From the Founder: My back story…
I wish I would have had the insights and Strengthen-HER resources when I was growing up in the inner city of the South Bronx and Puerto Rico. Life’s journey takes a toll on our confidence, our energy to engage life with zest, and ultimately, our health and well-being. We’re on auto-pilot. Our fears and insecurities are so deeply rooted in our subconscious, they are secretly impacting how we make decisions. This is NOT OK with me! I want to live intentionally and make life count as I believe most people do. I want to be conscious on this journey and make it purposeful.
When I was young, my guiding light was
the need to achieve. It was my “obsession.” At that time, achievement meant getting “out of dodge,” which was the inner city’s public housing environment. Living without the security of the next meal or fearing for my family’s safety was a daily struggle. That wasn’t the first or last time I felt stuck, even trapped.
Shortly after the fire that left us homeless, we were moved deeper into the South Bronx to a shelter until housing was found for us. I was undeterred in my determination that I would “get out.” I was 19. Two short years later, not having finished college, I joined the US Air Force to create a bridge out of growing challenging circumstances that threatened my goals, my vision, and literally my life. I was defiant to the obstacles. Still am.
Some decisions have lasting implications. Joining the military was certainly one of them. The bond and respect I have for our veterans is deep. Where would I, we, our country, or our privileges be today if not for their sacrifices?
I was so proud to learn that my grandfather landed in Normandy. Reflecting on the miracle of his survival, I hear the words from the movie Saving Private Ryan, “make it count”… as if they were for me.”…
In 1994, I took a hard right turn and left the military. My new direction was taking me towards a profession of facilitating financial decisions. The desire to positively impact lives, through many generations, via sound financial planning grounded me to a powerful cause. Having gotten “out of dodge,” my calling was to help others do the same by achieving economic success. The irony is palpable.
I had a successful run as a Financial Advisor for 20 years. #Priceless
My defining moment.
Fast forward to 2005. My childhood love for biology and health science suddenly became very relevant when I was told, “you have an autoimmune disease… type 1 Diabetes” (what use to be called Juvenile Diabetes) at age 37. There is no cure. I was forced to confront the fear of death, disability, and not being able to take care of myself. I now had to “manually” keep myself alive and healthy, literally. The diagnosis came 3 weeks after deciding to leave my marriage of 13 years. Starting over and reinventing myself came with a whole new set of rules and challenges. It took me a minute, but in time, I said, “Oh hell, no!” I took my life in my hands, got help, and learn what it took to fully live, in spite of and because of Type 1.
I was forced to confront the fear of death, disability, and not being able to take care of myself. I now had to “manually” keep myself alive and healthy, literally. The diagnosis came 3 weeks after deciding to leave my marriage of 13 years. Starting over and reinventing myself came with a whole new set of rules and challenges. It took me a minute, but in time, I said, “Oh hell, no!” I took my life in my hands, got help, and learn what it took to fully live, with, in spite of, and because of Type 1. I don’t think I would be here today aligned with my passions and purpose otherwise.
Awakening to the fragility of life, awareness of the body’s response to stress, acquiring knowledge to upgrade my health, and helping other’s do the same… #Priceless
The ultimate redirect came when I reinvented myself as an entrepreneur to live a life guided by my talents and my authentic self. My diagnosis, which could have had a detrimental effect on my perspective, was actually the catalyst that ignited my courage to leave the corporate world in 2014 and live intentionally. Courage is a practice. It is within all of us!
Life’s unpredictability and fleeting nature of our health is a “heavy gift” that brings me clarity of purpose… #Priceless
Gratefulness allows me to be grateful for every bit of my journey; humble beginnings, lessons about myself, choices that didn’t quite turn out the way I anticipated, and yes, even my type 1 Diabetes.
Strengthen-HER is dedicated to women, and their ability to help and learn from each other, and rise together. I am humbled by the women who gave me a hand during my most challenging times. You have inspired me to give back and stay focused on my own personal development. Not for my benefit, but for it to matter that my life made a difference in the life of another. #Purpose-driven
Thank you, first to my mom and sister, Ellen H., Jean B., Jeanne S., Daisy S., Linda L., Betty T., Sandra S, Shannon P., Shayne B, for making a meaningful difference in my life.
I am so excited to see how the Strengthen-HER experience can assist and facilitate your discoveries as you seek to live purposefully and make life count. Together we can make a bigger impact. I look forward to co-creating on this journey with you.