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Don’t Let Fear Tell You That You Can’t – Bron Stange –  Australia

Who are you?

I’m the founder of Bopo Women, Bron Stange a natural body-positive, feminist skincare brand. I’m also a former law student, eating disorder survivor, proud Aquarian, feminist, coffee addict and mum to the best dog that’s ever lived, my Cavoodle Nala. I’m also deeply passionate about the power that conscious business and spending has to change the world and love nothing more than seeing people do the work they were put on this earth to do.

What is your business?

Bopo Women is a natural body-positive, feminist skincare brand taking on the beauty industry with products that encourage self-care, self-love and feeling good in your skin. Our products have been created with therapeutic experience at the forefront and have been crafted to help women cultivate self-love and self-care rituals in their lives.

How long have you been in business?

Since September 2017.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

Being a business owner has been a completely unexpected, yet utterly magical, twist of fate in my life. To me, being a business owner means having a powerful tool to change the world and create new ways of relating to each other and ourselves. I became an entrepreneur as a result of my own painful experience with an eating disorder and wanting to do something to help women love our bodies. Creating feminist, body positive skincare was my way of changing the beauty industry and it’s harmful messaging from the inside.

Who has been your greatest influence in business and personal life and why?

I think the greatest influence in my business life so far has been Julie Parker of Beautiful You Coaching Academy and the Priestess Podcast. I admire so much how she’s created a beautifully aligned, authentic and social conscious business and platform and continues to constantly learn and evolve with absolute transparency and vulnerability. In my personal life, I don’t feel like I’m influenced by anyone in particular and am more inspired by all of the incredible women I meet bravely creating businesses and lives that are truly aligned with who they are.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Launching a skincare business with no experience in the industry and just a vision and determination. Just starting and seeing it all come to life has been incredible! Leaving behind a potential corporate law career and instead leaping into what my heart wanted to create is definitely the thing I’m most proud of so far.

What do you do to inspire women?

Through Bopo Women, I help women to question the harmful standards the beauty industry proliferates and reconnect with their bodies. Our products remind them of their own inherent beauty and that they are already enough.

What inspirational qualities do you possess?

This is a hard one! Maybe not caring about conventional wisdom, social norm and rules and just doing my own thing! I think I also have some extraordinary patience levels when it comes to my business thanks to my experience recovering from an eating disorder which really taught me how to sit with the uncomfortable.

Whats your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

Don’t let fear tell you that you can’t. That you aren’t enough or that you don’t have the right degree, qualification or experience. If you have a vision and you feel really passionate about bringing it to life you can do it. However, I’d also say if you don’t have this kind of passion for your business it may be difficult to find the resilience and inner strength to get through the hard days and weeks. Knowing how much I believe that the world, and women, need Bopo Women, has gotten me through the periods of ambiguity and frustration and I know that belief will continue to do so.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Inspiring Women Today?

Test everything. Keep trying different angles. Have patience and believe in your vision. Also, nothing is ever as good or as bad as you think. Stay grounded! I’d also say don’t assume that just because something worked for another business it will work for yours. While you can of course always learn from others, sometimes you need to trust your gut and go with what seems right for you and your business that might not align with conventional wisdom.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Walks in nature and by the sea, drink tequila, find new amazing coffee places, yoga, shamefully binge watch reality tv, read about astrology and learn tarot, listen to podcasts, dream up new business ideas and cook delicious food.

What’s the best way for the our Inspiring Women Today members and blog guests to connect with you?

Website:  www.bopowomen.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/bopowomen

I’m a Funny Introverted Vegan! – Heidi Lumsden – Australia

Who are you?

Hello! My name is Heidi, I’m a funny introverted vegan, empath who is 29 years young. I’m a Gemini, a photographer and homeschooling Mum of two, Melody 6 and Odin 18 months. I have had endometriosis, I’m engaged to be married to my aspergers partner of almost 10 years and we also have two beautiful fur babies. One of whom has cancer. Wow, writing this all down made me realise how badass I am. Everyday I fight for my happiness, my kids happiness, my health, and my (out of the ordinary) life choices. I wouldn’t say it’s ‘easy’ being me but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was given this life for a reason and I won’t take it for granted.

What is your business?

I am what I like to call an artistic portrait photographer. Basically I turn people into a piece of art they can keep forever.

How long have you been in business?

I started taking photos professionally about 5 years ago when my daughter was about 1 year old. I have been a newborn photographer, pet photographer, boudoir, weddings, events, couples, family – you name it. Now I like to focus on artistic portraits, it’s where I can really let my creativity loose. I do still offer wedding and event photography but I’ve trained my partner to tackle those for me. He takes the photos and I edit them.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

To be honest, it just kind of happened. I had been into photography for a small amount of time before I was gifted my first camera. That camera got me through some hard times. I choose to be a business owner now because of the flexibility. I can homeschool my children during the day while taking photos on the weekend and editing at night. It also gives me something that’s just for me that I enjoy, my art.

