My Unlikely Path to Becoming a Business Owner

After a 12-year acting career, I was done. And acting was done with me.

Broke, exhausted, underweight, I left Los Angeles and collapsed at my mom’s house in Scottsdale, Arizona. She provided the perfect loving space for me to heal.

My mom, Ariel Wolfe, was a psychotherapist/classical pianist/camp director/single mom/psychic extraordinaire/sound healer/spiritual teacher all wrapped into one woman. Ariel was always ahead of her time, with a huge array of spiritual books from everything to Eastern philosophy to the great gurus of India. When I was 16 years old, she handed me Ram Dass’s book, Be Here Now. This was my introduction to all things spiritual.

What happened next was nothing short of miraculous.

It was 1995. A phone line, an old desk, a lot of chutzpah, and two crazy Jewish women: You get the picture, right?

Through a series of synchronistic events, my mom and I started a business creating spiritual events with some of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time. James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophecy, was first on our roster and was sold out with standing room only.

From this one event, our company blossomed. We named our business Mishka Productions, after our family dog who had passed. Mishka was a beautiful beam of light who brought such joy into our lives, it seemed completely appropriate to honor her life in this way.

From 1995 to 2002, we presented one event a month with a different bestselling spiritual author. Then, in 2002, we created a conference called Celebrate Your Life, which featured all of these great spiritual visionaries and teachers all together for one amazing weekend.

When people starting traveling from all over the world to attend, we knew this event was something amazing. It was like a smorgasbord of spirituality, offering something for everyone.

We realized very quickly that people were looking for a place to feel at home and to connect with like-minded people. I think one attendee said it best: “Half of the experience is the speakers, and the other half is connecting with the other conference participants.”

It is now 2019, and my beautiful mother, Ariel, has transitioned into spirit. I deeply miss her.
With me at the helm and my amazing team, we continue to create events that open people’s hearts, as well as inspire, transform, and heal their lives.

We have become world-renowned for our work over the past 23 years. There are times I look around at what has been created from that single phone line and old desk, and I am amazed. I never set out to have my own business; as a matter of fact, I have no business training or background!

I am not sure how all of this happened, but suffice it to say, the universe gave me a sacred gift. I am to be the caretaker of this treasured entity called Mishka Productions and Celebrate Your Life Event, and not for one moment do I take for granted what an honor it is to have been chosen for this role.

As we embark on our next project, the International Women’s Summit, which takes place March 7–10, I’m in awe at how much joy I still feel after all these years of creating our inspiring live events.

I invite you to come join us for the International Women’s Summit and spend the weekend with some powerful female teachers, including Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, Laverne Cox, Lisa Nichols, Glennon Doyle, and many more presenters.

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About the Author | Liz Dawn

A former professional actress, Liz Dawn and her mother, Ariel Wolfe, created Mishka Productions and Celebrate Your Life events over 22 years ago. Liz is currently the CEO of CYL and while her mom Ariel has transitioned into spirit, she is ever-present at all CYL programs.

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