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Lifestyle


Ask the WOW Lady
Written by Christine Awram   
How the Pantyhose Hop led to banishing the belly fat blues

lacy pantiesWe’ve all been there. You balance on one leg while you insert Foot A into a pair of pantyhose, and then switch legs to get the other side going with Foot B. Hopping on the opposite leg is a finely developed female skill when it comes to the art of wearing pantyhose. Hopefully you didn’t buy a reject brand, with the crotch hugging your knees.

So there I was doing the Pantyhose Hop, but with a new development. I kept hopping until I ran into a wall, because I couldn’t get Foot B in. What on earth was getting in the way of my second leg?

Was it my...stomach? Shriek of horror! Who stole my flat belly? Surely I’d been drugged and body parts had been switched in my sleep?

Hormonal changes and stressed adrenals had conspired to pack on belly fat like a momma bear going into hibernation. It snuck up on me while I wasn’t looking.

So while my pantyhose are now exiled to the bottom layer of my underwear drawer, in case of a sneaky counterattack, let’s talk about how I’m going to banish the belly fat blues.

Adrenal Glands

The adrenals are part of your backup support system during menopause, and chronic stress wipes them out before you get there. So the body holds onto more fat to have a ready supply of estrogen. Your abdomen is also a target for the stress hormone cortisol, so if you’re experiencing chronic stress your cortisol remains high and your body deposits more fat to the belly.

Managing your stress and adrenals will help balance your hormones and eliminate belly fat. Some simple stress busters include quiet time, nature walks, deep breathing, meditation, walking, hydration, and regular breaks in your daily routine. Adding 1000mg of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) to your supplement program also helps repair and rebalance your adrenals.

Refined Sugar

A diet high in refined sugar leads straight to the belly. Why? Spikes in blood sugar lead to higher insulin levels, and the increased insulin will deposit fat directly on your tummy.

The solution? Less sugar and carbs obviously, but one simple tip that isn’t so obvious is to always make pure protein your first food of the day. Nuts, eggs (no toast), or a protein drink with no fruit or sugar. Why? Pure protein as your first food stimulates a release of glucagon, which burns fat. Whereas carbs and sugars stimulate a release of insulin, which stores fat. You can also add chromium to your supplement program, to further stimulate fat burning.

The Right Fats

Your body needs fat, so start reprogramming the No Fat mindset. Instead, steer away from margarine and saturated fats, processed foods and excess sugar. Include good fats like avocado, olive oil, wild salmon, free range eggs, nuts and seeds. Omega-3, besides it’s many health benefits, also reduces the output of adrenaline. This again helps manage the effects of stress and leads back to more balanced hormones and less belly fat.

Accountability

Make your wellbeing a priority. You’re the only one in charge of it, and it’s never up to anyone else. Ever. Accountability begins and ends with you. You’re a Woman Of Worth, and WOW Women do not dilute their power with an ongoing onslaught of fast food, chemicals and chaos. Embrace moderation, while honouring the magnificent YOU that you are.

“You have to know you’re worth it, before you can just do it.”

 
Women in Business
Written by Fresh Vancouver   
Inspirational women showing the world that passion drives success

Karlene Karst

Karlene Karst, R.D., is a leading expert in nutrition and natural health. Karlene holds a BSc in nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and is a registered dietitian.

 

Karlene is the author of several books, including her latest, “The Full Fat Solution,” and is a highly sought-after, enthusiastic, and passionate individual who has appeared on CTV, Urban Rush, Access Hollywood, and Canada AM. She is a frequent guest speaker at educational events around North America.

Karlene is a mom to three young children, Luca, Matteo and Capri, and resides in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Learn more about Karlene at KarleneKarst.com

 

 


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Katherine Lazaruk

Katherine Lazaruk (AICI FLC) is the owner and principal consultant of ICU Image Consulting. If you told Katherine years ago that she would own a successful consulting practice helping women polish their leadership presence, develop their personal brand and achieve success on their own terms, she would have laughed.