Who has been your greatest influence in business and personal life and why?

Lauren Bath. She was the very first travel photographer and influencer on instagram. She has inspired me the whole way. I still remember how I was so excited to meet her and how much I looked up to her and now she tells me how much she loves my photos and how I could teach her about portraits. She’s pretty amazing.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Being chosen as the photographer for Garage Ink Manor by Teneile Napoli who is a famous tattoo artist and another woman I look up to and admire. I was also given some amazing news that I can’t quite share yet.

What do you do to inspire women?

I’m not sure.

What inspirational qualities do you possess?

The fact that despite my chronic disease I never give up.

Whats your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

Pick up the camera, take photos every day. Keep trying and know your worth.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Inspiring Women Today?

Do your taxes.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Take photos, no seriously I love it. Spend quality time with my family, watch a Netflix series with my partner.

What’s the best way for the our Inspiring Women Today members and blog guests to connect with you?

You can find me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/adelhide_

All I wanted was an Education and to Stand on My Own Two Feet – Anna Thomas – Australia

The first time I experienced sexism was at the hands of my mother. I grew up in Richmond, Melbourne where my parents ran the local MCG  pub and my mother imported shoes. My mother had a strong

belief that girls should not be educated. Instead, our ‘duty’ was to be ‘barefoot and pregnant’ and this caused friction in the household between us when I was growing up because all I wanted was an education and to be able to stand on my own two feet.

Due to her belief that education was wasted on girls my mother attempted to take me out of school when I was in year 11. I fought to stay and thankfully my grandmother supported me in my quest to earn an education and finish high school which I did.

When I was 19, Mum kicked me out of home and I have supported myself ever since, working multiple jobs to put myself through university where I studied and completed a Bachelor Degree in Social Science. My grandmother, through helping me to stay in school and encouraging me to go to university, was the first experience I had of female empowerment. Her actions and support changed my life.

Without this experience, I don’t believe I would be as passionate about female empowerment as I am today and I thank my mother for this learning as it enabled me to pursue something I really care about. Since graduating from university I’ve run large teams in a variety of industries and established my own consulting, recruitment and training company which I ran for over four years. My clients included Telstra, CBA, Crazy Johns, Australian Air Express, Origin Energy, Officeworks, Nokia and Siemens amongst others.

I’ve worked in banking, technology, insurance and am now the Chief Operating Officer of real estate franchise, Stockdale & Leggo, a role I took on in 2012. In this role I am responsible for setting the strategic direction for Stockdale & Leggo. This involves setting and holding the vision, developing the growth strategy, ensuring we have the right technology infrastructure and rolling out innovative group marketing strategies which achieve cut through in a tough industry.

I am great at leading, mentoring and managing people and genuinely love feeling like I am making a difference. We have just over 1000 people in the overall group and I take that responsibility very seriously. It is a great privilege to be at the forefront of such an incredible company, working daily with many people I now call friends.

Due to my own disempowered childhood, I am incredibly passionate about empowering women in real estate and have worked to equalise the playing field within our own network by setting a goal of having 50/50 ratio of male and female franchisees by 2020 (currently we are at 20/65) which is a significant improvement from when I commenced, when we had only 3 female franchisees.

Having seen and experienced first hand the lack of support for women within the industry, I decided to establish a community which holds an annual event to inspire, motivate and support women within the real estate industry to step confidently into more senior roles and in the process take control of their own financial future. ‘Empowered Women in Real Estate’ is a movement, which holds one of the industry’s few women’s only events, designed to inspire and empower women into believing in themselves and chasing their dreams.

This event also raises money for charity through a silent auction where prizes are donated by sponsors and all money raised is given to a nominated charity. This initiative also helps dispel the industry’s gender wage disparity and raise awareness and support for women in the workplace. I reached out to some heavy hitters to establish further support including Domain, Westpac, Audi and Deloitte Private which has helped awareness spread more quickly. I’ve also now established an EWIRE Committee with some prominent female leaders from within and outside the industry to help push the movement and its mission forward.

My passions outside of my work are my two children and my husband. We live on 22 acres just outside of Melbourne and we grow our own fruit and vegetables, with two dogs, one kitten and 12 chooks. I play basketball with my son Will regularly and have started running again. I used to be a triathlete when I was younger but after getting married, having two children and taking on the COO role, I had not made this a priority however this has changed recently after a health scare.

In 2018 I’m focused on spending more time with my family and growing the Stockdale & Leggo franchise, continuing on with my role as Brand Ambassador for Empowered Women in Real Estate and hoping to positively influence the industry as a whole.

About the Author

Anna Thomas is the Chief Operating Officer of major Australian real estate network, Stockdale & Leggo. She was recognised as a Telstra Business Women’s Awards Finalist in the Corporate and Private Award in 2016, a 2017 Finalist in the Real Estate Business Awards ‘Industry Thought Leader of the Year’ Award and a Bronze Stevie winner in the Woman of the Year category in the 2017 International Business Awards.

