March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD). IWD has been celebrated since the early 1900s – a time when the world saw a rise in the need for women’s equality. In 1908, “Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change” (2023). The first act of IWD was when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay, and voting rights in 1908. More than 100 years later, we are still celebrating our history and continue to campaign for change. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Celebrating Women who tell our Stories.” To keep with the theme, weare celebrating the women who make an impact as part of the mission ofCHWB and the operations within. Learn more about a handful of standout women of CHWB, their message for IWD, and more below.
1 – Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you start working at the Center for Health & Wellbeing?
Heather (Member Service Manager at Crosby Wellness Center): I started working for Power Wellness, the Crosby Wellness Center’s Chicago-based management company, more than ten years ago at Parrish Health & Fitness Center in Titusville, Florida, where I grew up. I knew I wanted to be part of Crosby as soon as I heard about the Center for Health & Wellbeing and what it was going to be for the community in Winter Park. I transferred here in 2018, while the building was still under construction, and I’m very proud to have been involved in the growth of this beautiful facility since day one.
Noemely (Graphic Designer at CHWB): I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised on the East Coast (New York, Connecticut, and then Florida.) My love for creating art was first sparked by my aunt who is an artist herself. In high school, I took a lot of art classes where I really got to experiment and practice drawing and painting. I fell in love with getting lost in creating and seeing the result of something I thought I wasn’t capable of. While searching for a career where I could create daily, I discovered graphic design! I was intrigued by the opportunity it provided to create art that would be used to communicate important messages to all types of people. In search of a company that aligned with my values, I stumbled across a job listing for WPHF/CHWB during the summer of 2022. Six months later, here I am; grateful to work with an organization who encourages and equips their community with the tools they need to care for their health and wellbeing.
Tia (Communications and Marketing Manager at CHWB & Nourish): I recently moved to Orlando, FL, from Chicago, IL. I fell in love with Florida early on by coming to visit family, for vacations, and doing the Disney College Program. I always knew I wanted to move back to Florida as it was a place where I felt truly happy, content, and at home. I always said Florida was my second home, but I wish it was my first. About seven months ago, I made that a reality by stepping into my role with CHWB as the Marketing and Communications Manager. I love to create engaging content both on our website, in-center and through our social media channels. I manage Nourish’s social marketing and love being able to create fun, engaging, and local food content for our followers.
Albanery (AdventHealth Lab Services at CHWB): My name is Albanery Maria. I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. I was in my mid-20s when I decided to be in the medical field and pursue clinical work in the lab department. I am a nationally certified Phlebotomist and I started working for AdventHealth Lab in 2019. At the time, AdventHealth’s newest site would be located inside CHWB and my leaders trusted that I could open and run the site successfully. We see nearly 1,000 patients per month and the best part is seeing our patients enjoy what could be an intimidating process. We care for our patients with diligence, grace, and gentleness.
2 – How do you influence your colleagues, friends, and family?
H: I strive to bring positivity to my professional and personal relationships. I cheer for my friends and colleagues, and I hope the compassion I demonstrate to those around me inspires them to do the same for others.
N: I try to influence the people around me to believe in themselves. Anything they want to accomplish, any goal they want to meet, is in their reach. I really believe that the best results come from challenging ourselves.
T: I try to influence the people around me by being true to myself and living a life while reaching and achieving personal and professional goals. I have always been a person that believes in moving forward, learning from the past, and having the courage to believe in yourself no matter what. I challenge myself and encourage others to do the same. Being a woman comes with challenges but – it also comes with beauty, ferocity, and the opportunity to connect with women and learn from each other.
A: I influence those around me by leading a conscious lifestyle and being exemplary. I believe having self-awareness and living in truth despite the risks, inconveniences, and consequences are keys to sustaining a satisfying life. Our choices have a compound effect controlled by our thoughts which create our reality in a unified field. Being aware of how our actions impact others as well as discerning who and what are influencing us at a subconscious level is imperative for sustained personal freedom and a sense of liberation from the box society puts us in.
3 – Which woman inspires you the most?
H: This is going to sound silly, but…Leslie Knope. That’s right, the main character of the beloved TV show, Parks and Recreation. Leslie is an incredibly hard worker, she genuinely cares about the success of her community, and she is thoughtful and supportive to her friends and neighbors. No matter what the situation is, good or bad, she always has a positive attitude. And she’s a great dancer.
