Early mornings can be tough. Do you ever wonder if you are the only one struggling to get out of your comfy bed? Like, is it really easy for some people to get up after just one alarm? Everyone has a different morning routine. Whether it is drinking coffee, watching the news or checking Facebook, we all have that “something” that gets us centered and gets us going.

We’ve gathered up a group of seven successful Louisville women and asked them to share their morning routines. We got to find out what their morning secrets were and how their mornings are so successful – just like them! Maybe their routines are just the inspiration your morning needs …

The Morning Routines of 7 Successful Louisville Women

Dawne Gee

News Anchor for Wave 3 News

Dawne Gee is an evening news anchor for Wave 3 News, a local news source in Louisville. She has been with the team for almost 24 years and is also an active member in the community.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

The night before work I take a shower, I lay out all my clothes and jewelry, I look at my calendar, and I prepare for any special speaking engagements or appearances I have the next day.

Do you have a moment of prayer, envisioning your day or mantra at any point in the morning routine?

My prayer or mantra painted over my bed, the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night:

The light of God surrounds us;
The love of God enfolds us;
The power of God protects us;
The presence of God watches over us;
Wherever we are, God is!

What do you do for breakfast?

I know I should eat breakfast, but that does not always happen. I love oatmeal. I love vegan sausage on biscuits with jelly. I usually end up grabbing coffee and maybe a vegan Pop Tart if I can get to Flora’s — not the best for me, but it is good to me.

First order of business:

First order of business at work is getting ready for my first show of the day.

Second order of business:

Second order of business for the day is to always slow down for a minute to make sure I’ve not forgotten anything. I look over everything just as I do the night before.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is particularly helpful to you in your morning routine?

I have learned not to panic when things do not go as I have planned. There is a divine order to it all. As long as I am doing my best and giving my all, it will work out for my good.


Oksana Kusyo

Principal Broker/Owner of Executive Realty

Oksana has been a principle broker and the owner of Executive Realty in Louisville for five years. She attended the University of Louisville and got her MBA with an emphasis in entrepreneurship.

Do you have a moment of prayer, envisioning your day or mantra at any point in the morning routine?

When I get up, I usually close my eyes and stand tall for a minute or so. I try to fully quiet my mind.

Alarm goes off at:

Between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. It depends on the day.

What do you do for breakfast?

I love smoothies. Usually I make a banana-strawberry smoothie and have a cup of coffee.

First order of business:

Look at my Google calendar and the to-do list from the night before and tackle the most important, time-sensitive tasks first.

Second order of business:

Look through my emails.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Look through all new properties that hit the market in both residential and commercial areas.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is particularly helpful to you in your morning routine?

Always start everyday fresh, and if something didn’t go according to plan the day before, have a new beginning in the morning.


RaeShanda Johnson

Owner of All is Fair In Love and Fashion

RaeShanda is the founding chair of NCBW LOUISVILLE, a designer, boutique owner, author and philanthropist. She likes to wear edgy heels and colorful maxi dresses.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

Set reminders of meetings and call backs.

Do you have a moment of prayer, envisioning your day or mantra at any point in the morning routine?

I lie still and tell myself that there is nothing that comes my way today that God and I can’t handle.

How do you choose your outfit?

“Fashionably comfortable” is very important.

RELATED: Bermuda Shorts & Culottes: Are They Really Back on Trend?

Alarm goes off at:

No alarm needed. My passion wakes me up.

What do you do for breakfast?

Something light. I love Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds.

I have to __________ or my morning doesn’t feel complete.

Take an hour of quietness.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is particularly helpful to you in your morning routine?

REPEAT: Every day is not a good day, but every day is worth it.


Shannon Cogan

News Anchor for WAVE 3 News

Multiple Emmy winner, Shannon Cogan is an evening news anchor with Wave 3 News and has been for about five years.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

My day is a little bit different in that I work from 2:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., anchoring the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts on WAVE 3 News. When I get home around midnight, I always make sure that the kitchen is clean, all the dishes put away and the dishwasher emptied, and I make my boys’ lunches for the next day, if we have school. I do not like waking up with a messy kitchen.

Do you have a moment of prayer, envisioning your day or mantra at any point in the morning routine?

I wish I had time in the morning for a moment of prayer, but when that alarm goes off at 6:50 a.m., it’s get up and go to get two kids out the door by 7:30 for school. But at night, the last thing I always say to myself is, “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad for it.” I like ending on that positive and peaceful note. My 9-year-old twins also say that before going to sleep.

Alarm goes off at:

6:50 a.m. But then I go back to sleep for a nap at 8 a.m. to 9:30 or 10 a.m. I find that I need this nap to be awake for the 11 p.m. news. The days that I don’t get it are not usually good days. I try to go to sleep at 1:30 a.m., and I’m absolutely not one of those people who can function on five hours of sleep. I am at my best when I have seven hours of sleep.

First order of business:

Giving my kids kisses to wake them up (after brushing my teeth). They usually need about five minutes of sweet talking and stretching before I finally have to yank them out of bed.

What do you do for breakfast?

I am a pretty healthy eater. I might have oatmeal or hard-boiled eggs, or my favorite would be wheat toast with avocado and a poached egg.

