Woman Wednesday: Jessica M.

*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 Jessica M., Baltimore, Maryland

“There will be messy days, 2-steps-backward days, and you’re-rocking-it days, but as long as you keep showing up to your life, it’s progress.”

 

 Q: Tell us about you! 

A: I’m a full-time working mom of an active, fun-loving 7-year-old, and I’m still trying to figure out how to balance all the moving parts. I work as an administrator for Atwater’s in Baltimore. I never expected to find myself in a field of finance because my brain runs toward creativity, but Atwater’s is an amazing company! The effort is worth it because I fully support their brand and values of bringing wholesome food to your table. Check them out, seriously!

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m still in a place of discovering my passions and what lights my fire. I’ve always struggled with figuring out who I want to be, but most recently, my creative spark has gravitated toward disrupting photography. It’s become a tool on my journey through healing. Mostly what I create, from poetry to photography, has been for me and a select few, but I hope to one day take it a step further and share my truth to the world through an art series.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were a little bit challenging but happy because I was surrounded by a loving family. When I was two, my parents discovered that I have severe bilateral hearing loss. I was immediately fitted with hearing aids and started speech therapy. One thing that many people don’t realize is that I don’t know sign language. Many people assume that I should know it. A lot of my understanding of speech comes from lip reading. Reading lips helps fill in the gaps of what I hear, distinguishing specific letters and sounds.

 

 

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Those working with me (as a very young child) thought I belonged in a school for the deaf like anyone else with a hearing loss, but my parents felt I shouldn’t be limited by my disability, so in 2nd grade, they started me in a mainstream private elementary school. Most teachers were extremely supportive throughout my school years, from taking the time to make sure I was following along okay in class to ensuring I had the best seat to see them. I almost hit a roadblock when I was accepted into a private high school because once they knew I was hearing impaired, they didn’t think I would be a good fit due to a bad experience with a previous hearing-impaired student. My parents, tutor, and I went to the school and fought for my right to be there because I shouldn’t be judged based on the actions of another.

 

I admit that I spent a lot of years embarrassed by my disability and have actively tried to hide it, feeling like I didn’t fit in. But as I get older, I’m learning it’s not a weakness. My mother always reminds me of the strength I’ve had in overcoming it by mainstreaming into an educational world that did not cater to my disability. When my parents started this path with me, there wasn’t a lot of education and understanding out there for hearing loss. My parents have always been my biggest supporters and advocates, and I am truly grateful that they believed in me.

 

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

A: Three years ago, I lost my Dad to cancer and that has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been through. He was gone 3 months after his diagnosis. My family and I barely had time to process one piece of information before being hit with something new. It rocked my world losing someone so close to me. It shaped the way I experience health anxiety and dropped me into depression. Each experience that struck after the loss of my Dad eventually set me on the path of taking care of my mental health. That has been my biggest goal this year by starting counseling and learning the tools to cope with my anxiety and depression.

 

 

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Some of the most valuable things I have learned are that talking about your pain instead of bottling it up truly helps, and healing is not a straight, upward line. There will be messy days, 2-steps-backward days, and you’re-rocking-it days, but as long as you keep showing up to your life, it’s progress. And I don’t just mean getting out there when you feel crappy and getting it done anyway. If I feel down and need to lay in bed for a while instead, that’s progress too, because I’m allowed to put down the “happy mask” and say, “I’m not okay,” and care for my mental health first.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: In the past, I never really defined myself as a feminist, and I have thought, at times, all I was good enough for was caring for my home and family. The 1950s housewife seemed a normal thing. I personally think that if that’s what you want, then it’s okay. I wish I had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. But when it becomes a situation where you’re treated like that’s your only place and you’re not equal or you’re “less than” others, then it starts to get sticky. It’s all about choices and being able to have the freedom to make them without pressure, judgment, or fear.

 

When the #MeToo movement gained popularity, the education it provided made me realize certain experiences that happened to me in the past were not okay.
I’ve been in situations where I was made to feel “less than” and my consent was not given. I spent years trivializing those experiences because of a lack of resources and my own understanding.

 

 

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But the movement isn’t just for me, and I’m not the only one that needs a voice. I am married to a trans woman, which has opened my eyes to even more. Though the world seems to be becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ community, there is still a lot of shame, bullying, and stigma placed on those who feel different in their skin. There is so much ugliness in this world, near and far, that it’s heartbreaking. I try to concern myself more with the fact that EVERYONE, regardless of gender, identity, race, religion, income level, who you love, etc. are valuable and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. I value unity and working together to make the world a place we all can thrive in.

