Tag Archives: Kentucky

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Money Matters | Episode 5: College Prep 101

Are your (parents) prepared to send your child away to college?  Not so much mentally, but are you fully prepared legally and have you prepared your child financially?
Money Matters: The Podcast is sponsored by Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.  This monthly podcast is in addition to a monthly article titled, “Money Matters,” that is posted online at www.ExtolMag.com and www.axiomfsg.com.
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At Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors we sincerely appreciate our clients making opportunities like this possible. Without their support of our business, we would not be able to support programs like this.
Axiom Financial Strategies Group
of Wells Fargo Advisors
101 W Spring Street, Fifth Floor
New Albany, IN  47150
P 812.542.6475 | F 812.948.8732 | www.axiomfsg.com
At Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, our team caters to a select group of family-owned businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals, institutions, and foundations, helping them build, manage, preserve, and transition wealth. We accomplish this while providing top-notch service through a team approach that puts our clients’ needs, goals, and interests first. To learn more visit our website at www.axiomfsg.com. Wells Fargo Advisors. Member SIPC.
The information provided is general in nature and may not apply to your personal investment situation. Individuals should consult with their chosen financial professional before making any decisions.
Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.
CAR # for the podcast is 0417-02947
CAR # for the video is 0617-03279
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Money Matters | Episode 4: My First Real Job and What to do with the Money

I have my first real job and my first real paycheck; What to do?  The answer may actually be your first real job.  The gents from Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors give us the inside track.
Money Matters: The Podcast is sponsored by Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.  This monthly podcast is in addition to a monthly article titled, “Money Matters,” that is posted online at www.ExtolMag.com and www.axiomfsg.com.
**************************************************************************************************************************
At Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors we sincerely appreciate our clients making opportunities like this possible. Without their support of our business, we would not be able to support programs like this.
Axiom Financial Strategies Group
of Wells Fargo Advisors
101 W Spring Street, Fifth Floor
New Albany, IN  47150
P 812.542.6475 | F 812.948.8732 | www.axiomfsg.com
At Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, our team caters to a select group of family-owned businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals, institutions, and foundations, helping them build, manage, preserve, and transition wealth. We accomplish this while providing top-notch service through a team approach that puts our clients’ needs, goals, and interests first. To learn more visit our website at www.axiomfsg.com. Wells Fargo Advisors. Member SIPC.
The information provided is general in nature and may not apply to your personal investment situation. Individuals should consult with their chosen financial professional before making any decisions.
Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.
CAR # for the podcast is 0417-02947
CAR # for the video is 0417-02942
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Off The Page with Extol | March Sports: Bad Call?

Off the Page with Extol takes a timeout to talk to our March Sports cover referee, Eric Ballenger.  During the NCAA Basketball tournament, the refs took a beating.  How does our favorite ref see the call?

There’s always more to the story. Find out more when you listen to Off The Page with Extol Magazine.
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Money Matters: The Podcast | Episode 3: Invest Early and Compounding

A Money Matter’s duo,  Eric Ballenger, Senior Vice President – Investments and Michael Grau, CFP®, RICP®, Vice President – Investment, start with the basics, Investing 101.  Its the moment when you realize that you must invest early, but why?  They explain how compounding works and how easy it is to set it and forget it.

Invest in Your Future Today Brochure
Money Matters: The Podcast is sponsored by Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.  This monthly podcast is in addition to a monthly article titled, “Money Matters,” that is posted online at www.ExtolMag.com and www.axiomfsg.com.

**************************************************************************************************************************

At Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors we sincerely appreciate our clients making opportunities like this possible. Without their support of our business, we would not be able to support programs like this.

Axiom Financial Strategies Group
of Wells Fargo Advisors
101 W Spring Street, Fifth Floor
New Albany, IN  47150

P 812.542.6475 | F 812.948.8732 | www.axiomfsg.com

At Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, our team caters to a select group of family-owned businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals, institutions, and foundations, helping them build, manage, preserve, and transition wealth. We accomplish this while providing top-notch service through a team approach that puts our clients’ needs, goals, and interests first. To learn more visit our website at www.axiomfsg.com. Wells Fargo Advisors. Member SIPC.

The information provided is general in nature and may not apply to your personal investment situation. Individuals should consult with their chosen financial professional before making any decisions.

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. CAR 1216-02739

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advertorial

Kentucky Fertility Institute

Providing the most modern infertility care in Kentucky and Southern Indiana 

The subject of infertility can be one of the most sensitive issues for men and women of reproductive age.

Because so much of both men’s and women’s self-worth is tied up in their successful procreation of children, frank conversations about what the problem might be, or what the solutions could be, are too often shrouded in anger, accusations and embarrassment.

Not only do couples have trouble discussing it calmly with one another, they frequently have trouble seeking help from their support group: parents, siblings, friends, medical providers, even religious leaders.

