Woman Wednesday: Brie


Q and A with Brie, Burnsville, MN, USA

“I don’t want to be known for what I look like, and I don’t want to be treated any differently just because I am a woman.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: There are a lot of things I am passionate about. One is my job. I started my career as a correctional officer in a large metropolitan jail in Minnesota. While I loved the setting and population, I decided to leave to pursue higher education and a career in psychology. Thereafter, I earned a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology, and I worked in several state and federal prisons throughout my training. Now, I work as a forensic psychologist. I complete competency, criminal responsibility, civil commitment, patterned sex offender, and risk assessment evaluations. My work consists of reviewing police discovery (e.g., crime scene photographs, video and audio recordings, legal documents) and other records, interviewing defendants, administering and interpreting psychological tests, writing a report, and then testifying in court as an expert witness. Recently, I started a private practice, through which I also provide supervision, serve as a business consultant, and review research proposals. Given that my work can be mentally and emotionally draining, I maintain balance with activities I am passionate about. Specifically, I always need to have both physical and creative outlets. For example, I train in boxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) and I have another business as a freelance makeup artist. Other things I am passionate about are cooking, traveling, salsa dancing, and gardening.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My parents started a business planning performing tours for high school music groups when I was three years old. My father brought my sister and me on the road with him and taught us about the business from an early age. This has hugely impacted my life, as I am now a business owner myself. The business also allowed us to travel as a family. By the time I was 18 years old, I had visited all 50 states and dozens of countries. Aside from travel, however, my parents made sure we were exposed to other cultures, customs, and languages. We had very close friends from Nigeria and three exchange students (they were from Mexico, Argentina, and Poland). I, too, studied abroad twice, spending a semester each in Mexico and Spain. I also backpacked around Europe for one month. I feel so fortunate to have had these opportunities. Travel has taught me independence and confidence. I have gained a new perspective in life and appreciation for what I have. I also learned the value of speaking another language. My goal is to always have traveled to at least as many countries as I am years old.  Another significant and related aspect of my childhood was cooking. My father loves to cook and he shared his love of it with me. It was something we often did together. He cooked two new dishes each week, and often, we tried foods from all over the world. Cooking for friends and family brings people together and is an act of caring and giving. It was also way I could connect with my Italian heritage and explore other cultures.


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

A: I hold several important lessons with me. One is to be humble, ask questions, and always be open to feedback. At the same time, however, know your worth, believe in yourself, and walk the world with confidence. Despite holding a doctorate in clinical psychology and being considered an expert witness in court, it took me a long time to feel confident. I always assumed there were so many other, more experienced clinicians than I. Likewise, it has always been hard for me to ask for the compensation I deserve. Nevertheless, you have to be your own best advocate. Second, as an introvert, I hated the idea of networking. It felt so disingenuous. Inevitably, however, most career opportunities arise via word of mouth. Also, it doesn’t have to be inauthentic. Form friendships, reach out, ask questions, and make an effort to stay in touch. Third, it really is a small world. This is especially true in my field. There are only two state agencies that employ forensic psychologists, so we all know one another. This is also the case throughout the country. Therefore, it’s so important to comport yourself professionally and never burn any bridges.

