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By Wendy Weinstein

It’s Who You Know

by | Apr 5, 2022 | GZ Salon News

I’m so fortunate to have met so many of the coolest, smartest, fun-loving, adventurous, courageous, open-minded, and influential people throughout my career. It’s a job that I love and the people who have been in my life for these past 40 years mean so much to me and my Ground Zero family. Besides supporting my livelihood, which allows me to live in a sweet little house in the woods and drive a nice truck, my clients give me the opportunity to travel all over the world, gain new perspectives, and become involved in so many charitable organizations and events. In business, you have to have your allies, the people that pick you up and guide you throughout your career. My clients became friends and those friends became friends with each other, and we’ve all helped and supported each other for decades.

And over the years I have asked my friends to be a part of my work to help the community. They show up, donating their money and time, bending over backwards to support me, and take part in the universal bonding of being a good human. I want to shout out just some of the people who have been real pillars of support and inspiration over the past 35 years.

I have to start with my good friend Ronnie Polaneczky. She wrote the first story about Ground Zero for Philadelphia Magazine and went on to write many other articles about all the organizations I was involved with. She has integrity and a huge heart and is an excellent journalist — if the story was a good one, she would write about it. She shared with the Philadelphia community all the things that Ground Zero was doing to help: she wrote about the mission of City of Hope, one of the nation’s leading cancer research and treatment hospitals, shedding light on events like Hope Cuts and Hike for Hope. This helped Harry Giordano and the members of the Ailene Scott Artists For Hope (named after my Aunt Ailene) raise over a million dollars for cancer victims. She wrote about all three of our Black and White Balls, the Ronald McDonald Camp day spa, and even my weight loss challenge. She even connected us with other journalists when she felt she couldn’t write a piece so we could still get the story out. You can’t find a more empathetic human being than Ronnie and because of her, I’ve been featured in The Inquirer and Daily News many times. Because of that, my efforts to help the community were recognized by a wider audience. She is one to know.

Then there was Harry Giordano. He was the director of the Philadelphia Branch of City of Hope. He unexpectedly passed away last year and it’s taken me a long time to get my thoughts together to share. I’m still mourning the loss of that beautiful soul. He’ll get a special blog about everything he has done for the community and me. The anniversary of his passing is in April so I’ll hold Harry’s story until then. Let’s just say this — he was one to know.

My parents(and Bev) and my brother and his kids — who many of you know well —have been there since the beginning. My cousin Art has been there too — he does my taxes and whenever I need anything else, he knows some people that know some people that know some people and so on.

My current business partner Erin who has helped me through some crazy times over the past ten years. She’s the Scorpio to my Pisces. Meg and Monika, Tobi and Kathleen who make coming to work a joy not a job.

My doctor Chris who took care of me when I had cancer, advising me on which specialists to see and giving me the strength to heal …And Barb my friend and client who I met during my chemo days and has helped me recently take charge of my health by getting me impossible appointments and giving me the downlow on the months to come.

My lawyer Roy, who always advises me well and comes in to see me for monthly cuts and awesome talks. Always good to know a good lawyer.

My friend Patty “from the bank,” as she’s known at the salon. Thirty-five years of banking with First Trust, and she has come through for me time and time again. She helped me get the loan to buy my first business in Powelton Village, and she did the same for the Mt. Airy location I’m in now. She also vouched for me when a former bookkeeper took my identity and almost ran my business into the ground. Patty is always there for me. Always good to know the VP of your bank.

My friend Deb who started out as a client and who let me move into her house when I moved back to Philly, who would later become the first woman Water Commissioner of Philadelphia. When we needed some sink holes repaired, she was on it with one phone call. She has a heart of gold and just recently told me she would help me with my 35th anniversary fundraiser this summer. I’m glad I know her.

My friends Krista and Reid who have helped me more than they will ever know. They have been huge supporters of every event I have had. They were the first people I called when I got sick. They treat me like I am family and they always take care of their family.

My cousin Debbie, who I go to for everything. She’s an executive coach and she should be getting a medal for keeping me in line. Good one to know in times of trouble and reflection.

And the last one I must mention is my friend-client Kathy Lentini, who passed away suddenly on March 4th. She worked as a top executive for PECO and always made sure to display our charitable events (like the Black and White Ball for Penn’s Shelter Program and Jefferson Hospital’s Breast Cancer Center) on the PECO building in bright lights. She helped set up events with her husband Dan, cleaned up afterwards, and was always there to calm me down when things got a little nuts. She helped me with life casualties while she sat in my chair. Once she even called in from a cruise vacation to tell us we shouldn’t pay an outrageous PECO bill that we received as part of a scam. Now that was good to know.

She was pushing me to start organizing the Get Mt. Airy Lit party which is being held in July. She texted me two weeks ago to tell me the clock was ticking, and that we need to set up a committee meeting ASAP. She loved the idea of bringing the community together in the name of neighborhood safety and beautification. She was already working hard on my behalf, recruiting her contacts, and setting meetings up. She instilled faith in us that we could pull it off and was ready to rock the event with every ounce of the do-good-for-humanity attitude she always brought with her. She was a beautiful human being, and never once did she make you feel like you were taking advantage of her professionalism or good nature. She was wise beyond her years on this earth. Although the thought of planning the event without her is upsetting, I’ll sit proudly in the seat she would’ve occupied at the first committee meeting for Get Mt. Airy Lit. I’m hoping she will guide me from above as she always guided me here on earth. It is only fitting that I make this event in her honor, for her light will shine on forever. She was a really good one to know and I will miss her positive energy and inspiring attitude.

And all my wonderful friends who are spiritual and creative and intellectual and resourceful and have unconditional love for me and what I do. I’m fortunate to have too many to mention individually, but if you’re reading this, you’re included. Good peeps. Good to know.

I’ve always heard the expression it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I can definitely say that the people in my community, my family, and my social circles have all played unique and essential roles in my career and life. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by so many good people to know.

P.S. It’s always good to know really talented Graphic Designers and Web Designers. They are the ones that get who you are, evolve the brand over years and can keep your business relevant. I’m lucky enough to have Tony Alex and Shey designing logos, banners, websites and anything I may need for Ground Zero Salons many endeavors.

P.S.S. It’s also good to know a really good editor. Mine is my niece Zoe who always makes my words sound better.