Cookies-by Design founder Gwen Willhite-Gillum who has over 100 franchises nationwide and internationally acclaimed Ghostwriter / Author and former IRS Agent, Kelly Epperson are the featured guests on the next edition of Deanne DeMarco’s radio show “Today’s Inspiring Women,” which airs noon Pacific on Thursday on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Network.

An unemployed, single mother, is the story behind one of the most successful bakery businesses with over 100 franchises nation wide and a former IRS Agent now author and ghostwriter with several New York Times best selling books.

Gwen Willhite-Gillum suddenly found herself an unemployed, single mother. With time on her hands, this creative and motivated woman combined two traditional gifts- flowers and sweets- and turned them into one deliciously clever concept, the cookie bouquet. Her edible bouquets of custom- shaped and hand-decorated sugar and cinnamon brown sugar cookies on sticks were cleverly arranged in baskets as tasteful gifts for any occasion.

Gift givers quickly embraced the new idea, and Gwen’s budding enterprise soon outgrew her home kitchen. Now, 30 years later, approximately 100 Cookies By Design locations are operating across the United States.

Deanne DeMarco, who has 20 successful years as a business coach and management trainer, said, “You can be sure I will be asking Gwen about the early days and how she went about growing her business so quickly. I will also be asking her about the early lessons learned that will help our listening audience in starting their own entrepreneurial ventures.”

“Gwen has a lot to offer our listeners,” DeMarco continued. “Gwen started from scratch, at her kitchen table and grew that business into a huge nationwide enterprise. She is someone I am anxious to learn from. I am excited that she is willing to share how she overcame challenges and started the franchise side of her business.”


Deanne DeMarco’s second guest is a former IRS Agent and is now a noted Ghostwriter and author Kelly Epperson. As a ghostwriter she has written over 20 books for others, some are NY Times Best Selling Authors, one sold over 1 million copies. She has three books of her own plus one that went to #1 on Amazon.

Kelly works a lot with women in helping them with personal and professional development and was recognized for this work by the YWCA with their Mentorship Award. Deanne DeMarco said, “Among the questions I have for Kelly: “What are the tips entrepreneurs and business women should know in striving to be successful in their careers? Why did you leave the IRS? What is your crayon, stress-busting tip for women? And how can women learn to be more resilient and less fearful?”

Deanne DeMarco herself has used her innovative strategies—drawn from successful experiences as a scientist, college instructor, management trainer, Fortune 500 manager, author and entrepreneur—to help business executives and individuals break through personal and career roadblocks. Today’s Inspiring Women is a mentoring show for women. Each week she interviews extraordinary and inspiring women who may not yet be household names but are business and entrepreneurial rising stars. Deanne says “There are many inspiring women who have touched our lives forever. Now listeners can find out who these female business and entrepreneurial rising stars are. During each episode the listening audience will be introduced to extraordinary women who may have come from a background similar to their own.”

DeMarco states, “Each week I ask the guests, how they overcame challenges and the lessons they learned to become successful in their fields. Not only will listeners hear success stories, they will be presented with professional insights, tools, tips and strategies they can use to achieve their own personal success.”


About Deanne DeMarco
Deanne DeMarco’s career has revolved around helping people break through boundaries and career roadblocks. She has a strong business background with expertise in medicine, education and utilities. As a medical scientist she was on the original three-member team that first discovered the cancer link to second-hand smoke. As a corporate trainer her management coaching program won national recognition from Training Magazine’s Top 100. Deanne conducts fun, interactive workshops and seminars and is a keynote speaker at business and association meetings around the world. For more information visit Deanne demarco’s website.