She is also the Founder and Brand Ambassador of the ‘Empowered Women in Real Estate’ initiative, a community empowering women to believe in themselves and step forward into leadership roles.

For further information, interviews or speaking engagements, please contact Chiquita Searle e: media@stockdaleleggo.com.au p: 0423 686 380

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

Instagram: http://instagram.com/stockdaleleggo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stockdaleleggo

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

 

How Special Needs Parenting Encouraged Me to do what was Right – Miriam Slozberg – Canada

How Special Needs Parenting Encouraged Me to do what was Right Instead of Meeting Society’s Expectations

As soon as I had hit puberty, my weight started piling on and I also had an unfortunate case of severe acne.  However, my life at elementary school was fine until my family had moved to another area, and I had to start at a new school. That was also more of a difficult transition because at that time is when I was ready to start middle school.

My years at middle school and in early high school were horrible because I was bullied a lot. I was overweight and had a severe case of acne on my face. However, other newcomers were slim and had clear faces. They were automatically accepted. Why were they accepted? Because society glorifies slim and clean.

Because my appearance did not meet society’s expectations, I was ridiculed and left out. My self-esteem was always low, and it became even lower until I had lost some weight when I was in grade 10 and found a medication that helped clear up my face. I actually found that other kids became nicer to me and I was no longer bullied, for the most part anyway. Why? Because I was starting to meet society’s expectations.

My college years were a lot better and I got married in my mid-twenties and had my daughter about 2 years later after struggling with mild infertility. As it turned out I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which explains why my weight ballooned and why I had developed severe acne during puberty. However, after several attempts with Clomid and IUI, I successfully became pregnant with my daughter and had a decent pregnancy.

When my daughter was 18 months, my menstrual cycle seemed to have been messed up for whatever reason. Having late cycles was not a new thing to me considering I have PCOS, however after being 3 months late made me examine the cause. I was indeed pregnant. This was a shock because the odds were against my husband and I that we could conceive naturally.

The pregnancy itself was fine, however, my son’s birth was not as he inhaled meconium and lost oxygen. After being in the NICU for 10 days he was well enough to finally come home. However, he was not developing at the same pace as my daughter did when she was an infant.

As time when on, it was clear that he needed to be assessed. He lacked speech, interest in human interaction, and became lost while staring at lights and spinning tops. He was diagnosed with autism at 3 and my world once again came crashing down.

However, since I had this new issue on my plate, I had to work with it and do the best I could for my son. He received early intervention with various therapies that cost and arm and a leg. In some areas he progressed, and in other areas he didn’t.

As time went on, he was not doing well, and after trying out 4 different schools close to 10 years later, I was out of ideas. I was also at my wit’s end. I fell into a serious depression years prior to that and was even diagnosed with a Major Depressive Disorder.

I knew that it got to a point that in order for my 13-year-old son to live up to his potential, and for me to deal with the demons from my past and focus on my mental health, be a better wife to my husband, and better mother to my daughter, something drastic needed to change.

My son could no longer live at home because I not only feared I could snap, but he was regressing at home and I could not give him what he needed.  Then there was that part of me that worried about what other people would think of me if I were to send my son away. The same way I worried about fitting in and being part of the in-crowd.

Before I knew it, I had my ah-ha moment. I knew it was time to stop worrying about meeting society’s expectations and to do the one thing that was best for my situation. That was sending my autistic son to live away from home since him living at home was worsening the situation. I got the ball rolling to make that bold move become a reality.

After several months of my son going through more assessments,  and after I went through other ordeals, my son left home in September of 2017 to a much better place. A place and school where he would get everything he needed 24/7 so he could live up to being his best, whatever that may be. I see him every Sunday and I can say with confidence that I am already seeing subtle positive changes in him and in myself. I did the best thing for my family.

However, why have I found myself defending my decision? Do you know how many parents who were in my position that sacrificed their sanity because they thought that sending their disabled children away (to somewhere better yet) was wrong? That is because society has taught us that doing something like that is wrong and it makes you selfish. That is right.  Society glorifies martyrdom! The same way society glorifies anyone who isn’t overweight and an acne-free face.

If society was more accepting of different appearances other than the types that are not considered “beautiful”, there would be less bullying and more confident men and women around.

My message to anyone is if you are in a difficult situation whatever that may be, and doing the best and right thing goes against what society expects of you, then take the risk at being hated and mocked, and do the right thing. Your sanity, wellbeing and the health of anyone involved will be better off in the long run.

About the Author

Miriam Slozberg is a Canadian mom of two teens, author, blogger, freelance writer, social media manager and astrologer. One of her teens has Autism and she has written several pieces on a variety of platforms about her experiences with raising a child with special needs. Miriam is an advocate of mental health and depression. You can visit Miriam’s sites at www.expressivemom.com and www.miriamslozberg.com for more information.