“Studies show that the psychological impact of a diagnosis of infertility can be equivalent to a diagnosis of cancer,” said Robert Hunter, M.D., a Louisville-based reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist. “It can be really devastating to accept that this dream you’ve always had may be in jeopardy.”

Early this year, Hunter and fellow reproductive endocrinologist Tiffany Justice, M.D., opened the Kentucky Fertility Institute to offer a comfortable – and comforting – solution-based setting for couples who are frustrated by their lack of success as well as couples who know they have fertility issues but don’t know what to do about it.

“Everyone who comes in is apprehensive,” said Justice, “and we have to first treat the emotional aspects. At the end of every appointment, I write every patient’s treatment plan down, step by step, so they have a paper to go home with, to review at their leisure once they get home.”

The plan is comforting because it helps take the uncertainty out of the process. “Too often, in the past, people were told to go home and just keep trying, it will happen,” she said. “That’s dismissive and not very encouraging.”

“Just the view of seeing their treatment plan is so comforting to patients,” agreed Hunter. “They also know we’ll hold their hands every step of the way, be their advocate and their cheerleader.”

Often, Justice said, there are no reasons for the couple’s lack of success and a little patience and more trying really are what’s called for. And sometimes, she said, “we can help just by tweaking the natural cycle, adding supportive hormones and medications to make things physiologically more compatible for pregnancy.”

Guidelines show that if a woman is younger than 35 with normal menstrual cycles, there’s an 85 percent chance she’ll get pregnant naturally within a year with routine, well-timed intercourse.

“Sometimes, we just have to tell them, ‘You’re normal, nothing is wrong, let’s give it time. The more I mess with you is not a good idea,’ ” said Justice. “I show them the data and explain the menstrual cycle. I advise, ‘If you’re normal, let it be normal.’ ”

But to think that most people who’ve been unsuccessful are unnecessarily impatient or can become successful just by turning down the stress levels is unrealistic. A 25-year-old woman without a normal menstrual cycle is well-advised to come in – at least for a conversation.

“We commonly see patients who’ve been trying unsuccessfully for one or more years,” Hunter said. “They want more than reassurance – they want help.”

And help is what Kentucky Fertility Institute offers, starting with a calm and informative one-hour introductory conversation. Then, a series of tests are administered, including bloodwork and an ultrasound, to find possible causes of infertility.

“There are several common reasons for infertility,” said Hunter, “and, roughly, they’re equally distributed between male and female issues.”

The male may have an abnormally low sperm count or low sperm motility. (The sperm don’t swim through the female reproductive tract.) Causes for this can vary. It could be a genetic defect, or the result of illness, lifestyle or previous medical treatment.

Smoking, medication, high levels of stress, hormonal issues, certain medical procedures, like cancer therapy, all might contribute to sperm deficiency.

The female might not be ovulating regularly, or might have other medical or endocrine issues that interfere with ovulation. For her, too, medications, smoking or obesity could all disrupt normal ovarian functions. In addition, previous abdominal or pelvic surgery (including appendectomy, gall bladder surgery, or treatment of a miscarriage) might have left scar tissue that can affect future pregnancies.

And then there’s age. “As women move through their mid- to late-30s and early-40s, there’s a natural decline in fertility, even for women who previously were fertile,” said Hunter. And there are other reasons, as well. The fact is, fertility issues are not rare. “Infertility affects about 15 percent of all couples,” said Hunter.

“Statistically, that’s close to 100,000 couples in Kentucky alone.”

Regardless of the cause, a number of treatment options are available. In some cases, it may be advising one or both parties to stop smoking, lose weight, or otherwise improve their overall medical condition.

In some cases, it might involve augmenting the female’s ovarian function with medical treatments to increase the chance of fertilization occurring.

For men with low sperm parameters, an intrauterine insemination (IUI) – taking a sperm specimen, concentrating it and placing high numbers of motile sperm cells directly into the woman’s uterus – will increase the sperm’s ability to fertilize the egg.  “We use a small catheter to gently place the cells into the uterus,” Hunter explained. “For the woman, it’s more or less like getting a Pap smear.”

Sometimes, surgery might be required to repair issues with the woman’s reproductive organs – such as removing mechanical obstructions in the fallopian tube or reversing a previous tubal ligation. Hunter and Justice perform all of their own surgeries, either on-site at their center or at Louisville-area hospitals.

The final option, of course, is in-vitro fertilization (IVF), in which eggs are removed from the woman’s ovary, fertilized and then placed back in her uterus. The state of the technology has improved so much over the years, said Hunter, that “in the most favorable cases, success rates for IVF can exceed 70 percent per treatment cycle.”

And, since only one embryo needs to be transferred, it reduces the risk of multiple pregnancy, with which fertility treatments were so often identified years ago.

There are other exciting developments in the field, as well. DNA-screening of embryos can help head off certain congenital conditions, like cystic fibrosis or Huntington Disease.

