Empowering Women to Lead

Co-Founder of Take the Lead Women

Gloria Feldt

Longtime activist Gloria Feldt encourages women to embrace their power and take the lead in business and in politics. She became obsessed with the subject, when she was asked to write an article for Ellemagazine in 2008. She thought it would be a puff piece about women running for office (since our first woman U.S. president was possible at the time), but the opposite was true. Women were not stepping up to lead. There were many organizations spending millions of dollars to help them run for office but women weren’t accepting the challenge.
Gloria blames the culture that raises women to be nice girls who want to be liked above all else. This causes women to play it safe and not risk jumping into the leadership arena the way men do. This applies not only to running for Congress, but also for climbing the corporate ladder to the C-suite.

Why Do Women Fear Power?

Gloria wrote No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power to give women the power tools they need to change the way they think about power. Women are ambivalent about power, and for good reason. They have been raped and abused and this has caused them to think in terms of power over rather than power to.  She compares power to a hammer. You can use a hammer to build something or to break something apart. If you use power ethically and to make the world a better place, why not embrace it? She says that when women perceivepower as a tool to do something good, they gladly assume leadership roles.

Organization to Help Women Become Leaders

Take the Lead LogoA self-proclaimed practical activist, Gloria says, “I want to fix things.” This is actually a feminine trait. Women are very good at fixing things. One of the things Gloria wants to fix is the lack of women leaders. She co-founded Take the Lead Women to help women reach parity by 2025. The website has many workshops, opportunities for digital networking and more. It’s a community of women helping one another to step into leadership roles.

Power Tools for Empowering Yourself

In this conversation, Gloria shares one of her power tools: Using your “sister courage” to create a movement and empower one another. As one of the 20 authors in Leading Women she explains another power tool: “Define your own terms first, before someone else defines you.”

More on Take the Lead and Leading Women

If you missed it, Gloria and Dr. Nancy want you to check out the Take the Lead Women launch, the inspiring event, which Dr. Nancy and 3,000 other people attended and over one million internationally watched on live streaming video. You can see it in its entirety with presentations by Sheryl Sandberg, Carla Harris and many other inspiring women leaders on taketheleadwomen.com.Leading Women 50
Be sure to check out Gloria’s website for more of her wisdom and advice and order your copy of Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life for more insights from Gloria and 19 other amazing women authors.
This interview is full of women empowering advice from Gloria, who went from being a teen mom at 15 to become the President of the National Planned Parenthood Federation, where she served for 30 years. Her motto, “Just say yes.” Listen for much more.


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Empowerment of Self Healing

Medical Intuitive

Patti Conklin

Patti Conklin is called a medical intuitive, and in this role she has created a system of self-healing called ColorWorks and ToneWorks, which adjusts the frequencies of the vibrations in our bodies to combat and even prevent disease. Patti says that disease is largely caused by fear. When we get a diagnosis, we fear the worst and create it through our fear. Patti herself had Lupus, an autoimmune disease for which there is no known cure. She used her system to cure herself several years ago and it has not reappeared.
In this interview with Dr. Nancy, Patti says that we all have the power and intuition to do this for ourselves. We must understand how our bodies work and how much our words affect our health and well-being throughout our lives. Dr. Nancy says that we live in a unique time. We have given our power away to the medical profession and expect pills to cure everything.

Quantum Physics Meets Western Medicine in Vibrational Healing

At heart, Patti says that she is a scientist and says people need both western medicine with its phenomenal technology and an understanding of Quantum Physics, which sees particulate matter as energy. They complement one another in patient care. Patti tells about how she has used her intuitive gift to help vascular surgeons during surgery. The two skills go hand-in-hand to provide healing. While she admits that western countries outside of the United States are more open to it, she receives frequent referrals from medical doctors.

The Power of Choosing How to Feel

God Within The Day God's Train StoppedPatti said the biggest lesson she learned from writing her book, God Within The Day God’s Train Stopped, was what being the observer meant. She finally understands that it’s up to her to put meaning into her life. She is in charge of her emotions; we all are. It’s up to us to assign anger, fear, love or happiness to an event. No one in the universe can make us feel those things. This is how we create wellness or illness for ourselves.