Divorce is Never Easy! – Joie Serrano – Australia

Everyone’s divorce story is different. Everyone’s coping mechanism differ from one another. But the one common denominator in these stories is the emotional wallop almost everyone experienced. If you are experiencing divorce right now. My heart goes out to you. I know the heart rending pain it could bring. I know about divorce. I am a divorcee too.

My ex and I had trouble synchronising. We just didn’t mesh. We just didn’t fit. As hard as I tried to deny it, my marriage was irreparable. Divorce was inevitable. Despite the widespread familiarity of the effects of divorce however, it didn’t prepare me nor helped minimised the onslaught of pain and grief. I was devastated. Faced with depth and breadth of the loss of my hopes and dreams is probably one of the most challenging aspects of my humanity. My world reeled.

Life has just thrown me a curve ball and I had no choice but to accept it. My world collapsed all around me as the process unfolded. I was in such a low ebb as it launched me into uncharted territory and disrupted my very identity. I found myself going through the motion as I struggled to create a comforting sense of structure and normalcy in my life. I dragged myself to work to
maintain a semblance of life order.

It was tough but I need to do it for my little one and to maintain my sanity. I exhausted myself physically. I tired myself so
strongly that at the end of the day I had no more energy left to think about my worries. I allowed myself to freely mourn my loss. I sobbed away my pain, but jealously guarded my thoughts. I know a certain amount of anger and bitterness is justified, but I didn’t let it beat me up. I didn’t want to get stuck in anger. I didn’t hold a grudge thinking that, why should I – while I am being angry, the other person is out there partying! I forced myself to stop playing and replaying scenes from the split which I was wont to do during the first few weeks.

I tried to slam a door in my mind every time an inner voice would pester me with what ifs and & if only’s. It became like a game of mind over matter to me. It was a tall order but I eventually forced myself to do it. Through the haze of pain and even at my lowest, I tried to maintain my faith that, “there is always light at the end of the tunnel”, faith that, “this too will pass”. I kept repeating these beliefs and it eventually became my mantra.The empowering repetition of my mantra helped reinforced my belief that there is indeed a silver lining somewhere in all these darkness.

It has helped sustained me. In hindsight, I don’t think I would ever get to where I am now though, without God and my healthy, strong support system composed of Jean my boss, my family and friends. As divorced rocked my life, I sought solace in God. Jean, my family and my friends became my anchor. But even as I struggled to rise out of my slough of respond and tried to
stay afloat , I never lost of the possibilities ahead.

I am confident that I am a veritable tough girl. I can do it. I tried to get a grip on myself and promised that I will rebound from divorce. That, I will never allow myself to fall in the wayside nor crumble under the weight of the transition. I pulled myself into the moment as I slowly psyched myself into recovery, made myself adapt into my new singledom and tried to live in the present. Slowly, I regained control of my life and developed a positive mindset. I began my personal transformation too as I
committed to fully own my humanity.

Compared to most people i know I am pretty slack on the exercising front. But with my renewed psyche, going to the gym became easy and fun. I went on a diet. Had my hair colour changed and went on a shopping spree. I dated. Yes, I dated. LOL.I felt good about myself. And as I stirred myself towards rebuilding my world, i felt that had finally regained possession and control of myself and my destiny.

My divorce was recently this year. I felt twinges of regrets for what might have been but I felt a greater sense of pride in what I had accomplished in so short a time. Today, I am still a full-time nurse but I also rediscovered and have reconnected with passions I have set aside. I went back to modelling and professional singing and became a bona fide radio broadcaster of 4EB, a digital radio broadcasting.

Early this year I joined a TV Reality and Modelling Competition which paved the way to my representing Australia in the Ms.Megaverse Competition at the Dominican Republic this coming December. On top of these I am now the Marketing Executive of Ms. Earth Australia. I am by no means in my final destination but I know I am in a good place. My journey was not easy but it was a wonderful learning and unlearning experience.

Life is beautiful!!!

About the Author

Joie Serrano is a single mum with a beautiful daughter, she has been divorced for 2 years now.

She works full time as a Nurse in Wesley Mission Queensland, and also works as a Marketing Executive of Miss Earth Australia, Radio Broadcaster for 4ebm 98.1 /Digital Radio Brisbane. She is also the current Ms. Megaverse AU 2017 and will be representing Australia later in 2017 at the Dominican Republic for the World Finals of Megaverse. She is also a professional Musician and a Runway Model.

Our Motivations Change As We Move Through Life – Jan Cavelle – UK

Our motivations tend to change as we move through life. As a teenager, I was typically full of ideologies, ambitions and plans both for myself and the world around me. I harangued anyone who would listen about various social and political injustices. I fully indulged in those traditionally rebel years. I messed around, failed to get myself a decent education or launch into any career.

Underneath all that angst, was a mother in wolf’s clothing. I passionately wanted children. I wanted to do the whole stay at home Mum bit, with beautifully turned out, happy children eating wholesome food, much of which I had grown myself. The reality of that one didn’t take long to set in, with the sleepless nights, the barely heated baked beans on toast both on plate and down fronts of aforesaid children, the garden neglected. The actuality of life as a Mum is a wake-up call for most of us.

