Hello everybody !
Tonight, we met four beautiful and inspiring women. I really enjoyed listening to their stories, and will remember this evening for the rest of my life.
Alexandra Orlando is the author of In Pursuit of Victory and Breaking Through My Limits: An Olympian Uncovered, two books in which she talks about her experience overcoming challenges. As an olympian athlete, she had to face brutal disappointment : she missed qualification by only a tenth of a point. But she didn’t give up, and held on tight to her dream. In 2008, in spite of some of the negative comments, her hard work paid off and she accomplished her dream by becoming an olympian athlete.
Now, she is a motivational speaker and shows us how to never give up, to face our challenges and always try to accomplish our goals.
“We don’t have it all figured out, but you can’t be afraid of failure.”
In 2001, Natalie Archer became a dentist in Toronto, at the Rosedale Family Dental Centre. She started a career as well as raise a family, which proves that both can be done successfully. She believes that you are “not fully dressed without a smile”.
This evening, she gave us tips that I am sure will come in handy as I move forward in my life :
1. Make calculated business risks. Think things through but do not be afraid to take risks in business, and take a chance.
2. Set limits, create strong relationships and do not lose yourself. You can work hard to achieve your goals but always maintain who you are, and build strong relationships along the way, which will help you realize your dream. Nobody can do it alone.
3. Don’t wait until it’s too late to have a family. This woman has proved that you can have both a career and a loving family. It’s all about balancing the two.
4. Get involved!
“You must build your own web and be strategic about where you place it. Be articulate with all the different angles that it offers. Remember, Spider webs are built so strong . And it is unpredictable when you will catch the fly!”
I found all of these women amazing, but the one who really moved me was Katrina. She went through so much personal struggles because she was different from the “average” girl, being taller and bigger, which led to some bullying. My sister was once a victim of bullying, so I can relate and understand her pain, having watched my sister go through it. She figured she’d try to use her hight as an asset and became a competitive basketball player with a dream to play in the WNBA. Unfortunately, more obstacles came along the way while playing a game one night, she suffered a career ending injury.
On the support from her peers, she followed on yet an other dream, modeling. In spite of not fitting in the mold, she kept her competitive nature and worked her way through this industry. It was difficult, due to the fact that she was in between two categories. But thankfully to Ben Barry from The Ben Barry Agency, which is the first modeling agency to accept models from every shapes and sizes, he believed in her and introduced her to many people, which helped her succeed in her modeling career. She was asked by Sunny Phong to walk in a fashion show, which was a thrill for her. As she walked down the runway, the audience clapped and cheered – everybody loved her curves. What a exhilarating moment !
One of my favorite moments of her speech was when she read us a poem that her mom used to read to her, called ” Don’t Quit”. And my favorite piece of advice from the whole night was,
“Don’t quit, for you’re not a failure
Until you fail to try.”
Katrina also gave us several tips to help us.
1. Take car of your health
2. Find a hobby as a way to forget about the world
3. Carry an attitude of gratitude
4. Be able to forgive
5. Let go of negative energy
Melani has developed a skin line called Soya Boutique. These organic products are a natural skin care collection.
What I took from Melani’s speech is that she accomplished many different things in her life. She was in the beauty industry for over 15 years, being a Canadian Ford model, but before the fashion industry she was an athlete. With the encouragement of her father, she was led to other paths than sports, and she signed with the Ford Modeling Company. That led her to have amazing contracts with MAC and Dolce & Gabana, for example. Which is a high accomplishment, but Melani still strived to find her passion. She kept her options open and after trying modeling, being a stylist and a designer, she finally found that skin care was what called to her and went back to school in order to get the education she needed to accomplish her dream.
One of Melani’s most important tips for us girls was to “embrace opportunities that arise from every experience”.
Having listened to Melani, I realize that even if I feel accomplished in what I am doing, I will alway be striving to go further, do better, and not be afraid of challenging myself.