“I’m not trendy. I couldn’t care less what’s in or out. What interests me is whether or not a woman is using everything she’s got, including style, to get where she wants to go. Is she fully expressed on every level, or are things in her way?”

Believing that acceptance is the first step to success, she gently facilitates a safe, step-by-step process that gives deep transformational results to hundreds of clients all over the world.

For more on her unique approach to image, leadership and success, visit ICUimage.com

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Andrea Hill

Meet Andrea Hill, the woman behind the new dating service, The Dinner Party. She’s giving the dating world a loving shakedown, and is focused on creating a positive dating movement.

The Dinner Party was launched on Valentine’s Day 2015 to do just that. It’s her conduit to create positive change in the way people interact and connect with each other, in the dating world. These days, many people spend so much time and energy looking for a loving relationship online. Andrea believes this needs to happen in a more organic way, so she has made it her mission to get people out from behind their phones and computers, and to find love the old fashioned way.

It’s time to get back to the business of romance, flirtation and having a good time, it’s time to join The Dinner Party.

Dinners are happening monthly around Vancouver. Grab your seat at the table and find out more at JoinTheDinnerParty.com


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Genicca Whitney

Genicca Whitney is on a mission to uncover the magic behind every dream. She believes that we all have a burning desire to create a life for ourselves that makes us feel truly alive and incredibly fulfilled. With the right community to support us, the tools to leverage and the inspiration to empower us to take action, miracles can happen and our lives will be forever transformed.

More than anything, Genicca wants to create a platform for the dreamers and to recognize those who are willing and open to step into their wildest dreams.

To find out more about Genicca, visit Genicca.com, or get in touch via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also connect with Genicca on Instagram or Twitter @geniccadotcom


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Anne-Mari Morrison

Anne-Mari Morrison is a mom of four wonderful boys and has been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years. She is the Founder of The Empowering Within Project, a network of women who are committed to using their voices to express themselves—speaking their minds and sharing their experiences and creations in order to create a more empowered and abundant culture for women everywhere.

Her love of fashion, and passion for empowering women from the inside-out has brought her dream to fruition. Anne-Mari helps to empower other women through yoga, fashion, Desire Map Workshops, and Empowerment workshops. With her new Yoga studio (Empowering Within Yoga) now open in Abbotsford, she shares her teachings and services to help women.

I was Voiceless for nearly 20 years!, Anne-Mari’s new book, is sure to enlighten, educate and help other women by sharing her story and experiences. The tentative launch date for Anne-Mari’s must-read book is March 2016.

Anne-Mari is definitely following her dreams and pursuing her passion. To learn more, visit AnneMariMorrison.com


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Lindsay Clark

As a life coach and energy healer, Lindsay watches clients transform before her eyes every day. Through creating a safe environment and providing the tools for transformation, Lindsay is able to guide clients through the process of healing mind, body and spirit.

Lindsay has spent the last 10 years on deep spiritual development and training as a healer. Now by working with sacred geometries, she is able to facilitate dramatic transformations for clients in all areas of their lives, including physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health.

By working with sacred geometries, Lindsay has experienced dramatic and rapid healings, namely resolving food allergies within several weeks time after battling chronic auto immune issues for 6 years. It also rapidly cleared trauma from lifelong emotional abuse, which has allowed her to welcome in a new relationship, amazing friendships and increased financial abundance. It is truly a new frontier of healing work.

Lindsay offers sessions in person, remotely and at group events. Get free downloads, video training and schedule sessions at LindsayClarkCoaching.com. Lindsay can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Daniela DeMarchi

Daniela Demarchi is a holistic, consciousness-based healthcare practitioner who founded Era Lifestylist with the goal of helping people live fuller, healthier, more balanced lives. Daniela’s focus is to honour the nature of the client’s body’s intelligence to find a practical, conscious and non-invasive way to surface awareness and balance with her treatments. Everybody has a unique story, and it’s Daniela’s passion to support the client’s whole body to find its own way through a priority based healing.