 

 

I’d love to connect with you! 

 

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blackbird_f1y

 

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Ashlee

*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 Ashlee, Boca Raton, Florida

“When you have the strength to ask for help, you will see how far you can go.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Passion is what makes you persevere through setbacks, unhappiness, and fear of failure to achieve your dreams. It is the core drive of your motivation. There are two things I am passionate about: mediation and yoga. I love practicing yoga because the act of relaxation makes me remember what I value the most in life: happiness and independence. Unfortunately, with so much clutter in today’s society, it is hard to concentrate on your mental health. The reason I enjoy cleaning is that I become less stressed and breathe again. When I clean, I create a welcoming environment every time someone walks into that home. As Marie Kondo says, “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.” 

 

My bedroom is my office

 

Currently, I am working on optimizing google analytics for my home cleaning business, Aurora Professional Cleaning Services. I started out naive about online marketing. However, by studying educational courses and reaching out to seasoned veterans, I am becoming more confident knowing I can be a strong business owner. When you have the strength to ask for help, you will see how far you can go.

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My parents, extended family, and friends were very supportive of me and my younger sister growing up. I am grateful for the experiences my parents provided for me. We had Sunday family dinners and neighborhood pizza nights. I would volunteer at church and school events. I would attend local small-town fairs and support local businesses. It is about family. My father was my soccer coach, which grew my love for sports and friendly competition. And my mother was constantly dedicated to her career, which I admired.  

 

Thomas Family

 

I was fortunate to have traveled around the world to learn about different cultures and my own ancestry in Norway and Sweden. After graduating from Kean University with a B.A. in communications/public relations, I backpacked across Scandinavia–couch-hopping at family and friend’s homes, learning about how I became who I am today. It was an eye-opening experience that will forever be imprinted on me. Plus, it was an amazing experience before I started building my career and life in Southern Florida.

 

Hill Top Mandal, Norway overlooing the North Sea

 

Pictured below are some photos from homes that utilized Ashlee’s Aurora Professional Cleaning Services.

NJ House 11

 

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

A: There are TWO valuable lessons I have learned through building this cleaning company. One, create homemade products. Keeping it eco-friendly is a safe way to clean and live because you know exactly what you are touching every day. Plus, combining your own ingredients is cost-efficient. Yes, sometimes you need brand name products, but consider DYI first and foremost.

 

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NJ House 4

 

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Two, do NOT sell your services for less than you are worth. There are too many stories, some of my own, that after the service is done, you do not ask for enough money. This is a physical labor service, so take pride in your work and make sure you let the clients know it is about quality. Since each job is different, I have learned to pay yourself by the situation NOT by the hour. The person behind my rise in confidence to become an entrepreneur told me, “Give me 1% of your trust, and I will prove the other 99%.”

 

Ashlee and Thor

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism is about having the opportunity to speak up and have a choice without fear of animosity. Women should hold their heads high with respect for themselves and value the strengths of other women. Feminism means (to me) there are no boundaries, we are all human. One of my favorite songs/quotes is by John Lennon–

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us, and the world will live as one.”

 

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I’d love to connect with you!

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/auroraprocleaning

Instagram: www.instagram.com/aurora_pro_cleaning

Website: www.auroraprocleaning.com

 

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Lachelle

*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 Lachelle, Oceanside, California

“I learn from these stories and it’s important to me. They color the dreams of my reality and future and help me find the adventure in my life. Find your life’s adventures.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about my work. In fact, I am a bit of a workaholic. So, when it comes time to find extracurricular activities, my time is often limited. My day job is in marketing analysis. I also am a managing partner at Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar in Oceanside, and I am an avid reader. I love what I do, so immersing myself in my projects helps fuel my passion. I am also passionate about traveling. I like to live in different places for a week. Grab a cup of coffee there, and find a coffee shop to read in. My husband helped me fall in love with comics. I read novels and some comics growing up, but he introduced me to the medium not just as a superhero story but as a way of storytelling that I fell in love with.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My family moved around quite a bit, so I ended up spending my early college years in DLSU and then moved to CSU Monterey Bay, where I graduated in accounting. Before I became glued to a handheld device, the most entertaining mobile device was a book. I loved reading stories and making them. I would tell my siblings stories on long car rides. In a career full of crunching numbers, I believe numbers are giving us a story. I am just reading it. In my day job, that means reading numbers to help my company make sound decisions. In Panels, it helps us understand what people want.

