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Jan. 14, 2023

Tiffany Castagno - Women Supporting Women.

Tiffany Castagno - Women Supporting Women.

Are you a female entrepreneur who could use a self-care starter pack? Would you like to see how collaboration over the competition can benefit your overall wellness?

Today on the weekend edition of the Wellness and Wealth podcast, Tiffany Castagno of CEPHR, LLC addresses how many women-owned businesses still work with shame, judgment, and fear of collaboration because of their money mindset. She’ll also share how coming from an Abundance Mindset instead can lift each other and share knowledge.

In this episode, Tiffany Castagno answers the following questions:
What does supporting other women look like?
Is an abundant mindset learned behavior?
What is a self-starter pack, and how can it help?
Finally, what is the first step in breaking the negative competition cycle over collaboration?

Are you a female entrepreneur who could use a self-care starter pack? Would you like to see how collaboration over the competition can benefit your overall wellness? 

This weekend on the Wellness and Wealth podcast, Tiffany Castagno of CEPHR, LLC addresses how many women-owned businesses still work with shame, judgment, and fear of collaboration because of their money mindset. She’ll also share how coming from an Abundance Mindset instead can lift each other and share knowledge.

In this episode, Tiffany Castagno answers the following questions:

  • What does supporting other women look like? 
  • Is an abundant mindset learned behavior? 
  • What is a self-starter pack, and how can it help?
  • Finally, what is the first step in breaking the negative competition cycle over collaboration? 

Connect with Wendy Manganaro:

Connect with Wendy Manganaro:  


 Tiffany Castagno

[00:00:00] Wendy Manganaro: Hi everyone. My name's Wendy Manganaro and I am the Host of the Wellness and Wealth podcast. I'm so happy to have you find us. And if you could take a moment and hit that subscribe button, I'd really appreciate it. This is the podcast where we believe when you show up better for yourself as a woman business owner, you show up better for your business. 

So sit back, relax. And learn from the practical to the woo-hoo, how to best take care of you. Have a great day. Stay blessed. And leave a review when you're done listening to the show, thanks so much. 

[00:00:38] Wendy: Hi everyone. I'm very excited to have you back. As always, we have a new show, new guest, and new topic. Today we are talking about women supporting women our health is our wealth, and our guest today is Tiffany Castano, and she is the c e o and founder of sph, R L L C, of value-based human resources consulting firm, headquartered in pittsburgh, PA that supports small to mid-size businesses, startups, and nonprofits through focus partnering to build out their programs, processes, policies, procedures, and infrastructures in a strong employer brand and culture.

Tiffany is extremely passionate about cultivating the evolution of the HR profession toward new strategic heights. Tiffany is a co-author of a children's book, can a Zebra Change Its Stripes? A book in the series Bruno's Amazing Adventures with a Mission to change the world One Child at a Time.

The book teaches children about embracing differences. So welcome Tiffany. Thank you for being on the show today. 

[00:01:43] Tiffany Castagno: Thank you so much for having me, Wendy. I'm looking forward to this important topic. 

[00:01:47] Wendy: Thank you. So when we are talking about supporting women for you, what does that look like? 

[00:01:54] Tiffany Castagno: For me, I've been, especially lately talking about shining a light on others and I feel for women, this is really important when we look at opportunities and access, when we think about representation for women at work in our lives and how those two things intersect.

And I think that definitely has to be a part of the conversation. So I always embrace collaboration over competition as well, because I think so many women are fighting their way to the top, and it's creating this hypercompetitive environment where we're not supporting each other as well as we could.

Where we're maybe not showing up in these rooms for other women. Where we could or offering them a platform because maybe we wanna take it for ourselves. There is enough promise for all of us to go around. The other part, for me, I was very intentional when I, chose my title of c e o Initially, I thought, okay, I want some really fun, savvy creative.

HR title and I have with the tagline, but I think for me it was being a chief executive officer, we don't have enough women. We don't have enough people who are underrepresented showing that. So it was the representation, especially for black and brown women to see, hey, I can do that. And it's also so that women have an opportunity

To understand that they can have what they dream to build, to know that they're worth every bit of their wildest dreams. And I think that's so critical for people to understand.

[00:03:32] Wendy: Yes, I concur. And when I had my agency, I did founder instead of c e o, but I thought that was just as important because I was like, founder's, a very male dominated.

