Victoria’s Secrets: Sharing words of wisdom

Words are powerful things and I was moved by them at a dear friend’s funeral, then at the opening of the Southampton African American Museum and then reading from special books. 

Last week, old friend John “Senior” Koufakis, a true Horatio Alger success story, left us at 94. His brilliant son Michael shared his father’s lifelong guide to success at his funeral. They are worth repeating:

  • Live within your means
  • Do your best
  • Hard work pays off
  • Keep your word
  • Don’t steal
  • Don’t waste money
  • Be selfless
  • Fight for what you believe in
  • Have fun
  • Reach for the stars
  • Have faith and miracles can happen

His life lessons are a roadmap for all our lives!

I was delighted to meet Natalie S. Walker at the opening of the Southampton African American Museum. I was very moved as she recited her powerful poem, which you can read below.

Natalie Walker

As a Woman I have the Power

As a woman I have the power

The power to feel compassion for

those who would never acknowledge my plea 

The power to grieve & pray for

even the ones who wish to destroy me


The power of an unending affection

for my race and distinctively for my family

The power of a pure love

that can build our people’s unity


The power that can endure

and surpass all you can conceive

The power to deny restraints

that I won’t let keep me from what I’m meant to be 


The power that can rise to

overcome any type of adversity

The power with the knack to

make real what was once just a fantasy


As a Woman I have the Power

The power of an acute intuition

that can anticipate a mysterious sentiment

The power of a keen insight

that can transpose your true intent


I have the power to exhibit a profound poise

that pushes away any insecurity

The power that makes you overlook my surface allure

and makes you focus on my inner most beauty


I have the God given power to handle 

all the enemy can contrive

The power to devise a plan

that will continue to elevate my stride


The power to be a vehicle for the unborn

and to be the proverbs 31 virtuous wife

because I have the power to reach towards

God’s full purpose for my life

As a Woman, I have the Power



Summer has always been a time to catch up on my reading. Even though my work keeps me busy, I cherish my “play” time, which is reading by the ocean.

Here are some books I want to share with you.

A new person in my life, Bernard Bushell, a retired public relations man but also a philosopher, shared his book, “The Formula: How I Found It and What It Can Do For You.” He hopes it influences people to “lower our soaring divorce rate and remedy the damage it causes to relationships, families and children.”

Bernie includes some of his favorite sayings that I love and find to be marvels of truth. Here are a few wise words:

Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Werner Erhard: “Do not dwell on the past — live in the moment of now.”

Joseph Campbell: “Follow your bliss.”

Many other words of wisdom follow. You can give the book a read to learn more!

Later in the week, I ventured to Southold to meet the builder, entrepreneur and philanthropist Jonathan Tibett.

I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Taste of the North Fork dinner in Riverhead. He is the proud owner of the East End’s greatest restaurants: North Fork Table & Inn, a farm-to-table restaurant and inn with Michelen-starred Chef John Fraser as his partner.

As a Westhampton resident and cheerleader of the spectacularly changing Riverhead, I was delighted when Jon said he would give me a tour of Southold, the town he cherishes and is working hard to develop.

Remarkably, his best friend Joseph Petrocelli is devoting himself to Riverhead’s development, just as Jon Tibett is to Southold.

We began at his latest development The Shoals, a stunning hotel, convention center and marina that is set on the shore overlooking the harbor. It is close to completion.

I loved walking on the thick, luscious grass lawn outside the reception center. John shared with me that he “loves kicking off my shoes at the end of a day and walking in the grass. I want my clients to feel that this getaway is created for that feeling.”

It’s an impressive, well-thought out destination! I hope to visit when it opens in August.

Jon Tibett with his son Krystian in front of one of the many pieces of art found all over his properties.

From there, we drove to his Southold General store, which boasts an outdoor dining square featuring a bust of Albert Einstein in the center. One may wonder why, but Jon is a student of history and respects it. 

He bought the property that had, for decades, been the Rothman Department Store. The proprietor David Rothman had remarkably developed a friendship with Albert Einstein in 1939 when the great man spent a summer in Southold.

Einstein came into the store looking for a pair of sandals. But the only sandals left were a pair of women’s size 11. He bought them anyway! He struck up a conversation with David, marking the beginning of an intimate friendship.

When I visited, sitting in the square was David Rothman’s grandson Ron, who I asked to pose with Jon just like his grandfather in the portrait that had been commissioned by Jon. Ron gave me a copy of the book he wrote, “My Grandfather and Albert Einstein.”

Ron and Jon posing as in the painting.
Einstein Square

Ironically my beloved friend Dan Rattiner also wrote about that famous summer in his book “Albert Einstein’s Summer Vacation.” It is a wonderful short story about this unique time in Southold’s history and the untold story of the two great men meeting and bonding.

Both books are great reads.

If you want to become more successful, read Leesa Rowland’s “The Charisma Factor: Unlock the Secrets of Magnetic Charm and Personal Influence in Your Life.” It’s chock-full of ideas that “unlock the secrets of magnetic charm and its influence in your life.” 

To learn her secrets, take time to read her insightful book!