For women who are reproductively healthy but are interested in delaying pregnancy while they pursue their education or career, KFI offers elective egg freezing. “It’s essentially a mini-IVF procedure that freezes a young woman’s eggs prior to fertilization, keeping them as insurance for the time in the future when she’s ready to start a family, giving her a higher chance of conception,” Hunter said.

KFI also offer a full spectrum of third-party reproduction options for patients who are not able to use their own eggs or sperm, or may require a gestational surrogate.

“Third-party reproduction is a wonderful option that has given many patients the opportunity to grow their families who otherwise would not have had any viable options,” Hunter said, “It’s also a great solution for same-sex couples who want to have children.”

Even when an individual has been diagnosed with cancer and is facing treatment that will harm his or her chances of fertility, KFI can freeze the sperm or eggs, in a procedure referred to as “onco-fertility.”

“If we can have two weeks to put a woman through a fertility preservation cycle before she starts her cancer therapy, we can often save her ability to have children in the future,” said Hunter. “Even when cancer affects reproductive organs, there are ways to help these couple have genetic children.”

Hunter said he and Justice were motivated to open the Kentucky Fertility Institute because there had been no comparable facility in the state of Kentucky before. “We’re the only center in the area with a full-time, on-site lab director, so we’re able to provide continuous, comprehensive services in a way no other center in state is able to right now,” he said. Previously, people had to drive to Cincinnati, Indianapolis or Nashville for comparable services.

“And,” said Justice, “since so many of these treatments involve multiple visits per week, that became a considerable inconvenience.”

The institute is located near the intersection of the Gene Snyder Freeway and I-71, so with the completion of the East End Bridge, it will be conveniently accessible to residents of Southern Indiana, as well as the counties of Kentucky.

“We’re quickly becoming a destination center for comprehensive fertility care, and we’ve already seen patients from all over the region,” Hunter said.

How have the outcomes been? Since KFI has been open only seven months, it’s too soon for its patients’ babies to have been delivered. But Justice said, “We’ve already had close to 100 patients who have been released to back their obstetrician with a clinical pregnancy. I can’t tell you how great it makes you feel when you hear the good news that a patient checked her pregnancy test at home and it’s positive. After her husband and parents, we’re often the third call she makes.”

Kentucky Fertility Institute 

4612 Chamberlain Lane

Ste. 200

Louisville

502.996.4480

*The initial hour-long visit is $50

*This is an advertorial 

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Bumps & Beauty with Angie Fenton | Episode 6: Sex (or not) After Pregnancy

It doesn’t matter where you do it, if it’s after pregnancy, it’s an entirely different story. Host Angie Fenton and friends dish the taboo topic.

Editor-in-Chief of Extol Magazine and new mother Angie Fenton hosts Bumps & Beauty.  Each episode, Angie will ask guests to share their parenting experiences and advice.

Parenthood: a mix of challenging moments and wonderful memories. This is Bumps & Beauty, presented by Extol Podcasting.

Make sure to pick up your copy of Extol’s October/November print edition, which will hit stands second week of June in more than 500 locations throughout Southern Indiana and Louisville.

Want to contact Bumps & Beauty? Send an email to Extol@ExtolMag.com. Subject line: Bumps & Beauty.

If you would like information about advertising on or hosting Bumps & Beauty at your location, please contact jason@extolmag.com.

This episode is proudly sponsored by:

koerbers

3095 Blackiston Mill Road,New Albany 47150

812.945.5959

Hosted by: 

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321 Pearl St, New Albany 47150

812.945.9463

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Bumps & Beauty with Angie Fenton | Episode 5: Casting Call

Have kids interested in modeling and acting? Well, professionally, that is… if so, you’ve come to the right podcast. In this episode, Angie speaks with special guest, Heyman Talent agency director and talent agent Kathy Campbell, about all the ins-and-outs of modeling at an early age, and how to best handle this interesting field as a parent.

heyman

1205 E. Washington St., Ste. 107, Louisville, KY 40206

502.589.2540

Editor-in-Chief of Extol Magazine and new mother Angie Fenton hosts Bumps & Beauty.  Each episode, Angie will ask guests to share their parenting experiences and advice.

Parenthood: a mix of challenging moments and wonderful memories. This is Bumps & Beauty, presented by Extol Podcasting.

Make sure to pick up your copy of Extol’s October/November print edition, which will hit stands second week of June in more than 500 locations throughout Southern Indiana and Louisville.

Want to contact Bumps & Beauty? Send an email to Extol@ExtolMag.com. Subject line: Bumps & Beauty.

If you would like information about advertising on or hosting Bumps & Beauty at your location, please contact jason@extolmag.com.

This episode is proudly sponsored by:

sparrowstree

702 Vincennes St, New Albany, IN 47150

812.704.8128

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Money Matters by Eric Ballenger | Considering Alternative Investments

 

It’s no secret that the events and market volatility of the past few years continue to leave many individuals concerned about their investment portfolios. Despite what has proven to be a substantial market recovery, memories of the 2008-2009 market crisis and a number of ongoing global economic issues have prompted investors to seek investment solutions that can offer enhanced diversification, reduced volatility, and improved capital preservation.