Dr. Nancy says when we get caught up in labeling ourselves and our situations, it eventually becomes our illness or part of our downfall. Patti agrees and adds that we have to accept the feeling and let go of it so you can move on.

Listen to this interview to find out more about Patti’s personal story, healing tools from her book and contacting her through her website, PattiConklin.com.


A 16 Year Old Firefighters Journey to Self Confidence

Author and Firefighter

Ali Warren

When Ali Warren discovered firefighting, she thought she had found her life’s work. But other firefighters had different ideas. She had to gain self-confidence to overcome the prejudice against the one thing she could not change, being a girl. Ali told her classic story of empowerment in her book, Where Hope Lives.

Empowering Women to Help People

Ali’s passion is to help people. Firefighting is the perfect outlet for helping people when they need it most. But while she was seeing people and children after horrendous accidents, learning how to cut apart a car and perform CPR, she was also learning a life lesson about how cruel people can be to their co-workers.
In this interview Ali tells Dr. Nancy that she relied on three things:

  • First, she had been raised to know and have confidence in her beliefs about who and what she was. That solid foundation allowed her to stand up to things that didn’t fit her values.
  • Second, she had the love and support of her family. They believed in something bigger and were in her court, cheering her on every day.
  • Third was her journaling. From a young age, she had written her life experiences. By the end of her ordeal, she had 31 journals, which had become more than a record, they were her salvation and her means to understand the reasons behind the obstacles that threatened her career.

Empowering Story is Helping Students.

Memoir by Ali WarrenAli’s story has turned into lesson plans to help high school students. When a Pennsylvania literacy coach asked her students to ready it, they not only read the first book in their lives, they asked to study its messages through the next semester. It has now become a professional series of lesson plans to help teenagers learn how to deal with difficulties in their lives: their homes and environments. Ali confronted issues that no one of any age should have to deal with and in doing so, she showed others how to face and conquer their own struggles.

Motivational Story a Good Book for Women

When people first told Ali she couldn’t be a firefighter, she wondered, “Can I choose this? Can I just say I want to be a firefighter and be one?” It was a long road, but the best of her motivational quotes for women is that we are all enough. In fact there is only one of each of us and it is our duty not to waste it. Share your talent and be happy with yourself. It is your greatest gift and when you realize it, you really can make a difference I the world.
Listen to this interview for more wisdom and be sure to read her book to find out Where Hope Lives and share its motivational message.


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Empowered Girls and Women Take Charge of Their Lives

Author and Founder of Real Girl and Real Women Programs

Anea Bogue

If we are to grow strong resourceful women, we must start parenting in the womb, says Anea Bogue, author of the new book, 9 WAYS WE’RE SCREWING UP OUR GIRLS AND HOW WE CAN STOP: A Guide to Helping Girls Reach Their Highest Potential. Parenting is the hardest job in the world and we are unaware of the cultural programming we instill in our children. But we created this culture and we can change it, Anea adds in this interview with Dr. Nancy,

The Puberty Party Begins at 7 or 8 for Both Boys and Girls.

There’s no doubt that children are maturing younger, but Anea stresses that this is happening to girls without them being armed with the supportive messages to put them in charge of their own decisions.
Anea’s own story is that she felt invincible until the age of 9; then she began to do things according to what boys thought of her. This behavior landed her in an abusive relationship at the age of 16.
She has vowed not to let this happen to her own daughters, and she founded REAL Girls® Workshops to give  girls the tools they need to be self-reliant. When the moms expressed their need for the same teachings, she founded REAL Women™ to reach and teach as many girls as possible.

Girls are always girls. Boys become men.

Dr. Nancy told a story about a mother calling her toddler son, “Little Man,” which lead Anea to bring up the point about how culturally, women always remain girls. We continue to be called “girl” at any age and terms of endearment used from infancy on continue to be used by adult men in our lives, while men would be insulted if you continued to call them boys after puberty. This is just one message that continues to perpetuate female inferiority.