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

A: Don’t give up; embrace the challenge. Nothing is beyond your reach.

I hear people struggle with things they feel are beyond their reach. Saying, “I can’t do the things I want, I can’t start a business, I can’t get this career, I can’t find the right partner…”

I want to address how I found those things in hopes of inspiring others:
I found the right guy because I didn’t waste my time. Before my marriage, I hadn’t celebrated an anniversary with a guy. I didn’t waste time on dates that I didn’t think sparked joy. I didn’t make excuses for them. If we weren’t a fit, I was candid and wasn’t afraid to be alone. I didn’t beg to stay and I didn’t need a conversation when it was over. I hadn’t even planned to stay with my husband initially; I told him my career was important and a priority. Rather than pulling away, he respected that and pursued me.

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I was stuck in some odd jobs before I found one I loved. I pushed myself in all those jobs to move upwards. I was doing front desk/accounting for a hotel and during that time, I created a proper approval process because I noticed the sales reps were spending the marketing budget unchecked. At Panels, I came on as a soft partner and took over responsibilities from my partners when I noticed that it was overwhelming them. I don’t just do my job. I do it as if I was managing myself and then manage upwards to tell my superiors what I want and where I want to be. Recognize needs wherever you work and find ways to rectify it. This will serve you in growing personally and in your career.

When my husband told me on our first date, “I want to open a comic book coffee shop,” I was a bit incredulous. However, as I learned more about him, I was excited to push him towards that dream and told him how much having a business was part of my dreams. We pushed each other, did hours upon hours of research, detailed and checked one another. The biggest lesson from this is that you should work to bring the best out of people. Push them to pursue their dreams and never put those dreams down. Also, find people around you who will push you towards those dreams as well.

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Finally, I have accomplished the things I want because I plan for them. I made less than 30-40k a year after college and I traveled around New England, visited Hawaii, and Big Sur. I was able to do that because I planned for it. Having a life where I get to explore is a priority to me. I read as much as I do because I find an opportunity to. Even if it’s on 15-minute breaks between tasks, I learn from these stories and it’s important to me. They color the dreams of my reality and future and help me find the adventure in my life. Find your life’s adventures.

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: I have been harassed in and around the workplace for being female. I have been overlooked for opportunities because of male competition. I have been treated differently for being a woman. The primary place this has come from has been other women. The hesitancy to promote women, or treat women differently, or downplay the ability of women, must not come from women. Feminism means promoting pride in our work, being proud of the competitive advantage that we have, and fostering that. We can be our worst enemy, and we have to work to help each other overcome that.

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I’d love to connect with you!

www.panelscoffee.com

Insta

Personal Insta

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Keisha

*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 Keisha, Antigo, Wisconsin 

“Life is not defined by circumstance but instead comes from an understanding of yourself and your true power.” 

 

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Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Nothing excites me more than to see a woman step into her true power, her purpose. I am passionate about helping women realize what’s possible for them. I love providing the tools and guidance to shift their mindsets, manifest their dreams, and shift their whole life experience. Check out the Abundant Mother Hustler email list and more here.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My childhood and young adolescence molded me to be and live in survival-mode most of my life. I grew up in multiple homes between my grandparents, father, and mother, but around age 14, I permanently moved out and bounced around from friends’ homes throughout high school.

 

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I believe my struggles, my life stories, and living with constant uncertainty developed this passion inside me to overcome, to learn, and to discover that life is not defined by circumstance but instead comes from an understanding of yourself and your true power. I am living proof you can transform your outside world and life from within your mind.

 

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

A: Every single person has a gift, talent, and ability. Every single person has the power to transform their lives if they shift to a higher level of thinking. 95% of what we do is controlled by our subconscious minds, 5% is influenced by our everyday level of thinking, known as our thoughts. When a person discovers and learns how to master their thoughts, they can transform their subconscious and accomplish/attract their desires, unearth their talents, gifts, and abilities, which allows them to live a much higher quality of life. That’s where my passion to teach comes in and why I do what I do.

Read about the unconscious mind here. 

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism means to me that every woman has a birthright to live her best life.

 

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Thank you for reading! 

 

 

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

Click here to connect with Keisha!

 

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

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! 🙂