Woman Wednesday: Felissa

*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 Felissa, Atlanta, Georgia  

“People will judge you, try to change you, try to break you, and even try to stop you. But that is all in the process of getting to the top!” 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I wanted to have a career where I could give back to people in a real impactful way. I had always wanted to help others and make a difference. Although teaching in the classroom was something I loved, I never felt like I could create the life I desired. Six years ago, I was a tired, overweight mom of two with no energy. 

 

I was always looking and doing the “next best diet” and as everyone knows, diets are not sustainable for life.  I finally decided it was time to educate myself on nutrition and health so I could create a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. After losing 40 pounds and stopping being such a skeptic, I started sharing my success story with others. I partnered with a health and wellness company and a nutritionist and created a career that would inspire and empower people to live their best life through a journey of nutrition, wellness, and creating a healthy mind and body. 

 

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I was only looking to drop a few pounds and get my energy back, and what I found was a community of people with a vision that empowers others to do more than they thought they were capable of doing. As I continued to share my story: of the nutrition and our life-changing opportunity, to my surprise, by the end of that year, I surpassed my teaching income and decided to jump in with both feet (well, sort of). 

 

Actually, when I let go of worrying about what other people thought of me, and was open to new opportunities and possibilities, and that was when my life changed. I cared too much about what other people thought of me, and it prevented me from doing the things I wanted to do or being who I truly was. This has given me a sense of achievement, purpose, and community and a profession where I can be my own BOSS. Every day, I have the opportunity to help people change their quality of life both physically and financially. That feels pretty amazing.   

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

I had a wonderful childhood and was raised in a very loving home in Savannah, GA.  My parents always supported me and wanted me to enjoy every minute of life.  I graduated from the University of Georgia, where I received a bachelor’s degree in Audiology and Speech Pathology and then continued to Georgia State University, where I received my master’s degree in the Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  I then taught grades kindergarten through fifth grade over the next 12 years.  

 

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During the last few years I was teaching, I began to realize I wanted more than just living for weekends and holidays. I found a way to plan my work and passion to help others around my life verses planning my life around my work—working days and hours that were best for me, with no cap on the amount of income I could earn. 

 

 

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

A: I learned very quickly that big dreams don’t come easily. People will judge you, try to change you, try to break you, and even try to stop you. But that is all in the process of getting to the top! Learning to get comfortable with the uncomfortable was an important lesson for me and not easy. All my life, I cared what others thought of me. Life is better when you’re not so concerned about how other people will view you for your actions, choices, and decisions. 

 

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Sometimes you have to risk so much for a dream no one can see but you.  It became very apparent that I had to surround myself with people who supported me on my journey and would be there to lift me up when I fell (because I fell a lot). Whether it was the weight loss, the career change, or my new positive outlook on life, I had to stop feeling guilty about the decisions I made. I have had many challenges along the way. I could not make excuses anymore. It was time for results, and you can’t have both! If you take anything away from my story, I hope you will learn to be authentically, unapologetically you because it is your ultimate freedom and where joy is found.

 

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism advocates for social, political, and economic equality for men and women. 

 

 

Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

Felissa Covin
Make the Shift
Healthy Mind and Body

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

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Woman Wednesday: Helaina, 911 Survivor

*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.        


Helaina Hovitz from New York, New York

Helaina Hovitz was twelve and in middle school three blocks from the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.

“I started trying to put myself back together—first, in 12-step programs, where I learned to stop relying on substances to quiet the chatter in my mind.”

 

Anyone who has survived a horrific event knows that just because a body remains in motion does not mean everything will simply “go back to normal.” The chemistry of the brain and the body changes, impacting our relationships, our choices, and how we experience the world around us. Yet, we rarely find out what actually happens to people as they try to move on from a life-threatening experience—especially children, who are just beginning to develop an understanding of the world around them.

 

You remember where you were on September 11, 2001. We all do. For me, it was the second day of seventh grade at I.S. 89, the middle school just three blocks from the World Trade Center. My first-period teacher, Mr. H., was beginning a lesson when what sounded like a giant whirring motor interrupted him. Moments later a teacher knocked on the door and told us that someone had bombed the World Trade Center. We were quickly ushered to the cafeteria.

No one at the school knew what had really happened, but shortly after the second plane hit the South Tower, the bomb squad burst in and announced that we had to evacuate. Droves of hysterical parents arrived to take their kids. My mom and dad were stuck at their offices, but I spotted my neighbor Ann and her son Charles, whom I walked to school with every day. I wanted to go home. They could get me there. Through the oppressive smoke and ash, we tried to make it back, but police blocked our usual route. The street under us rumbled. Shards of glass and concrete screeched down all around. “Cover your faces!” Ann shouted. “Don’t look back, and run!”