Support of other Girls and Women Creates Empowering Self-Esteem

Book Cover ( WAYS WE'RE SCREWING UP OUR GIRLS AND HOW WE CAN STOPAnea tells about an exercise she calls “sister acknowledgement.” At the beginning of each session, she tells the girls to pick out a name and keep it secret, but to observe that person throughout the session. At the end, each girl tells one positive observation she made about the girl she observed. This is transformative for the girls. They have been taught that to speak positively about themselves (or brag) is conceited. How are they supposed to celebrate their achievements, if they can’t share them with others?
Dr. Nancy says that girls who have gone to all girl schools and played in girl sports have more success in life. They have had the support of the “sisterhood,” have had positive role models and have not been in competition against each other for the attention of boys. Building the sisterhood and connecting with strong, resilient women is necessary if we are to change the way we view ourselves and how culture depicts women.

The Goal is Mutual Empowerment Among Both Men and Women.

Women empowerment is about cultural empowerment. Anea says that a patriarchal society benefits no one. She notes a false sense she has encountered that women’s empowerment means disempowering men. She hopes in her lifetime to see total unity between men and women.

More Stories and How the Movies, “Brave” and “Malificent” Affect Girls’ Self Esteem.

Listen to the interview for more stories about how culture is affecting girls’ and women’s self esteem and what causes bullying and mean girl behavior. Check out Anea’s websites for more about her REAL Girl® and REAL Women™ Workshops, get answers to your questions and be sure to read her book, available at book stores and Barnes & Noble and Amazon. It’s a tremendous resource for building awareness of how we unconsciously perpetuate our gender attitudes about ourselves and our children.


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Empowered Women Make a Difference in People’s Lives

Founder of Bravehearts Therapeutic Riding Center

Meggan Hill-McQueeny

Reaching out to help others is the life mission of Meggan Hill-McQueeney. When Meggan was very young, her father put her on a pony hoping to get her to wear and use her prosthetic arm. This early intervention enabled Meggan, who was born without a right arm, to become fully functional with her prosthesis. She went on to ride competitively throughout her youth.
After learning how horse therapy helped another child — a boy with Down’s Syndrome — Meggan realized how her father had pioneered therapeutic riding with her, years before it was recognized. This inspired her to pursue a career in horse therapy and join Bravehearts Therapeutic Riding Center in Illinois as their President and COO with a mission of “bringing hope, joy and unlimited possibilities through the healing power of the horse.”

How Bonding with Horses Helps Us Heal

In this interview, Dr. Nancy describes how her relationship with horses helped her heal in the last few years and the bond she feels with her horses. Meggan explains that developing a relationship with horses helps people adapt their own behavior to become more productive with other people. She elaborates about how horses pick up on anxiety and become restless. In their Wounded Warriors Program, therapists can use this to quiet a vet’s mind and create awareness of how to relate both to the horse and other people.

Difference between Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding

Meggan describes the difference between hippotherapy and therapeutic riding. Hippotherapy, based on the Greek word for horse, uses a horse to accomplish the goals of a licensed therapist, who may work in a variety of disciplines. The focus is to improve the person’s ability to function in their every day environment. The horse’s multi-dimensional movement helps them strengthen their core and control their body.
Therapeutic riding, in contrast, is done to help achieve competitive goals. Bravehearts hosts the Special Olympics. Equestrian teams with cognitive impairment come from all over to compete in front of large crowds. Meggan says they work hard all year to compete in this venue; they receive medals and are rewarded for their excellence.

Find Out More

Meggan says it takes 130 volunteers every week to run Bravehearts, which is a 501c3 corporation. Check out their website, www.braveheartsriding.org to see the opportunities and more about their programs. And be sure to listen to the wonderful stories about people who benefit from horse therapy in this amazing interview.

Empowered Women Follow Their Dreams

author, teacher and inspirational speaker

Aura Imbarus

The most empowering thought, according to inspiring author, teacher and speaker Aura Imbarus, is to “live like today is your last day.” In her critically acclaimed memoir, Out of the Transylvania Night: A Story of Tyranny, Freedom, Love and Identity, she expresses the desire to squeeze out each and every moment of life and use it to the maximum. “Every day has the potential of a lifetime.”
That philosophy of seeing each moment for its maximum potential propelled Aura from her home in Romania to Los Angeles with no promise of a future career or even daily bread. She simply followed a dream of palm trees and ocean views. Since the closest thing to an ocean in Romania is the Black Sea, she knew she had to leave her country to realize her dream.
In this conversation with Dr. Nancy, Aura shows what it was like growing up in communist Romania where people were suspicious of one another, fearing they were being spied upon and would be reported and imprisoned for thinking contrary to the communist regime. Aura followed a different path.