I have to __________ or my morning doesn’t feel complete.

Drink two cups of dark roast coffee with a splash of cream.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is particularly helpful to you in your morning routine?

Do NOT hit the snooze button. When I anchored the morning show in Dallas, TX, and had to get up at 2:30 a.m., I realized how key that was. I set two alarms so I didn’t oversleep, and one clock forced me to get out of bed to turn it off. I felt so much better just getting the eight extra minutes of sleep and not hitting the snooze button.


Karen Milliner

Owner/Founder of  Professional Networking Services and We Speak for You – Speaker’s Bureau, LLC.

Karen is a networking professional in Louisville who has years of experience in marketing. She created Professional Networking Services, LLC after realizing that small business owners often lack the skills or resources to effectively network and market their companies.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I always check my calendar (sometimes multiple times if it’s a packed day) and get all necessary paperwork and files together.

Do you have a moment of prayer, envisioning your day or mantra at any point in the morning routine?

I usually mentally go over whatever presentation I’m giving that day and think of key topics that would generate a connective story. I try to keep those stories current; so, it may be content interjected from the last 12 hours of news or activity.

Alarm goes off at:

Anywhere from 5 a.m. to 6:15 a.m.

First order of business:

If my day doesn’t start with a meeting, then I’m checking my emails first thing.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Research and build projects and speeches for clients and myself. Anything that takes a lot of creativity must be completed in the morning.

RELATED: Louisville Business Leaders Share Lessons Learned from Early Career Mistakes

I have to __________ or my morning doesn’t feel complete.

Have a Starbucks chai tea latte

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is particularly helpful to you in your morning routine?

Getting ready in the morning is my time. Don’t give that up to thinking about work. Give yourself the gift of thinking about you for a few minutes.


Carla Terwilleger

Director of Talent Management and Organizational Design at Power and owner/artist of Twiggy Originals

Carla is the director of talent management and organizational design at Power, a marketing agency focused on installed home products. She is also the owner and artist of Twiggy Originals, colorful versions of the femme fatales.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

An easy morning sets the tone for the day, so it is critical that I do as much as possible the night before so I’m not in a rush. This begins with checking my calendar to see what my day looks like; then checking the weather to see what outfit will work best. I choose my outfit from top to bottom and hang it on the back of my closet door. If I plan on working out, which can be a big part of my morning, I will lay out my workout clothes, so I have zero excuses not to hit the pavement. Then, I prep my smoothie – so all I have to do is grab it from the fridge, blend it and go.

Do you have a moment of prayer, envisioning your day or mantra at any point in the morning routine?

I feel very strongly that the first words you utter set the tone for your mood and the day. When we say, “I’m so tired,” we will feel tired, but if we say, “I feel great” or “I feel alive,” we have set a positive tone for our day. I repeat these phrases a few times throughout the morning. Once I’m out of the shower, I play music from my “work out” mix to lift my spirits.

Alarm goes off at:

My FitBit watch alarm wakes me with gentle vibrations at 6:20 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

I have always been a fan of protein-packed smoothies but have recently been obsessed with Blender Bombs from Hush Up & Hustle. If not a smoothie, I will eat a hard-boiled egg with a large glass of water. I gave up drinking coffee and caffeine last year but will make a decaf green tea if I need a little kick.

First order of business:

Kiss my husband good morning. It’s one of his only requests.

Second order of business:

Pop in my studio and touch up any paintings I worked on the night before. Because I always have 20+ commissions going on at one time, I have to balance my side hustle with my day job as best as I can, so I don’t lose my mind.

I have to __________ or my morning doesn’t feel complete.

Make the bed

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is particularly helpful to you in your morning routine?

This is a big secret of mine: Smile while you’re blow-drying your hair. Each time you smile, you throw a little party in your brain. Smiling releases your feel-good neurotransmitters – dopamine, endorphins and serotonin – which help relax the body and can seriously change your mood. So, if you’re having an off morning, smiling can trick your brain into a good mood. Seriously, try it tomorrow!


Janis Harvey

Hairdresser and Owner of Studio 151 Hair and Nail Salon

Hairdresser and owner of Studio 151 Hair and Nail Salon, Janis Harvey has been doing hair for 35 years. She can do your hair in a “hot flash!”

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I mentally make a list of what I need to get for the next day — supplies, products, etc.

Do you have a moment of prayer, envisioning your day or mantra at any point in the morning routine?

Weather permitting (I don’t do snow), I walk about 2 miles every morning. Sunrises are my favorite part of my day! I love to use that time to pray and thank God for all His blessings. It’s also a great time for me to clear my mind and mentally recharge.

Alarm goes off at:

5:30 to 6 a.m. is my normal time to wake up, but just in case I don’t, the alarm is set for 7 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

I usually stop at McDonald’s and get an unsweet iced tea. Not much on breakfast, however I love lunch around 10 a.m.

First order of business:

I scan over my appointments for the day. I am always excited to see who’s on my book for the day.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Return phone calls or text messages.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is particularly helpful to you in your morning routine?

I have to exercise in the morning, or it’s just not going to happen.

Thank you to Dawne, Oksana, RaeShanda, Shannon, Karen, Carla and Janis for sharing their morning routines with us!

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