Radio Show

What Is Your Why?

If you love a really good heartfelt story with a big why, then check out this episode of Collaborative Connections Radio Show and Podcast.

Irene Ploski, Jesse Pekarek, and Jayashri Sarkar share their whys, lessons, tips, and tears with host, Kelly Lorenzen.

They talked about all things small businesses, nonprofits, horses, startups, entrepreneurship, community and of course, collaboration.

These amazing business owners shared their stories so authentically, it felt like they were all old friends. You will feel the same way after you listen to it. Listen below on Spotify.

Our Featured Guests


Happy Hooves is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing animal assisted therapy and activities to those in need. Animals improve the human experience and quality of life.

From those struggling with dementia, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, depression, anxiety, grievance, trauma, to name just a few, the animal interaction has incredible benefits for all.


Jesse Pekarek was born and raised on a family dairy farm in MN. In working with and showing animals at local fairs, he developed a strong sense of connection, empathy, compassion, and of course, a strong work ethic.

Jesse received his degree in Education and moved to Tucson in 1999 to complete his student teaching requirements, and later, held positions at an at risk school as teacher, director of curriculum development, and later the director of instructional technology, managing curriculum, instructors, and advisors.

Jesse then pursued a career in residential real estate, obtaining his license nearly 19 years ago, and continues to sell real estate to this day. Having held positions as a loan officer, operations manager at a local hard money lender, and even selling property in Mexico, Jesse’s depth of knowledge in the field, combined with his degree in education, has paved a successful real estate career.

Jesse has always felt a strong connection with community and the need and importance of giving back. Jesse has founded two non-profit organizations. His first non-profit, “Your Someday Is Today” provided necessary clothing for children in need within our community. Raising approximately $100,000 over ten years.

His current non-profit, Happy Hooves, focuses on helping the community an another way…providing animal experiences and activities for those in need. From autism, dementia, PTSD, to depression. Jesse finds his purpose in being the conduit between humans and animals, and opens his home to those open to the experience.

Jesse is active in his community as well, creating a neighborhood district called “Coyote Flatts” with a mission of preserving the rural, “neighborly” feel of their quaint, quiet, and colorful community. He has also opened up his home by creating a “community farm”, where people can come to volunteer and experience the joy and rewards in assisting with the love, care, and maintenance of the farm animals.

Jesse began hosting with Airbnb Experiences in 2019, started hosting Airbnb Online Experiences in 2020, and just a few weeks ago, began hosting their new guest house where people can book and share a deeper connection with the animals, having a stay at the farm.

Connect with Jesse on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram


Founded in 2009, Independence Insurance Group PLLC is an independent insurance agency and have several options to offer to our clients.

Our team is not bound to a single insurance company that offers a single type of product, instead we look for the best fit for each of our clients. Our goal is to find the right combination of coverage and price.

Our team strives to provide knowledgeable, prompt, clear and honest service to our clients and prospects. We are a relationship-based agency with our clients, business partners and professional network. We actively serve our community through fundraising & volunteering.


Irene Ploski has been in the insurance industry since 2003. She is married and is the mom of 2 very busy teenagers, a high-energy Golden Retriever and a Doberman.

Irene is fluent in Spanish as she is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 2000 and became a U.S. Citizen in 2010.

She founded Independence Insurance Group in 2009. She has been a founding member of Networking For Charity, a Central Phoenix-based business networking group that focuses on generating qualified business referrals while engaging in philanthropy and volunteering.

She has been Vice President of NFC since 2014. NFC has raised over $60,000 for small local nonprofit organizations in our community.

She is also Vice-President of the Phoenix Lions Club, a global organization of volunteers that join together to give their time and effort to improving their communities and meet humanitarian needs.

Irene is also a member of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Phoenix Elks Lodge #335.

Connect with Irene on LinkedIn and Facebook.  


Achievers Legacy’s purpose is to assist individuals and small businesses find sustainable and affordable air purification & drinking water filtration solutions for a healthy lifestyle.

Air and Water are two major elements that are critical to our health.

Both the air we breathe and water we drink are exposed to contaminants. Their goal is to provide solutions for both (air & water) that benefit you, your family, and your business, cost effectively in long term.


ImagiNexGen Institute of Excellence has a vision to build a connected world driven by trust, integrity, belonging, compassion, equality, and character leading to tolerance, synergy, fulfillment and peace.

They help individuals to discover their path to excellence leading to a joyful, meaningful, and purposeful life that engenders trust, happiness, fulfilment thus building a connected community.

They do not take a one-size-fits-all approach. They customize the work we do with individuals and organizations to their unique needs so they are set up for success in the long run.


Dr. Jayashri Sarkar has a Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island. She has worked in the corporate life for a decade.

She is passionate about providing value and great service through her businesses and building a sustainable community in the process.

She believes that small businesses play a major role in shaping the culture of a community and how they serve their communities builds a strong sense of belonging.

She strives to provide the best with her businesses Achievers Legacy and ImagiNexGen Institute of Excellence.

Connect with Jay on LinkedIn and follow Achiever’s Legacy on Facebook and Instagram.

About Collaborative Connections

Kelly Lorenzen started the “Collaborative Connections” show to bring her clients and favorite charities together to meet each other, connect and collaborate in life and business.  She hopes to build a stronger community one show at a time. 

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