Way of representing yourself usually, and especially in the realm of marketing like I used to with my agency. It needed to be something that was separated, but still masculine enough to compete in those markets. Saying that as you were talking about collaboration, I'm so glad you're talking about that because.

I have throughout my career, and I'm sure you have to, when it comes to, self-care, I really feel women need women. We identify with each other and and we need to stick together, especially as we 

continue to go across the boundaries of what has been traditionally known and done, and so I personally still struggle with when I go to a networking event or I find a woman, business owners and they're so afraid of leaking out any little secret of their company, and I'm still amazed by this.

I will be honest, I'm very into collaboration, mindset, abundance. There's enough. I think that's what needs to be talking about more. So I'm curious, how do you handle that when you hear that? Because it. For me, it's so against the grain of what I truly believe in. When you hear that mindset of, no, I can't share this.

I'll lose something. Where does that bring you? 

[00:05:01] Tiffany Castagno: I love that, Wendy. And I wanna rewind just briefly to what you said about when we were talking about our titles, because when you think about, if someone identifies as a woman, but when you really think about a chief executive officer, when you think about a founder, we are wired as humans to have bias, and so likely we're thinking of a white male.

That's probably what comes to mind. And that's why, because we've been socially conditioned as society but there gender neutral titles. And so those are things we need to be considering too. So that's what I just wanted to share. What popped up for me, there. I think, absolutely there's enough to go around.

And I love that you talked about the word abundance. I think we call in what we invite, we manifest how we are, and what we're willing to give out. If you're a giver, you're going to receive, but if you're a taker, you're probably not gonna receive as much. And so I believe the more we share, the more we collaborate.

That brings in new opportunities. And you're also cascading that to other women. who need those opportunities, whether it's in our own businesses, those we choose to partner with, colaborate with. There are people, and I was warned very early on in this two year journey I've been on, be careful not everyone's gonna wanna share that or be careful what you give away or why are you sharing that or why do you give so much time away to prospects for free?

So it's about owning what works for us because we are in general conditioned by society, to be, especially in the U.S. To be very individualistic and so those are definitely factors for consideration. 

[00:06:38] Wendy: Yeah. And when you're talking, I was thinking about the fact that, I've heard 

you give too much time through the years. One of that though, and I will say, this is a learned behavior to take care of myself actually, is that if I do that, I really know that I wanna work with you. Because there is nothing worse, than taking on a client goes, you didn't spend enough time on the front end to find out that this is not energetically a match at all.

At all. And I've done that and I've raced into things and then I've regretted it so on, on the level of self-care. I think that's so important. I also think that it's important to do collaboration in that way too, is that you get to know each other, you get to partner with people, and suddenly, . You're like, oh, this is actually works.

Energetically, it feels good. It's part of your self care because you're not working with people who do not match who you are. And again, I've learned that very valuable lesson by not doing that and not listening to myself. And that's not self-care at all. When you have that voice of, this is not gonna be a good idea when you go do it anyway, you're like, this is now my own fault.

So, we were talking about abundance. For you, is this a mindset that you've always had or is this something that you've learned over the years? 

[00:07:58] Tiffany Castagno: That's a great question too. I love that you make self-care at the forefront and especially as people who identify as women, it is so important.

And I also love your vulnerability to talk about these are learned behaviors, learned lesson. I have found that the harder I fall on my face, the greater the lesson I learned. And sometimes that's okay too, to make sure that we sometimes learn our. Best lessons the hard way, so I can totally resonate and appreciate that but

I think for me, I think embracing that, and embracing abundance was a mix of a learned behavior and something that was always within me. I've always been high achiever. I've always valued community, that's always been important to me. So I've always wanted to give to others.

I've always generally been pretty supported. I learned the hard way how to move people outta my way who weren't supporting me or who weren't, maybe a good match in life or business. And so that's been great. Met with challenges, not good once we learn our lessons. But I think for me that's, it's really about what we're calling in.

My husband's very competitive, so we're very balanced that way. I've never been hyper-competitive. There's always some element of competition in business, let's be honest about that. There's always enough for all of us. It's if you want the best for others, you want the best for yourself.