Daniela is passionate about helping people and is dedicated to furthering her own growth and well-being by continuing to explore and study holistic healing practices. She is a sought after BodyTalk Practitioner and FreeFall 1 instructor. Daniela has a flourishing BodyTalk practice globally where she travels all over teaching FreeFall 1, a course that focuses on body image. She is an outstanding facilitator with profound results; a woman who derives great joy from being in service to others by empowering them to access interdependent self fulfilled joy to live their life completely. It’s our birth right to live our individuality.

Visit EraLifeStylist.com to find out more.


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Elizabeth Mazzei

Elizabeth Mazzei is the owner, founder and operator of Exodus Colon Health & Wellness, established in 2003. Elizabeth has journeyed through both conventional and alternative medicine and has worked alongside some of the most respected medical specialists.

As a National Board colon hydrotherapist, natural nutrition clinical practitioner and natural health practitioner, Elizabeth is well-positioned to provide extensive knowledge with 30 years experience in the field. She has an insatiable passion for holistic health and her ability to empower, inspire and motivate others to live a healthier vibrant life is inimitable.

Elizabeth specializes in digestive health and recognizes that a well-functioning digestive system is the cornerstone to optimal health. She utilizes various therapies such as colon hydrotherapy, holistic nutrition, dietary supplements, therapeutic essential oils and holistic body work.

Elizabeth regularly gives talks and seminars to groups, and businesses in her local communities. She also conducts educational workshops and has been invited to speak at retreats. To find out more or to book an appointment, visit: ExodusWellness.org. You can also connect with Exodus Colon Health & Wellness on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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Wendy Burge

Also known as “The Radiant Biz Coach,” Wendy Burge is passionate about empowering women to use the path of entrepreneurial stewardship to enhance the potential in others and create personal business brands from the innate gifts we each possess.

With a 30 year long career in wellness and professional development, including being a certified art therapist, wellness centre owner and operator for 16 years, and now as a business mentor and coach, Wendy has worked with clients, practitioners, and clinics across Canada and the U.S. She has helped them systematize their operations, engage authentically with their clients, and expand revenue channels using the very principles, practices, and systems she teaches today.

Wendy is the creator of a number of business systems including Clients and Cash Flow Infusion! “How to Get Paid What You’re Worth by Claiming Your Expertise!” She is launching her latest training program the Radiant Women’s Business Mastermind: a six-month business group that blends business building with personal branding strategies.

To find out more about Wendy’s inspirational work, visit RadiantEdgeConsulting.com


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Mary Sayers

Mary Sayers, owner and principal instructor at the Esprit de Core fitness studio in West Vancouver, offers specialized private and group classes in Pilates, CoreAlign and the MELT Method. Opened in 1999, Mary’s business caters to men and women of all ages and fitness levels with a team of dedicated professionals who have inspired many people to make life changing improvements to their physical and mental health.

With guidance, education and support, her clients attain impressive results, including better posture, positive body composition changes, improved overall fitness, flexibility, balance, restored movement and a reduction in pain and stiffness. Mary believes that even small improvements can change your enjoyment of life’s activities.

Mary’s passion is to provide a nurturing, safe and fun environment, where each client is recognized for their unique needs and goals on their path to looking and feeling better.Her programs focus on mind-body techniques, education, individual and group support which produce faster and longer-lasting results.

Mary feels that being a lifelong health and wellness student, power walker, freestyle dancer and travel enthusiast, make for an adventure-filled and abundant life!


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Tetyana Golota

Tetyana Golota is the CEO of Happy Lifestyle Inc. and owns Around My House Consignment Home Décor & Gift Store. She has built a successful career from graphic design to managing and planning for multi-million dollar companies.

