Karen Shayne, CEO/Publisher
Born in the mountains of Northeast Georgia, Karen spent her early years living a simple life on a small farm, enjoying the life of family, Sunday dinners around the table and sipping sweet tea on her “Mama Spivey’s” front porch.
For most of her career, she spent her life in healthcare, but after a diagnosis of cancer, she reinvented herself and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. She then began work in production by creating award-winning healthcare segments for Nashville based CBS and NBC. Karen also featured in HuffPost, AOL/Yahoo, People Magazine, Nashville Business Journal, Hope For Women Magazine The Doctors Channel, Healthline, and ABC Chicago. For a while, I also hosted a radio show on Salem Media Network.
In 2012, Karen created the Women Survivors Alliance, a 501c3 non-profit with the purpose of establishing a network where women affected by cancer can find their voice, improve their quality of life, and embrace their journey. That mission led her to publish a magazine for purpose of outreach to the survivors as well as finding incredible and inspiring stories. Now, Karen travels around the world to share those stories that inspire and motivate through not only Unconditionally Her, but also her passion project called UNTOLD. UNTOLD is a global storytelling movement that consists of a film series, blog, podcast and live show. She, as well as her Canadian sidekick, Lorna Dancey, showcase jaw-dropping stories from around the world.
Unconditionally Her is Karen’s legacy. Karen has always believed every woman should live their best life, always celebrating who they are – unconditionally. It is her hope the magazine shares not only amazing articles, beautiful stories, helpful articles and recipes right from the heart of her southern kitchen, but will also inspire change in everyone’s corner of the world.
Karen has been honored by the Ovarcome Foundation for national awareness of cancer issues among women. In 2014, Karen was honored in Washington DC by American Association of Cancer Research and featured in National Cancer Research Progress Report. In 2012, she served as American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network – Tennessee State Lead Representative Congressional District along with serving as Tennessee Cancer Coalition Survivorship Committee Chairperson. Karen was named 2011’s Health Care Hero by the Nashville Business Journal. She is also a member of the class 2011 of Leadership Middle Tennessee. Karen received the International Best of the Best Award by the Assisted Living Federation of America for her “On Modern Age” television show. Karen was the 2008 Nashville Business Journal Williamson County Impact Award winner; a 2009 Lifetime Television and L’Oreal Cosmetics “Women of Worth” nominee, and the recipient of the 2003 Small Business Council of America’s “Humanitarian of the Year” Award. In 2001, Georgia State Senate honored her with her own Resolution for her efforts with cancer advocacy and research.
Cindy serves as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her. Through her many years as a masters-level certified health educator and 18-year employment in a higher education setting – as well as several years as a graduate and doctoral student – she has written countless articles, essays, publications, grant applications, proposals, reports, and other technical and creative writing documents. In addition to her training and professional work experience, she spent four years as volunteer editor of New Focus Daily, a publication of the Women Survivors Alliance, a national women cancer survivors-focused organization based in Nashville, Tennessee.
While serving as editor of Unconditionally Her, a women-focused magazine which provides content on anything from recipes, travel, books, and everything in between, she has a special interest in fitness, health, and well-being. She is certified by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) and was part of the first cohort to receive master’s level designation. NCHEC certifies health education specialists, promotes professional development, and strengthens professional preparation and practice. She is proud to be a CHES® and has been a public health professional for many years after receiving her graduate degree in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for many years and looks forward to re-engaging with women one-on-one as a health coach pending completion of her certification and doctoral degree to supplement her public health and academic work.
She currently is the Associate Director for Community Programs for the Center for Health and Human Services at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, located just outside of Nashville, where she has been a project director of multiple grants since 2002 and served as interim director from 2015-2018. Cindy offers her consulting services and volunteer hours under the umbrella of Community Health Collaboratives, LLC which she founded in 2002 for organizations such as Unconditionally Her and other non-profit and charity organizations. She is pleased to promote empowerment and confidence of women readers across the globe, and to provide inspiration, motivation, and voice for social change through her role as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her.
Lorna Dancey is a Métis photographer, writer and storyteller from Edmonton, Alberta Canada. Her work is poignant and the compelling projects she creates are visionary and compassion-based. Lorna invests herself deeply and sees beauty in others when they do not have the ability to recognize it within themselves. She is an artist who is determined to bring our communities together for a kinder and gentler place to be.
Lorna’s work spans, supports and celebrates many diversities: cancer survivors, mothers, homelessness, mental health, domestic violence, burn survivors, LGBTQ, and post-traumatic stress disorder, only to name a few. Her photos are powerful—intimately reflecting and expressing each person’s story. The plight of others and determination to help each, and every person through her lens and storytelling lays the foundation for her work. Her work doesn’t stop here—she engages with local social service agencies and helping organizations with the intent of building a powerful community to inspire ripples of change.
With each initiative she creates, she works tirelessly advocating for the rights of others by sitting down with people and listening. She then begins her process on behalf of each person and writes out their story and takes a photo to represent their story giving their silenced voice a platform to be heard. These lived experiences that we all can resonate with in one way or another, not only raises awareness, but they build a bridge and invites a sense of unity among our communities to inspire hope and healing.
Lorna has created many exhibits, including the powerful “State of Mind” project intended to raise awareness for mental health. The exhibit ignites conversations, challenges stigma, and inspires compassion and change.
She created a freestanding inter-changeable photography and storytelling exhibit as part of her “State of Mind” initiative. The exhibit consists of five, 7’(height) x 2’ (width) cubed towers. Each tower is dedicated to eight powerful photos and stories. These are very personal stories about living with: depression, anxiety, addiction, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, domestic violence, homelessness, self-harm, grief, schizophrenia, and so on.
Lorna also spearheaded a project called “Skin Deep’ to help women with breast cancer see their own beauty. She not only invited 9 women to participate in a Calgary and Edmonton photoshoot, but created a full-day experience — empowering them to feel beautiful amongst the hardships of having to endure breast cancer. She created a community of powerful women survivors who developed a camaraderie with one another and set the stage for lifetime friendships.
The work she does isn’t just about storytelling and photos. It’s about giving hope, helping others see beyond the limitations they may believe about themselves and creating a domino effect for positive change. These positive effects ripple out to families, friends, and ultimately the whole community by creating harmony and mutual compassion.