I am extremely fortunate to count some of the previous Women of Inspiration as my friends and in some cases my inspiration. It is a bit overwhelming to be included in a group of women I hold in such high regard, and who have done amazing things in our community. I am admittedly proud to be counted among them, and I am unashamed in that pride as I think being proud of what we do or accomplish is not something of which to be ashamed.I am a huge fan of Girls Inc. as their mission is to encourage young women to be smart, bold and strong. These qualities are ones I hope all people aspire to, but I suppose given the fact that I am a woman and the mother of a daughter I am even more passionate about ensuring young women embrace those qualities.
Being smart, bold and strong will not make the world a perfect place. It will still be a place of challenges and difficult times, but those qualities prepare us to face those moments and to meet them with a mixture of intelligence, strength and courage that allows us to conquer them. Being smart, bold and strong is not necessarily something we are born with, though – we need to have those around us to encourage it, to foster our development as individuals and as human beings. We need to learn those qualities and how to use them – and through their programs and advocacy work Girls Inc of Northern Alberta does exactly that.I happen to live with a smart, bold and strong young woman. She is intensely opinionated, and she is brave in a way that at times even startles me. She is not perfect (much like her mother) but she inspires me every single day to be a better person, to work harder, to strive for excellence in what I do and to be honest and true to myself in the same way I want her to be honest and true to herself. And the reality is that it isn’t always easy, not for either of us.
Not everyone appreciates strength, intelligence and boldness in women. There are those who find it intimidating and who are threatened by it. I fear that someday my daughter may encounter the same kind of people that have always tried to silence strong, smart and bold women – the kind that every smart, strong and bold woman I know has encountered in their life. But what I want her to know is that there is a group of women who stand behind her and with her, and with all the young women of this world. There is a group of women who will defend the right to be strong, smart and bold, who derive their inspiration from each other and from the young women of this world who are developing their own strength, courage and intelligence. The Women of Inspiration are a just a few of those women, a collective of those who want to encourage other women of all ages to embrace their own strength, courage and intelligence and to share it with the world – even when it seems some in the world want to quell it.I don’t feel like I am a woman of inspiration, to be honest. I feel as if I am a woman who is inspired by all the women around me who do so many incredible things, the ones who are captains of our industry, who run our social profit organizations, who advocate for causes large and small, who find the courage to deal with the challenges, the intelligence to navigate tricky waters and the strength to forge on building our community every single day.
I am honoured to be a Woman of Inspiration. I am grateful to Girls Inc of Northern Alberta and those who saw fit to nominate me for this honour. I am however perhaps even more grateful to all those, especially the women, who have supported my daughter and I in this community and helped us to achieve our goals and dreams. As a Woman of Inspiration if I am able to inspire just one person – maybe even my own daughter – to strive to be a strong, smart and bold woman then I have accomplished something of which I am deeply proud. Part of being strong, smart and bold is recognizing that it is okay to be proud of yourself at the same time you feel humbled – and today I feel both of those things, and am so happy to be able to share them with you.