Building confidence, teaching skills and changing lives…

About 5 years ago, Tiffany Bluemle and Vermont Works for Women entered my world. I was part of a small group that was partnered with VWW for a 6 month Leadership Project.

I was an administrative assistant taking part in a community leadership program, hell bent on never hearing that I had no leadership skills in an interview ever again.

I fell in love with the VWW organization and their vision. I even swore that one day I would work there.

We finished the project… And passed of our research, marketing ideas, etc. Time passed. As I prepared to leave a job I’d been in for almost 10 years, it was Tiff I was talking to. I needed out of the job I was in. But in talking with her, I knew I was doing the right thing.

I moved on to another job, but stayed in touch occasionally. By now I had joined the TB admiration society.

After about a year and a half at the new job things fell apart. Horrifically. I was depressed. Angry. Suicidal. things at home were chaos. A longtime friend had moved in with us on his return from serving in Iraq. I was a wreck, and there was absolutely no stability in my world.

I quit my job. Left with my head low, my spirits lower, and no clue what was next. It took about 3 weeks to work up the nerve to call Tiff. We’d do lunch.

At that point, I was in a total free fall. But just sitting there and listening over Ginger Iced Tea… I felt a little more alive. Still broken and not sure what was next, but certain that there WAS a next.

About a month later, she called. Their Development Director was leaving, could I temp for about 6 weeks? Hell yeah!

It’s now two years later, and while there have been days that I’ve left sad angry or drained…. They are days, not months on end. I find myself with each passing day loving the women I work with, their faith – in me, in the participants, in the greater community, their vision.

I feel like a walking testimonial to those very words we chose to describe what we do: building confidence, teaching skills, changing lives.

VWW, and more specifically, Tiff have really transformed my world – there is more joy, more laughter and more belief in hope.

I find myself believing in myself more. In little steps, rediscovering my physical voice. Testing edges and trying again to find my role in this collective of fiercely compassionate women. Wanting to learn the edges and boundaries. Wanting to work on speaking…and being not just heard but understood. Right now… I am my biggest stumbling block, but I feel ready to take it one. I know that there is support and respect and they are genuine.

At the end of the day, I realize how comfortable I am. I have a job doing what I love, with people I deeply respect and admire. And I am scared shitless about messing it up… I stand on the edge, and know that I have wings, that I have the will to fly…. If I just have faith.

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