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I was afraid before I realised it was my time – Latanya Farquharson, Toronto, Canada

Starting a business seemed so far in my periphery, now that it is a reality I felt empowered to share my story with the amazing women who are reading this right now. I can’t even begin to explain how fearful I was when I was inspired to start my business. I quit around 20 times before realizing that starting a stationery business was something I was meant to do. I would sit there and talk myself out of it to the point that it seemed like it just wasn’t something I was capable of. However, that lingering feeling in the back of my mind and the gentle nudge of my husband prompted me to look further into entrepreneurship and how my talent could impact the world.  

Fast-forward, I have been in business just about a year and being a business owner means freedom to me. Being a business owner gives me the ability to set my own hours, work as much or as little as I want and set my own salary. Being a business owner brings me great pride with the fact that I am able to create a life that I choose. I don’t think there is anything more empowering than owning your own business. I mean, don’t get me wrong, owning your own business is not a walk in the daisy field by any means, but having the chance to choose every day to do what you love and enjoy makes the hard days much easier and the great days even greater!

The reason I became an entrepreneur was mainly because I wanted more of an ability and capacity to give back. As a child, my mother was a single mother who sacrificed and strove to be the best mother possible. She was and still is. However, with young children, the community was so pivotal in assisting my mother to give my siblings and I all we needed. I remember one Christmas seeing so many gifts under the tree that I still remember it to this day! That was a community. So I promised to myself if I ever had the capability to give back that I would do it to the best of my ability. Entrepreneurship has allowed me to set my business up in a way that a portion of our proceeds is donated to a local Toronto company that engages young people across Canada who are navigating poverty and homelessness to pursue the Arts. Cool isn’t it?

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

My greatest influence in business/professional life would have to be my parents. Both of my parents arrived in Canada as immigrants from Jamaica and both created pathways for themselves in business; my mother in the corporate world and my father as an entrepreneur. My father owns a professional transport company that began as an individual moving company and he transformed it into a company that transports large ticketed items all around Ontario. His business is full time and fully sustainable. My mother worked in a large multi-national company in their HR department for over 12 years and was a V.I.P in her department. As a change of scenery, she now works with youth on an in-home basis as a mentor.

They by far are my biggest influences because they represent me personally on both sides of my spectrum. Currently, I work in the legal field in tax consulting however, I run my business on a part-time basis. It’s nice to be able to talk with them about their experiences and use their experiences to become a better all-around person. My mother has always been a generous person and I am so glad her generosity rubbed off on me to want to create a business that aims to give back in as many ways as possible.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to date?

My greatest accomplishment to date would definitely be making the decision to become a Christian. All of my life’s accomplishments after becoming a Christian I can 100% attribute to having strong Christian values and maintaining my faith. A close second would be accomplishing my goal of launching my business. My business was a thought for over 3 years before I decided in 2018 that I would officially launch.

What do you do to inspire women?

I carry myself with dignity and grace wherever I am. I inspire women by being unapologetically myself. In my opinion, inspiration doesn’t always have to be a planned conscious thing! It can be living your life the best way you know how and not being afraid to be vulnerable and share your fears and failures with the world. Let’s face it, sometimes things don’t work! Inspiring women through my failures and successes is something I think I do unintentionally but makes such a huge impact!

What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

My advice to the woman who wants to do what I do is to do your research! Research is very important before starting any business. The stationery business can be very lucrative if you niche yourself in something that you are passionate and talented at. For me, I have a wide imagination. Event and wedding stationery allows me to use my imagination when a client asks to have stationery created for a winter wonderland great Gatsby dinner party on a Tuesday night. My advice is to make sure you understand your market and how your unique talent can contribute to it. Saturation is very prevalent in the stationery market and knowing your talents makes it easier for you to “get in where you fit in”, and dominate of course!

