Woman Wednesday: Maya

*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 Maya, Berkeley, California

“I learned I shouldn’t wait to start something, but I should just go for it and figure it out along the way!”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m passionate about making people’s lives better. I went to college with the intention of studying political science with an emphasis on international relations to go into human rights work in the future. Climate change has always been a thing I thought of as important, but it never really struck a chord with me until I realized that it is not only an environmental issue but also a humanitarian issue. Rising sea level is causing many people to relocate, natural disasters are exacerbated due to rising temperatures, and people are lacking clean water for daily needs. After realizing all of this, I got more interested in learning about environmentalism and the zero-waste movement. I realized that a lot of products out there for zero-waste are still relatively expensive and there is no one-stop-shop for minimally packaged or zero-waste beauty products. So, I created Serenade, my e-commerce site for these beauty items! My mission is to grow this store into a comprehensive, one-stop-shop for sustainable beauty products with my own product line. I’m currently working on getting the word out and upgrading the website aesthetic and brand identity. Stay tuned and follow the shop on Instagram @serenadethecompany!

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, so I think it’s been pretty easy for me to believe that I can create something of my own if I’m committed enough and have enough resources. In high school, I did a ton of internships in the business administration/event planning fields, and it taught me that even established businesses face a lot of challenges. They don’t always have it figured out. And if that’s the case, I learned I shouldn’t wait to start something, but I should just go for it and figure it out along the way! 

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

A: I’m only getting started! I don’t know if I have a lot of advice or wise things to say, but I did learn recently that there are so many people rooting for you if you want to start something. Not everyone wants to necessarily want to be an entrepreneur but everyone wants the world to be a better place and they will support you!

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means believing that women, including myself, can achieve whatever anyone (regardless of gender identity) can achieve. It also means uplifting other women. That’s really important to me.

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Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you!

Instagram: @serenadethecompany

www.serenadetheco.us

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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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I’d love to connect with you!

Reach out to me on Facebook! 

Facebook, Agent Profile

Facebook, Podcast Coming March 2020

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

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Woman Wednesday: Jessica L.

*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 L., Beijing, China

“When you start to doubt yourself is when you will fail. Follow your heart and believe in yourself and your calling–wherever or whatever that may be–one hundred percent.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: What I am most passionate about is helping people, animals, and the planet. I feel like legacy is important and leaving a positive impact on the world will make my life both meaningful and rewarding. When I can, I volunteer in doing animal rescue missions. When I have money, I donate to good causes. In my professional life, I spent most of my twenties having fun, but now I have started my own business.

With an MBA in international business and marketing, I have decided to use the skills I have to help people at a grassroots level. My business is focused on helping small service businesses find more customers through online marketing, as well as individuals who work for themselves forge important networking connections and find business opportunities through LinkedIn. In this way, I am able to see small businesses with potential grow and help those with genuine services to offer to realize their business goals.

 

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Pictured: Jessica reporting on elephant rescue sanctuaries in southern China’s Yunnan Province in February 2019.

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: For the last nine years, I have been living in China. After graduating from Purdue University, I was lost about what I wanted to do with my life. A friend offered me a teaching job in rural China for a year and I accepted. There, I found I enjoyed working with local orphanages and found so many wonderful new friends as well as business opportunities. I hosted and helped produce a TV show for two years called Joy in China, which aired on ICN TV stations in the USA and Canada. I soon became a marketing manager for the Chinese market for a winery in California. Finally, I found an opportunity to work with China Radio International in Beijing as their social media marketing consultant as well as a part-time host. There I learned the skills I would need to start my own business. While working with large companies I didn’t always feel I was using my skills for good. Further, I hoped to help my own life by finding a business that could benefit others while also giving me a degree of independence in my life. Now, I am able to conduct business on my laptop from anywhere while also seeing the results of how online marketing can transform a small business.

 

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While in China, I learned to never judge a person when you first meet them. It’s easy to say but often hard to implement in our own lives. Living in China gave me the chance to be the person who lives on the outside, who is judged immediately upon entering a room. This gave me the opportunity to really learn what that feels like and do my best to never do that to others.

