Five business women in the greater Milford area are setting off the New Year on a new foot and hoping to change the lives of five women.

Shauna Sottery of Balanced for Success, Pat Pere McCarthy of Reflexions for Health, Andrea Mullen of Fitness for Women, Kathleen Mascia of Skin & More and Jen Messore of Mary Kay call themselves the MORE Team, or Make Over Resolution Experts. They are starting off the year together looking for five women in New Haven and Fairfield County who want to change their lives.

"From all the different shows out there on T.V., the self-help shows really stuck in my mind," said Sottery, a therapist and life coach who co-founded the program. "There are not a lot of events out there that help just women. Nothing creates a total lifestyle makeover."

It was over lunch that Sottery and co-founder McCarthy, a certified reflexology practitioner, decided to promote this "New Year, New You" event that would help women make lasting changes in their lives.

"Women put everything into their family or their business," McCarthy said. "They have nothing left for themselves.

"This has been a dream for a long time," she continued. "I said to Shauna, 'why can't we just have an ultimate lifestyle makeover in Connecticut?' We got together and it just took off. It's kind of morphed into this."

"We needed something to help women achieve and get a head start," Sottery added. "We needed more than just a facial. We needed a complete transformation. We have to get back to the fundamentals of women helping women."

The group is now in the process of seeking out five deserving women to receive three months of services that will help turn them from "a caterpillar to a butterfly." Applicants must be between the ages of 30 and 60.

"We chose the 30 to 60 age range because that's when the real changes occur," McCarthy explained. "Transitions really seem to take place during these years."

The group will be working together within their own fields of expertise to help the contestants achieve these life-changing transformations.

Sottery, who runs her business in Woodbridge, called herself "an action-oriented now gal." She will help women get the tools they need to redesign their lives.

"I'm a big believer that if you only have one life to live, live it now," she said. "I help women achieve their highest potential in life."

McCarthy works in reflexology, a field much like acupressure, which is performed mainly on the hands and the feet. She uses her background to help people relieve stress and achieve balance in life.

"If you don't decrease the stress in your body, you can't accept anything else," McCarthy said. "When I touch people's hands or feet, they just open up."

Mullen will be using her facility, Fitness for Women, to help women achieve the physical well-being they need and crave. She offers classes in yoga, Pilates, belly dancing and much more.

"I don't take no for an answer," she said. "Women will come in here and look at the step or the stability ball and say, 'I can't do that.' But two days or two weeks later, they can do it.

"It all starts with loving yourself," Mullen continued. "Then you can love others."

Mascia is a clinical aesthetician who specializes in alternative skin care. She worked for years in the sign business, but decided to go back to school after having a great experience getting her own monthly facials.

"When I'm working with women, I know when I'm finished they always say they feel better," she explained. "It's like a tune-up for your car. They leave feeling wonderful.

"They can see themselves differently," Mascia added. "That's what I want women to get out of this."

"When they look good, they feel good," Messore said in agreement.

As a sales director with Mary Kay, Messore is in the business of making people look good. She said she would be in charge of "glamour" for the MORE Team.

"The mission of the team goes in conjunction with that of Mary Kay and with my own beliefs,' she said. "It's others-focused."

While the MORE Team will be providing numerous services for their contestants, they all agreed that the main goal of the project is to help women build respect and love within themselves.

"If you constantly give and give without receiving, you're giving from a place of emptiness," Sottery said. "We're not only changing the lives of five women; we're affecting their families, their co-workers and so on. We hope this will have an exponential effect."

"If we can take five women, and change their views on themselves, they can change their lives," Messore added.

The team will provide services for three months with the help of numerous sponsors, which include Metro Women, Dressed for Success, Healthy Foods Plus, Natural Glow and many others. A sponsor reception will be held in February so sponsors can actually meet the contestants.

The final "gala" unveiling will be June 10, at the Orange Courtyard by Marriott, where what the team calls the "Butterfly Queen" will be introduced. This woman will be the one who has undergone the most substantial life change out of the five contestants.

McCarthy summed up her hopes for her small group in terms of the larger world around them.

"Never underestimate the power of a loosely knit group working for a good cause," she said. "We are a small minority, but a powerful force working together to make a difference because we can.

"Our power is beyond our number and much greater in good," she concluded.

Interested women can fill out an application by Jan. 30, at Fitness for Women, 135 Cherry St., or Reflexions for Health, 2068 Bridgeport Ave., both in Milford. An application can also be downloaded at www.balancedforsuccess.com. A $1 application fee is required, with proceeds going to local food banks. For information about sponsoring, contact Sottery at (203) 605-1399 or McCarthy at (203) 301-0600.