Tetyana is an inspirational speaker, designer and creative-mind-entrepreneur as well as an active volunteer in her community. She has helped with election campaigns, is a core committee member of the Valley Women Network, has been an advisor on the board of She Talks Globally, and most importantly, Tetyana has inspired like-minded women-entrepreneurs.

Her business has received multiple nominations and awards including Spike Awards, a Business of The Year Excellence Award Nomination and Small Business BC Premier-Choice nomination. Tetyana is the recipient of Heart & Soul Award for inspiring and supporting women. “We make choices every day, many times per day. They all are different, but one stays the same—choice of happiness. My choice in life is a happy lifestyle, and happiness is my attitude.”

You can connect with Tetyana at HappyLifestyleInc.com or AroundMyHouseConsignment.com


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Caterina Barregar

Caterina has a passion for helping women feel their worth. As an intuitive Relationship and Worthiness Coach and Reiki Master, Caterina uses a unique method with women aged 35-55, who want to have loving deep relationships in a world of isolation, separation and divorce. Caterina believes worthiness isn’t just a word, it’s a lifestyle!

As the past president of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce Richmond/YVR and the current president of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce South Surrey, an Erickson trained Professional Coach, NLP practitioner and Mentor Coach, Caterina brings many tools to the table to help you effectively move your life forward.

Caterina promises that she will empower you to feel worthy and more confident. Her promise comes from years of her personal work, and years of training. Caterina has successfully coached almost 100 clients all over North America and beyond. Working with Caterina will restore your trust in yourself so you can begin to have a positive life, filled with joy, hope and self-worth.

Learn more about Caterina at ImagineLifeCoaching.ca or CaterinaBarregar.com. You can also connect with her on the Yes YOU Can – Empowerment for Women Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/YesYOU CanEmpowermentForWomen


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Miranda Romaniuk

Miranda is a business woman from head to toe. She has an endless amount of energy to put forth on behalf of her clients! She believes amazing things are always those that are out of our comfort zone. So sure... you can be the smartest, the fastest or the biggest in the room... but to change the industry and to make things happen, you have to be willing to work the hardest and work the smartest to stand apart from the rest!

Being a mortgage adviser is so much more than what people may think. Buying a home is one of the biggest and most stressful transactions one will make in their lifetime. Miranda’s process is warm and informative and makes what is exciting and monumental a reality for her clients and not just a dream. The process of buying, selling and financing is something someone has to essentially trust a stranger with, but Miranda finds that when the unknown is explained to her clients and fears are laid to rest, the people she represents have little stress. This allows her to focus more on solutions and to get the best result for each unique customer and situation.

Play big! Work hard! Love a lot!


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Monique Avery

As a flight attendant by day, Monique Avery, like many women, has struggled with her weight. She recently started a weight release program through Jeunesse called Zen Project 8, an 8-week program guided by world renowned health and fitness guru, Mark MacDonald. After just a week, Monique has noticed significant weight release results, something she failed to see in other programs she has tried. She feels empowered by the support of the other women on Facebook participating in Zen Project 8, which continues to motivate her to live a healthy life in a healthy way. Monique stresses that this is not a diet, but a lifestyle change.

Monique’s mission is to help as many people get healthier, wealthier and live a longer more prosperous life. “Let’s empower you so you can make a difference in not only your own life but the life of those around you..Why not you? Why not now?” She believes in the power of guidance, and providing women with the right tools to be amazing.

To learn more about Jeunesse and Zen Project 8, visit MoniqueAvery.ca


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Carol Surbey

Carol Surbey is an Energy Expert + Trainer, whose calling is to create an understanding of the SOUL’S MESSAGE brought forward by an individuals’ health challenges.

Combining her intuitive and mediumship abilities and a shamanic style, she uncovers how our bodies, via pain, illness or disease are trying to show you what your emotional issues have been your whole life! How they can be so familiar that you may have forgotten them and possibly physically bent yourself around them. They are stuck right at the heart of who we are.