Even so, those of us who become parents, tend to spend the next couple of decades focussing every scrap of energy into our children’s needs.  For me, initially, the challenges were simply day to day.  I had been able to drift into marriage and motherhood cocooned in the security of a partner and a trust fund. But life has a habit of sending us wake up calls and when the trust fund I had went bust overnight and my marriage broke up shortly afterwards, I was left absolutely penniless, totally alone with two small children to support. I was not the first woman that has happened to nor will I be the last.

I was soon living on government support but failing to make ends meet. So with very limited skills, I set up an “office” under the stairs at home where I could watch the children play at the same time and started selling goods from a variety of local manufacturers to interior designers.  

It was really hard; hard being broke; hard working with two small children around. But I managed over the next few years to build a small business which enabled life to become near to the perfect vision I had of motherhood. It was a happy, innocent time in many ways.

By the time the children were in their teens, I was buying the furniture I was selling from one other small company. One Friday, the man who owned it rang my doorbell and announced he was shutting up shop that weekend. Panicking, I asked him in, agreed a deal I could pay him when I could, and by Monday had two small businesses. I amalgamated the two. There were a lot of touch and go moments, but eventually it became successful. With a lot of hard work, I built it up to the size where we were selling my own furniture designs worldwide. Over a hectic few years, I had become something I didn’t set out to be – an entrepreneur and businesswoman.   

It was great in some ways, especially initially. But as success came, so I became very depressed.   There were expectations on me to become a person I had not set out to be. It took me very far from my original values and authenticity. When we allow the noise, the sheer hectic pace of the lives we lead to drown out our values or to lead us into living lives that do not fit with them, we have a recipe for great unhappiness and dis-ease. And sure enough, that is what happened.  Increasingly, I became physically ill and more and more depressed as well, yet there was never any time to deal with either issue. I tried hard to make it work, but we all need a reason to get up in the morning that goes a lot deeper than you “ought” or “should”. Breaking point came finally, one illness too many, and the business and I parted company.  

I am far from alone in the millions who put aside their dreams to have children and do so happily and willingly. But from 50, our priorities change again. While some might have their lives revolving around grandchildren, many more revert to questioning life, trying to find a purpose and a recipe for happiness while there is still time, or simply focussing on a much more health conscious existence in order to stave off the inevitable deteriorations as we get older.

Now re-invented as me, I feel more successful now, doing a mix of coaching, writing and speaking, than I ever did running an international business. Following your authentic self, whatever that is, at whatever stage of life you are at, is the deep down essential rule to follow.

About the Author

Jan Cavelle is a successful Entrepreneur, Writer and a sales and Business Coach for Women based in the UK. Jan has nearly 40 years’ experience in sole trading and small businesses. This experience ranges from such diverse areas as music management, catering, freelance sales, furniture design and manufacture. You can contact Jan by email on jan@jancavelle.co.uk or visit her website – http://jancavelle.co.uk/

The Rise through Special Needs – Motherhood

We all have those moments in life that knock us to our knees, life is full of them. What matters most is that we learn how to rise afterwards and see the gifts we have unlocked in the process.

One of the most pivotal times in life, was the moment I sat across from the team of doctors who delivered devastating news about my youngest daughter Chiara. News that no parent would ever want associated with their beautiful precious child.

Chiara was 5 months old when we were booked in for the brain MRI at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Two days later, our life changed in an instant. Her MRI results were in and doctors revealed she had a severe brain injury. At this stage the cause was a possible stroke she had in utero. Stroke in utero? I didn’t even know that was possible. Chiara would not be able to walk, talk and would require many operations, interventions and need 24/7 care for the rest of her life.

They spoke of a shorter life expectancy and many secondary concerns associated with her diagnosis. Microcephaly, Bilateral Perisylvian Polymicrogyria, Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and Global Developmental Delay. The odds were well and truly stacked up against her.

Within a flash, my entire motherhood experience flipped on its head. I was in so much shock and it took me a long time to come to terms with Chiara’s diagnosis. It’s so bizarre because she looked like any other healthy baby, but things for her would soon unfold very differently.

Then next few months were a blur, EEG tests for seizures, early intervention programs, post-natal depression and also reviewing medical letters – that would leave me sobbing on the kitchen floor. Life catapulted us into a reality that was so fast-paced and all I could do was try to keep my head above water and love her fiercely, as I did Grace. A mother’s love can move mountains.

Once the shock wore off, we were on a mission to help Chiara reach her full potential. Our quest for healing and miracles sent us off on adventures, both locally and overseas to access the latest neurological therapies. Fast forward to today Chiara is almost 4 years old, doing well and defying the odds in her own unique way. This kid, she blows me away. With all her physical limitations, she still manages to pull of the most incredible smile. Not to mention her big sister Grace who has the most incredible connection with Chiara. Makes me the proudest mum in the world!