Historically, investors have turned to fixed-income investments as a solution, and this time has proven to be no different. But the substantial flows into fixed-income assets in recent years – combined with the prospects for future interest-rate increases – have heightened concerns over diminished opportunities or potential “bubbles” within segments of the fixed-income market.

While the flight to quality and risk aversion in late 2008 and early 2009 was pervasive, many investors have continued to hold a conservative position throughout what has been a significant price recovery in both broad equity and credit markets. This strong asset price appreciation and unprecedented volatility have created a conundrum for investors who want to participate in equity and fixed income markets while limiting portfolio risk.

They find themselves asking, “Should I maintain a risk-off posture and merely accept the generally paltry returns offered by lower risk assets?” vs. “Do I chase returns through riskier investments despite the challenges still existing within the current overall environment?” This perceived all-or-nothing dilemma tends to leave many investors paralyzed.

While there are no simple answers to these questions, there are alternative solutions available to help investors diversify their portfolios beyond traditional stocks and bonds and complement their current asset allocation mix. Alternative investments – including hedge funds, managed futures, private equity, real estate, and commodities – offer investment solutions that best suit investors’ needs, objectives, and preferences.

Alternative investment strategies may deliver significant benefits to an overall investment portfolio, such as:

  • Greater potential for diversification
  • Historically low or non-correlation to traditional investments
  • Seek to minimize market cycle peaks and troughs
  • Exposure to a broader range of investment opportunities
  • Greater potential for improved risk-adjusted returns

While investors may benefit from the ability of alternative investments to potentially improve the risk-reward profiles in their portfolios, it’s important to remember the investments themselves can carry significant risks. Government regulation and monitoring of these types of investments may be minimal or nonexistent; returns may be volatile and present an increased risk of investment loss.

Here are some important considerations to keep in mind if you’re interested in pursuing opportunities in alternative investments for your portfolio with your Financial Advisor:

Complexity: Alternative investment strategies may span multiple markets, securities and risk factors. Because of the complex nature of these investment opportunities, an investor must rely on the experience, representations and credentials of advisors, fund managers and distribution agents. 

Fees and expenses: In most alternative investment strategies, managers are paid in two ways: They typically receive a fee calculated as a percentage of assets under management. They also typically receive a share of the strategy’s gains – a practice designed to reward the manager for positive returns. Trading fees and expenses may be significant with the potential to deplete trading profits. Funds of funds are subject to multiple layers of such fees. 

Holdings: Markets for a portfolio’s holdings may be relatively inactive and it is possible that trading in a specific portfolio holding could cease altogether. As a result, market valuations of specific portfolio holdings may not always be possible, causing accurate valuation of a portfolio to be difficult at times. 

Leverage: Because many alternative investment strategies seek to amplify mispricings that are relatively small, borrowing is often critical to delivering significant returns to investors. This use of leverage tends to amplify both gains and losses. 

Limited liquidity: A fund may not have a secondary market for its interests and none may be expected to develop, and there are restrictions on transferring interests of the fund. Performance figures may be based on valuations of illiquid investments that are difficult to value, and certain managers may carry such assets at cost until a realization event. 

Liquidity and redemptions: An investor’s ability to withdraw capital from funds or partnerships may be subject to specific limitations, including initial “lock-up” periods, advance notification requirements and predetermined “windows” for redemptions. 

Potential loss of investment: Speculative investments and are not suitable for all investors, nor do they represent a complete investment program. 

Tax risks: Investing in certain alternative investment funds may involve significant tax consequences. Investors should understand that they will likely be required to obtain extensions of the filing date for their income tax returns due to possible delays in the delivery of Schedule K-1. Nothing contained herein constitutes investment, legal, tax or other advice nor is it to be relied upon in making an investment or other decision.

Transparency: In order to preserve strategic advantage and the ability to transact nimbly, fund managers often significantly limit the ability for investors to review portfolio holdings. This practice – known as opacity or lack of transparency – can limit investors’ and advisors’ abilities to monitor managers and evaluate risks. 

Valuation variations: Investors should recognize that certain alternative investment funds are not required to provide periodic pricing or valuation information or information about their underlying investments to investors. 

Alternative investments and alternative strategies are not suitable for all investors.  Any offer to purchase or sell a specific Alternative Investment product will be made by the product’s official offering documents. Investors could lose all or a substantial amount of their investments in these products.   These investments carry specific investor qualifications which can include high income and net-worth requirements as well as relatively high investment minimums. They are complex investment vehicles which generally have high costs and substantial risks. The high expenses often associated with these investments must be offset by trading profits and other income. They tend to be more volatile than other types of investments and present an increased risk of investment loss. There may also be a lack of transparency as to the underlying assets. Other risks may apply as well, depending on the specific investment product. 