If you're doing the right things and you're acting with integrity and you're okay with collaborating and sharing a little information along the way, and willing to be supported along the way, I think that's just a healthy mix and it invites abundance. That is my word of the season. This past like couple quarters, I've been really embracing that and.

riding the waves of momentum and trusting the process, which is super important too. 

[00:09:43] Wendy: Yeah. And let me go back to it for one second. Your husband, a competitor. I'm very competitive with my husband. We can't play a friendly game of Dominoes To save our life. It becomes a thing, it's, we take pictures, we share it on Facebook.

It's kinda a funny thing. It's the only place that I'm really that competitive. I'm not elsewhere, but Dominoes, we can go at it, but, I love that you said abundance is your word of the season, cuz actually I pick a word every year of what my word of the year is gonna be.

So I love that. I think that it's really important to embrace your word so that you can keep it as a reminder and in the forefront of the things that you do, as you do with 'em.

The other thing I was gonna say is that when you were talking about Embracing the journey and learning from the failure. I think it's okay to fail. I think that it's so okay to fail I don't know if our society makes it okay not to fail, but I think that failure is the impotence of knowing what you don't want anymore , because 

Sometimes we fail and we're like, oh, now I know what I don't want. But then it also shows us what we do want and then we can switch gears to be able to do that. the other thing that you were saying is that embracing your community and being able to do that, the more that we're in abundance, the more we can go support that community. The more that we are in that mindset, it's when we are in that scarcity lack. It's hard to go give if you're always afraid and that goes back to that collaboration.

If the more I can give out, the more I know I'm gonna receive, and then I can go give out to others. So I think that's a really key component. So for you, I'd love to know, what does community look like for you then? Because again, everybody's self-cares differently.

Community to me. I served the homeless for eight years straight without a break. So that was my community for a very long time. And now it's changed. It's different, but that was my season. So what does that look like for you? 

[00:11:33] Tiffany Castagno: You know, thank you for the invitation to even ask that because I think so much in life, we make so many assumptions and we know where that lands us.

But I think. It means something different to each of us individually, depending on your culture and who you are. I mentioned, we tend to be a little bit more individualistic in the US versus some other, cultures and countries, and I think that is very personal, how you decide to serve.

I'm a person of faith, so I believe that it might be, and I'm not active in church right now, but it could be your church, it could be your family. To me, it's all the people around who you love, who you support, your loved ones, but also who pour into you, who see you values, hear you, respect you, who want to see you do your best.

And for me it's inspiring those folks. It's making sure that the people, the right people around me who want to see me aspire to those good things. And it is about like having the right people at the right time. And it's your network constantly growing. That LinkedIn's a great space for that.

Social media is a challenge in and of itself, but I continue to show up there because of the strong sense of community and it's fed my business, it's fed me personally. And I think that's so important for us to have. We look at our self care, we all need a support system, and that is community.

[00:12:58] Wendy: Yeah. So, that leaves me to the question when it comes to female entrepreneurship and connecting with others, you have this self-care starter pack, so I'd love to know what that is and how that could help? 

[00:13:12] Tiffany Castagno: Yeah, so for me, let's just keep running with this theme of how we learn our lessons the hard way.

So, Seth's two years old and at the beginning and through three rounds of burnout. I had to learn the hard way to create this self-care starter pack for me. I think you know, it begins for me with intentionality and through business coaching, personal life coaching, counseling with a therapist through self-reflection and awareness, through personal and professional growth.

It all was this beautiful combination where the seeds were planted. I had to nurture it. Others nurture that when we talk about community and then it could bloom, and so I think for me, it's been definitely starting with myself at the start of a day, whether that's five minutes to, because the cat's snuggling, or taking a minute to read something professional or personal.

Check out what's going on in the news Text a friend. There's a great group of six of us, , from back home in Milwaukee who love to text each other and, there's so many different things but we often, I started racing into the day that's how, like I began entrepreneurship. There's so much to do. I'm a go-getter.

I have to get stuff done. There's not enough hours in the day still on this learning journey. And so I would B blaze into the day and I would just be fried by the end of it. And it was like, . Whoa. You blink. Months have gone by. A year has gone by, and I'm like, where was my Tiffany time? And I'm burning midnight oil constantly.

And so I had to really work through that, through self, through others to understand every day starts with me. Even if that five minutes or whatever time that is, if we're working out, going in the gym, whatever it is, if that doesn't happen, it needs to happen at some point in the day. So I have it on my calendar.

