Influences in My Life

March 12, 2023 by Julie Faupel

This week I’m taking inspiration from International Women’s Day to talk about someone that inspires me. I was a Senior in High School when I met Sheila Skolnick. My dad met her in a payphone bank in New York City and they shared an instant connection. As years progressed, Sheila became my step-mom and a friend, she’s a rabid, card-carrying member of my fan club and she’s been an incredible influence on my life.

Sheila’s story is cinema-caliber. She grew up overcoming poverty, abuse, discrimination, gender bias, you name it. She’s been told countless times throughout her life that she “can’t” do something or that she “should” behave a certain way. She doesn’t fight back, she quietly nods her head and then, whatever the challenge, she proceeds to prove the nay-sayers dead-wrong. She started a hotel supply company from the basement of her home in New York by taking the bus into the city and literally wearing out the soles of her shoes pounding the pavement selling to the iconic hotels of Manhattan. She knew that she would never get a meeting with the c-suite at those properties so she’d go in through the back door of the hotel, meet the housekeeping managers and build relationships with them. Through that ingenuity, work ethic and resilience, she created an incredible enterprise, provided for herself and her two sons and, eventually, made a beautiful life with my dad. As she found greater and greater success, she never looked back, she doesn’t dwell on mistakes or failures, she resides in the present and she celebrates everyone around her more than she celebrates herself. Sheila sold the hotel supply company some years ago and went on to other entrepreneurial pursuits. She had one of the first home shopping channels, she patented the iron/ironing board hanger that you see in most hotel rooms, she tours as an inspirational speaker and, most recently, she is a business coach to 4,000 members of her “Success Strategies Group.” She’s pretty much unstoppable. So, here are some of the lessons that I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from Sheila over the years:

  1. Work long, hard hours now. Nap when you’ve achieved success and not a moment sooner.
  2. When you show up to a meeting and you’re wearing the same outfit as your host, (her host was Ivana Trump!) laugh and become friends.
  3. Regardless of others, live with a spirit of abundance. Love with your entire heart.
  4. Be curious about everything.
  5. Step outside your comfort zone – you should see this Brooklyn girl and how she loves Jackson Hole, Wyoming!
  6. Go for walks, be observant of beauty.
  7. Dance.
  8. Be brave. The dark parts aren’t so scary once you’ve shined a light on them.
  9. Use your gifts to inspire greatness in others.
  10. Be you. There’s no one better at it.

I am so blessed to have so many incredible influences in my life – and I’ll be telling you about all of them. This week, I’m celebrating Sheila, and our journey together…we have so much more ahead!