Maria has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and is no stranger to business and business development. At the young age of 12, she started working for her grandfather at his hotel and restaurant businesses. Maria even made tips as a young child pumping gas for tourists at his gas station on weekends. At the age of 14, she started working as an elf at Santa's Land; a Christmas themed amusement park. She still holds the 50-year history sales record for the most Santa letter's sold!
Using her extensive experience in dance, drama, band, and theater, Maria opened a dance and theater business in two locations at the young age of 19. She was selected to work on a movie with Kevin Bacon and Timothy Hutton. Around this time, she co-founded a successful outdoor advertising billboard company with her husband. Both businesses are still in operation today.
In September of 2001, Maria officially started her public speaking and training career. Gaining recognition as one of the top income earners in her field in yet another entrepreneurial adventure, she found herself placed in the limelight and was soon asked to travel the country to speak to and train other groups. She worked closely with President Donald Trump and his staff on a project that was launched in 2010.
While on the road, Maria realized how important it was to develop leaders in different areas, and she implemented some of the things lacking in leadership. Through her discovery, she developed CATS (Caring Attitudes That Succeed) and DANCE (Decision making, Action steps, New ways of thinking, Choices in risks, and Education to keep growing) to help people become diverse leaders in an ever-changing world.
CATS is a program that focuses on mindset, self-evaluation, self-talk, and goal setting for your personality style and work habits. Maria's DANCE program is a step by step action guide.
Maria's successes attracted the attention of a publishing company that invited her to write a book about business, personal growth, and leadership. In the book, she discusses mindset, goal setting, action steps, failure, and competition in the industry. Dancing to the Stars is full of secrets to help you climb your way to the top of any company.
Maria aligned herself with John C. Maxwell, one of the #1 leadership authorities in the world. Maria is a certified speaker, trainer, and coach for the John Maxwell Team. She has traveled nationally and internationally and has been asked to speak in places like Australia, Germany, Ghana, and Costa Rica, to name a few.
Today, Maria continues to work with some of the top industry leaders and entrepreneurs in the country. She has been invited to be a guest on several talk shows, including "The Dan Vega Show," which airs on ABC. She is also involved with several important causes. She is an accredited public speaker for Compassion International, where she advocates for children in extreme poverty, helping children worldwide get sponsorship for food, clothing, education, and health care. One of her missions is to educate people on what Compassion International is and how to get involved in helping children in extreme poverty live a more quality life. Through monthly sponsorship of a single child, the whole family is educated on how to make a living, child safety, hygiene, and provided primary health care.
"I am gaining financial freedom but I also have time freedom that allows me to stay home with my family. To me, success is about faith, family, financial independence, joy, and giving back." -Maria Lyons
Maria is a licensed minister and has organized work with and for mission teams, youth organizations, and churches. She serves on the executive board of a globally recognized leadership equipping organization known as led2serve. Led2serve mobilizes groups from all over the world to work hand in hand with different cultures and countries rebuilding communities, schools, & churches by building relationships. Maria is also a contracted Journey Leader for teams that travel into the Great Smoky Mountain's area. She orchestrates seminars based on individual group needs of leadership and team building for led2serve.
Maria also serves on the Board of The Mountain Emmaus Community. She is clergy and an ongoing guest spiritual director for many upcoming Mountain Emmaus Walks and Flights. Her duty a board member is to serve in the prayer chapel on each walk for the next three years. She will be available to community members to pray, minister, and offer advice on biblical issues.
Although Maria has had many accomplishments in her career, her proudest is being a woman of strong faith and fulfilling her role of mother to her amazing children and loving wife to her husband, Loyd. She is also very active in her community and the mentoring of others.
Maria's newfound passion is herbal medicine and therapeutic massage. As a child growing up on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, she was taught many of the healing arts of herbs. After selling her dance and theater company of 25 years in business, she found herself back in school, getting a degree in Complementary and Alternative medicine with a concentration in herbal medicine and therapeutic massage. She has already started her fourth business venture as a licensed therapeutic massage therapist with an herbal product line known as Practically Magic. It consists of lotions, creams, scrubs, herbal capsule, teas, tinctures, infusions, and decoctions. Maria takes individual appointments only and perfers to work closely with a clients medical doctor. Smoky Mountain herbal is dedicated to a clean, safe, holistic environment where everyone is welcome.