It's color coded, a bright line green so that it's like, did you take that self-care today? Making sure that happens and being intentional, being focused, setting priorities as part of that starter pack because we, especially as women, will. Put on our cape and go try to save the day. And we don't always have to do that.

Not every battle is ours. Not every person is ours, to save throughout, our crusades of the day or in business and life. So that's been really impactful for me. 

[00:15:32] Wendy: I love that you color code your self-care. So, I have a very colorful calendar too, but , I do use a task management system and part of the tasks I make sure that's in there, and I don't do it as a check off but I do it as a reminder of did you do something?

Like I have coloring in there like once a week. I like to Color. Once a week, I like to go to the park and I have a camera. I go take photos. Like yesterday I went there. I was like, it's a gorgeous day. Day to go to the park and just walk around the lake and take photos. And so that for me helps me, and I think that's really important, is to find what works for you so that you do self-care.

And whether it's a starter pack where you start in the morning or you just, for me, have to take breaks during the day. I'm okay with realizing that I do not have the attention I used to. And it's like squirrel and I. And it's better to do some self-care stuff than stick myself on a phone.

And then I'm going, what happened to my day? So these are the things that I do. I'm like, oh, it's midday. I'm gonna go take a break. I'm gonna go and I may meditate in the middle of the day to reground myself, whatever that is. And you were talking about burnout and I've experienced that, so I understand completely.

And there is something about burnout that once you're there, you go, this cannot work anymore. and I know that there are female entrepreneurs as we talk about those who may not like to collaborate as much, they are also usually the ones that like, if I try harder, if I try harder, if I try harder, not realizing that they're trying harder is actually hurting themselves and their business.

And I don't know about you, but anytime that I've taken care of myself and my business does better, just in general. 

[00:17:07] Tiffany Castagno: That's how it works, right? Like it seems intuitive. Yet we do these things to ourselves and that, what you just said resonated so much to the point that I got goosebumps because.

I thought, okay, I'll just run harder. I'll do this and I'm failing my business. If I don't do this, this is what I'm supposed to do. And my goodness, is there ever so much information out there conditioning us that we have to be in the ground. We gotta hustle harder. I think that you and I are both hard workers, but hard work does not equate to burden yourself out and grinding it out and

not listening to your body or, your soul or what needs to be fed. Those things are counter intuitive and counterproductive, and you'll run yourself right into a wall. I think, that definitely was something that resonated with me, especially with burnout. And you have to be, you have to have enough presence to take those breaks during the day to know.

this isn't going anywhere. This is a train to nowhere. I can sit here and stare at this document, but am I really gonna be pouring my best into it is really what people deserve, and am I serving myself the best that I can if I'm in a daze or I'm not really with it. Our creativity suffers when we don't have those breaks.

[00:18:18] Wendy: Absolutely. There's no doubt I'm, all of a sudden I have writer's block. I have all sorts of things. As soon as I don't take care of myself, I'm like, oh. So for you and your self-care, I'm curious because I know for me, you were talking about coaches, and I know that was the catalyst for me that changed everything.

It was 12 years ago when I met a coach and she was a dream coach but she was the first person who put it in my head that things could be different. I really did not know, and I had a business partner at the time who was always like, why would we hire a coach?

Her belief system was that they're not doing anything for us. We have to do it ourselves anyway, so why hire one? But that was her belief system. And so I'm curious, cuz you mentioned that was part of your journey. Cuz it was part of mine too is for those, because we're not coaches and so this is why I think it's good for non coaches to talk about coaches because I think 

there's a lot of what does that look like? Why do I need them? I always think it's good for.

entrepreneur is to hear what you could actually get from them. And there's so many different types. I'm not saying there's anxiety coaches and, dream coaches and business coaches, 

so in your experience, what made you decide, and then what did you really get out of that you might've missed out? Trying to figure it out yourself, because I think a lot of people miss that. 

[00:19:43] Tiffany Castagno: I like this. I mean, and there's coaches for coaches, right? cause each of us has a unique, something that we face and in our chosen profession or the profession that chose, that HR chose me.

 Speaking of what chose me, I'm like, did I decide? I mean, of course I made a choice at some point to do this. I think it was realizing that something's not working in this business and there's no shortage of coaches on LinkedIn and just seeing what other people, were doing.

