Climbing the Mountain to Success- Featured Artist: Jane Smith

5 Jun

Throughout life, we all have various mountains to climb. At times life throws us what seems like a rolling hill, an obstacle that, with a little work, can easily be overcome. At other times, the challenges seem much larger, like a snow capped mountain looming overhead. Three years ago Jane was given a diagnosis that would reshape the world she knew-  breast cancer.  Undaunted, she met the challenge face-to-face and began her climb. Gritting her teeth with determination, she began the arduous trek that was in front of her.  Despite the difficulties and hurdles that laid in her path, she climbed her way to the top of that mountain and left cancer behind.  However, the climb had been laborious and left Jane with the need to rejuvenate a positive self-image of being a beautiful woman.

Victorious, another mountain lay in front her, but Jane is a survivor. Laid off from her job in 2009, Jane began to look for a way to encourage others who had similar experiences. She began to dream of starting a business as an image coach for women who live with chronic illnesses or have had life-changing health circumstances.  Realizing there was a lack of support for healthy body images among women who have had similar journeys, Jane desired to fill a gap.

From inception to birth, “Still Sassy” has been a process. “Professional fears and self-doubts paralyzed me for several years, after my mastectomy.  Working in isolation, bumping around with ideas and passion in my head got me nowhere!”   However, after entering EWI’s Entrepreneurship Training Program, “Still Sassy” started to become a reality.  “It was like hanging on to a baby bird that was ready to fly…every time I got close, I ran back to the nest – even though I was quickly outgrowing it.  EWI provided a safe and thoughtful place for me to tap into my courage for a new and daring adventure!”  Throughout the program, Jane has worked to build her business and through the guidance and assistance of both trainers and mentors, has realized that her passion can be a viable product.  Reflecting on what she has learned over the course, Jane says she has felt her confidence grow as she works to solidify her business plan and has gained clarity and focus with each class.  One ‘aha! moment’ was during the presentation on professional speaking. “It was helpful to see what and how I present without much time to prepare my pitch and persona – I realize what I left out that would have made my pitch more powerful…and what I did right to engage the audience.”

In June, not only will Jane graduate from ETS, but “Still Sassy” will officially launch through a webinar, hosting 2 dynamite professionals who will share their perspectives on ways to renew and relaunch oneself after a cancer diagnosis. Reflecting back on her journey, Jane says, “EWI will be there with me… like an invisible guardian angel riding on my shoulder.  I am not alone!”

Written by: Sarah Bouwer

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