So motherhood sure has kept me busy. I had to close down the yoga business given all the care, therapies and hospital appointments we needed to attend. So recently I created a website Miracle Mama offering soulful support for special needs Mama’s.

As a passionate advocate for health and wellness, special needs and self-care, I wanted to create something to help serve the special needs sistahood, who in turn helped me find my own footing in the post-diagnosis life. I wanted to create a community for other mama’s to share their experience – it can be a very isolating experience and even your closest friends may not understand what you are going through.

The stress of raising a medically fragile child isn’t going to go away. What is in our control is how we deal with that stress and we can do that far better when we’re honouring and valuing our own self-care practices.

I can stand tall in saying that my life has been blessed three times over. The first in a soul mate of my husband Mauro, the second with a beautiful spirited daughter Grace and the third with a courageous and angelic daughter Chiara.

It’s funny like that life – sometimes the most amazing blessings are found within your biggest challenges.

About the Author

And for me, my greatest life blessings have been given to me during my motherhood journey. Motherhood in a nutshell: magical, mystical and lovingly miraculous.

Natalie Roberts-Mazzeo is a passionate writer, coach and speaker, and the founder of Miracle Mama. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two beautiful daughters. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Anything is Possible – Carmen Harrison and Cassandra Rathgeber- Canada

If someone told my sister and I that 2 years ago we would be young entrepreneurs running our very own food truck, we would have never believed them. We are twins from a farm with big dreams and aspirations, and our passion is food. We absolutely love to bake. It puts us in a relaxed and comfortable zone, a place where you can think, dream and be true to who you really are. Our goal when starting our food truck was to connect to our community through our food. We wanted to create an experience that everyone could enjoy. In the past year, we are so proud to say we have created our passion; Queen Bees Food Truck.

Queen Bees did not happen over night… It felt like it took a lifetime for the vision to arrive in our lives. Following college and without a clear idea of a concrete career path, both Cassandra and I had worked jobs in the hospitality industry. These jobs helped build the work ethic we would need to start Queen Bees. We both married young and decided to stay at home and run a dayhome. This allowed us stay at home and raise our children. After several years had passed we found ourselves in a place of uncertainty. We were internally struggling with a direction to take in our lives. We both new this wasn’t our true path or purpose.

In the evening, we would walk and on these walks the seeds of the Queen Bees idea began to grow. We started to create our vision, discuss ideas, argue details and slowly the dream took shape. We made vision boards to help us manifest our reality.  As time went on we felt we were getting closer to actualising our plan but our 5 children were still really young, between 18 months to 4 years old. That was our major hurdle, trying to balance our children and a full-time job. But honestly, we needed a change in our lives. It wasn’t healthy for our well being and we wanted to show our children how to reach for the stars. We felt we owed it to ourselves to follow our dreams, and to show our children if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.  Many people have faced hard challenges and even impossible ones and still found success. We were also nervous of the one thing all entrepreneurs are scared of…failure. Yet, because of our prior experiences, our bond with each other, and the belief we could succeed, failure was tempered by excitement. We knew this adventure was about our personal growth and about discovering who we really are as people.

This idea kept blossoming. We created the menu in 2 minutes. It was basically all our favourite treats. However, we did teach ourselves to make French Macarons. We loved them, and thought it would be a treat to share with our community. We purchased an old delivery truck online that had no engine. We had no idea how this was going to come to life. Our childhood neighbour came to our rescue and made this entire truck a reality for us. We couldn’t believe our luck. Len Aucoin was able to transform this shell of a truck in to a beautiful full service Food Truck.

After one season in the books and many lessons learned, Queen Bees Food Truck is nearly booked solid for the 2017 season. We service the City of Red Deer as well as Sylvan Lake and surrounding areas. We are so excited to see where Queens Bees takes us. We are still dreaming big and hope to open a store front in the near future. We have endless ideas and it will always be in our nature to reach for the stars.

About the Authors

Carmen Harrison and Cassandra Rathgeber are strong women, mothers, wives, sisters, dreamers and owners of Queen Bees Food Truck. Together we designed and created our dream Food Truck servicing Central Alberta, Canada.

We, Carmen and Cassandra hope to inspire everyday women, mothers, or anyone with a dream or passion. We hope to encourage you to never give up and to understand that if it feels right in your heart then of course anything is possible! Never allow people to shy you away from your true passion and what makes you happy.

Follow Queen Bees Food Truck:

Facebook: Queen Bees Food Truck

Instagram: The Hive QB

For more information about Queen Bees and how to contact Carmen and Cassandra visit:

http://www.queenbeesfoodtruck.com <http://www.queenbeesfoodtruck.com/

Nikki Taylor personally thanks both Carmen and Casandra for sharing her inspiring story today with us on Inspiring Women Today by Nikki Taylor <https://nikkitaylor.com.au/>.  Should you too wish to share your very own inspirational journey/story please email nikki@inspiringwomentoday.biz and our editorial guidelines will be sent to you.

