I’ve been asked many times why I chose to start a business. The simple and honest answer is that working for other organizations no longer fulfilled me as my vision started to shift away from the organizations I worked for, and I no longer needed that validation to go in directions that I was aligned with. It seemed that the more confidence I developed about my thoughts and ideas, the harder it was to implement a rigid corporate world view. I started by business career at 24 and after 15 years I was ready to fully invest in myself.
As an Indigenous woman whose first and only language was Mi’gmaq, I always felt that my world view was a little different. I now mention this at every public speaking event I participate in because this is my core, the foundation of who I am. I used to think that I was different in a negative way because I allowed the world to make me think it. Who and what we surround ourselves with has such a tremendous impact on our thoughts and as a result our reality.
Although there was no social media to connect us when I was growing up, there was TV, news and movies- none of which showed the whole truth of who we are as Indigenous people, but instead perpetuated stereotypes and deeply rooted biases is so many – even in other marginalized groups, governments and organizations throughout our Country. Being insecure about who I was as a Mi’gmaq, I literally did not speak much in high school or college, especially when topics were controversial. I also felt this pressure to achieve and always excel to show everyone that Mi’gmaq people were more than what they saw on TV and the news, that we could achieve high levels of “success”, in their eyes.
At 24, I started my career in business and I was not taken seriously by many people in the industry as I was a young Indigenous woman – regardless of all my achievements. As a young Indigenous woman I fought for validation my entire career.
At 33 I embarked on a journey with a group of amazing people and walked over 1000 km to raise awareness about our Mi’gmaq Treaties and to protest certain legislations that would harm our waters. This is where I found my voice and my confidence in who I really was. I started to feel aligned.
At 36 I became the CEO of a corporation. I never lost my voice, but my alignment started to shift because I was completely engulfed in the structures of the “corporate” world where once again, I found myself fighting for validation and trying to mold myself.
At 40, after some life changing events, I decided to whole heartedly and genuinely start to believe in myself, my skills and to stop constantly fighting for validation. My thoughts about myself were validation enough because I know myself best. In my entire career I’ve been told “You’re one of the biggest assets in business”, “You’re not CEO material”, “You’re the strongest woman I know”, “You’re too emotional for business”. I’ve been praised and put down for who I am, but all I can be is me! So at 40, I decided to stop fighting for validation and start my own business and it is one of the best decisions of my life!
I am now in more control over the narrative of my life than I ever have been and because of my experiences I am creating a business that not only continues to heal me but hoping that to also help to heal others, and inspire our clients to do the same. I am no longer trying to mold myself to fit, but I am now creating a space to fit us!