This information is for educational purposes only and should not be used or construed as financial advice, an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any security. Global Alternative Investments and/or Wells Fargo do not guarantee that the information supplied is complete, undertake to advise you of any change of opinion, or make any guarantees of future results obtained from its use. Wells Fargo & Company affiliates may issue reports or have opinions that are inconsistent with, and reach conclusions from, this information. 

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Eric Ballenger, Senior Vice President – Investment Officer with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN.  Eric can be reached via email at eric.ballenger@wfadvisors.com or phone at (812) 948-8475.  Visit our website at www.AxiomFSG.com.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.  ©2015 Wells Fargo Advisors.  All rights reserved.                 0315-04805 [93576-v1]

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SO SHARP.

by STACY THOMAS & photos by ANTONIO PANTOJA

Cover Vertical

Spend five minutes with Todd Sharp, and you’ll walk away knowing exactly who he is and where he stands.

“I’m an exacting coach,” said Sharp, head coach of the Floyd Central High School Dazzlers and University of Louisville Ladybirds, both national championship dance teams. “Some years are easier than others. There is no secret. There is absolutely nothing special. I decide to win. (And when it comes to being on his teams), it’s my way or the highway, but because we live in America, you are free to leave at any time.”

Yes, Sharp can be imposing and intimidating and demanding and – you get the idea.

But inside those first five minutes with him, you’ll also discover a wickedly funny and fiercely passionate person whose driving motivation is to help the young women he coaches excel in ways they’d never dreamed.

“I tell my girls: This is your time. You are not married, you are not yet mothers … you have this small window of time for yourself – to be an athlete and a performer. Seize this time for yourself and spend the rest of your life a champion.”

For the past 22 years, Sharp has been head coach of the Dazzlers. For the latter 15 of those 22 years, he has simultaneously served as head coach of the Ladybirds dance team as well as spirit coordinator for UofL. Under the guidance of Sharp, the Dazzlers have earned 24 state and national championships. In fact, his team of high school athletes have been both nationally and internationally recognized and televised more than any other high school team. The Ladybirds have earned 15 national championships, 13 of which have been under the reign of Coach Sharp.

“I find the process of coaching stressful, but I also love the process of coaching,” he said. “I have a competitive personality. I think I must be crazy to do it this long. The average career span for a coach is three seasons for high school and five years for college.”

While his career statistics alone prove him to be somewhat of an oddity in his field, his commitment and determination ensure he continues to remain on top.

“Todd didn’t just wake up one day as the most successful coach in his industry. He decided he was going to be the most successful coach in his industry,” said Patrick Mahoney, strength and conditioning coach for the Ladybirds and the Dazzlers, and a personal trainer at ProFormance Fitness in Louisville.

Mahoney met Sharp six years ago when the coach sought help getting in shape. Shortly after, Sharp asked Mahoney if he would start working with both of his teams on their strength and conditioning.

“We quickly became close friends. … He was actually the best man in my wedding,” Mahoney said. “Todd introduced me to my wife Rachel, who was a former Ladybird. He has become a big part of my life.”

Mahoney has witnessed Sharp’s continued success and credits some of it to his “ability to connect with each one of his athletes. … He genuinely cares and wants success for them. If you are able to make it through one of Todd’s programs, then you are that much more prepared for the real world. You should consider yourself lucky to be coached by Todd Sharp. For those of us fortunate enough to have him as a friend, we consider ourselves lucky too.”

 

‘A Gentle Tyrant’

Sharp, who is now 47, began his career at age 25. A native of Floyds Knobs, he graduated from Floyd Central, specializing – unsurprisingly – in musical theatre and was naturally drawn to the arts.

“I knew someone that helped coach the Dazzlers. I was approached to help them with a routine. This originally was supposed to be a one-time thing,” Sharp recalled. “Eventually, a position opened up, and it was suggested that I apply, and the rest is history. I thought maybe I would coach for a year or two. Twenty years later, this is one of the greatest things that has happened to me. I think it keeps me young,” he laughed.

It’s also allowed Sharp to finally find a place where he feels like he belongs.

“I have never quite fit in anywhere. Coaching became a home to me and my soul,” Sharp said. “It is the only thing in my life that I have felt that I’m good at. Coaching has been the greatest burden and one of the greatest joys in my life. … That moment in the Disney Fieldhouse in front of 20,000 people – televised to the nation and they announce our team as the National Champions – is a wonderful moment.”

That’s a moment Sharp has experienced multiple times, but he never forgets what the converse feels like.

In those sparse years when his teams have not won a title, the guilt he experiences is overwhelming. “It’s my biggest fear … that my team feels that all of the hard work they put in wasn’t worth it. For myself, it haunts me that I did not beat my own record.”

For others, Sharp’s successes remain at the forefront when they think of him.