Choose Happiness Every Day

Aura emphasizes that one can choose to be happy even in the face of a depressing environment. No person or place can create happiness; you must choose it for yourself. So even in gray, depressing Romania, she struggled to rise each day with a smile on her face. She finished school and became a journalist.
In time, communism had been overthrown and she was busy with her career. But her dream of palm trees and sea breezes would not fade. So when she heard of the Green Card Lottery, she entered and won over millions of entries world-wide. With her husband, two suitcases and $400, she flew to Los Angeles to pursue a dream with no promise of success.

Lessons Learned on Her Journey

Out of the Transylvania Night Book CoverDr. Nancy asks Aura what were the most important lessons she learned quickly on moving to LA.

  1. Do not blame anybody. Aura realized that she had to grow up, not blame others and take responsibility for what she was doing right now. In Romania it was easy to blame the government; nearly everyone did. But Aura saw that anything outside of herself was not within her control. It’s up to us to take control of ourselves and choose the way we live each day.
  2.  Do not judge anyone. In Romania, there is very little diversity. Aura was not exposed to different cultures, but in Los Angeles, she found all the cultures of the world. She says that we’re all the same. We don’t mean to harm others, but we all make mistakes because we don’t know better.
  3. Wake up and be happy every day. Forget about yesterday. Don’t ask, “Why was I born there? Why did they do this to me?” She learned that focusing on the past prevented her from appreciating and recognizing the possibilities of today.

Aura’s Pulitzer Nominee Memoir

Aura teaches the lessons she learned to her students in Los Angeles. She is also working on two additional books. Check out her story of survival, Out of the Transylvania Night, which is a Pulitzer nominee for the memoir category. Be sure to listen to this conversation for more stories about Aura’s life in Communist Romania. And watch for her new books about overcoming your fears and the power of intention.


Women Empowerment from Thinking Like a Woman

Journalist, Author, Speaker

Cate Montana

High powered reporter Cate Montana had done it all, from 16 years in network TV to magazine journalism, when she realized that she had been liberated to compete like a man in a man’s world. Her wake-up call happened in an interview with a shaman from a South American tribe.
The shaman explained how men and women work consciously together in his tribe using their unique strengths. Men hunt, fish, cut down trees and provide, but nurturing women do the most important job (and no, it isn’t bearing children). The women tell them when to stop. Without that attribute, the men would level the forests and kill all the game. To balance the aggressive masculine competition, the tribe relies on the complement of feminine traits to sustain it into the future.
“Where are your women and why are they not telling your men to stop?” the shaman asked her. That was when Cate realized that everything we do today–and she had done in her career–is based on the masculine model. Not only did she realize how unsustainable that was, but she also realized that she didn’t know what it was like to behave like a woman.
Cate began a new journey to discover the feminine nature within her and how that empowered her to create better, more fulfilling work. The result is her memoir, Unearthing Venus: My Search for the Woman Within. Its compelling message is larger than the story of Cate’s self-realization; it provides guidance for every hard-hitting woman trying to have a successful career and compete in the corporate world.

Build Confidence By Valuing Female Strengths

Dr. Nancy and Cate discuss how the idea of the perfect woman and the media drive to create her is a masculine construct. Both men and women have been and are being sold a bill of goods that distracts us from our natural inclinations. We all have both masculine and feminine traits, but our culture has turned the masculine aggressiveness toward a quest for power, rather than protection.
Cate likes the Eastern model of thought better. It emphasizes wholeness and how the masculine (yang) tends to be protecting, single path oriented, intellectual, linear and goal-oriented, while the feminine (yin) tends to be nurturing, multi-dimensional, intuitive, other-oriented and accepting. However in today’s world, East and West have adopted the more aggressive model to retain their global influence or become a developed country, get richer and more powerful.  The shaman told Cate that this use of driving masculine nature is taking the whole world over a cliff.