N: Honestly, my mom. She is such a strong yet gentle human. Growing up watching her go from adjusting to a new country and language all while raising kids with the small income she and my dad made to then seeing her move up in her career and being more confident in herself as a woman, mom, and wife is so inspiring. Everything she’s been through reminds me that I can do anything I set my mind to and to be patient because growth takes time.
T: I have women in my life both real, through movies, and books that inspire me, so I’ll give one of each. For movies – I have always been a Cinderella girl and with the new adaptations and older ones, she has always been someone that I resonated with – from having divorced parents, being true to myself, and having courage. But, the Cinderella adaptation character that inspires me the most is Danielle from Ever After. She doesn’t change for societal norms, is always true to herself, and has courage through every moment in that movie. In books, Hermoine Granger. She was intelligent, brave, and courageous. I was Hermoine for Halloween five years in a row as a child – I was obsessed. And in real life, my mom. She was a strong single mother that always encouraged me to be kind, stick up for myself, and follow my dreams.
A: The women that inspire me most are those who aren’t afraid to voice and stand firm in their sovereignty. We filter our lives through categories of worthiness and unworthiness, and when we see ourselves through the lens of shame, we split ourselves into ways that are deemed acceptable and unacceptable by societal standards. When we hyper-identify with the aspects of ourselves that we find appropriate based on this collective external metric, we relate from a conditional standpoint trying to preserve an identity of goodness rather than realness so that we avoid the condemnation of being labeled or perceived as “bad”, when “bad” just may be different. We go to great lengths to “fix” ourselves in hopes that we would feel worthy of being loved and fitting in, and I am in awe of self-actualized women who find who they are under the debris of everything they were told they were.
4 – The 2023 International Women’s Day theme is “Celebrating Women who tell our stories.” Why is it important for women to tell their stories?
H: Women sharing their stories and supporting one another is very empowering. For so many years, women’s voices were not heard, and in this generation, we have the opportunity to express ourselves freely and without judgement.
N: Women have not always had a voice. Now that we do, I believe it’s important we use it because there are always other women listening. I think if we can be honest about our stories and how we got to where we are, the women receiving those stories will feel encouraged and seen.
T: It is so important for women to tell their stories because that is how we can connect and change the world. Women are often told to be silent; we don’t have a place in professional workplaces and are seen as inferior. When we connect and talk about our experiences, we realize that we are not alone and can come together to make the changes needed to keep moving forward as a whole.
A: It is important for women to own and tell their stories because our interconnectedness is realized through relativity. When our stories are told in safe spaces, the lower vibrational frequencies of shame, guilt, fear, and despair cease to dictate the trajectory of our journey. I share my own life’s journey through the exploration of the spectrum of consciousness on my podcast, The Gentlemaven Podcast available on Spotify with new episodes released Sundays at 11 AM. Intimacy is experienced through vulnerability and the more I share, the more I see the likeness of it all in a world full of abstract differences.
5 – What’s your International Women’s Day message?
H: To quote my hero, Leslie Knope, “Sometimes you have to make the hardest climb to see the most beautiful sunrise.”
N: My IWD message is a list of reminders that have been part of my inner dialogue the past year.
Do something every day that embodies the kind of woman you want to be.
Be patient with yourself, growth and healing take time.
Stay grateful for everything and everyone in your life.
T: To quote Rupi Kuar, “What’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn? That since day one, she’s already had everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not.” Continue to be yourself, have the courage to fight for what you believe in, and keep moving forward.
A: Our lives shift for the better when we operate from the paradigm of love with boundaries, dignity, acceptance, and the courage to face the truth of our existence for what it is. Our free will is woven in our choices, and it is up to us to discern and decide where we’re headed. An unrealized life is one in which there’s no meeting us where we are because we’re fantasizing about where we wish we could be, which distorts the reality we unconsciously resist. We often think of “trust” in the context of other people, but rarely acknowledge its importance when looking at ourselves. Self-trust is built over time through making tough decisions. The journey to authentic power requires becoming aware of all that you are by bringing attention to the aspects of yourself that you resist, reject, or repress. Being less concerned with how we appear to others and shifting the interest to how we feel about ourselves, so we don’t miss out on experiencing our sense of wholeness is how we honor the purpose of our existence.
IWD is celebrated throughout the world each year where we can come together and inspire women and celebrate their achievements. Happy Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day!
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