“He’s the master. I can’t imagine a national championship under anyone else. He won 10 straight! That’s unheard of,” said Janie Whaley, Floyd Central High School principal. “If you watch the Dazzlers, you know why they are some of the best athletes in the school. Todd is a gentle tyrant, a perfectionist. He has a standard and sets the bar high. He works 12 months out of the year and never stops. His success is contagious. It has encouraged others to be more successful.” 

 

‘Success in Many Forms’

A9Roor40u_8rupkk_7dgIn those first few years of coaching the Dazzlers, Sharp opened Planet Dance Studio in Louisville, eventually relocating to its current location in Georgetown.

“Planet Dance was born out of necessity as a practice and training space,” said Sharp. “I needed consistent and frequent practice space for my team of athletes. My girls work and train hard. They are not merely dancers, they are athletes. I thought if the football and basketball teams had their own regular practice space, my team deserved one too.” (And practice they do, sometimes as much as five days per week, and in the summer months, too.)

Planet Dance All-Stars is now a competition dance studio for students ages 3 years to collegiate. The studio also trains dancers for Highland Hills Middle School in Georgetown and is the permanent training home for the Dazzlers and the Ladybirds.

Charlotte Ipsan and her husband, Rob, are Sharp’s business partners at the studio. She met Sharp 13 years ago at Polly’s Freeze in Edwardsville.

“I was standing in line to get ice cream with my then 3-year-old, and Todd starts his pitch. He knew of me as a former Floyd Central Dazzler and asked where my daughter, Emrie, went to dance,” Ipsan recalled. Shortly thereafter, I found myself with Emrie registering for the Mini All-Star team at Planet Dance. I was mesmerized by Todd’s unprecedented passion and uncanny ability to create successful dancers with or without physical talent.”

A couple of years after their initial meeting, Sharp faced some tough business decisions, one of which was to potentially close Planet Dance. Sharp approached the Ipsans to brainstorm options. Less than 30 days later, they were business partners.

“People questioned our combination of amazing dance coach (Sharp) plus neonatal nurse practitioner and health care administrator (Ipsan), but Todd, my husband and I all agreed on one thing: success comes in many forms at Planet Dance. We recognize and stress the importance of teamwork, confidence and personal development.”

Ipsan’s daughter, Emrie, now 16, is in her third year as a Dazzler, and has been on the Planet Dance All-Star team since the age of 3. Sharp has been her coach for the last 13 years.

“Todd’s ability to take any dancer who has passion, drive and work ethic and transform them into a fierce competitor with the utmost regard for team dynamics and compassion is absolutely magical. He knows how hard to push, when to push, and exactly how to push individuals to get the absolute best out of each student,” Charlotte Ipsan said. “There is never a moment that you question his style. Plus, he is the funniest human being I know.”

Friendships with people like the Ipsans aren’t unusual for Sharp.

“Some of the greatest friendships I have are the parents of students I have coached through the years,” he said. “Some have multiple daughters come through my programs. As our relationships have developed, they have become more like a family to me. I’ve helped raise some of these kids. I’m often with them five days a week plus weekends.”

A third of the way through his career with the Dazzlers, Sharp was approached by the University of Louisville and asked to coach the Ladybirds.

“I was extremely blessed and lucky to have been offered a job at a university locally,” said Sharp. “Most of my counterparts moved to other states for collegiate positions. Some of them (are) my former students.”

In addition to his coaching duties, Sharp is also UofL’s spirit coordinator – he organizes games and schedules social appearances and monitors grades for the Ladybirds. (“Unlike other coaches, I do not have paid assistants,” said Sharp. Our schedule is crazy, but when someone calls who is batting leukemia and they want the Ladybirds to visit their hospital room, I can’t say no. I try not to ever say no.”)

“Todd’s love of UofL and our spirit teams transcends his career,” said Christine Simatacolos, senior associate athletic director.

“He is one of the most caring people I know. He is a coach and a friend 24/7. He is always working, thinking and dreaming about his program and how it can be the best,” Simatacolos said. He is also constantly developing relationships with his athletes, parents and administrators. He could not have accomplished what he has without the support system he has created. Todd works hard but makes it fun. Everyone around him senses his energy and spunk and wants to be a part of it. UofL is fortunate to have him as an ambassador of our athletic department and university.”

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‘More Rewards, Challenges’

So what does it take to be coached by Sharp?

Anyone can have an opportunity to make his teams, Sharp said, and rarely is anyone cut from tryouts. “We are hard enough on each other in this world, it is not hard to make my teams.”

But making a team and staying on a team are two different things.

If you want to learn, get coached and have the grades to make it, you will have no trouble in Coach Sharp’s program, but this does not mean it will be easy.

“I believe in accountability. If a girl does not look her best or perform her best, we all lose. There is no justice like team justice. I tell my team and their families in the very beginning, this will be the hardest thing you have ever done. This experience on my team will be physically, mentally, emotionally and financially hard,” he said. “I have zero tolerance for fighting – this goes for parents, too. The tail will not wag the dog. This team is not a democracy; it’s a dictatorship. I want girls on my teams that have the passion, raw talent and desire to be there.”