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

“Instead of begging for a seat, build your own table”! – My translation, the longer you take to capitalize on your great idea the less time the world has to embrace it. If you have an amazing idea that you think the world should know about, don’t wait on someone to magically offer you a seat at the table, build a table and create opportunities for people who share the same vision as you.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

  • I love to play soccer;
  • Pampering myself at the spa, self-love is important;
  • Travelling;
  • Netflix nights at home with my husband;
  • Holidays with my family.

About the Author

Latanya Farquharson is the lead graphic designer and owner at Elegantly Angeleta, a Toronto based boutique specializing in special event and wedding stationery. Latanya’s designs have been featured in Canadian Wedding magazines and Blogs and is called upon for her creative mind by wedding professionals in Canada. Latanya prides in the fact that she is able to wander off into the abyss and create stationery that is not always “cookie cutter”. She has a special interest in vintage, rustic and non-traditional designs.  

Contact:

Website: www.elegantlyangeleta.com

Email: info@elegantlyangeleta.com  

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.

Push Past Your Limits – Pauleanna Reid – Canada

Push Past Your Limits – Pauleanna Reid – Canada

If you had told my teenaged self that I would be a mentor, motivational speaker, best-selling author and multi-business owner before the age of 30, I wouldn’t have believed you. The journey to becoming the woman I am now—a woman who goes after she wants and won’t take no for an answer—has been anything but easy.

My adolescence was marked by bullying, low self-esteem and unhappiness. I found solace in writing. I eventually realized it could be a career for me. But I was failing English and my teachers told me it would never happen. My parents push me to choose a “safe” career. I was surrounded by naysayers.

So I went to college for a program chosen by my parents. I was deeply unhappy with my life. I hated school, I hated my program, and I hated that I was only sticking through it because it was what other people expected for me. I fell into a deep depression, barely able to hold it together. On the day of my final exam—the only thing standing between me and graduation—I stood up, tore up my test paper, walked out of the exam room and never looked back.

It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done, but it was my moment of liberation. I sought help for my depression and found mentors who guided me in developing my career as a nationally-published journalist. By the age of 22, I had bylines in major news publications across Canada. I had established the same career my naysayers had told me I could never have.

A few years later, I fulfilled another dream of mine, penning my first novel, “Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother.” Writing my novel was really an act of catharsis for me. I saw it as an opportunity to address that emotional baggage I’d been carrying and begin my healing process. My book also helped me to start a real conversation with my mother and tell her the secrets I’d been holding in for years. But “Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother” was also for all the women who could understand where I’d been. I wanted to give them a story that would empower them as much as it empowered me.

That’s my ultimate goal in everything I do. I want to always be able to give others the opportunity to see beyond the limits of their circumstances. That’s why my proudest accomplishment to date is New Girl on the Block, a mentorship program for millennial women in transition. I started the mentorship program two years ago in collaboration with my business partner, Safia Bartholomew. Together, we’ve helped over 100 mentees in six countries take their distant dreams and turn them into noteworthy achievements.

It’s truly the greatest contribution I could make with my life. To be able to work directly with other young people and offer them the support and guidance to help them see that ‘impossible is nothing’ is the fuel that keeps me going every day. It’s what gets me out of bed at 4:30 every morning. It’s what allows me to own and operate three businesses and work a full-time job I love.

H.D. Thoreau once said, “If a person advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and lives life fully, then he will find success in unexpected hours.” I live by this. Regardless of the limitations I face or the naysayers that try to discourage me, I always keep pushing for what I want. It’s something that I encourage every woman to do; proceed without permission, push past your limits, and forget the haters.

About the Author

Pauleanna Reid is a Motivational Speaker, Millennial Mentor, Celebrity/CEO Ghostwriter and critically acclaimed Author of her fiction novel, “Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother”. Through a whirlwind of inspirational lectures, round table discussions and media appearances she positively influences, challenges and reconnects youth with their passions. Pauleanna uses incredible wit and candor to empower women and girls.