Your reputation matters. Fourth, I have learned I must always find balance. I have taken on a lot of endeavors and am always busy. I work full-time, own two companies, have several side gigs and contracts, develop professional presentations, write manuscripts for publication, and am seeking board certification. I also dedicate my time to several hobbies and need to set time aside for my family, my friends, and myself. This is a constant juggle and I am often overwhelmed and exhausted. It’s important for me to stay in tune with those feelings, self-care, and prioritize so I don’t get burned out. Lastly, I am always pushing myself to do things that scare me or that I don’t believe I can accomplish. Whenever I have doubts, I want to prove to myself that I am capable of achieving what I set out to do, even if it’s hard. As a result, I have earned a doctorate, started two businesses, run an ultra marathon, gone skydiving, and gone scuba diving in narrow cave passages, among other things. It is my perseverance in the face of self-doubt that I am most proud of.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: When I was younger, I hated dresses, the color pink, and anything else I perceived to be “girly.” I felt that the only way I could establish myself on equal footing with the boys and find acceptance was to reject my feminine side. As an adult, I have always worked in male-dominated environments and participated in male-dominant sports (e.g., hockey, mountain biking, boxing, BJJ). This led to a lot of inaccurate assumptions, unwanted attention, and unfair treatment. Being told I couldn’t do something because I was a woman was also a frequent occurrence. An ex-boyfriend once told me I couldn’t be a forensic psychologist, and my uncle told me girls don’t play hockey or box. Unfortunately for them, I like to challenge people’s assumptions and prove them wrong, so I did all three. As a correctional officer, my male co-workers didn’t think I was capable of performing my job as well as they were. I was dismissed as just filling a quota and I was the subject of sexual harassment. When I resigned from my position, they admitted they made bets about how long it would take before I cried and quit. Despite making a significant effort to dress professionally and conservatively while working in prisons, my physical appearance was the topic of conversation. People were always surprised when I told them where I worked, as if I didn’t fit the mold. I once had a female supervisor suggest I wasn’t even like the other female correctional officers because I didn’t play hockey (I did). Similarly, on the mats, men did everything they could to prevent being beat by a woman or they were patronizing. I don’t want to be known for what I look like, and I don’t want to be treated any differently just because I am a woman. Therefore, I am particularly interested in paving the way for other women working in correctional environments or joining male-dominated sports. My goal is to help women garner respect, rather than be patronized or objectified. I make it a point to try to address these issues whenever they come to my attention. I want to challenge people’s assumptions, or at the very least, advocate for what I believe in. I also want women to be able to both embrace their femininity and find success and respect in male-dominated arenas. As cliché as it is, I had to learn to accept myself, rather than trying to prove my worth or and what people expect of me. Who I am is a quiet, unassuming makeup artist who is trained in mixed martial arts and interviews murderers for a living.


Thank you for reading!



Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Tania


Q and A with Tania, Manchester, England

“I think if I started training just to get abs, I would have stopped after 2 weeks.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m passionate about self improvement. My motto in life is, “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” This has been so evident in my life since I decided to take my health and fitness seriously. As I started exercising, I saw myself getting stronger and fitter, and when I would reach a new personal best on an exercise, I would ask myself, “What else am I capable of?” This made me want to take risks and try new things in other areas of my life, including my career and relationships. I got out of a toxic relationship and made so many new friends. I also made the leap to become self-employed as a personal trainer helping other women and showing them what can happen when you decide to improve your health and fitness.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I moved a lot when I was young, moving between my mum in Zimbabwe and my dad in Scotland. I finally settled in Aberdeen, Scotland, at the age of 8. I went to school there and did a year of civil and structural engineering at Aberdeen University, but I realized it wasn’t the course for me, so I dropped out and, shortly after, moved to Manchester where I launched a fashion App, but sadly, [I] couldn’t get funding to grow the business, so I got a job. At this time, I was in a bad relationship and wasn’t happy with my career either so I started reading about personal development.

I just wanted to feel better about myself, so I decided I would do something every day that would make me proud of myself. I knew that if I wanted to stay consistent with it, I needed to make it so easy for myself so that I couldn’t make excuses. So, I started running for just 10 minutes a day. Fast forward 6 months later, I was doing 30 minutes plus a day with some rest days here and there. I then made a decision to join the gym, and 5 years later, I’ve never looked back and never will! Health and fitness is part of my life; it made me a better person.