And the person who first, coached me was before I got my business and so I fell into it. I was following him on LinkedIn and we built a relationship and he offered to coach me. So right place, right time. That became a pinnacle moment for me because I was sitting in a lot of fear.

I had wanted to own a business for over 10 years. I had an egging feeling that I wasn't serving at my full capacity by being in just one organization and I needed to do more. And it was really starting to like, that voice was getting louder and louder, and I think that had it not been for this coach, we talked, we dug into fear and what was holding me back and what my beliefs around fear were, what my values were, what I wanted our life like we talked about, I talked about earlier, here with you being able to live your wildest dreams and so, we talked about what would that look like if I were to dare to dream, to live my wildest dreams?

And that was captivating. It was extremely, liberating and gave me the confidence to not only start a business, but it was a catalyst to coaching. And there are different types of coaches, as we said. So I've had lots of different coaches for different things. I've had multiple coaches at one time, in fact, and.

We get in our own way a lot as humans, we don't always listen to our intuition. We don't always do the smart thing. It's what you said earlier about how we know and that we don't do it. It's like, no, better do better. But I still think I know, even though I know that's not the right thing. And so. We need someone who's objective to get us out of our own way, who's trained and skilled to invite the right curious questions and to really actively listen.

Who's not gonna just be watching the clock and trying to get their money, but who really knows you, who knows your business, especially if they are, coaching you on some aspect of your business. And so, it's a support, it's part of that community. I could not have done this and still can't.

And don't, and won't without coaching. It's critical, especially for those of us who are in a service business too. 

[00:22:17] Wendy: Oh, oh yes what I have found is that it's, coaching has in different times for different seasons, just as we were talking about, self-care is different. And community is different and all of that is different in different seasons. The coach you need at the time is different for different seasons too, and I find that they always show up right at the right time.

And then of course, how many ways that people coach too. It's group coaching, individual e-course. They're like, there's just so much. But what I like about it is that, you don't have to be alone in whatever you're going through and finding the right person to be able to, self-care, like saying, I need this help. I can't do this by myself. And reaching out to the right help to do, to get you there.

[00:23:02] Tiffany Castagno: I agree. I definitely agree. And because there's this myth out there that, like you said, oh, why are you know your partner? Well, they're gonna make us do stuff.

Yes. There's a myth that coaching is gonna solve all your problems. You don't have to do anything. And what am I paying you for? It's to open your mind and then your thoughts and the brilliant things. It's thought leadership. It's a lot of things and such beauty comes out of that. But it is in doing the work that we grow and we reflect and that is one of the greatest gifts I've gotten out of coaching as well.

[00:23:36] Wendy: Absolutely. you happened to mention it and I was like, this is a perfect segment to talk about that. One last question. So for Those entrepreneurs who have it ingrained everyone is a competitor.

What's one step they can start to take, to break that cycle? And I have to share this really quickly and then I will let you answer this question. I will say there are some industries that seem to lend itself to that thinking more than others. Marketing actually is one of them. I have gone to marketing events and they won't even say hello to me.

 It's okay. But there's other industries that laden themselves to it. And I have seen people who are on the top that don't even wanna share with the people who are under them because they're so afraid for them. So you have this like competitive against people in the same industry, but you have a, that they're like competitive with those that they either employ or they're download, whatever it is.

And I'm. Don't you all know that if you help each other, it might be better for everybody. But so there's this idea, so for those who have been ingrained, because I think it is cultural that we are that competitive, what's a step to get past that, especially from somebody who's in HR that I'm sure you see how that does not help

people going into work situations. 

[00:24:54] Tiffany Castagno: Yeah. It's definitely not helpful. It's why we see silos in the workplace. It's why people are disengaged. You want to be creating an environment of knowledge workers of a learning organization, and in order to learn and grow and for the business to make profit and customers to have a good experience.

You have to have collaboration and innovation and creativity and all the things we talked about with self-care lend themselves to that. And there's so much information hoarding that I see, or this panic. I've had so many conversations with leaders, executives, even employees where there's someone leaves and it's.

