It’s international women’s day! And to celebrate that I’m bringing you nine women that have changed my life.
You know how you feel when you meet one of these gamechangers:
How does she do that?
I want to learn more about her.
I want to talk to her!
She’s living her dream- that means my dream is definitely possible!
Do you remember having these thoughts about your favorite role model, a colleague, or a friend? That as soon as they stepped in front of you your radar went BAM and suddenly expanded all you thought was possible? The truth is that this world is filled with some pretty badass women. To celebrate that, I’m reflecting back on nine women that brought change into my life, how I think, and what I value.
You may know some of them, while others are more like role models that I look up to. This list isn’t exclusive- instead it focuses on the women that really caused me to grow, recognize my values, and expand my way of thinking.
Where would anyone be without their mom? After all, your mom teaches you some of the most important things in life. Things like love, discipline, tenderness, and strength.
It would take a novel to delve into everything that I’ve learned from my mom, but I’ll list a few that really stand out to me.
The first one is a deep love for animals. My mom is magical when it comes to caring for animals. I’ve seen her rescue pigeons, crows, stray cats and kittens, and more. Somehow she always knew what these animals needed. One of my favorite memories is of her staying up all night with a tiny zebra finch. The poor little bird had become egg bound; trying to pass an egg that was too big for it’s little body. The egg had gotten stuck. If the egg broke the bird would die. Ever so gently she held this tiny finch and aided it to pass this egg safely.
Then there was the time she used to put clove oil on the gums of a hamster that had broken it’s jaw to ease it’s pain. Or the time she taught me how to care for kittens who were too young to be separated from their moms. Or how to pull porcupine quills out of an animal safely. Or helped a stuck puppy be born. I’ve seen her nurse animals back to health that vets said would die. Because of that I now have the confidence to take on challenges I wouldn’t have tackled, both with animals and daily life.
The second one is that there is always another way. I’ve seen her come up with solutions to problems that no one else would have thought of. Like deciding to pull me out of the public school system and homeschool me for four years because my elementary school sucked. No really. Having teachers scream at you all day sucks. Or figuring out innovative solutions when stuck in a tight spot. This showed me that sometimes you just gotta think outside of the box and use what you have and that’s really all you need.
Jennifer Clarke Gargaro
Hold onto your seats! Jen has a magical way of sweeping you up and taking you with her on adventures into the unknown!
Right away I was drawn towards Jen’s magnetic energy. She speaks with passion about what’s important to her, is always ready to dive into adventure, and leads her life with curiosity and deep love for others.
This amazing massage therapist, mentor, and founder of More to Life Massage Therapy took me under her wing and mentored me. Looking back, I’m not sure what she saw in my awkward and introverted shy self, but I’m so thankful that she believed in me. There were definitely times I’m sure I tested her patience and drove her crazy with my turtle like pace as I broke through the surface onto bigger and better things. (Like opening our awesome clinic More to Life Massage Therapy!) Somehow she just knew the right questions to ask. She also pushed me, hard, to grow- FAST! I stumbled a few times, and she was always there to back me up with grace and ease. I truly feel that having her by my side allowed me to make quantum leaps in several parts of my life- for that I am eternally grateful!
One of the things that I love about Jen is she is a fantastic communicator. Disagree? No problem. Need to open up and break down? That’s okay; we hold space for each other. Need to explore and work through some things? Pull out the tool box; Jen’s got an amazing one from her work as a massage therapist and a birthing from within mentor.
But it’s not always hard. Jen has a way of tapping into the best part of people, and really getting down to what’s important to them. I’ve seen people light up talking to her. I’ve still got a lot to learn!
Two years ago I was super burnt out and sooooo tired. I finally decided to fire my family GP- yes I did, even knowing the wait for a new one, (hello Ontario health system) and got a naturopathic doctor. It was a last ditch resort to try and feel a bit better after years of frustration.
The result? Why hadn’t I done this sooner! Not only was the experience working with a naturopath way better, (imagine that you actually get a whole HOUR to talk to your health care professional!) but her easy going approach made me feel at ease and relaxed. I loved that she looked at all aspects of my health as a whole, not just one symptom. Together we came up with a plan, made some tweaks, okay more like some big shifts, and got me back on track. Now I don’t feel like falling asleep all day or have nearly as much anxiety. And though I might not always be the best patient, I still feel way better.
Okay big vulnerability moment here. Between the ages of 13-15 I was depressed, suicidal, and a self harmer. There I said it. Christine was my counselor. The best thing about her was that she had a great sense of humor. She would kindly pause, and say ‘Sorry dear I’m just having a hot flash, I’m going to turn this fan on.’ I loved that she was just herself and not afraid to be real. She walked me through so many things, and helped get me to the point where I wanted to stick around. For a while I even wanted to be a counselor too. She really lit up a passion inside me about helping others. Thanks Christine!
Denise Duffield Thomas
This woman is another game changer. After following her blog and reading her book I was able to make some awesome progress in my life and my business. Denise helps people get over their limiting beliefs around money. It’s a huge topic for sure! She helped me realize where I was holding myself back in my life due to beliefs around money, and personal finance, that simply weren’t true. Many of these beliefs we grow up with or are part of our culture. But we can flip them on their head if we want!
Gail Val Oxlade
Another power house when it comes to taking control of your finances and your budget. I grew up watching her shows ’till debt do us part’ and ‘Princess’. She taught me the importance of a budget and how to save up for the things that are important to you. She also showed me how money can be a cause of strain on relationships- ick! Why did she change my life? I was able to grow up with a knowledge about long term versus short term gains when I came to money. work effort, and goals. I learned from other’s experiences.
Of course Oprah would be on here! Who doesn’t look up to this amazing woman and what she has accomplished? I grew up in the 90’s, sitting on the basement rug watching her shows.
Oprah taught me to be yourself, and go for it! I loved that as her popularity grew she branched into other amazing things; opening a school for girls, donating to charities, creating her own network. I even loved that she has evolved into a self help guru and brought spirituality to the forefront by working with people like Depak Chopra. I always thought it would be super cool to do her job and just get to know people and interview them.
My life changed when I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. This book isn’t just about having babies. Instead it teaches you how to track your cycle and live in rhythm with your body. I learned so much about my own reproductive cycle and my health. I recommend that everyone with a uterus read this book! It opened up a whole new chapter in my love for the reproductive system and women’s wellness.
Rebecca Joan Brumfield
Founder of an awesome facebook online group and website Badass Bodyworkers, Rebecca created the space I was looking for when it came to fellow massage therapists. Single handedly she brought together over 5K massage therapists where we can talk shop and learn from each other. It has been a huge game changer in terms of learning technical skills, business tips, and real life talk. Rebecca is down to earth and not afraid to share her opinion which is so refreshing! She also loves what she does and is always willing to help others if they are ready to do the work. I also like that many massage therapists in the group are in countries all over the world; this brings a wider perspective to the profession and challenges my own views and opinions which is integral to growth.