I’d love to introduce you to a friend of mine, Shannon de Laat. We met about two years ago and I’ve had the pleasure of watching her create a community that I personally am so proud to be a part of through the PR Net. Throughout her career there has been an underlying desire to apply her talents and expertise to impact positive change, and it is with this spirit that Shannon moves to realize a venture that brings together her skills to change the world and help others do the same.

Shannon is the founder of The Virtue Project - building targeted strategies for organizations and cause-related brands. Read all about The Virtue Project below and I hope you can share this information with others. It really does take a village!

Janet Gunn + Shannon de Laat
Janet Gunn + Shannon de Laat

Tell us what The Virtue Project is / does?

After 17 years working in consumer marketing, I made the huge leap to shift my professional focus to reflect what I feel in my heart and to embody my personal values. In short, my mission with The Virtue Project is simple: to lend strategic expertise in order to help non-profits and cause-oriented brands translate their mission-driven messages into compelling stories that will inspire and engage key audiences. In today’s digitally saturated environment, it is more important than ever to create a story — the bridge between the data and people’s hearts, to inspire action and build a movement for change.

You can think of us as sort of a social good-focused version of a McKinsey Consultant. We take an overarching look at a brand or organization’s mission and develop the strategy that is best going to engage audiences with that mission, in a profound and resonant way.

Janet Gunn + Shannon de Laat

This is a huge leap, indeed!
What brought you to make this decision?

For me, it is personal. I’ve had a strong sense of duty instilled in me from a very young age. Our family home was always a revolving door to hosting children from the Friends of Chernobyl charity, to the Fresh Air Fund and many more. It is in my DNA to share the responsibility, to see a need and respond. I think perhaps I was destined for this work, it just took me a little while to figure out how to bring it to life.

Janet Gunn + Shannon de Laat

What would you say has been a key to the success of making this happen?

Community! As you know, having a strong tribe of empowering and highly-engaged individuals that surround you is invaluable. I’ve managed to align with some incredible experts and talented social entrepreneurs who believe in what I’m doing and embrace our efforts. I like this quote from Seth Godin: “It is so much easier to aim for the smallest possible audience, not the largest, to build long-term value amongst a trusted, delighted tribe, to create work that matters and stands the test of time.”

Here with Aaniyah - a young foster youth she mentors through the   Alliance of Moms.

Here with Aaniyah - a young foster youth she mentors through the Alliance of Moms.

To learn more →
Follow them on Instagram → @thevirtueproject

Vir~tue (noun):
 behavior showing high moral standards, the general quality of being morally good.

Thank you Shannon! The world is a better place thanks to humans (spiritual beings) like you. Hugo will be so proud of his mama and the change she’s created for others.

Thank you for reading!




This week I wanted to introduce you to my friend and fellow blogger Michelle Gillette. Michelle is passionate about achieving optimal brain health and I wanted to share her recent blog post about Kirtan Kriya with you all!



A well researched 12-minute yogic singing meditation called Kirtan Kriya can have enormously positive health and wellness results:

What studies in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation (ARPF) have found is that this simple 12-minute meditation can have profound benefits for one’s overall health, brain, memory, mood, energy, genes, cells, immune system, sleep, and psychological and spiritual well-being.

Benefits reported include:

  • better blood flow to the brain

  • decrease in depression

  • inflammation decrease

  • decrease in memory loss

  • increase in healthy genes

  • increase in telomerase!


Practiced over an eight week period, improvements on cognitive performance on memory testing improved and changes were detected on the cellular level.  A groundbreaking study at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior’s Longevity Center researched the practice. Their evidence showed that telomerase was increased! Those are enzymes linked to structures at the ends of our chromosomes, which affect how our cells age. In fact, telomerase was increased by 43 percent, the largest increase ever recorded. (Telomeres are protective “caps” on the tips of eukaryotic chromosomes. Telomerase can extend telomeres, which is positive since longer telomeres are associated with longevity where as shorter telomeres are associated with diseases/aging.)

What is Kirtan Kriya?

It is a multi-sensory yogic singing exercise with mudras (hand gestures) reported to enhance brain and mental health, increase longevity, and keep the mind sharp, help people live longer and better and it can help alleviate some chronic illnesses – potentially expanding not just lifespan but healthspan.

If any of you are like me, and you still struggle with mindfulness practices that aim for stillness and an attempt at clearing the mind… this may be a well-suited alternative to try.

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation has conducted research and discovered health and longevity benefits in conjunction with some of the leading medical schools in America including the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA and University of California-San Francisco, where Dr. Khalsa, medical director of ARPF, did his anesthesiology residency.

From the ARPF Website:

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The Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation has assembled this information on the Kirtan Kriya singing exercise for medical professionals, the public, caregivers, the media, and anyone interested in improving their brain function and improving memory loss.

Kirtan Kriya exercise utilizes the primal sounds – and is meant to be practiced for greater attention, concentration, focus, improved short term memory, and better mood. The primal sounds consist of:

  • Saa Taa Naa Maa

  • The sounds are chanted repeatedly and in order (i.e., Saa Taa Naa Maa). They come from the mantra ‘Sat Nam’, which means ‘my true essence’.


An explanation from Dr. Helen Levretsky from the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior- UCLA Longevity Center:

Here is an animated YouTube Video Michelle plays on her phone to utilize as a guide to cue her through the multisensory yogic exercise/meditation:

Michelle helps clients reboot and invigorate their lives! She does this by guiding them as they gain clarity on what they truly want in their careers, relationships, lives; by coaching them as they create actionable plans to achieve their goals; and by supporting them as they create sustainable habits that lead to more meaningful, purpose-driven, healthier life! Learn more about her and her coaching on her website HERE!

Over the past few years of knowing Michelle she has become a reliable source for health questions especially when it comes to topics about our brains. She’s hungry for information, she does her research and we love it when she shares it all with us! I hope you will take a minute to go to her website, sign up for her newsletter and stay connected to her and with us. We believe in women helping women, helping others and staying connected and informed leads to a better you and that leads to a better us. Thank you Michelle for your passion and your friendship.

To you and your family I’d like to say Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you always. I am extremely grateful to you for following me and for your continued support as a blogger. Let’s keep growing together!

“Wake Up Look Up Get Grateful”

xo Janet