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: Marina

*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 Marina, County of Međimurje, Croatia

“Make brave decisions and just start before you are ready because “the right time” is just an illusion. Don’t wait until you will have time–create time for things that are important to you.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: As an activist, entrepreneur, and gardener, I’m passionate about possibilities to constantly create and contribute to creating a better community. I help aspiring individuals develop competencies, careers, and businesses so they can reach their potential and achieve success. Also, I help companies create a healthy foundation for their business, develop their brand, and create business growth strategies.

 

After high school, the “box I put myself in” became too small for me. After I quit my first job, I started to grow–personally and professionally. I founded an organization, I worked as a manager, head of sales, project manager, mentor, consultant, and now–I am the CEO of my own company “Konekta,” where I help others find their passion, their life and business purpose, and create the life that they want to live. I am the creator of Successful Women podcast, #MOŽEŠ (You can do it) campaign, I organize conferences and networking events, create educational videos, write for Croatian business magazine “Poduzetnik” and last but not least, I am a Bio gardener, and I love to learn. So, if you ask me what my biggest passion is–the possibility to constantly create is my passion, as well as contributing to the community and helping others. This is what led me to this moment in my life where I can say that I am absolutely satisfied and happy.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: The atmosphere in Croatia in the ‘80s and ‘90s was not supportive of individual development. Priorities were to find a job, get married, have kids, and get a mortgage, and that’s it. My family was sometimes having a hard time accepting that my sister and I were not “like the other kids.” Today, they are proud of us both–my sister is also an entrepreneur and an author.

It takes a lot of courage to become the person that you believe you can be. But even though others sometimes couldn’t understand our choices, the strong women in my life– my mom, grandma, and my grandma’s sisters made a great impact on my life. My grandma’s lessons about integrity and respect for people and the community created my path. All my life, I was a human and women rights activist, and for a long time, I worked with unemployed and marginalized women. Today, I am doing very similar work in my own company–I empower people, mostly women, to reach their potential and create prosperous businesses they can be proud of.

 

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

A: Never give up on your dreams. If you don’t have support, be your own support. Make brave decisions and just start before you are ready because “the right time” is just an illusion. Don’t wait until you will have time–create time for things that are important to you. Celebrate your successes–don’t just put new benchmarks to achieve even more. And most importantly–you can do it. You most certainly can do it!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: For the last 19 years, I have been creating opportunities for women and supporting them so they can stand up, be visible, and become stronger and proud of themselves and their work. For me, feminism is based on love and pride; it is creating equal opportunities for all as well as equal distribution of power among men and women.

 

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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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