I met Jodi Perito when she attended the Carousel Ball in Denver benefitting the Children’s Diabetes Foundation in 2015, and I felt compelled to go up and tell her she was wearing the “best dress” of the night. We became friends, and in the last 4 years, I have watched Jodi go through many positive transformations. When you meet Jodi today, you will have no clue she has faced and overcome numerous facets of adversity.
Jodi who is newly divorced and finally living the life of her dreams, suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on August 17, 2002 in a near death motorcycle accident – in fact the "Flight for Life" crew were ready to declare her dead when one of the paramedics refused to give up and continued to try to resuscitate her. The heavens were looking down upon Ms. Perito that night because she survived…. even though she was in a coma for several weeks. Jodi credits Nancy Gundy Thornton, the nurse who saved her on the rescue flight that day with her efforts to keep on trying. The two of them have been fast friends ("soul sisters" as Jodi calls her) since.
With a loss of some of her sight, and other debilitating side effects, Jodi became a member of the handicapped community. She had to close down her well known beauty salon “Jodi Scissorhands”, which she owned for 20 years and connected with people from all walks of life, stopped working on her Ph.D. in Naturopathic Medicine, couldn’t drive, and thought she might have to stop working on a book of poetry she was writing. With her ability to put human experiences into written words, Jodi had already won several poetry contests and had hopes of publishing a poetry book…. which she was still successfully able to do in 2010 titled "Soul Evolution". Jodi a classically trained pianist (she still plays today), also held the title of Mrs. Colorado American from 1992 to 1993.
After Jodi’s almost 30 year marriage ended, she was still living with an invisible disability (like millions of others in the U.S.). Wanting to get involved in causes she could connect with and support, I introduced Jodi to Wayne Connell, Founder, President/CEO, of the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA). She has become an important advocate and a fundraising committee member for IDA; and it was just announced that she will receive the "IDA Volunteer of the Year" award at their 2019 gala on October 18, 2019. Connell commented: "We are grateful and honored to announce that Jodi Perito has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the IDA's Volunteer of the Year award. We chose Jodi because of her passion and generous support with her time and talents and the positive impact she has made for the people we serve." (www.invisibledisabilities.org)
Jodi also made a decision to go back to what she loved in the beauty and wellness industry which is working with others to find their own unique style, and giving them 5 Star Service by helping them to feel and look beautiful which in-turn allows them to exude radiance and self-confidence. This past year she has become a certified Laser Technician, certified in cosmetic injectable, chemical exfoliation and a variety of other services.
Scheduled to open in early 2020, Jodi and her daughter, Lauren Steward, will open their highly anticipated "Sanctuary Spa/Salon" providing the best in medical aesthetics.
And so important to Jodi: “It is my desire and goal to bring much deserved awareness to Invisible Disabilities." Jodi Perito strongly believes in guidance from God, and the power people possess to turn their lives around. She flashes that beautiful smile and says: “The best is yet to come.”
What are some gifts your Italian heritage gave you that money can’t buy? LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! There are 5 kids in my family. Our grandparents and our parents all lived together in the same house. I grew up steeped in the Italian culture, faith, food, family and friends. Everyone who walked through our door had a meal at our table.
You are involved with several nonprofits right now, why did you choose them over others at this time? I chose the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) based upon founder/President & CEO Wayne Connell’s passion to start IDA in support of his wife after she suffered several invisible disabilities. I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in 2002. There are 2.8 million people who sustain a TBI annually. TBI and other invisible disabilities are not standardized treatment in western medicine. It is my goal to educate the public and shine light on these invisible disabilities, making the IDA GALA event a much coveted sponsorship opportunity for caring sponsors & guests to participate & partner in bringing awareness and funding for this worthy cause. I just became involved with Fashion Group International of Denver; and because of several cancer deaths in my family, I have done fundraising for various cancer nonprofits throughout the years. When I was co-owner of two Mercedes dealerships, we were key sponsors and fundraisers for numerous charitable organization in Colorado.
You say the changes in your life opened you up to what God really wants you to do? Explain…. Coming out of coma, my purpose changed. I had worked as a stylist for 30 years, however my husband closed my salon before I came out of the coma. With God, I found a way to accept my purpose in being a housewife. I poured myself into helping make all of my ex's personal and professional dreams come true. Now I’ve realized there is more for me to accomplish than being a housewife. I’m now pouring myself into knowing fabulous women, empowering them to make their personal and professional dreams and goals come true doing what they love.
What is the most important quality you look for in a friend? Someone who will be there with me in my struggles, as well as my successes.
What’s your favorite quote, personal motto or words of wisdom? “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else's life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important…. have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs.
Answer this: “My definition of romance would have to include?” A best friend who has my back no matter what the situation.
What is a possession you just couldn’t live without? My contacts.
How would you describe yourself to someone who doesn’t know you? “I’m Every Woman.” Throughout my career I worked with women from every faith, culture, social status, marital status, economic status, etc. I learned to incorporate the beautiful qualities I admired in them into my character. Having a little piece of every person I’ve touched, spoke with, shared with became a part of me. I love to learn about people’s individual life journey, I’m non-judgmental.
What advice can you give women going through a heartbreaking divorce? When someone promises you a lifetime, then speaks that exact vow to you - then walks out…. LET THEM GO!!! Thank goodness God has something better for you, embrace it.
What do you consider your best quality? I’m Authentic.
Tell us more about your musical background? I'm a classically trained pianist and studied with several high profile music instructors since I was a child. I have also played wth several rock bands including the famous "do-wop" group, The Del Vikings. I entered the Mrs. Colorado American contest in 1992 just hoping to win the talent portion playing the piano, but I won the crown!
When you have some, what do you like to do in your spare time? I love to learn new things, travel to unique destinations & read. I love live music and live theater. As a classically trained pianist and still play, I love to go dancing, exercise, love cooking beautiful food. I am dedicated to expanding my circle of friends & spending quality time with my daughter, siblings & Father.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now? Myself and daughter Lauren Steward will be thriving at Sanctuary Spa & Salon. We will be providing 5 Star esthetic services for male and female clients..... Sanctuary Spa & Salon will empower other women to achieve their professional dreams. Our staff will be a FIERCE FORCE in the esthetics industry here in Colorado. And - I plan on making the Invisible Disabilites Association (IDA) organization a much coveted volunteer and sponsorship opportunity.
How would you like to be remembered? As a friend who made it a priority to focus on our friendship. As the friend who inspired you to be better; the friend who empowered you to live your truth. The friend who was with you in your struggles as well as your successes…. loving you equally.