Woman Wednesday: Thao

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Thao, Newark, California

“It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability, and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down.”

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about connecting with and helping people! I have been a stay-at-home mom with a home-based business, but prior to that, I was working in corporate in the human resources field. Despite being great at my HR jobs, I was not fulfilled. Then I became a full-time stay-at-home mom, and that has been challenging. For years, I felt guilty about not fully enjoying being at home with my kids as much as I thought. The thing is, I know to my core that I’m made for more. It was not until I decided to take a huge leap of faith last year and started my home-based business that I finally feel empowered to create my own joy.

I now have a balanced life in that I get to be home with my children but also have something of my own! Aside from the flexibility, what I love about my current job is I get to help and impact other people’s lives in ways I never knew I could. It brings meaning and purpose back to my life all because I learned to listen to my gut instincts and did it despite uncertainties.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States when I was 9 years old. Growing up, my parents had a successful home-based bakery and were extremely busy with their business that there was no family structure and minimal quality time. Needless to say, I was an unhappy child and didn’t feel I had anyone to go to. My upbringing definitely had a huge impact on the person I’ve become. I struggled with self-esteem and insecurities as a child, and this played well into my adulthood despite having a bold and outgoing personality. However, I’ve done well academically and achieved both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees by the age of 24.

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I was ambitious, focused, hardworking, and driven. It wasn’t until after finishing my master’s and entering the real world and workforce that I became more lost than ever. For the first time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life! I went into HR, left it, came back to it, and then finally left it altogether after having kids. I desperately tried to figure out my purpose and direction in life, but I wasn’t able to do it for years. I think my self-awareness, resilience, and persistence have been instrumental to my growth and overcoming challenges. After I became a mom, I have been secretly living with depression and anxiety. Finally, I had the courage to share my story last winter on Facebook. It’s mind-boggling what these mental disorders can do to someone’s self-belief and ability to enjoy life. I realized during my darkest moments that the one person who was always there for me despite anything has been God. My struggles have indeed deepened my spirituality and commitment to redefining my life. The only person who could bring real change to my life is me and only me. I am not a quitter!

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have learned that no worldly achievements will bring lasting meaning and happiness to my life if I don’t make an effort to develop myself and become the best version of who I am meant to be. Self-growth is the best gift anyone can give to themselves and has personally helped me cope with my mental disorders and life challenges in general. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma in our society and in most cultures about mental illness. I want to be the voice of people living with mental illness and show others that it is definitely possible to thrive in life despite your mental conditions. I also want young people to know that it’s okay to not know what you want to do in life. Some of us still couldn’t figure it out in adulthood! It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down. I also wish I was less fearful of trying new things for most of my life. Now, I’ve learned that doing things despite fear is the key to unlocking my best self and best life. It’s never too late!

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: For years, women have been limited by what we can do, and feminism to me is about breaking boundaries and glass ceilings. I see the ideal world of equality, and if that is desiring the same rights and privileges as men, then call me a feminist!

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Woman Wednesday: Deasha

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Deasha, Manchester, United Kingdom

“You do not have to have tons of money. You do not have to have knowledge or experience. If you have enough drive, ambition, and vision, then you can create any life that you want.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about helping female business owners to leverage their time and scale their impact and income. I love taking care of the planet and recycling and exercising as much as possible, which is why I work with women that have similar values and want to create a life of freedom for themselves.

I manage a business called Social Treats. Social Treats is a social media management and coaching business. We help wellness entrepreneurs to build organic strategies that really help them to get more reach, engagement, and think outside of the box to reach their target clients.

I wrote a book called She Did It. This book is about me, the story of how I struggled with creating a life that was different from the norm, how I overcame imposter syndrome, and how I focused on creating a life that is different, unique, and on my terms. And I want to help other people do the same.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I am a traveler at heart and that is because of my father. Together, we have traveled a lot of the world. My dad is more than happy to stay in hostels, ride on night buses, and go volunteering. I spent 5 years traveling and working and learning about myself and the business I was capable of running. I knew that I wanted to create a path for myself that was different from others, that did not tie me down to a location, and that did not have me working a strict schedule and that allowed me freedom. 