Join us today STAY INSPIRED AND EMPOWERED FOR FREE https://nikkitaylor.com.au/join-us-free/

Drs. Nikolien Martina-Doorenbos – Moms and More – Netherlands

Drs. Nikolien Martina-Doorenbos – Moms and More – Netherlands

In this day and age, we – as women- often forget to trust our gut feeling, our instinct, our intuition. We take decisions based on our ratio, our thoughts. We decide only after we carefully considered all pro’s and con’s, and frequently are rejecting the wisdom of our inner voice.

I was one of those women. Having an academic background, over the years I de-learned to listen to my heart and followed my head instead. Until Emilia, my first-born, joined our lives. I noticed that when I was pregnant all the attention and care went to me, the mom-to-be. However, after birth all eyes were on the baby. And me? I did not know how to manage this big change in life, missed (professional) support and unbiased acknowledgement. I felt lonely, guilty and disappointed, lacking fulfilment and purpose in my life. (Later I learned that I was not the only one, and that 90% of the new moms are overwhelmed and find it hard to adjust). And whether it was due to the hormonal rollercoaster or the fact that I was confronted with leaving a legacy and the fragility of life, I felt the urge to start coaching other moms. Even though I was full-time headhunter at one of the most prestige executive search firms in the world and just had a baby. However, that drive was so strong and intense that I could not neglect it. And even though I was coaching in the evenings and in the weekends next to my regular working hours as headhunter, I just had to do this.

Fast forward to end 2015… My coaching business had grown and I developed into a recognised full-time coach for moms. However, I was not satisfied with the results I got. Yes  I gave women insight and helped them change, but I felt that insights were just not good enough, that the change was not long lasting enough. I missed a superior coaching method for females, breaking women through fast, painless, and for good. As I didn’t want to leave my kids behind in order to be a regular coach, I wanted to be an extraordinary one. A coach where people would say: Nikolien you’ve changed my life!

And I was wondering: how come that with all those coaches and therapists around, and with all those self-help books, methods, programmes and challenges available, still women become stuck and stay stuck? That meant perhaps that the methods used were not good enough? That it was not us failing the method, but that the method failed us?

I made a wish list of all the things I needed and wanted in a modality in order to be an outstanding coach, just for my own reflection I thought. But several days later I suddenly felt a strong urge, a deep inner push to post this list online in a group of female entrepreneurs. With the question if someone knew something that would match with this list. And you must know that this group has thousands of members. I got one reply on my question from a woman all the way on the other side of the world, in Australia (and mind you due to time differences, it was really a “coincidence”: one hour earlier or later, and she hadn’t seen the post). This woman directed me to the Institute of Women International and the Creatrix® method. I did my research, and Oh my, it ticked all boxes! I went on a Skype call with Maz Schirmer, owner of Institute of Women International, and within one (1!) hour I decided to travel all the way to Australia and follow the Creatrix® Facilitator and Woman’s Transformologist® training. If you would look at this from a rational viewpoint I would be crazy: leaving a baby and a small child behind for over 3 weeks, travel to the other side of the world for a method and a company I did not have any experience with at all, nor did anyone in Europe has. Investing heavily in the unknown.

However I trusted my instinct, my intuition, my gut feeling. I followed my heart. And that has thrown me into the most amazing journey of my life: I became the first Creatrix® Facilitator and Woman’s Transformologist® in Europe and are about to become the first Institute of Women International trainer too. I get to meet so many inspiring women all across the globe, and can be of true and meaningful value by not only changing, but truly saving women’s lives. And most importantly: I learned to really trust female intuition and by just following your heart – even though it goes against all odds-  will give you miracles!

About the Author

Nikolien is the founder and director of Moms&More in The Netherlands​.​ She makes ambitious moms happy ag​ain​ with themselves and their lives. So women can do that what makes them most happy and at the same time experience harmony in work and life. Nikolien is mom of daughter Emilia and son Alessio. She knows how life is as ambitio​u​s mom juggling with all balls (and occasionally drop one). She is allergic to complainants, victims and empty glasses​.​ She loves chocolate, wine and chicklits. Nikolien is the very first Creatrix® Facilitator and Woman’s Transformologist® in Europe, certified the the Australian Institute of Women International. Furthermore, she is certified NLP Master Practitioner, certified DISC tr​ain​er, and completed se​vera​l courses aimed at women’s health, personal and intuitive development. She is a respected speaker and author of the book “Juggling Kids and a Career, A Practical Guide for Working Mothers​”.

To contact Drs. Nikolien Martina-Doorenbos
Website: www.momsandmore.nl
Email: nikolien@momsandmore.nl

Nikki Taylor personally thanks Drs. Nikolien Martina-Doorenbos for sharing her inspiring story today with us on Inspiring Women Today by Nikki Taylor.  Should you too wish to share your very own inspirational journey/story please email nikki@inspiringwomentoday.biz and our editorial guidelines will be sent to you.

