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Claudia DiMartino is a successful business woman turned actress and playwright. She took a risk and left corporate America.  She now shares her life's journey which helped her realize - it's never too late to go after your dreams.


About two weeks ago, I received a residual check in the mail for a TV show I did in 2007.

This time, I just laughed with the amount and decided to post it on Facebook with the quip, “There’s nothing like getting a check in the mail.”

I received some funny responses; but there was one that stood out and got me thinking.

“Hmmmm. I take it as an affirmation that your “two cents” are worthwhile.”


I always thought it strange growing up that, whenever an opinion was asked for, the question was, “What’s your two cents?”

Looking back, I find that question funny because I grew up in an Italian-American family that was very opinionated. Ten completely different dysfunctional people all with very strong opinions on everything. What I remember is a lot of yelling and very little civil discussion.

Personally, I couldn’t stand the yelling. I became very reclusive and often didn’t share what I thought.

By the time I was 16, the family physician recognized that I was extremely nervous and quiet for a teenager. He suggested to my parents that I should see a psychiatrist.


How humiliating!

They finally gave in; and it was a painful experience.

Every week they would take me to the doctor’s office. I didn’t talk in our sessions. I barely talked to my parents, why would I talk to this stranger?

He had to bring in other family members to find out about me.

After a year, enough was enough. I did start coming out of my shell; but I was still a bit of a cracked egg.

I was an introvert; and I often kept my opinions to myself.

I carried this personality trait into my adulthood only it morphed into my needing to assess things before I formulated an opinion.

To this day, I like to observe and get the facts. I believe this gives more weight to what I have to say when I decide to say it.


Figuring out what I was to do in life was a struggle.

I loved TV and the movies; and even though I voiced my opinion to my parents that I wanted to pursue acting, that was not even a topic open for discussion.

I wasn’t ready for college; so, I worked as a secretary. I started out in the beauty industry; and then had a brief stint working at a major advertising agency in New York City.

It was there I decided I wanted to go into marketing. Except, I wanted to be the client.

After years of going to college and getting an M.B.A., I finally moved into marketing; and the reality of this career choice hit me hard.

I discovered marketers like to be seen and heard.

Oftentimes, I would be in meetings and people would be so quick to offer up their opinions without the facts. I learned early that my needing to observe and get the facts was a problem.

I had to learn to navigate this world without getting eaten up. It took quite a while to learn this lesson.

When I was an Assistant Marketing Manager, I struggled to be seen and heard. The other assistants were assigned to businesses with more visibility.

It was here that I learned that all that bravado was meaningless. I realized that a house built on sand will fall.

I was so bothered by the lack of substance I coined the phrase All Fluff and No Stuff.

I became the clean up crew. I needed to develop plans to offload all the excess merchandise from other businesses.

I felt like I was in the doghouse and became known as “the queen of distressed merchandising.”


Yet, it was during this time that my substantive approach to business was reinforced and took hold. I had first-hand experience witnessing and dealing with the results of pie in the sky planning.

My “two cents” was being formed.


We often think of a penny as spare change.

I often find myself scrounging through my wallet to find a penny or two to round out paying a bill with cash.

As I’ve given thought to the comment on my Facebook page about my “two cents” being worthwhile, I’ve taken a hard look at two cents.

Each cent holds the image of one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

He may have been quiet and reserved; but his opinions and his words had and still hold so much value to this day.

His words are thought provoking and powerful.

I remember standing in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. during the bicentennial anniversary of our country and crying, along with others, as I read the words of The Gettysburg Address engraved on the wall of the memorial. I felt so dwarfed as the words loomed large and carried so much weight.

I no longer look at a penny as small change. It has great value.

Observing the penny and the image it holds has given new meaning to me of giving “my two cents”.

I have grown and changed so much over the years. I’m no longer that introvert. I have come into my own and am grateful that I have found my own voice.

Trusting each step I have taken, I am amazed that I am writing articles to share my life experiences in the hopes of encouraging and inspiring others to go after their dreams.

I am encouraged when people contact me and share that I have inspired them in some way to never give up believing in themselves, their hopes and their dreams.

The penny has shown me that the opinions that I have formed during my lifetime have value. I like to think their worth is priceless.

Your “two cents” is priceless and so are your dreams. Remember…it’s never too late to go after your dreams!

Claudia DiMartino

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