 The Role of Women in Corporate Culture

“Women have 37.6% more managerial positions than men, but we are not enabled to create…what our own heart speaks,” says Cate. Even if a woman is a Vice President, if she talks about concern for the families who will be misplaced by a corporate takeover, she will be discounted as a bleeding-heart woman. The community-oriented, nurturing aspect of feminine qualities is not valued in most C-suites and liberated women leaders have had to adapt to be effective.
However, things are beginning to change. With the ideas of the “triple bottom line” some companies are beginning to adjust their priorities: people first, planet second and profit third. Dr. Nancy adds that it’s a matter of getting connected and supporting one another. With 85% of goods and services being purchased by women in the United States, woman can have a huge impact by working together. Cate seconds that opinion and says that if we buy with our hearts, we can change the world overnight.

More Insights from Cate Montana

To check out Cate’s book, watch an interview, get the free first chapter and more, click here: UnearthingVenus.com.  Find out more about Cate, her work, blog, books and services on her website: www.catemontana.com. And be sure to listen to more of this lively interview full of ideas about how we need to accept masculine and feminine qualities as human nature and what it critical to survive and thrive for generations to come.

Strategies for Personal and Professional Resilience

Martha JohnsonMartha Johnson could write the book on personal resilience and she has. It’s called On My Watch: Leadership, Innovation, and Personal Resilience. It includes more than her personal story of how she bounced back after the onslaught of the Congressional Hearings in April, 2012. It’s about how a creative leader carries out innovative strategies and the lessons she learned about how to lead and motivate employees in such a diverse organization as the GSA.

Personal Resilience Began at a Young Age

Martha credits her mother with teaching her to welcome change and be optimistic about it. Her mother instructed Martha and her sisters and brothers to rearrange their rooms before moving from house to house. It was fun for Martha and a way to exercise creative change. Another point of view that Martha learned from her family was the importance of arming yourself with education. Her mother and both grandmothers had college degrees, while neither of her grandfathers were college educated. Martha herself graduated from Yale School of Management with an MBA.

Other resources also came into play after she “hit the wall.” First came her network of friends, family and associates. Martha stresses that you must create these relationships well in advance of a crisis. Her support fell into three groups:

  1. The first group brought banana bread and sympathy.
  2. The next group was angry and she was comforted by the feeling that they wanted to fight for her.
  3. The third group called and e-mailed with messages of “buck up,” get on with it. It’s Washington.

They all helped her by reminding her who she is: a self-reliant woman with a 35-year career of executive management credentials in world-wide organizations, 2 commissions with the British government, 8 years with the Clinton Administration and 2 years with the Obama Administration.

However, Martha says, when you hit the wall, part of you is missing. That’s when it’s important to take action. She recommends that you try something creative. She says that women are incredibly creative, all of us are. She wrote a novel called, In Our Midst. This creative outlet has left her wanting to write more novels and pursue a larger writing career. To learn more, check out her blog at MarthaJohnson.com.

Other Qualities that Promote Resilience

Martha notes the frequency and severity of the crises that occur today: the weather and the financial crisis for example. In her case, her low point was the two days that Congress literally screamed at her about something she was not directly in control of and really was only vaguely aware of. But as the Administrator of the GSA, she accepted responsibility for the employees’ actions. And in 2012 (an election year) she resigned to limit campaign fall out.

Dr. Nancy points out how women hide their strengths by not tooting their own horn. Martha agrees that we do trip over ourselves and get in our own way. She stresses the importance of being self-aware:

  • To know and take note of how we appear to others
  • How we sound
  • How we dress
  • What kind of impression we make.

Of course, the most important attribute is optimism. Martha says a manager is always optimistic: cheering on and motivating the employees, selling the mission, always recruiting and so on. But she is also personally optimistic and views her 2012 crisis as an opportunity for positive change.

Listen to hear more valuable tips and information in this conversation, like who are the most powerful women and how things are changing to help women make a positive impact the world.