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

A: I think one thing that made me stick to exercising regularly and ultimately transforming my whole life is that I focused on something deeper than the physical. I think if I started training just to get abs, I would have stopped after 2 weeks. I just want to help other women realize what limitless potential lies within them only if they dedicate to improving themselves: physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: To me, feminism means equality for all people regardless of gender, sexuality, or background. It means women supporting one another and empowering each other in an effort to achieve this goal of equality together.


Thank you for reading!



Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Chitra


Q and A with Chitra, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

“I definitely have come to realize my outer world is a reflection of my inner world.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about living life to the fullest; doing what makes me happy. My husband, kids, and I love traveling and being in nature, so that is something we do quite often.

I have loved natural skincare since I was young. The Body Shop used to be my favorite shop to hang out in. Even if I could buy a small jar of lip balm from there, it used to make me happy. I somehow knew I always wanted to do something with natural ingredients as I love the smell of shea butter, cocoa butter, and essential oils, but I didn’t know where to start. About 6 or 7 years ago while reading Dr. Oz’s website, an article on ’99 Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil’ (one was on how to make lotions bars), I had a lightbulb moment. Immediately, I started researching this. I started off by making lotion bars, but it didn’t do that well in Malaysia as our country is quite humid, and it was not suitable to use lotion bars in our weather. Then about 2 years later, when I was looking for something for my skin and couldn’t find anything that helped, I decided to make it on my own and this time, I formulated a balm to be used on my face to reduce freckles and scars. I also made one for my mother and she introduced it to her friends. As I wanted to do it right, I studied on natural skincare formulation. I took a few courses before I started it as a business. That is how Esha CG Beauty & Health started. We are into our third year now. It brings me so much happiness that I can be of service to people and when I get messages from our customers saying that our products have helped them or their children heal certain skin issues that they had.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: There are 6 of us in our family. Mom, dad, and 4 children. I am the eldest, and I have 2 sisters and a brother. I grew up in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Being the eldest and helping out with my siblings from a young age has made me a responsible person. What I find really hard now is our brother passed away last year from cancer and he was 29 years old. This has impacted me a lot, but this has also made me realize I know I want to do what I love as long as I can.


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

A: I have learned that it is important to believe in yourself, do what you love, and don’t give up. I have made mistakes, but I learn from them.

When I first started, I had a few people telling me what I was doing wrong. I started off with my own pocket money, so I didn’t have a big budget to start with great photography or proper packaging. It was basic, and that was what some were talking about. Slowly, I reinvested the sales money into the business and changed the packaging, took better pictures, bought better quality ingredients. Even if you have to start small, it’s okay. Just start with what you have. If I would have waited until I had more money so that I could do it 100% right, I may have not started until today. Last year, we were nominated for two of our products and one of it won the Readers Choice Award from BabyTalk and MamaPapa magazine. For the employee of the magazine to call me alone was a surprise, as I had no idea how they found me. My marketing is just not one of the best. It’s from word of mouth that our business is growing.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism, to me, means equal rights for women in every opportunities. I do not consider myself to be a feminist, but at the same time, I don’t keep quiet when someone tells me it’s okay for a man to do that but not me because I am a woman.


Q: Is there anything else you would like the readers to know?

A: Life has its ups and downs. It’s not always a bed of roses. There are days where I am just not strong; I cry if I want to, but I pick myself up and don’t stay there for long. I do the best in what I am doing; do it with love and trust the universe knows what’s next for me. I definitely have come to realize my outer world is a reflection of my inner world. The moment I started loving myself and working on myself and stopped judging myself so much, I attracted better circumstances in my life.

Thank you for reading!