A big panic because we don't have that information. We have to quick, everyone's trying to extract it out of them. Well, if they're on their way out the door, do you think that maybe they're not as, ready, and it's not their top priority to be sharing all this stuff. They may forget stuff. You should have been trying to make that transition a long time ago and in creating an organization that does that, I think when people feel like, oh, well, I have to hoard this knowledge, I'm gonna keep it.

My piece of advice is simply put, do you, why do you need to like, feel somebody else is going to threaten you? Why do you feel that? We're just conditioned as society to sometimes not support each other. And there are enough people out there who are willing to help you. So if you're hungry for the knowledge, go out and find it , and find maybe that one person just isn't your person.

So, create a network where you're able to seek the knowledge you want. Again, I keep talking about LinkedIn, but there is power in community, and if you can, I wanna share this message because so many people think, oh, well, the network has to be in my organization, or it has to be in my industry.

Diversify that, change that up and go outside of your company doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. You're sneaking around looking for a job. We deserve and owe that to ourselves to gain as much knowledge as we can through diverse mechanisms. And that may be somebody outside of your organization, including mentors outside of your organization, because there's different perspectives to be gained by that.

And so I think that's definitely something I would wanna share with people but make your own terms. You don't have to do everything and you shouldn't on someone else's terms, even if you're employed by someone. I'm not saying don't do your job or follow what's what you're supposed to be doing, but we are individuals and we have perspectives that we can and should share.

[00:27:30] Wendy: it's interesting we said this, so years ago I was a director of a nonprofit here in Southern New Jersey in a division of it. And I would go, this is why it's important to go out of your organization and out of your industry. I would go to a meeting and, we all did the same thing. We worked with Welfare to Work and those who are, abled but needed job coaches.

And so we worked in that with that population. And I'd go to this meeting every month, lovely people. I love them. And they would all complain at the same time how there was no money for us. and thankfully, actually the president of the company at the time, and although I did not agree with him, everything and the VP of Finance was like, we have to get out of this cuz all we keep going is to the same place to hear there's no money and nobody's doing it differently.

And actually it was very smart because I started to go to different networking events and. How are other people in other communities succeeding? and that's what we're really talking about here is it's collaborating and learning how to grow within outside, and again, lovely people, lovely people, but there was only so many times you could go to that meeting and hear there was no money and nobody liked us.

And I was like, okay, there's got to be a better way. And so when you get out of yourself, To find the right collaboration, it really can be a useful resource to your company to, and to get other people's ideas of what really works and what doesn't. 

[00:28:58] Tiffany Castagno: Yeah. That's such a powerful example.

And it's the power of choice. The choice, to move to, if we're gonna get the same answer. Something has to shift. The power of choice and understanding. We can shift the narrative, as well. 

Yeah, absolutely. 

[00:29:15] Wendy: This has been an absolute pleasure.

I would love for you to tell people how they can find you and , chat with you because I'm sure other people have, especially if they have, HR questions. I'm sure as people have growing businesses. So I'd love for you to share how to get in contact with you. 

[00:29:32] Tiffany Castagno: Thank you so much. So I've talked a lot about LinkedIn.

You can find me at Tiffany Castagno on LinkedIn. I share a lot of HR and just general things about self-care and lessons I've learned in entrepreneurship in life. Would love to connect with you and hear from you. I'm also on Twitter, and so you can find me there at tmc or uh, you can email me at t cast supper consulting.com.

[00:29:58] Wendy: Thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate it. 

[00:30:03] Tiffany Castagno: Thanks for having me. We had a great conversation. 

[00:30:06] Wendy: So to everybody listening, if you love this show, please subscribe and leave us a review. Otherwise we will see you next time. And in the meantime, have an abundant week.

Tiffany CastagnoProfile Photo

Tiffany Castagno


iffany Castagno is CEO & Founder of CEPHR, LLC, a Values-Based Human Resources Consulting Firm Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA that supports Small to Mid-sized Businesses, Start-ups, and Non-profits through focused partnering, to build out their programs, processes, policies, procedures, and infrastructures, and a strong employer brand and Culture.

Tiffany is extremely passionate about cultivating the evolution of the HR profession toward new strategic heights. Tiffany is Co-author of a Children's Book "Can a Zebra Change Its Stripes?", a book in the Series "Bruno's Amazing Adventures" with a Mission "To Change the World, One Child at a Time." The book teaches children about embracing differences.