Although the Dazzlers and the Ladybirds are both iconic programs, “Every year the dynamic changes,” Sharp said. “I set my intentions and standards high and build it from the ground up – every year. But, I do not ask of my team more than I am willing to do myself.”

Over the last decade, Sharp has felt a shift in his coaching. “When I was 25, I felt it was easier for the team to relate to me. We were closer in age. Every year, this job becomes more rewarding and more challenging. I have a coach and a trainer now. Working out has definitely raised both my credibility and my expectations. I think I am a better coach now at 47 than I was at 27. I love coaching, and the kids crave having a coach.”

They also appreciate Sharp’s willingness to go to the mat for each and every one of them, provided they respond by working hard.

“I am a champion of women,” he said. “I make the girls train in strength and conditioning. I am very controlling about their personal appearance. These girls are beautiful inside and out. People are quick to diminish them because of their appearance. My girls are very smart, good girls who graduate with phenomenal GPAs.”

Sharp continued, “Here we are in this small pocket of Indiana, we are perennial champions. No one is more athletic than this team. No one can out jump this team. This team from Southern Indiana won in the hip-hop division. It’s pretty incredible to think about, really. People that say we are just dancers and not athletes have never watched us, either one of my teams. The Ladybirds have been on ESPN. They have the stamina and speed of any sport. We are the perfect combination of art and sport.”

 

‘Personal Toll, Gain’

In the last two years, his spirit program has not been the only thing Sharp has re-built from the ground up. After 24 years of marriage and two sons (Cameron, 22; Colin, 19), he and his wife Lisa divorced.

“I don’t know a head coach whose personal relationships have not been incredibly challenging,” said Sharp. “This is a lifestyle-driven profession that can be detrimental to personal relationships. … This lifestyle is not for everyone.”

Now single, Sharp describes himself as affectionate, emotional and co-dependent and said his biggest fear is not meeting someone, although he’s still not quite ready to do so yet.

“I not dating anyone exclusively. I don’t want to be disrespectful to Lisa, my children or my 24 years and seven months of marriage,” said Sharp. “In fact, I did not even consider dating sooner than two years after the divorce. In this community, I think the same is expected of me. Lisa and I still make decisions about everything together, and I’m not doing that to my kids. I’m a work in progress. I have a lot to offer. I hope to find love in the future. It sounds cliché, but life has a way of going where it is supposed to go.”

Sharp is a grandfather now to Chase, 22 months, and Charlotte, who’s 1 month old. “Being a grandfather has changed me a lot. The girls probably say I’m still rough, but I think the experience has made me more compassionate. I’m pretty happy now.”

While dating is on the backburner, Sharp has recently started a love affair of sorts with the city of New Albany. “It has been a slow movement, but I am excited about the changes and new businesses. I love River City Winery, The Exchange Pub + Kitchen and Dress & Dwell.”

A Southern Indiana boy at heart, Sharp also frequents the Frankfort Avenue/Crescent Hill neighborhood in Louisville. A self-proclaimed foodie who loves to cook, Sharp enjoys strolling the neighborhood for coffee or new restaurants with friends.

He also spends his down time with his grandkids and dog.  And, Sharp finds solace in working out. “Don’t get me wrong, I still like my Mellow Mushroom pizza and beer, but if I go one day without my workout, I feel off.”

Sharp used to focus on the negative and found himself unable to let go of things easily. He has since learned that letting go is one thing that you can control.

 

‘A Forest of Supporters’

A9R3dtet5_8rupkq_7dgMale dance and spirit coaches are rare in Southern Indiana, but they’re common on the west coast. In fact, the two national dance coaches with the most wins are both male (one of those being Sharp). But his success hasn’t always shut down naysayers.

“I used to let negative comments about my team of myself bother me,” Sharp said. “I simply re-focused my energy. I was looking past a forest of supporters to get to the few negative people in the back. I’ve heard it all. So have my sons when they were in school and Dad was a spirit coach.

“I’m driven hard enough that I’m not looking for respect or acceptance,” Sharp said. “I’ve learned that surrounding yourself with the right people is everything.”

For many, one of those right people continues to be Sharp.

“Todd has reached the peak of Everest in his profession, but still coaches with a chip on his shoulder” like he has something to prove, said Floyd Central High School Athletic Director Jeff Cerqueira. “He is supportive of other coaches, even when they are not always supportive of his program. That’s impressive and humbling.”

Additionally, “Todd’s devotion to his athletes and programs is commendable. He has had several opportunities to take other positions for more money but has chosen to stay home,” Cerqueira said. “Todd is a lot like Geno Auriemma, (head coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team). Not all of the coaches like him, but they respect him. The only difference is that Geno gets the best talent in the country, but Todd just outcoaches everyone.”