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How to Avoid Being a Victim

Alexis Fabricius founder of Invicta Self-DefenseHave you ever looked at yourself through the eyes of a predator? What does he want? What can make you safe? Alexis Fabricius has done just that and her mission is to empower women by teaching them practical self defense.
She founded Invicta Self-Defense in Toronto, Ontario and volunteers with the Toronto Police Department to help others in her community.
Alexis was trained in various martial arts disciplines and holds a black belt in two of them. Although her strategies are soundly based in technique, her self-defense principles do not rely on strength or fitness. She uses a practical approach for average women based on understanding the psychology of violence and helping women develop the self-confidence to prevent their own victimization.

Is Self-Defense for Women Different than Men?

Unlike men, women fear for their safety almost daily. Men don’t understand why women fear walking in a parking lot at night by themselves. Alexis says that she has felt the fear and anxiety women feel and has developed her program to address those fears.
Dr. Nancy says that women must give themselves permission to defend themselves. We are raised in a culture that says girls should be nice and polite if we want to be liked. We certainly don’t want to be rude and hurt someone’s feelings. We have to break out of our cultural upbringing to say “yes, it’s okay to defend myself.”

Do Most Attacks Come from Someone You Know?

(Only 10% Come from Strangers)
Alexis says that what is wrong with most self-defense courses is that they teach you really good fighting techniques, but when the attacker is a man you’re out on a date with or your next door neighbor, most women won’t use force against them. She teaches women to set their boundaries with clear and concise communication. For example, when you say, “No, I won’t stand for this.” you need to use a firm tone and drop your pitch on the end of your sentence. It is called “breaking rapport.” Alexis says that pitch accounts for 40% of the message whereas words account for only 7%. She compares it to dog training. Say “sit” in a soft voice and the dog ignores you, pitch your voice down and the dog obeys.

What are the Keys for Avoiding Violence?

Dr. Nancy and Alexis give excellent advice for avoiding violent attacks.

  1. Walk confidently with head high and shoulders back. Do not wear the body language of a victim (head down and distracted by texting and other activities while walking).
  2. Be alert and pay attention to your surroundings. Hold your keys in your hand. Know where the exits are and where you are going. Get security to accompany you if available.
  3. Learn about the psychology of violence. Two things need to be present for violence to happen:

Control and vulnerability

Predators are looking for a quick in and out. If you look like you will cause them trouble, they won’t be as likely to choose you for their victim.
Check out Alexis’ website www.invictaselfdefense.com for more information and monitor her blog www.invictaselfdefense.blogspot.com for posts about more self-defense information. Be sure to listen to this conversation and tell all your women friends, daughters and granddaughters to do the same. This could be the most important information you share this year.

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Popularity of 50 Shades of Grey Does NOT Mean Women Want to Be Dominated.

Author of Iron Butterflies, Women Transforming Themselves and The WorldRecent media spin on the popularity of the novel “50 Shades of Grey” suggests that assertive and successful feminists want men to be rough and in charge, (e.g. Newsweek “The Fantasy Life of Working Women: Why Surrender is a Feminist Dream”). Accomplished woman scholar, Dr. Birute Regine disagrees.

She says that the book has all the elements of a good read that women like: It’s hot; it’s sexy; it’s an escape. But she finds what the media is doing in their buzz, suggesting that strong women REALLY want to be dominated in real life, is subversive toward women. The book’s success doesn’t mean women want to be dominated; it means women like sex and have erotic fantasies. Gasp!

Birute agrees that the story is about domination, but she compares it to “The Wizard of Oz,” where a strong dominant character discovers his vulnerability and is transformed as a result. The blogosphere is full of spirited debate about empowerment v. the objectification of women, but the point remains, the fact that women buy erotica, does not spell the failure of feminism.

Dr. Nancy and Birute discuss who defines the media and how women allow media images to define us. There are lots of ideas about how we fought during the Women’s Movement against objectification and how we seem today to be objectifying ourselves.

Besides writing her award winning book, Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World Birute also launched Iron Butterfly Circles. Her goal is to help like-minded women connect and claim their feminine power. This requires rising above narrow media depictions of women’s limited roles and refusing to accept the way various societies throughout the world conspire against women leaders.

Listen to this lively conversation, then check out Birute’s I. B. Circles and her new book, Iron Butterflies Circles Interactive Guidebook for Leading in the New Era of Women to find out more about joining or starting your own circle.


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