2004-10-29 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

An Interview With A New Neighbor: Danielle

DR. nancy gahles
DR. nancy gahles Mentoring or apprenticing, that is, learning an art, craft or trade at the hands of a master craftsman was the way in which most people learned how to make a living. The pursuit of higher education was reserved for the privileged class. The necessity of earning an income was the predominate motivator for the rest of the population.

After World War II, the GI Bill enabled soldiers who had served their country to go to college. To them were born the baby boomers, the new privileged class. Higher education became a given. Now, not only do the majority go to college, postgraduate degrees are becoming the norm. The pendulum has swung. A bit in the other direction, however. We see our children, now young adults, graduates of lofty institutions of higher learning, coming home with no idea of what they want to do with that coveted degree. Many have no idea how to practically apply their “major” to the real world work environment. I hear things like, “If I knew this was what being a lawyer was like, I never would have done it.” Or, “I don’t know what job I’m looking for. My degree is in business because I had to declare a major. I really don’t know what I want to be”.

Recently, our community was graced with the presence of a beautiful woman, making beautiful things for our beloved Rockaway and adding a beautiful storefront to Beach 129 Street.

Danielle McShane learned the art of floral design by apprenticing to a florist at the age of 13. Her mother, noting the artistic talent she displayed in decorating cakes, encouraged her to go to work at a local florist shop. Danielle began by helping clean up the shop. She admired the owner’s good business sense, her talent as a floral designer and her personal values. Danielle began to formulate her plan for personal success under the tutelage of this woman who taught her the art and the business of floral design. “Look for someone that has the best qualities and virtues that you value and make them your own”.

She remembers working hard at her first floral arrangement and being so proud of it only to have her mentor say, “Disgusting! Take it apart!” Danielle was not dismayed by this remark. “I worked hard to create something she would approve of. I admired her. She saw what I had inside and made it come out of me.” “From each person that I worked for, I sorted through everything and took the good things and made my own style.”

Danielle did go to college for two years. She recognized the need for the basics of education and the foundation in interpersonal skills that it afforded her. She also recognized that the hands on training in floral design that she learned from working in the field was a talent that came from within and that had been nurtured through apprenticing. It was not something that she needed to learn from a floral design class. Nor could she. “You either have it or you don’t. You can tell an arrangement that has been copied from a book as opposed to one that has been created for a person using your intuition about the occasion, their needs and their personality.”

Passion and Determination

Her determination and hard work is evidenced by the fact that Danielle owns her own shop at the tender age of 22. “I know what I want. I’m young and I run after it. I work hard until I get there. I find people to look up to and work until I meet that goal. Then I create new ones! The more you prove yourself to people, the more they trust you”. She says, “I am so lucky to be able to make someone happy just by making a flower arrangement for them. It’s my passion and I love everything about it!”

Team Effort

Danielle and her husband, Mike, himself a talented carpenter, work together to realize their dream. You can find him helping in the store or making deliveries. They both recognize the sacrifice of time that starting a new business entails. Danielle says. “Balancing your personal life with a business that consumes every minute is a challenge. I incorporate my husband into it. He will be with me at the wholesaler until 11PM, but when we are home it is US time.” Danielle believes that family is number one and so maintaining her focus is crucial to her plan for the future. She envisions a beautiful family, a business doing well, and a home in Rockaway. “I am going to sacrifice now. When I am 50 I will relax and I will owe it to myself. I knew what I wanted. I set rules and I went after it.”

I asked her husband, Mike, “What makes Danielle a success?” He said, “Her dedication. She loves pleasing people. She goes that extra mile to put a smile on your face.”

I asked Danielle what advice she would give to young people today. She said, “Pick out the person from your family who holds everyone together. Find people to role model for you and take from them the best and integrate that into yourself. Find something that, when you wake up everyday, you just love it, you have a passion for it. And have the strength and courage to be turned down a 100 times.” Wise words from a self-made woman. A rare and beautiful flower!

May The Blessings Be!

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