In China, I found many Americans sometimes feel entitled depending on the situation. I learned to let go of my entitlement and go with the flow, so-to-speak. For example, when spending a holiday with Chinese friends, there is always that inevitable moment when plans change. All of the Chinese friends you’re traveling with will have changed the plans in Chinese and forgot to translate this to their “foreign friends” (as we are often called). When suddenly the Americans in the group find out something has drastically changed, they have one of two options. Get angry because something important was not translated, or be humble and realize you are a guest in a country where you do not speak the language and be understanding of the cultural differences and language barriers.

 

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For over three years, Jessica was host of a television show that aired in the USA and Canada on ICN TV called “Joy in China” that introduced viewers to tourist areas in China that are off the usual beaten path. 

 

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

A: Everyone I talk to is usually surprised I moved to China. Surprised I started my own business. Surprised at many things in my life. If there is anything I have learned, it is to not let fear dictate the paths you take on your life’s journey and to always believe in what you are doing one hundred percent. When you start to doubt yourself is when you will fail. Follow your heart and believe in yourself and your calling–wherever or whatever that may be–one hundred percent. 

 

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Pictured: Jessica interviewing Peyton Manning, former quarterback for the Colts NFL team in Beijing, China, 2017. Peyton Manning was there to promote American football in China.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: I would never declare myself a feminist, despite sometimes living the life of one. To me, feminism has been associated with strong, forceful, and sometimes angry women that are too often punished for being assertive. Instead, I firmly believe in advocating equality between men and women, especially in the workplace, while also remembering that preserving harmony is an important persuasion technique. Too often I have seen others assert their opinions so forcefully it puts others off. I believe living through actions, as a strong woman with her own business, will help others see how important it is to take women seriously. Step by step, I believe women through their strength and actions will further advance the idea of equality for both genders in the workplace. 

 

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Jessica worked as both a reporter and social media marketing manager for various Chinese media outlets for over three years.

 

I’d love to connect with you! 

Jessica Luo Digital was established in July 2019 to help small service businesses and freelances expand their online presence to find leads and new customers. For more information, please visit www.jessicaluodigital.com.

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

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Woman Wednesday: Erika

*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 Erika, Memphis, Tennessee 

“Your happiness, your purpose, and your success belongs to you in every aspect of your life! People will judge you, hate you, and simply write you off, all based on their feelings towards you, but their feelings or validation of you does not control your destiny!” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I really enjoy helping others. If I can impact and make a difference in just one person’s life, then I feel as if I am making a world of a difference! As a child, I was always the kind friend who enjoyed helping my friends out, and it drove me to want to be (and later becoming) a registered nurse! With a new sense of empowerment after releasing my first book, Not Easily Bothered: From a Vengeful Driven Divorce to a Much Happier Life. I have recently released my second book, Their Validation, Your Success Powered by Purpose! I have had others question the purpose of my writings. I’ve had strangers publicly speak negatively of me because they thought I had malicious intentions, but at the end of the day, my books were successful; thus serving their purpose to help someone learn from my experiences!

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was very sheltered as a child; my parents did not allow me to venture out much, but I managed to have a few select friends that they approved. And we would spend time doing things that kids with running imaginations do! We would write out our own screenplays and act them out during playtime. I remember being the shy one, but my friends would always enjoy my ideas. I kept a journal, which allowed me to express my thoughts in writing without being judged by my parents or friends. But I never thought I would become an author sharing some of my most personable moments. I remember as a kid being taught to do the right thing and me being the one who typically did what was right versus being easily influenced by others and choosing to do what was wrong! I’ve always been a person who thought for herself!

 

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

A: Simply to believe in yourself and never allow the misconceptions that others may have of you to ruin your happiness or your success! Your happiness, your purpose, and your success belongs to you in every aspect of your life! People will judge you, hate you, and simply write you off, all based on their feelings towards you, but their feelings or validation of you does not control your destiny! Never allow someone who has absolutely nothing to do with your purpose to hinder it for you!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means that every woman is entitled to live and carry out her very own story all while not being judged for it because she is a woman! Women are powerful and deserve to be treated equally all while supporting, empowering, and uplifting one another!

 

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I’d love to connect with you! 

Click here to connect with me through my page.

 

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

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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

 

 

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