ENTREPENEUR SPOTLIGHT as reported by Eric Gross, Poughkeepsie Journal
JUNE 30, 2018 – There’s no sign of the holiday season in my home, much like yours, I’m sure. But when I sat with this local couple last week, it was immediately apparent that they carry the message of the holiday season in their hearts all year long.
Catherine and Mario Scalisi are longtime residents of our local area, residing in Clintondale, NY for 20 plus years. Mario comes from a corporate background while his wife, Catherine, is a former court reporter. I had made several prior attempts to sit down with the Scalisis, but each time I contacted them they were off on some adventure. I called them last month to see if luck would be on my side with this attempt for a meeting. As it turned out, they were away spending some much deserved leisure time on Oak Island, NC. We agreed I’d call them over the summer and see what we might be able to work out. The Universe had a different plan, however. Shortly after our call, I was given a remote assignment in South Carolina and was able to make plans with the Scalisis to meet up with them on Oak Island on my return. Perfect! On the morning of our appointment, I called to confirm and Catherine asked if it would be okay for us to do the interview oceanside. It was a gorgeous day and Catherine did not want waste a moment of it indoors. At the appointed time, I arrived where Catherine had directed me, and I must say: it was truly breathtaking. The sky was a vivid blue without any clouds at all, and the water reflected that beautiful blue hue. The ocean wasn’t rough, but it had waves enough so that we could hear them gently breaking while we chatted. The beach chairs were out under the perfectly positioned umbrella, and I couldn’t help but notice a cooler which I would soon find out had much to offer in the way of libations and foods. Food and drinks on a beautiful white sand beach with crystal clear waters and a very interesting couple. Wish all of my assignments were this perfect. Time flew by as they shared stories of their life, their passion and their mission.
When asked about their “previous life” and occupation, Catherine shared that one of the biggest regrets she has in choosing court reporting as her profession is the fact that, “I always felt like a parasite, meaning that the only way I was employed was because of hardships and tragedies people were facing. Nobody enjoys being on either side of a lawsuit. I found my work to be exhausting, both physically and mentally. Besides, it put me on the ‘taker side’ of the giver/taker equation. Ever since I was a little girl, my passion has always been to help others. I was always rescuing stray animals, and I have always been drawn to the less fortunate. Whatever I could do to help, I simply did. Things became more complicated as I grew older and married and had children of my own. My focus, of course, was on them and tending to their needs, but I always had my heart strings pulled when I came upon someone that I could help. Twenty plus years ago I set out on a mission to help as many people as I could obtain financial security, but a few years back I was faced with a life threatening illness. With the grace of God, I overcame my illness and went on to declare a new mission: I would create true health for myself and help as many people as I could to do the same in their life. After all, without our health – what is there?” I must admit Catherine is a vision of health. She looks amazing. She is toned and fit and incredibly active in all areas of her life. Mario shares the fact that Catherine never stops learning. He tells me earlier this year she became a Certified Naturopathic Health Coach to further her mission of helping others attain optimal health.
It was obvious to me that Scalisis had found the perfect blend of being able to help others while helping themselves and were committed to creating true health and prosperity through the same channel, but I couldn’t help but wonder what the rest of their life might look like. How do people like this live in the day to day world, which quite frankly, we all know can be not so kind hearted. I remembered Catherine had told me she was a former court reporter and Mario had worked in the corporate world. Looking at this couple in front of me, it was difficult for me to picture them in those roles. They were both rather laid back, open hearted and were willing to show me signs of vulnerability – certainly not the characteristics of anyone fulfilling their prior roles in the work force. Curious about their obvious transition, I brought Catherine back to the discussion of their prior occupations. What I found out next made perfect sense to me as to how and why these two “showed up in life” they way they do.
I am very quick to learn that Catherine is quite uncomfortable talking about herself in any way that might be perceived as bragging. In fact, Mario had interjected quite a few times already at points in the conversation when he felt she was being a bit too humble. You see, aside from their profitable real estate investments, the Scalisis are very well known in their local area, as well as across the country, due to their very successful career with a network marketing company, Shop.com Mario and Catherine have found their success by doing what they love to do: help other people. Mario tells me, “Simply by helping enough other people get what they want, we’ve been able to get what we want. It’s simply a win/win, and an ingenious system.” Mario continues to tell me that he and Catherine had been chosen as Certified Trainer of the Year for their company, and almost jokingly says, “I’ve got to tell you that, because Catherine never would. She feels like it’s bragging.” Their eyes meet, she smiles softly and looks down at the floor. My take is he’s probably spot on!
I ask them both what is the greatest gift their success in their business has brought them, and simultaneously they reply “Time Freedom”. Although I know the meaning of the term, I ask them what exactly does that mean to them. Catherine answers, and again, there’s a continuation of heartfelt connection and passion when she begins to talk:
“Family is our number one priority – always has been, always will be. Time freedom for us means that we are always there for our kids and grandchildren, just like we were always there for our parents when they needed us. Up until a few months ago, we still had Mario’s dad who passed at 98 years old, and Mario was able to help tend to his needs and make certain he was well taken care of. We’re able to spend time building incredible memories with our kids and grandkids, and we travel wherever we want whenever we want. We make our own schedule and live our life our way on our terms! Our wallet does not dictate our choices. We’re able to go places and do things with our grandchildren that they’ll always remember long after we’re gone. We spend our summers making incredible memories with family whether its being away in Cooperstown, kayaking, fishing, biking, horseback riding or just relaxing on our pontoon boat listening to the laughter and giggles of the kids. We know kids spell love T.I.M.E. and we make certain we spend as much time as possible with them when we’re not traveling. We have a life filled with love, gratitude, and adventure.”
With that, Catherine’s cell phone rang. She excuses herself and says she must take the call as it’s one of her children calling and she always takes their calls – always. As she finishes up her phone conversation, she turns to me breaking into a beautiful smile and informs me that they must be going as their daughter and her family will be arriving shortly from New York.
I shook Mario’s hand, and turned to Catherine to do the same but she was quick to give me a hug. As I said good-bye, I wished them luck in their future endeavors. As I drove away, I realized it was silly of me to have wished them luck. Luck had no place in their life. This couple was a living example of give more, get more. From my brief encounter with them, it was clear to me they would continue to give – it’s just who they are and how they roll!!