Carol’s work creates a possibility that wellness is possible! This is accomplished by teaching straight forward, energy based methods to assist her clients in moving forward, past fears and resistance created by these challenges.

Carol mentors clients one on one and through her online program, POWER of S.H.E.

Find out more about Carol’s inspirational work at CarolSurbey.com


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Lauren Roegele

Lauren Roegele is the co-founder of Yogo.tv, an online yoga studio that gives people access to yoga anywhere, anytime. She is also the program director, for both the 200-hour Immersion and 240-hour Enriched yoga teacher trainings, at the Vancouver School of Yoga. Lauren brings an infectiously positive energy to the classroom. With a firm emphasis on the principles of alignment and heart-centred teachings of Hatha Yoga, her classes are playful, fun and rich. After being hit by a car and enduring many surgeries and complications, Lauren discovered yoga in 2001 and immersed herself in the practice, changing her life forever. Yoga helped her find a way through her pain and back to a new, inspired version of her former self.

Lauren’s warrior-like devotion to the practice of yoga has led her on many diverse paths, all of which have supported her endless curiosity for all things Yoga.

If you would like to contact Lauren to book specialty classes or discuss more about yoga, go to LaurenYoga.com


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Jessica Bennett

For Jessica Bennett, business and accounting have always been her passions. Even as a young child, Jessica remembers always selling stuff, having yard sales and bartering with her older brother.

Jessica never started university, instead her career went, and it was unbelievable. Throughout the years, Jessica has been fortunate to have such excellent clients as mentors! She was very young when she started, and the business women that Jessica cleaned for were always assisting her with her career and with life in general.

Along came, Ashley Maids. Ashley Maids residential cleaning is focused on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction. They strive to do everything they can to meet their customers expectations. They believe in 2 things, quality and affordability. Ashley Maids, named after Jessica’s daughter Ashley Brooke, is passionate about giving excellent customer service and providing affordability to their consumers. Jessica holds 15 years of experience which offers her clients a comforting and stress-free experience.

To learn more about her services, visit AshleyMaids.ca


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Loredana Moretti

Certified ACSM personal trainer Loredana Moretti, will help you be Fit, Fabulous and Forever Beautiful.

It is essential to surround yourself with the best women you can, and Loredana guarantees you will find these women at her health and fitness networking seminars. Loredana’s busy life allows for limited time, and she dedicates this time spent with only the very best women. She is providing health fitness nutritional plans and networking seminars to motivate, inspire and change the lives of women with weight and or health issues due to lifestyle habits.

Join Loredana’s network of inspirational women, and find out how to maximize your fat loss as you age. You don’t have to give up everything to look great. Instead, wake up everyday and love the life you live! Finally no more yo-yo dieting! Find out how to live a normal life and look great doing it. Fat loss for real women who live real lives.

Loredana is living proof that it is never too late to change. Check out her own transformation at LoredanaMoretti.com


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Barb Wallick

As a Certified Co-Active Life Coach who specializes in Health and Wellness, Barb knows first hand how to take control of her health and vitality. At 51, Barb is happier, healthier than she has been and manages her health through diet, nutrition, mediation and movement. Her focus is on working with women 35-65 years old who are burnt out and depleted who need to reconnect with themselves.

With over 30 years experience in the financial industry, Barb knows all too well about how lifestyle stress can influence health. Not only is she a trained coach but also a Sanoviv Nutrition Advisor, Food & Spirit Practitioner, Chakradance Facilitator, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway Seminar Leader and most importantly, she has partnered with an amazing Health Sciences Company called USANA whose pharmaceutical grade supplements fill the nutritional gaps we all are subject to in today’s toxic world.

Barb speaks the truth and guides with a gentle touch. It is never to late to start! To connect with Barb, email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Michelle Bernier

Michelle Bernier has loved interior design since she was a child and is passionate about designing and creating beautiful spaces for her clients. She has been in the renovation and design business for over 10 years and has proven that she can deliver her clients a beautiful, finished project. With her extensive accounting background she keeps her projects on budget and on time. Her clients love her innovative ideas and fresh approach to decorating and design.