 

At 22, I identified as an alcoholic and was often the youngest one in many of the 12-step meeting rooms (I didn’t need to go to rehab). I never picked up a drink again. Life became more fun than it had ever really been because my feelings were real. Girls my own age wanted to be friends and hang out with me, do things like go to the movies or have brunch. There was plenty to do that didn’t involve drinking when you knew where to look for it, and about two years into sobriety, when I had worked on myself, not just through CBT, DBT, meditation, and the steps, I had rebuilt the life and identity I never had the chance to when my world came crashing down at age 12. Like the woman I had only imagined, I would be my wildest fantasies—calm, patient, clever, understanding, selfless, and rational—I began to build a life and welcome people into it who made me feel happy.

Most of all, these tools made me feel safe in the world again, and safe in my own skin. Safe in my own ability to be “okay” no matter how painful or stressful things got. Changing my perspective and expectations for “fun” also changed the game—when I started thinking about what I could bring to or contribute to a situation, how I could help someone else laugh or feel happy, rather than what I could “get from it.”

A wise teacher once told me that before you can feel happy, or loved, or give love or make someone else happy, you have to feel safe. And that was when life became fun: because I had the capacity to feel it.

Through meditation, I found peace between my thoughts. Through yoga, which can still be a challenge, I began to focus on the moment. Now, when the subway stops suddenly, my adrenaline doesn’t surge. I distract myself with emails, listen to my favorite song, or think about what’s for dinner. Panic wants to creep in, but its seduction doesn’t work anymore. I can let it go. [Eighteen years ago] today, more than 3,000 people died and more than 6,000 were injured. Thousands more survived but were forever changed—myself among them. But today, I’m finally able to move on. I’ve learned the best way to work through my fear is simply to stay still. No more reaching, no more fighting. And no more running.

I have shared my story with the world.

In many ways, After 9/11 is the story of an entire generation growing up in the aftermath of America’s darkest day. It is the story of a group of children who directly survived September 11th, 2001, and bore its invisible scars for the rest of their lives. And, for one young woman, it is the story of a survivor who, after witnessing the end, got to make a new beginning.

 

The events and experiences that are now common knowledge to everyone were a very real part of Helaina’s life, and are still as vivid in her memory today: the sickening thud of falling bodies hitting cars, the crumbling towers, running for her life as she tried to get home, her universe engulfed literally in a cloud. Hundreds, including Helaina, were stranded in the neighborhood, also just blocks from the fiery remains of the Towers, without phones or electricity or anyone to help. For fear of subsequent attacks, not to mention the toxic substances in the air, everyone was urged to stay inside their debris-filled apartments.

 

Helvaina’s page

Medium feature

Glamour feature

Thank you for reading. What’s your experience or memory of 9/11?

Comment below.

Woman Wednesday: Lasheika

*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 Lasheika, Miami, Florida

“Everything happens for a reason, and don’t regret a thing because it’s all a part of your journey.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Hi, my name is Lasheika. I am a mom of five boys and an author of experiences. I recently began my blogging journey, but my love of writing was recognized in middle school. I love to write and now that I’ve had experiences in love, life, family, and marriage. I choose to share those experiences with other moms in the hopes of them gaining more insight, support, and encouragement.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was raised by my mom and step father. Just having a nonexistent relationship with my biological dad was enough for me to go looking for love in all of the wrong places. I became a mom at the age of 17, which was one of the most scariest and happiest times of my life. Two weeks after giving birth, I returned back to school. I graduated three months later. The birth of my son was a true game-changer for me. Seeing this little human made me push past my own emotions and shoot beyond the stars. Now, five kids later, I was more determined than ever to find my purpose. I felt that by having five kids and being able to maintain my sanity was something that I could share with the world. Me feeling neglected and then me finding love in my marriage and through the births of my children have me wanting to share my experiences with those who faced similar challenges.

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

A: I would want other women to stay encouraged, continue pushing forward in faith. Believe and know that God will never leave nor forsake you. Most importantly, nothing is a mistake. Everything happens for a reason, and don’t regret a thing because it’s all a part of your journey.

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism is our unique flawlessness. It’s the strength that we possess that no other has. It’s our ability to bear weight that only we can carry. It’s our boldness, our beauty, our courage and strength to overcome.