 

BONUS COVERAGE:

Brittany Wright danced under Coach Sharp for five years. She is still very involved in his programs.

“Todd is unique, not because he is a 40-something-year-old man who coaches a high school pom team in the middle of a cornfield town. He is unique because he is honest. He doesn’t sugar coat anything – EVER. He sets expectations and sticks to them. He is insanely consistent and the parents and dancers know the standard that Todd will hold them to.

He will not hesitate to scream in your face and tell you how it is or what you are doing wrong, but he will also never hesitate to be there for you when you need him – not just in a coaching aspect.

Todd will come and pick you up if you have a flat tire, pay to get it fixed if you can’t afford it and make sure you get home safe. He’s the guy you can talk to when you have just had a bad break up. He knows when to turn the switch on and off. The girls have a HEALTHY fear of Todd. He can make you bawl your eyes out and have you laughing in the next 5 minutes. I have seen him turn a not-so-great dancer into a front row, front and center girl.

Todd has a drive as a coach that goes beyond what I have ever witnessed in our industry. He is able to pull the best out of his girls. I think it’s safe to say that they live to make him proud.”

Lauren Strobel danced under Coach Sharp all through high school as a Floyd Central Dazzler and through college as a University of Louisville Ladybird. She hails from Southern Indiana and is now a dental hygienist.

“Todd is fiercely loyal. I have known him for 8 years and he always puts in 110 percent. Todd has been my coach since I was a skinny, scared, naïve, sophomore in high school. I walked into the Dazzler tryouts with my hair in a tight bun and worn-down ballet shoes. I was intimidated and ill-prepared to say the least, but I had a strong background in ballet. I had heard stories about the world famous Dazzler coach and his pom and hip hop team. I was interested in being involved. After the tryouts, I remember my parents being supportive but worried that I would not make the team. However, Todd saw something in me. I felt extremely fortunate to be asked to be a part of Todd’s JV pom team. Less than a year later, I was a national champion.

Todd made us believe in ourselves. He inspired us to be better, jump higher, turn tighter and stay in sync. It was a full-time job, but very rewarding. In high school we would practice daily for 3 to 4 hours a day. In college as a Ladybird, we practiced late night – 8:30 to 11 p.m. 3 to 4 times per week. On the weekends we would go to competitions; during the summer we would go to dance camp.

Todd taught us that nothing worth having comes easy, and this still comes to mind daily. ‘Faith without work is dead.’ – James 2:17

Todd talked about this Bible verse at practice one afternoon. You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? You can say that you are good, but are you really going to work towards it? This will always be my favorite.

At UofL I was taking 18 to 20 hours in the dental hygiene program. I spent many late nights studying and going to practice. There were many times I felt like giving up and changing my major. Todd was always supportive. On many occasions I called him just to vent and he was always willing to listen. He allowed me to miss an occasional practice so I could study, for which I am forever grateful. At the end of my senior year, I was unable to dance at the national competition because I had to take my dental hygiene board exam. I was heartbroken. It was very tough for me to sit out at practice. At the end of the semester, I received an award at the University Athletic Department Awards program. Todd presented the award to me and I was extremely honored. I have since graduated from dental hygiene school and now work full-time. Todd has taught me so much about life, dance, happiness and working towards a common goal. It was a privilege to be one of his Ladybirds. I was lucky enough to travel all over the country to dance at games and tournaments. Together, (we) won five 5 National Championships along the way.

money-matters-feature1

Money Matters: The Podcast | Episode 1: Eyes on the Horizon

In this inaugural episode of Money Matters: The Podcast, Vaughan Scott, MBA, CPWA® Managing Director – Investment Officer Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, discusses Wells Fargo’s 2016 midyear outlook report “Eyes on the Horizon” with Extol’s Jason Applegate. Additionally, Vaughan also shares insight into Brexit and whether or not the next president of the United States will affect the economy.

Money Matters: The Podcast is sponsored by Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.  This quarterly podcast is in addition to a monthly article titled, “Money Matters,” that is posted online at www.ExtolMag.com and www.axiomfsg.com.

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At Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors we sincerely appreciate our clients making opportunities like this possible. Without their support of our business, we would not be able to support programs like this.

Michelle Floyd, CFP®  | Financial Consultant

Axiom Financial Strategies Group
of Wells Fargo Advisors
101 W Spring Street, Fifth Floor
New Albany, IN  47150

P 812.542.6475 | F 812.948.8732 | Michelle.Floyd@wellsfargoadvisors.comwww.axiomfsg.com

At Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, our team caters to a select group of family-owned businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals, institutions, and foundations, helping them build, manage, preserve, and transition wealth. We accomplish this while providing top-notch service through a team approach that puts our clients’ needs, goals, and interests first. To learn more visit our website at www.axiomfsg.com. Wells Fargo Advisors. Member SIPC.

The information provided is general in nature and may not apply to your personal investment situation. Individuals should consult with their chosen financial professional before making any decisions.

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