name badge with an, "ASK ME ABOUT _____" tag line.
It will be fun and relaxed, yet a super productive and inspiring evening. There will be music, food, wine, and an interactive presentation on "The Science of Happiness".

WHAT IS THE "SCIENCE" OF HAPPINESS? WHO IS THE SPEAKER?
Happiness is where it all starts. We aren't talking about a superficial happiness that depends on external circumstances, but a deep, sustaining happiness. It all begins with you. The concept of "putting the oxygen mask on ourselves first" is very significant here. Everyone wants to be happy, but that can be a very elusive concept; The Science of Happiness brings findings based on scientific research to the task, it gives us concrete action steps to increase our happiness. Our members are intellectually sophisticated, I want to bring them substantive content.
The speaker, Megan McDonough, is a highly respected award-winning author, CEO and co-founder of The Wholebeing Institute www.wholebeinginstitute.com. She holds degrees in nuclear medicine, biology, and natural science, and has held senior positions in health care organizations. She brings a wealth of experience to this topic and also has a warmth and sincerity that made me connect with her immediately. I believe our members will too. Please join me. Space is limited. To register www.greenwichinteractive.com

Thanks Toni! See you there.