Want to get your hustle on? The city is the place, mixing with others – not exactly on the same path as you, but all the same trying to be the best at whatever they’re trying to be. If you’re going to make it, the concentration of talent and energy in the city can’t be found anywhere else. You end up with a mash-up of driven, talented people running around bumping into each other, talking and forming new ideas from the perspectives they gain from people in other fields.

Lindsey Lusignolo

Cincinnati native Lindsey Lusignolo has been making waves in the local fashion scene lately and is poised to hit the big time this summer.

Ms. Lusignolo is looking to open a showroom on Main Street in OTR soon, where clients can come in and browse her designs. Ms. Lusignolo will design gowns and cocktail dresses for clients.

Fashions by Lindsey Lusignolo (photo: Mandira Jacob Photography)

Interestingly, Lusignolo’s design career began not as a designer, but in acting – attending the SCPA for drama. In her first show as a performer, she hated the costumes and knew she could do better. For the next show, Lusignolo designed all the costumes. That lead her to DAAP, the award-winning design school at the University of Cincinnati. The fashion school at DAAP fosters “intellectual curiosity” and has been described as a “boot camp” with a focus on real world applications.

After graduating and heading to New York to work as a designer for Aeropostale, Ms. Lusignolo discovered Monique Lhuillier. Lhuillier, considered the west coast’s Vera Wang, couldn’t find a wedding dress she loved so she designed one for herself as well as the dresses for her wedding party. Realizing she wasn’t cut out for corporate design, Ms. Lusignolo came back to Cincinnati with her new found passion for gowns and decided to strike out on her own forming Lindsey Lusignolo Designs.

Ms. Lusignolo credits her success to her faith in the Creator, to last year’s fashion week (which put her on the fashion map) and to Cincinnati socialite Tracy Conrad – who wore one of Ms. Lusignolo’s gowns to an opera after-party, and brought attention to her brand. Credit also goes to her large Italian family who are very supportive of her career. She’s also been recieving training and advice from Bad Girl Ventures on operating a small business.

As for being single, Lusignolo says today people have a different value system; they don’t measure their worth on whether they are in a relationship. People are focused on a successful career first. Lusignolo had this to say about Valentine’s Day: “I’m still a romantic at heart, I love poems and teddy bears. All women are still a princess at heart.”

Learn more about Lusignolo in this month’s “Single and Successful” feature story and click here to view her “Single and Successful” photo slideshow.

Micah Paldino

If you’ve been to an event in OTR, chances are Micah Paldino of PB&J Public  Relations, Branding & Jabber has had a hand in it. From Light Up OTR to Bockfest to Fashion Week, PB&J helps make it happen.

Micah Paldino (photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography)

Asked about PB&J (because it brings up thoughts of peanut butter and jelly) Mr. Paldino smiled and agreed “we were trying to have fun  with the name, and after throwing stuff out there it just seemed the most fun.” Fun seems to be the theme with Paldino; he takes on clients with missions he is passionate about, mostly clients based in and around OTR. “All the energy is down here (downtown/OTR)” Paldino exclaims. “I couldn’t work anywhere else.”

Years ago, while waiting tables, Paldino happened to be taking a woman’s order when he complimented the designer coat she was wearing. Surprised he was familiar with the designer, she asked him what he really wanted to do in life. She told him no – you want to be a publicist. The woman took Paldino under her wing and showed him the ropes as a publicist in New York. Eventually he came back to Cincinnati to open his own company.

Looking to the future, Paldino is working to establish Orchard Investments – giving angel investments to small businesses, which he sees as a natural progression from PR. He can help finance and also get the message out about the new businesses he is helping. He doesn’t want to grow too big, though; he wants to stay a boutique firm. He feels he has an advantage over large firms dotting downtown and believes there are numerous opportunities for a smaller firm like his.

Now that Mr. Paldino is doing what he loves he said he finds he’s not so serious anymore and wants to have fun with everything, including relationships.

Katie Clavey

Looking for things to do in Cincinnati? Its impossible to avoid seeing Katie Clavey’s influence on what gets promoted locally. Ms. Clavey graduated from University of Dayton with a degree in Communications (with concentrations in Communication Management, Electronic Media, Marketing and Psychology). This laid the foundation for her as a pioneer in her current position before it even existed. Clavey is the face of Metromix (on Cincinnati.com) but she’s “not just a pretty face.” She is the ambassador and the media driver for what is promoted on Metromix both online and in print. The Metromix calendar feeds all Enquirer media products which gives her a far reach on what events get seen.

Ms. Clavey attributes her success to her many travels and the people she has met along the way. A native Chicagoan, she followed a boyfriend to Dayton to attend the University of Dayton. From there she travelled to and lived in Hawaii for awhile before returning to Cincinnati.

Her influences are people who love Cincinnati and inspire her to want to work smarter; people such as Amy Scalia at Cincy Chic and Sean Herron, a talented local promoter. Like anyone else working in print media, she worries where the industry is headed – but she sees herself making the jump to TV within the next five years. Keep an eye out for Late Night with Clavey.

Regarding the single life, Clavey worries people are afraid of the “personality” and don’t know she’s approachable. In all her travels and adventures she feels she’s really gotten to know herself and knows when relationships feel real. She thinks meeting people is fate and shouldn’t be forced, and is still a romantic at heart and a fan of valentines Day. You can find Katie on Twitter and Facebook.

Sharen Sierra

A world traveler and originally from Cincinnati, Sharen Sierra has lived in Belgium, Canada, Aspen, Colorado and most recently Phoenix, Arizona. Now she’s back.

Sharen Sierra (photo: provided)

Starting out as a TV reporter, Sierra wasn’t feeling fulfilled and transformed into a self-described “Lifestylist Coach.” In her professional life, Sierra assists clients with how to “feng shui” their home, what clothes to wear and image building. She also helps clients “stage” themselves in areas including speed dating. When it comes to her coaching, Sierra believes the effort you put in determines the quality of the results. In addition to all of that, Sierra is CEO, president and creative director of LadyBug Productions and Entertainment; writer/editor of “Scared Single…but not afraid” – a blog about living single  – and is in the process of writing a book called Scared Single, which Ms. Sierra is certainly not. She has no regrets about the life has has chosen to live.

Ms Sierra gives credit to God and her family for her success; her family forms the nucleus of supportive people in her life. She sets goals and takes baby steps, saying “define your success and live for it.” The lifestyle she wanted to live and the things she wanted to do, like travelling for professional and social opportunities, didn’t allow for relationships and a family.

I asked Sharen about this quote from Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University: “Getting married is a way to show family and friends that you have a successful personal life, It’s like the ultimate merit badge.” Ms Sierra replied, “A merit badge to happiness cannot be found in a status that you check off in a questionnaire.”

Summing It All Up

The striking connection between all of these people is how fearless they are in life. Thinking they knew what their path was, they were open to change when a new, more interesting opportunity appeared. They weren’t afraid to tackle the new challenge. It’s about trying to twist the world around to fit their vision for it.

Another surprise was how romantic they all were about Valentine’s Day. It’s so easy to be cynical when you’re single; could this glowing view of Valentine’s Day be part of the “never say die” attitude they each have toward life? Could be!