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Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

Comment below!

 

Woman Wednesday: Jamie

*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 Jamie, Vancouver, Washington

 

“Limits are a mindset, not a reality.  Allow yourself to try things and treat life like a game.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am incredibly passionate about being the architect of my life. I am consumed and wildly in love with this idea that as I build a business, I’m creating something in our world that was never there before and can help people along the way.

 

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I run a digital agency called Trend Rocket Digital, and I’m a business coach focused on female empowerment. I believe it’s my duty to show women that you CAN have it all and that happiness gets to look like whatever you believe it to be.

I found this passion when I was 18, and truthfully, it came to me suddenly. I was sitting on the floor of my 650-square-foot apartment, 6 hours away from home, after being let go from a nursing job due to my brain condition and I had no clue how I was going to move forward. I knew that I couldn’t live a normal life if my health continued to get in the way and then I realized, I was going to have to build my life. So, I dropped out of college that day and pursued entrepreneurship.

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years really made me who I am. I have an incredible family. I was raised out in the country with my mom who was my best friend, and my step-dad who was in my eyes, my dad. He was an entrepreneur himself, but also incredibly down to earth. I had 3 brothers and a sister, too. But, my childhood was also incredibly full of struggle. At 14, I began having health issues where I’d lose my vision and get incredibly dizzy. For a couple of years, it was pushed off by doctors as puberty and hormone imbalance.

 

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However, by my senior year, I was now in a wheelchair with an undiagnosed condition that was getting progressively worse. I was passing out up to 50 times a day. I’d broken ribs, sprained everything imaginable, and yet, every test came back normal. I had grown masses on my spine that were affecting my nerves and every day was potentially my last. Not only did doctors not know what was wrong, but they also couldn’t tell me that one more concussion wasn’t going to kill me.

It took us 5 years to finally find out I had a rare brain disorder called Dysautonomia.

 

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My childhood and high school years were obviously life-changing, but I believe that this was a massive piece of who I am now. Without this illness, I wouldn’t have learned to be independent, strong, and a problem solver. I wouldn’t have had the interest in self-love, and development. I would never have imagined that I should run a company on my computer. But all of this came because this rare disorder shaped me into a capable woman.

By the time I was 20, I had also unfortunately lost my step-dad to a battle with stage 4 cancer, and my brother to another illness. My family has been through so much, but because of it, I’d say we value our lives, health, and time more than anyone else I know.

 

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

A. I think if my story can teach anything, it’s that if I can find joy and happiness in life after dealing with all that I’ve dealt with, and still build a business—you can truly do whatever you desire.

Limits are a mindset, not a reality.  Allow yourself to try things and treat life like a game. No one gets out alive anyway, and the worst that will happen is that you’ll end up in the same spot you’re in now.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: I think, for the most part, feminism is a great concept. However, I think that at the core, many women also seem to lean into their own excuses and place sexism as the reason they’re not where they desire to be.

 

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There’s an episode of The Profit where a woman who runs a successful online flower shop continually brought up sexism as the reason she wasn’t getting investors, when truthfully, it was because she was incredibly hard to deal with as a person and basically cried “sexist” to anyone who told her that something was wrong in her business.

You don’t get to be the empowered woman you are capable of being and play victim at the same time. Believe it or not, the market will buy a great product–regardless of who’s selling it–man or woman. The market isn’t sexist, and you can’t allow feminism to be the reason you’re losing.

Go grab what’s yours, empower yourself, empower your fellow sisters in business (or just other women period), and earn the life you desire!

 

On the images I’ve attached:

One was on Christmas day with my dad who was battling stage 4 cancer, and me in my wheelchair. We were still having so much fun that day and making the most of it.

There’s also an image of my man and me. He’s been there through so much and has been the greatest support system in my life and business.

There’s an image of myself and a large group of friends. That was at my company launch party!

There’s an image of my mom, my sister, and I.

And then, just one of me! The reason I chose that one of me is because I’m sitting on my desk by my computer, and it represents so much to me. I built my desk by hand. I used all the tools, sanded it, painted it, and then it became the space where I built my business. So much of me has gone into this desk, and this computer–so, I think it’s a perfect image for this!

Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

Comment below!

 

Woman Wednesday: Sarah

*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 Sarah, Seattle, Washington

 

“Sports have been a passion of mine since I started playing soccer at 4 years old, and I have been coaching for 15 years. In addition to being a soccer player, I have now joined the Seattle Majestics football team to try my hand at something new. As a rookie this year, I am excited to step outside of my comfort zone, learn to tackle, and hopefully win a championship with the impressive women who make up this team.”   