Michelle’s constant pursuit for excellence, design and innovation coupled with her affinity for using Canadian products enable her to be well sought after as a designer. Her business, Design with Confidence was created after frustration in the marketplace and lack of product in one location. The concept was to be a “one stop design shop” location for both homeowners, designers and students. It doesn’t matter if your project is big or small you are in good hands with Michelle’s vision and design abilities.

Visit the Design with Confidence showroom at 950 12th Street, New Westminster, or online at DesignWithConfidence.info


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Are You Collaborating OR Competing?
Written by Jennifer Henczel   
3 Tips for Building a Collaborative Community

colours intersectingWhile there has been a lot of buzz about various strategies for building your online presence, which is important, we cannot forget the importance of offline strategies and building our presence in our local community. I have found that having both inbound and outbound marketing strategies in place, combined with a solid marketing funnel, has been the most effective approach for building my business.

So, out of my passion for connecting with people, and connecting people with others, I created Connect Now Business Network. I started with one group in the Lower Mainland three years ago, and now I have 12 chapters throughout BC, and growing. It’s expanding because people still love meeting face-to-face. I am a catalyst for connection and collaboration.

There are many benefits to working with collaborators rather than battling competitors. For example, from which one are you more likely to get a referral? It’s healthier for you mentally and physically to spend your time on positive thinking and strategies, rather than being wrapped up in negative defensiveness.

I’ve always found collaborating way more effective and enjoyable, and a win-win for everyone involved. Each person brings different gifts to the table. There is power in numbers, when creating a group of highly qualified people that produce quality results and move forward together.

Here are 3 tips for building a collaborative community:

YOUR MESSAGE

If you want to stand out in the crowd, you must have a one-of-a-kind message. When you truly differentiate yourself, you don’t have to compete. You are an amazing, vibrant, and smart person with your own unique story to tell, so tell IT. Generate engagement and opportunities. Inspire others, don’t conspire against others. Remember, leaders build up, they don’t tear down. You are not portraying your story accurately, if you are busy tearing down someone else’s story.

YOUR REACH

If you want to expand your reach, build bridges not walls. Anything and everything can be fixed through communication and collaboration. Assumptions are the best fuel for igniting bridges. Collaboration builds solid foundations, systems, and structures. Nurture flourishing alliances across your network. Create strong joint ventures, not broken junctures. Always strive to be inclusive, not divisive. Perhaps you need to repair some bridges – go for it! Don’t let your fear stop you from some great possibilities on the other side. Repaired and reinforced bridges are often strongest.

YOU

If you want to rise above all the noise online and in your marketplace, don’t try to copy others. You will bring much more value to the world when you are authentic and flow through your business and your life as yourself. Why rely on someone else’s intuition to take you down your path. Their vision is for their journey. You won’t get to where YOU are supposed to be, by using the directions to someone else’s destination. Trust your own intuition. You have everything you need within you to lead you to your goals.

Once you have your message, your reach, and yourself in place, then you have a community! Encourage a community of collaborators right from the beginning, and you will never have competitors. Some may be tempted to say collaborating is the new “competing.” But just take that mindset out of your strategy all together.

I love my team of forward thinking leaders and all the people in my network who choose collaboration. You can’t shine your own light, if you are too busy trying to put out someone else’s. Make competing with you a weakness and collaborating with you a strength.

 
The Challenges, Business and World of Sex
Written by Maureen McGrath   

male and female symbols in pink and blueAs a child, I never imagined I would grow up and become a sex educator. Of course, sex was never even discussed in my Irish Catholic family, although some must have been going on as I did grow up with six siblings! It was taboo then, and it still is today. But the bottom line is sex was never ever discussed in my house or many other houses I imagine.