Join us today STAY INSPIRED AND EMPOWERED FOR FREE https://nikkitaylor.com.au/join-us-free/

Be The Best You Can Be-Inspirational Womens stories

Be The Best You Can Be – Cassandra Austin – Australia

Be The Best You Can Be-Inspirational Womens stories

Be The Best You Can Be – Cassandra Austin – Australia

After leaving school at age 15 years, I began an apprenticeship as a chef. This was significant because, at that time, I was the only girl in my class at the technical college course and it was rare to have a woman working in a restaurant kitchen. In fact, during a work experience period, with a chef, he explained to me that he didn’t employ woman to work in his kitchen. However, I had a passion for working with “food” so I persevered and waited, until he gave me my chance. Despite these common beliefs, I worked my way through all the negativity and became dogmatic, through work, to achieve my goals. In time, my “dreams” were realised and I had my own restaurant and I became successful and respected in the hospitality industry.

Even though I had proven to the world that a woman could be a respected, and successful, restaurateur I started to notice that, firstly my body was reacting to the extremely, long hours of work. As well, I became, psychologically, exhausted because of the cumulative anxiety that I experienced worrying about maintaining my success. In retrospect, it was clear that I had no balance in my life but only obsessed with working harder. Consequently, I required medical intervention meaning prescribed medication, and counselling, to combat the anxiety/depression as well as the inability to control my weight. After some six months, I felt worse because I lost the energy I needed which meant a reliance on medications I had to maintain the work and, hence, the continuing success of my business. After some time, I began to reflect on my life, work and general health when I had an epiphany that would change me forever.

Successful people in life achieve their goals through hard work or by working smarter. I began to analyse myself and realised that I had proven myself, worked ridiculous hours but at the cost of my health. Proving myself to the world may have been achieved had I not “pushed” my body to exhaustion and ill health but, simply, may have taken a longer time. It was at this time in my life that I made the decision to change, be more proactive, and take more care of my physical, and psychological self religiously, I would eat a varied, healthy diet and began exercising by walking regularly, rejecting cigarettes in favour of attending to the needs of my body and my mind. From then I noticed that weekly changes in my life such as that I became fitter, stronger and calmer, more controlled, in my mind. Also I felt happier as I completely, changed my life but still managed the restaurant, taught commercial cookery at college level and judging culinary competitions. I recall people telling me I looked 10 years younger and I felt it.

As well as continuing my increasing responsibilities, I began doing charity work with the Australian Culinary Federation which I enjoyed and felt fulfilled, then I met my husband “also a chef” who purchased my restaurant so we could spend more time together. In recent times I have finished 8 years as part of the World Association of Chef’s Societies’, doing charity work as a committee member and regional representative of the Woman’s Leadership forum. As well I have been involved in contract consulting, recipes development, testing and costing together with the production of cook books and videos for my professional Industry, working and travelling the world with work and my husband.

Throughout my journey with food and a healthy lifestyle, I believe I have found strategies in developing better health and to reverse the deleterious effects of poor diet. By studying diet and nutrition, food psychology and wellness coaching, I have developed programs online or personalised, that include some 10 workshops to empower woman to learn practical, effective and evidence based skills to enhance your lifestyle. My commitment, and focus, has been to improve people’s lives by adopting the moto “Be the best you can be”.

About The Author

Cassandra joined the food service industry as a 15 year old, Women in the commercial kitchen were an anomaly 25 years later, she is an accomplished Chef, Consultant, Recipe developer, Culinary Judge, Women in the World association of chefs Societies Committee Member and Representative for the Pacific Rim Certified  Food and Wellness Coach. With qualifications as a Commercial chef, Restaurateur and Teacher, she has now branched into Diet, Nutrition and Food Psychology, her niche in the market is supporting people, mostly Woman who want more from a healthy diet, eating, physical and mental concerns in a personalised and private forum.

Success came at a cost to her mental and physical health and after years of ignoring it. Through food and a healthy lifestyle, she has found many ways to reverse the damage and have a wealth of skills to help you cook yourself to better health.
She has committed to improving peoples life styles, networking and career opportunities for females struggling with health and general wellness “To be the best that you can be”.

 “Cass is living proof that you don’t have to be one of the boys in attire and attitude to succeed in the culinary world. Whatever she sets out to do, she gets done.”

Inspiring Story | Cassandra Austin | Australia

To contact Cassandra:

Web: www.womanshealthychef.com

Email: cassandra@womanshealhtychef.com

Nikki Taylor personally thanks Cassandra Austin for sharing her inspiring story today with us on Inspiring Women Today by Nikki Taylor.  Should you too wish to share your very own inspirational journey/story please email nikki@inspiringwomentoday.biz and our editorial guidelines will be sent to you.

Join us today STAY INSPIRED AND EMPOWERED FOR FREE https://nikkitaylor.com.au/join-us-free/