To contact Pauleanna
Website: http://www.pauleannareid.com/
Email: pauleanna@pauleannareid.com

Nikki Taylor personally thanks Pauleanna Reid 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/

Get Inspired to Eat and Live Well – Marni Wasserman – Canada

Get Inspired to Eat and Live Well – Marni Wasserman – Canada

To put it as simply as possible, I love to eat and live well. More than anything I love to share my passion and knowledge to live the healthiest life possible.

As cliché as that sounds, it’s true. This drive to make “the world” a healthier place started with a foundation in the area of kinesiology and health sciences. I then became a personal trainer and after talking to people about how to eat for optimal health, I realized this wasn’t enough. People needed to learn and see what was involved in taking control of their health.

The only logical next step for me at this time was to attend school for holistic nutrition and then culinary school. These two programs fueled my desire to start teaching my own cooking classes. There was a demand for people to learn how to make and prepare their own foods at home and I saw that need and I wanted to be that person.

When I first started, I didn’t have a plan or the know how to run a business I just knew I wanted to get as many people “healthy” as possible. So in the kitchen of my parent’s home, my little cooking class business began. I started doing weekly health focused cooking classes; I led retreats, hosted events and started to circulate around my city and others to facilitate talks, workshops and cooking demonstrations. I was in my element. I not only got to share my passion for health and nutrition but I got to show people how to do it.

I was on to something, my classes were full and there was a request for more, I had to go bigger. I outgrew my parent’s home and I decided to open up my own brick and mortar Food Studio. At the same time, I had two book deals; Plant-Based Diet and Fermenting for Dummies with very short deadlines. Not to mention while this was all happening I was going through a divorce.

This massive shift in my personal life motivated me to create the best food studio that I could have possibly imagined. So I did it. I built a high end beautiful kitchen from scratch which became a hub to connect people through food. I succeeded. It was my dream come true. However, just like any dream, it must come to an end as a new one begins to take its place.

I am actually just in the middle of letting my food studio go. I have outgrown it and ready to escalate my abilities to more than just teach cooking classes. I am ready to reach people on a global level. With the experience that I have in building communities and transforming people’s health through food, I am ready to apply this knowledge in new and exciting ways. I have come to learn that health is more than just what goes into your mouth, it’s your lifestyle, the people you associate with and the choices you make day to day.

Shortly after opening up the studio, I met my now partner Jesse Chappus. In contrast to my previous relationship, this guy was like the male version of me. Sharing all my same passions, morals and values about life and health. It was inevitable we would create something together – thus the birth of The Ultimate Health Podcast which we now co-host together.

What first started out as a “side” project has now grown into a full time business. Jesse, once a chiropractor has now left his practice for the upward swing of the podcast.

The podcast is more than a weekly health show; it is a community and collection of people looking to inspire and be inspired. With the show reaching over a million people we have the chance to get a message out about health and wellness in a practical, fun and helpful way. With guests such as Dr Mark Hyman, Gretchen Rubin, Arianna Huffington and Deepak Chopra we cover a wide range of topics allowing the listener to come to their own conclusions without pushing any agenda.

I am excited to see what comes of this new transition in my life. One thing I have learned is that it is so important to stay open minded, as you never what will come at you. Life is a set of experiences that help us to grow, evolve and expand. Just stay clear on your initial goals and you will get to where you want to go, just not always in a linear way.

To contact Marni:

Instagram and Twitter: @marniwasserman
Web: www.marniwasserman.com

About the Author

Simply said, Marni Wasserman’s life is rooted in healthy living. Culinary Nutritionist, Health Strategist, Co-Host of The Ultimate Health Podcast and founder of Marni Wasserman’s Food Studio & Lifestyle Shop located in midtown Toronto. She is also the Author of Fermenting for Dummies and Plant-Based Diet For Dummies . Marni has also made several media appearances on Breakfast Television, Global News, CBC, CHCH and Newstalk 1010 and has articles in the National Post, Toronto Star, Huffington Post and Chatelaine Magazine. Marni uses passion and experience to educate individuals on how to adopt a realistic real food diet and a balanced wholesome lifestyle through simple strategies.

Nikki Taylor personally thanks Marni Wasserman 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.