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: As the CEO/ Founder of Girl Boss Sports and a professional tackle football player with the Seattle Majestics this year, you could say that one of my biggest passions is sports. Girl Boss Sports is a company I created for two main reasons: 1) To improve the pipeline of female sports coaches as there are simply too few of us (for example, only 21% of soccer coaches in the US are women) and 2) To provide a quality sports experience FOR girls BY women (currently we are focusing on soccer in the Seattle area). We work on soccer-specific development, mentality, fitness, AND do all of this with the added benefit of providing female role models to the athletes we coach.

 

Sarah Wolfer (1)

 

Sports have been a passion of mine since I started playing soccer at 4 years old, and I have been coaching for 15 years. In addition to being a soccer player, I have now joined the Seattle Majestics football team to try my hand at something new. As a rookie this year, I am excited to step outside of my comfort zone, learn to tackle, and hopefully win a championship with the impressive women who make up this team.

 

I am also passionate about leadership, women supporting women, and being a “womanpreneur.” Currently, my two big goals are having the best season I can with the Majestics and scaling up Girl Boss Sports as we hire several coaches and are establishing partnerships with other local businesses who have similar goals.

 

Sarah Wolfer Headshot

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: Being an athlete my entire life was one of the most impactful things on who I am to this day (and I’m not alone in this). According to a survey of female C-Suite Executives, 96% said that they participated in sports as a teenager, and I am one of those individuals. Sports ignited my passion for leadership when I first took on the role of “captain” and then eventually “coach.” Sports also taught me life lessons about teamwork, accountability, working toward goals, sportsmanship, confidence, and communication–all these things that have helped me to be successful as a woman in this world and at work. These lessons I learned along the way are a huge part of who I am today and what Girl Boss Sports is working to do for the next generation of female athletes and coaches.

 

 

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

A: I have learned that if you want success (in whatever area that is for you), it takes hard work, grit, preparation, and resilience (and one without the other doesn’t work). Life will hit us hard at one point or another, and the ability to be resilient in the face of adversity is one lesson that sports taught me that is transferable to finding success and happiness in life. Secondly, I have learned that nothing comes easy that is worthwhile, and this is where hard work and grit comes in. One thing I often find myself speaking about to the athletes I work with is centered around these topics. Often I have found that athletes can be hard on themselves if every movement, touch, etc. is not perfect every time. Instead of getting frustrated about not having fully developed a specific skill we are working on, I discuss that it is not perfection we are after, but progress. The only way to progress at something is to go through the discomfort of imperfection. Finally, whenever I am working on a “hard thing” (and what that is varies depending on the circumstances), I have found that by preparing for it ahead of time not only does it go better, but I have significantly less anxiety around it as well. Preparation really is the key to success in life!

 

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One of the things I hope you learn from my story is the power that sports can have on anyone and everyone. Being involved with sports provides so many opportunities to teach life lessons and find success on AND off the field. Whether you are someone who has never played before or thinking about getting back into it, just do it! There are a ton of recreational leagues and teams and classes around the nation that could be a great outlet for you and I highly recommend it. And if you are someone with children (or know somebody who has children) I’d encourage you to get them involved in (and help them stay in) sports. If you have girls, it’s even better that you’re reading this. By age 14, girls are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to drop out of sports, and this is incredibly sad to hear. This is due to a ton of reasons including lack of access, costs associated with participation in sports, and lack of positive female role models. These are all things that Girl Boss Sports is working to change.

 

 

Sarah and Adriel

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Intersectional feminism is where it’s at! This means that I am striving to do my part in advocating for equality not only among the sexes, but also working to be inclusive of women with other intersectional identities (i.e. women of color, LGBT+ women, women with different abilities, and more). As someone who has experienced how hard society can be on us women, it is so important for us to stand together and advocate for one another in everything we do.

 

 

Connect with me!

 

Girl Boss Sports:

Website: https://girlbosssports.com/

Email: Info@GirlBossSports.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/girlbosssports/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/girlbosssports/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/girlbosssports1

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/girlbosssports/

 

 

Sarah Wolfer:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ceo_sarahwolfer/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahwolfer/

 

 

Seattle Majestics Women’s Tackle Football:

Website: https://seattlemajestics.wnfcfootball.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theseattlemajestics/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seattle_majestics/

 

 

 

 

 

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