Women Magazine Article August 2022

I never thought id be in this position ever. Own my own business, the chance to help make some change and progress sitting on boards (FWBIA & Thunder Pride) and committees (Fort William Revitalization).

Or any position really. Growing up in the ’80s/90’s my mum was a single mother who overworked herself into sickness. She constantly got the stares, the stress and I got the teasing of “where’s your dad?”. I didn’t know. I grew up with my grandma, my mum, and my mum’s best friend Mia. Men/husbands/fathers were a part of the picture that I didn’t understand. My Mia had a husband and was nice but when I was there it was very much don’t bother him, children are best seen not heard.  Growing into my teenage years I had a very rough time and life; faced multiple addictions, homelessness, sexual assaults, bullying, and mental and physical health issues. My mum taught me I could power through all of it and just focus on school. I’m glad she did.  I’m also glad I’ve lived the life that I have. Everything happens of a reason. Life happens, it opens your eyes, heart, and mind.

I stayed in school at the time mostly just to keep my orphan’s pension (as it was the only steady income I had).  I had an abusive boyfriend who made fun of me going to school, saying I was too weak and stupid to do anything.  I changed and grew and decided that I was going to actually plan something for myself. I ended up with 3 diplomas. Meanwhile, I still was dealing with all previously mentioned above problems (including hurting my back and having to take 2 years off). I also worked multiple part-time jobs. I finally kind of settled down while taking care of my grandma’s house once her health declined. I finished school in esthetics (the 3rd diploma).  In the end, after moving through the ranks from part timer to educator at Everest College I ended up opening my own business after the loss of both my grandma, my dog, and my mum within 4 months of each other. All before age 30.

”Oh they’re just a funky woman. Maybe a little weird…but they’re a good employee/colleague and we will listen and respect she has great ideas. Oh…. she spoke up.”

Life experiences, culture, sexuality, gender, religion, traumas, health (both mental and physical), disabilities, and education are all things that are invisible or presumed.   We hide a lot of them in lieu to show our professionalism. Maybe we show a little bit, show off the education but power through the pain, stress, emotions, and anything else that comes along the way.

Not too long ago I had written for my blog about being a professional but still being an alternative woman. How to nicely hide your tattoos, when and when not to take out piercings, putting up for judgments for hair colour, and more. Thankfully within the last decade, that kind of judgment has dropped drastically in many business sectors. People can look past and actually listen.  But in all this time, in my whole lifetime and more: employers, colleagues, mentors, bosses and more can’t look past just simply being a woman without judgments.

The number of times that older men have given me a chance to just turn around and try to take advantage of me in some way (cut costs of business, pay, benefits, respect, time, professional image) or thought they could not get caught in their own actions seems like its just par for the course. But with me, it’s not.  I don’t have to name names, times or places because it’s more than recently or a handful of times.  And with the overturn of Roe V. Wade, I feel a punch in the ovaries even harder. What can we do? Sensitivity, diversity, and inclusion training? Not really. The Harvard business review found that 40+ year-old, white males barely learn from these training programs. They may take them as lip service…if at all if not a company requirement.  Which really does show that actions speak louder than words.

What do these programs do then? It teaches young women, especially those of colour or from lower social standings that we must speak up, clarify what we want, and take no crap! We know our worth no matter what we look like, what our family status is, or anything. More women stand up for themselves when receiving this training.  We must make the change. And believe me; If I can, a total trash goblin of a human, you definitely can too!

Speaking at Thunder Bay’s 2022 Pride Festival for Thunder Pride Association

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