In nursing school, there was very little focus on sexual health. When I became the head nurse of a labour and delivery unit at a local community hospital, sex was never mentioned as part of the education provided to new moms except to refrain from it for the first six weeks after birth. That was it. We were mum on the mention of any of the sexual health issues that commonly occur postpartum like painful sex or the overwhelming fatigue that may lead to a low sexual desire.

It seemed to me that sexual health was one of the most important aspects of health and no one was talking about it. I could see that there was a need. There was a shame associated with the mere mention of sex whether people were having it or not and I set out to fulfill that need. Believe me: when you want to talk about sex, there will be challenges. To build this business has taken persistence, courage, loss of friends and exposure to the most horrific and sociopathic workplace bully.

My business model was contract work in clinical research and education. The clinical work went incredibly well and I was mentored by a male physician to whom I am forever grateful. As for education, I was fortunate enough to become a regular health contributor at CKNW. I soon realized I loved this kind of education because I could reach the masses with a little discussed subject.

I did have some pushback, mainly from men who would suggest I not discuss the vagina. They did not like the term and it really turned them off. How could I discuss female sexuality without talking about the vagina? The vagina is a most beautiful organ where we not only experience incredible pleasure through receiving a penis or hand or other device, but it also delivers life. I would plod on and pay no heed.

That was not the only pushback I received. Many times, I was asked not to say words like “urine” or “dryness.” Mainly, it was middle-aged men asking me not to say words that made them uncomfortable.

I remember the time when I did a commercial for a new sexual desire product. I believe in being straight up, so when I said on the commercial, “ladies, if you are not having sex with your husband, someone else is,” women called into the station and said I was blaming women for men’s bad behaviour. Without even speaking to me, the commercial was pulled by the male decision-makers. Ex post facto. Done. No discussion. Decision made.

But I could handle all of that. I know that the subject of sexuality is uncomfortable for many to discuss. What was far more of a challenge was with a contract I took with a biotech startup company. When they say it is too good to be true, it is. The CEO at the time was horrific. He hired people who were otherwise unemployable. One mistake he made was that although I had some time to do this contract work, I was far from unemployable so I was not vulnerable like everyone else he hired.

Workplace bullying is a campaign and this was no exception. The bully was a former politician, so he was well versed in campaign. Attack from all sides. He also sexually harassed me by referring to me as “hot” or saying “go home and do what you do best.”

Then the workplace bullying began. He belittled and berated me at meetings. He worked me to the bone. He called me after hours and had unrealistic deadlines of which every one I met. He lost his temper, threw objects at me in front of colleagues who said nothing. No one stood up for me. The worst of it was when he locked me in my office and removed the door handle. I was cowering in the corner as he hovered over me, screaming at me.

Grown men and women with law degrees and PhDs saw what he was doing through the glass, and no one did anything to stop him. They walked around like wind-up dolls. I finally escaped and texted my resignation. What I should have done was call the police, but I did not realize at the time that it was an option. After all was said and done, I documented eighty incidents of workplace bullying and sexual harassment over a four-week period.

I would come to learn that this bully had abused 22 women in the workplace over the past decade. Once I resigned, he targeted his executive assistant who had just joined the company. She left after eight weeks. He abused another female employee so badly, she became suicidal. The carnage at that workplace was tragic and most people, mainly men, did nothing to help the women.

After filing a complaint with the human rights tribunal, I retained the services of the best employment law firm this city has to offer—Moore, Edgar and Lyster—and received the highest settlement ever awarded in BC for workplace bullying. Unfortunately, the bully carries on and has abused more women since my departure.

I became stronger after much needed healing as I suffered hair and weight loss, heart palpitations and insomnia as a result of the bullying. However, I did have to take a look at myself in hopes that that would never happen again (unfortunately, it did). Targets of bullies are hard-working, competent and productive. Targets of workplace bullies are generally sunny personalities who are well-liked by their colleagues. I know what you are thinking, if you were so well-liked by your colleagues why didn’t any of them stick up for you? Well, the CEO exploited them. They were all afraid of him and on some level, him abusing me made them feel better about themselves. The human condition.