Facebook

Insta


Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Christine


Q and A with Christine, Boulder, Colorado

“When I did say ‘yes’ to trying something new and get out of my comfort zone, I almost always had a blast and was so proud that I accomplished something new.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m passionate about many things such as business, health, family, God, and helping people thrive by bringing them up and helping them see their potential that they have lost seeing. I currently am a project control analyst at Ball Aerospace, and I love my job so much. I get to work for an amazing company that provides crucial ideas, objects, and units that help keep our country safe from the ground up. As a young woman, starting my career at a place like Ball is empowering. I feel respected, I feel valued for all my opinions, I’m learning so many new things every day, and I get to use my passion for helping those around me by leading team meetings that remind everyone that even though we are working from home, we are a team and we are here for each other. I get to facilitate Q&A’s that the team have and haven’t voiced since working remotely has made people lose their voice that much more. By leading these team meetings, I help rebuild and restore our strength as a team, I get to build people back up and give them a place to vent all their worries, questions, and concerns, while also allowing them to have a place to speak their mind and say what’s working best for them and what they want to see happen in the future. From these meetings, management gets to hear from us all and everyone’s ideas, concerns, and voices all get heard and people couldn’t be happier, which makes me so happy. I thrive knowing I’m helping others to thrive and feel confident too!


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were amazing; I couldn’t of asked for a better childhood. I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, in a great area and apartment complex where all us kids would constantly play outside together, explore what nature had to offer, and we all felt safe even though there wasn’t always a parent watching over us all. I’m the youngest of two; I have an older brother and having him made me feel as though I got interested in what men liked too like sports, video games, and wrestling around with one another. I am very girly, but because of him, I also am a girl that doesn’t mind getting her knees dirty, playing videos games with my boyfriend, and watching sports. My mom was a stay at home mom when we both were very young. She cooked and cleaned the house daily, she took naps with us, and really just made the house so warm and loving. My dad owned a restaurant at the local mall that was down the street from our house and, because of that, we went to the mall often for the free food and the really fun arcade place they had there. Having the freedom to be around so many kids in my community and then being able to run around the mall knowing everyone knew my brother and I (that we were my dad’s kids), they all would watch over us and we always felt so safe and a huge sense of community.

There is truly nothing better than being exposed to a diverse group of people at such young ages. It helped us understand other cultures. I grew up as both Christian and Catholic. God has always been at the forefront of my life. I have a big heart, and growing up with my dad owning a restaurant, whenever other kids from my school or neighborhood were hungry, my brother and I would take them to eat at my dad’s restaurant and my dad was always more than happy to feed anyone for free that needed the help. I learned how to give and help others in their time of need at a young age. My dad was always helping anyone out that truly needed it. God has always placed me where I needed to be in order to help the people He needed me to help and in order to thrive in areas He needed me to thrive in. Being able to help people and to motivate them and spread positivity in this world has always brought me so much pleasure, and I know that that comes from my religion and love for God and the love He has placed in me and the compassion and love He gave me for other people.


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

A: Something valuable I’ve learned that I want others to know is that life is too short. As we’ve all heard this many times in our life, it’s true. I blew off group gatherings before because I was tired or wasn’t in the mood that night. I’ve wasted some opportunities to go out and try new things because I was nervous to do so or too scared, and I’ve said no to potential job opportunities because I wasn’t sure if it was for me. We’ve all done things like that, and what I’ve learned was when I did say ‘yes’ and push through to go out with friends even though I was so tired, I almost always ended up having such a great time. When I did say ‘yes’ to trying something new and get out of my comfort zone, I almost always had a blast and was so proud that I accomplished something new. And when I did allow a random job opportunity to come into my life, it didn’t always work out, but sometimes, even if I left with just meeting inspiring and wonderful people, that was worth it to me. Life is too short to be unhappy, to over stress, to worry and be anxious. We don’t truly take advantage of every day, every minute, and every waking breath we are given by God. We need to let go of the nonsense, worry and stress less, get rid of toxic people and habits in our lives, and learn to take advantage of our everyday gifts of life. Meet new people, try new things, say ‘yes’ to the chances you do have to hang with the people you love, put yourself out there every once and a while, and don’t waste your life. You never want to look back and say, “I wish I did that, I wish I said yes, I wish I could hang with that person just one more time, etc.” You want to know that you lived a good life, made your mistakes, but came back stronger every time and really love that life you are living with the right people in your life and the right career. Life is too short, be happy, love hard, giggle as loud as you want, and eat that piece of cake!