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I think my favorite place to travel with my dad was Costa Rica. We spent New Year’s Eve in San Jose (had our passports stolen from the hostel) and went to a monkey park to volunteer to rehabilitate spider monkeys. It was so much fun and so different from most people’s father-daughter holidays. And my favorite place that I’ve visited on my own is Thailand. I have spent so much time there, and the people are just amazing—plus the food is to die for!

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: You do not have to have tons of money. You do not have to have knowledge or experience. If you have enough drive, ambition, and vision, then you can create any life that you want.

And some tips for helping the world is just to be more conscious with every decision you make, take a refillable bottle and cup with you everywhere. Try to recycle or reuse anything you have, and try to reduce the amount of plastic you have in your bathroom. Do you need to buy all that shampoo and conditioner or is there a local place where you can refill your bottles and not have to buy more plastic?

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism is the freedom of choice—to choose how you live your life and to not be defined or put in a box by anyone. 

 

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Woman Wednesday: Chante

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Chante, Richmond, Virginia

“The only excuses you have are the ones you make.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about service. I love to help people in any way I can. I’m very passionate about women’s outreach. I believe that I have experiences that I can share with other women that can help them. I believe in being the change I want to see in the world. I currently work as an admin assistant with a third party workforce program for women offenders in the prison system. The majority of the women there have gone through some type of substance abuse, which goes right along with my personal journey. I am currently working on developing a women’s program called “Victors!” Its purpose is to reach women like me in ways I wish I could’ve been reached. I also have my own event and floral design business called C-Unique Designs.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were pretty rough. Before the age of 15, I was raped by 4 different men. I was so scared to tell anyone; I just kept it all to myself and tried to handle the issues on my own. Leaving bruises, hickeys, and hand prints on me. I felt useless and helpless. My parents divorced when I was very young and could not get along to save their lives. I tried my hand at sports, but I was bullied a lot until about my junior year of high school. I started off as a social butterfly that could mingle with any group of people. I knew all the jocks, the basketball players, the cheerleaders, the goths, the preppy kids, the nerds, and the “popular kids.” But life kinda has a way of throwing a curve ball at you. I now spend my days rebuilding my life. I believe that I am a victor and not a victim. I specifically remember one very hard time in my childhood. At the age of about 11 yrs old, I was admitted to Tucker’s program (suicide watch) at the hospital. I spent a week there, which felt like a lifetime. I connected with other men and women that also wanted to end it all. This is where I decided people like me need help. Not hospitalization. We’re not all the same, and we’re not science projects, test dummies, or animals. Long story short: you choose what defines you. My situations and experiences do not define me. Anything is possible, and the only excuses you have are the ones you make.

 

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Pictured: Chante and her fiancé celebrating their recent engagement. 

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Something valuable I’ve learned is to play the cards you’re dealt with. I’ve heard many people say “Control what you can and learn to overcome what you can’t control.” That is so profound to me because yes, there are times we won’t be able to control some of the things that happen in our lives, but we must keep moving and keep going. I’d like for others to learn that you can do whatever you put your mind to. You’re only a statistic if you allow yourself to be! No matter what kind of curve ball life throws at you, you can get through it. Also, it is very important to know when to get help!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means power! I do indeed believe that women have a lot harder of a time getting things done because of all they are expected to do. I believe that this is also a superpower. Women can do unbelievable things! I love leaving a shocked expression on people’s faces.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Dana

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Dana S., Huntington Beach, California