The one good thing about having this experience is that you learn to recognize it early and know exactly what to do. A few years later another colleague began his campaign of workplace bullying. He started sending me mixed messages, making a decision at a meeting one day and sending an entirely different email about that decision the next. He began to nitpick my work and withheld information from me that was important to patient care. He made up lies about me. I had been working with this colleague for a while and although I had heard some negative things about him, I decided I would make my own decision.

I will never truly know why this colleague did this to me and I must admit that this one hurt. The good news was that I was able to nip it in the bud early on. I documented everything and confronted him about it. This approach allowed for me to continue on with this project and see it through to completion. It also made me stronger. Fortunately, I no longer work with him.

So many patients tell me that they can tell me anything because they know that I will not judge them and that I will keep it confidential. I am often the first person they have ever told about childhood sexual abuse or other trauma. To be able to make significant changes in a person’s life or relationship with accurate information is so incredibly gratifying. I absolutely love the work that I do and am passionate about it. To say it hasn’t been easy is an understatement. It has required grit, persistence, courage and a sense of humour. I have made many sacrifices in many of my own relationships to get to where I am today.

Then there is always the “money” question I get from men. They are often bewildered. “But how do you make money?” is a common question I hear from men. “Can you make money doing this work?” is another example. Recently, a male colleague of mine asked me if I made any money in front of another male colleague, who answered the question for him. He answered no. Have they never heard that sex sells? To be fair, men are not even aware of how these questions sound. They were socialized as the stronger sex and to bring home the bacon! Fortunately, the world is changing and women are becoming more successful in the workplace than ever before.

To be successful in any business and make money in any field takes hard work, and you and I are no exception. Unfortunately, the reality is that it is harder for women to make money and men are flabbergasted when we do (they like it as long as we don’t make more... how ironic!). It takes a solid man to be with a woman who has a higher net worth or brings home more bacon!

Last year, I incorporated and set up a not-for-profit society called Bladder Health BC (where I can say urine) and officially became a Huffington Post Blogger. My clinical practice is busier than ever and I am invited to speak about subjects relevant to sexuality about fifty times a year. This year, I hosted Hot Flash in the City to sold-out crowds in three cities to educate women about menopause, another taboo subject. I have finished writing a book about sexual health and am hoping to publish it this year.

I look forward to speaking at many events in 2016 from The Taboo Sex Show (where I will be hosting the CKNW Sunday Night Sex Show—a first), The Wellness Show February 12-14 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and at the TEDxStanleyPark 2016 where I will be speaking on “The Sexless Marriage” at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

The question “can women have it all?” is a common one. From my experience, women can have a lot these days in terms of owning their sexuality, their own business, knowing what they need in their relationship and what they want for their family. That is not to say they can have all of that at the same time, but it may come at different times. It is the fine balance of embracing all that life has to offer that makes for happiness and success both in the bedroom and the boardroom.

Today, women need to have the courage and confidence to persevere in a man’s world because it is still very much a man’s world, especially in business. We have a tendency to underestimate our skills and value at home and in the workplace. We have to prove ourselves over and over for seventy percent of the pay men receive.

When I am challenged in business or in life, I call on my feminine power which always served me well. It is knowing who I am and what I desire and require in business and life that ignites my sense of self, which includes all that encompasses my femininity, intellect, strength and sexuality. So ladies , go for it. Don’t be afraid to put on those sky-high pumps and plunging necklines. Walk it. Own it. It’s yours. You’ve earned it. Never be afraid to show anyone who you are or what you are made of. You go, girl! You may even surprise yourself!

Has it been worth it? Indeed, it has. What do I say now about workplace bullying and sexual harassment? Go ahead, try me. I dare you.

 
Fountain of Youth
Written by Fresh Vancouver   

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