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism means a few things to me. It means equal pay and equal rights amongst men and women, but it’s also more than that. When females come together and build each other up instead of tear each other down, I love that. I love seeing women who feel weak be empowered by other women, have their crown readjusted and put back together by other women helping them and rebuilding them to be the strong, confident queens. I hate seeing women tear each other apart through their own insecurities. When we come together, help each other out, build each other’s confidences back up, and stay strong together, we are one heck of a tight force that no one can then mess with. Empowering each other, inspiring and motivating one another, and pushing each other further than our comfort zone makes my heart full and that to me is what feminism should be all about.


Q: Is there anything else you want to tell readers?

A: I want to thank Samantha for reaching out to me and giving me this opportunity to be a part of this wonderful website. When she did that, it reiterated how I love when people are so kind to one an another and when you can inspire people you don’t even know is watching. I love inspiring people for the positive and knowing I somehow did that to her by posting my usual posts, that felt amazing. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this!

Thank you for reading!



Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Darlene

*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 Darlene, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

“You become a light in the world when you step into your own innate wisdom and purpose.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: If I stood on a street corner and shouted my truth, I would say to women to find your power and love within yourself. It is there! Your real, wonderful self is waiting for you to discover it! You are God and Goddess. You are divine. Find that within you and live from there. All else then falls into alignment. When you know that you are divine, you live joyfully. We are all here to learn our purpose and then give it to others to fulfill ourselves. It’s a neverending circle.

My clients want a clear plan forward, based on what they really want.  Finding their passion and their path forward is always easier than they think. It’s usually staring them in the face…they just can’t see it yet. Their path forward then serves as a roadmap to know how to bring in the success they’ve wanted with life and business.  Especially for women who are starving/hungry for meaning in their lives after being defined by outside parameters. A source of inner peace.

 

92505174_350407999252811_1194601555169378304_n


I guide women to find a joyful, deeper connection to what really matters to them. The women that find me often have deep, self-worth wound(s) that have held them back. They believe they are “not enough.” I use proven methods to help them identify exactly what is holding them back. 

Then together, we create a simple plan forward. They end up feeling confident in their choices and happy in what they are doing. (Actually I get tremendous joy from this, but don’t tell anyone!)

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I remember growing up feeling insecure and an outsider. I did the “good girl” things that were expected of me–and was deeply unhappy–always pleasing others. I realized later that so many of my life choices were based on what I was “supposed” to do. Be the “good daughter,” “good wife,” “good employee,” no matter what I felt inside.

C49A1099-36C6-49C5-8DA1-844C37E9D19C


The final straw was working in human resources at a bank. Employees were considered literal “resources” to be used as needed by the big corporation. I’m amazed how bad it had to get before I had the nerve to quit and stop selling out my soul, but I finally did.


It took me years to have the compassion with myself and the clear perspective to choose another way—a way that was based on what spoke to my soul, not what I was “supposed” to do. I shorten that time for women to find their own self-compassion and perspective. It doesn’t have to take years!

 

92953100_257760435389023_7588916554415210496_n


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

A: That putting yourself last doesn’t serve anyone.  You become a light in the world when you step into your own innate wisdom and purpose.

 

92229859_2577875459135681_8210854202860109824_n


Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: That women can choose to know they can own their own greatness.  A greatness that comes from integrating all the pieces of themselves and letting go of what does not serve them. To know deep within they have a choice to thrive. To make their lives rich, abundant, and deeply satisfying.  Women can choose to make their lives WHAT THEY WANT IT TO BE.


BEF1E561-5D6A-42F3-8F4D-2B9CCA83EE84

Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you!

 

Instagram: instagram.com/limitlessjoynow

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

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