“All the things I’ve overcome have brought me to be the strong woman I am today.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: My passion is to serve others as much as I can before I leave this beautiful Earth. After becoming sober, I went (and continue to go) through a transformation of my heart. I currently work as a licensed life insurance broker helping others through those difficult conversations. Two projects I am working on launching this March 2020 are my podcast with my husband and my wellness coaching venture. With so many years doubting myself and participating in wrong behavior, I want to show others they’re not alone. The story hasn’t ended yet.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up with my grandparents raising me. My parents fell into their addictions, and I followed their footsteps at an early age. I was able to be in my addiction while living what others thought to be a “normal life.” I finally came to grips with my problems and was able to celebrate my 1 year of sobriety in November of last year. I also finished my degree in business in December. All the things I’ve overcome have brought me to be the strong woman I am today.

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I think the most powerful thing to learn early on in life is to love yourself for the good and bad. Coming into your own helps with the foundation of what you do and don’t allow to happen in your life.

 

Pictured: On the right and left are members of Dana’s family. 

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: To me, feminism is the utmost act of love to extend to women. Fighting for the rights of women to be equal and not be predisposed to the inequality we face today.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Alison

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Alison W., Virginia Beach, Virginia

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about helping women feel beautiful in their own skin. I am the owner of Wanderlust Dream Hair, and I sell hair toppers for women with thinning hair, women with hair loss due to medical conditions, and women who just want that extra volume! I have always had fine, thin hair and tried everything to make it appear thicker: hair extensions, volumizing spray, et cetera, but nothing really worked for me because traditional hair extensions do not address thinning on the top of your head. I also started medical treatment for chronic migraines that created even more hair loss, so I was motivated to find a solution. Then I discovered toppers! Toppers clip to the top of your existing hair and create the appearance of thicker, fuller hair.

 

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Body image is such a big issue for a lot of women. Most of us don’t realize that those celebrity hairstyles we covet are just wigs, toppers, or extensions. Hollywood paints a false picture of what a naturally beautiful woman looks like.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were volatile. I was born with a limb difference (Poland syndrome), which means I only have two fingers on my right hand. So, confidence was a big issue for me growing up. Add thin hair to that, and you have a recipe for a wallflower. My mom was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away when I was 13. I remember when she brought home her first wig from the wig bank. She hated it. It was hot and because it was made for someone else, it never fit her comfortably. She was embarrassed to leave the house somedays because of how she looked. I really wish that we had known about toppers back then. I think she would have loved them. My mom is a big part of my “why” when it comes to my business.

 

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Pictured: One of Alison’s clients using her Wanderlust Dream Hair topper

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Something valuable I learned from a young age, due to my limb difference, is that sometimes you have to find your own way. You have to figure out how to do things yourself and not try to imitate someone else’s process because it might not work for you. I think this idea is helpful in life and in business. Comparison is the thief of joy. We are resilient, and it is amazing what we can do when we let go of traditional mindsets about how to do things and figure out what works for us. I’ve also learned to laugh at myself more. I started taking improv/comedy classes a couple of years ago. Being on stage is one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. It has also boosted my confidence in general. The first rule of improv is to make your partner look good, which means saying yes to whatever they say. So, if they tell you that you are an alien, you are an alien. I’ve learned a lot about teamwork and confidence doing improv. I highly recommend improv; it is so good for the soul.

 

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Pictured: Before and after of one of Alison’s clients using her Wanderlust Dream Hair topper. Hair topper is shown on the right. 

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism is a word that has always had a bit of a negative connotation to me. I am more of an egalitarian; meaning in my marriage, we share all of the responsibilities. There is no such thing as woman’s work or man’s work. My husband is the better cook anyway! And I can lay a tile floor. I love busting through those gender expectations. I am definitely not anti-man, but I am definitely pro-woman! I think it is important for women to support other women. Yes, we have disadvantages in the workplace. Yes, we are not always treated equally. So, I think it is important to support and encourage each other as women instead of tearing each other down. We women can be super competitive, but I want to cheer on my competition. I want us all to win.

 

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