Following Molly Schiot’s Instagram account, Game Changers / @UnsungHeroines, for several years has been nothing short of inspiring and beyond informative. If you aren’t familiar, the social media account resulted in her publishing the book with the same moniker. She features the unsung heroines of sport history with focus on “founding mothers” of eras gone by. Those who paved the way – our way.
As a competitive gymnast for my entire growing years whose life is built upon a non-stop active lifestyle - snowboarding, surfing, trail running, mountain biking plus dance and yoga – and as a self-made female within business – how could I not be beyond inspired by Molly’s contributions? This year, 2018, has been phenomenal regarding the role of women here on Planet Earth. We have only just begun to shift into a massive transformation. We give thanks to those before us who were not visible nor well represented. It is our honor to continually do so moving forward. The women have spoken – Time Is Up.
Women within health, wellness and related professions, have been barely visible in the past, under-represented and under-served within an arena where they more often than not, quietly rule. This culture of putting our heads down and doing the work while authentically and simultaneously “being the change” has led to where we are today. While there is much more to be say on the ethos of such a vast array of holistic health practitioners, let’s give a little credit where credit is due.
With so little change over time, looking at this wide window of wellness, we’ve been out of f*cks (thanks again, Mark Manson) for quite a while now. As holistic health and outdoor adventure entrepreneurs, the education and inspiration from Molly’s book and social media accounts has been a beautiful daily dose of just the right medicine - oh so high in value. Thankfully, some women have come into this world with enough check marks aligned to push through visibility-wise, voice-wise and glass-ceiling-wise. While others, due to different personal and professional circumstances, are truly unsung heroines.
Lack of credit and respect happens within all professions with the recent blow up at Nike being a perfect example. We were elated to see “disruptors” at Nike making change happen. Within health and wellness professions, both traditional and “alternative”, women are in fullest force. Thnk: registered nurses, elementary and middle school teachers, medical health and service managers, social and community service managers, psychologists and therapists, mental health professionals, human resource professionals, and now the plethora of holistic health and wellness practitioners - yoga teachers, health coaches, life coaches, massage therapists, acupuncturists, structural integration therapists, rolfers, reiki therapists, meditation teachers – too many to list - most of whom cannot bill health insurance companies.
But boy have we “wellpreneurs” been motivated to come alive, to stand our ground, to use our voices, to be heard, valued, receive credit, and hey the paychecks, too.
Within this little series in this tiny little corner of the World Wide Web, we are regular peeps who chose to create lives worth living, to challenge the status quo, learn from hard lessons along the way, and pivot on a dime when necessary. This does not include: famous parents, fantastically progressive upbringings, extra special IQ's, husbands or boyfriends paying our way, trust funds, investors, conventional business nor big business support or sell-outs to back the next biz, outstanding luck, nor a common theme of zero to not much emotional support from the generation who raised us (no discredit there). Solely the great love of what we do and the authenticity, grit, drive, and determination not to settle, regardless of the cards dealt and/or taken on our own accord.
Here’s to unsung heroines and heroes alike. The longtime much needed integration of the masculine and feminine within each of us as individuals and as a society is finally upon us. And we all need one another now. We need YOU now.
Meet Unsung Heroine, Allison Gilbert
While surrounded by women “wellpreneurs”, Allison truly inspired this series. She left Los Angeles to spend time in a small ski-town in Nowhere, Wyoming in the mid 90’s, escaping the concrete jungle and trusting her gut which was begging for adventure. Born and raised in Venice, CA, she never dreamed Venice would blossom into what it has today, for better or worse, and had zero desire at the time to dip back into the city of lost angels where botox and luxury automobiles reign.
After several years whooping it up snowboarding, mountain biking, bartending and working at the local record shop, she gracefully navigated the loss of her only sister, leaving the mountains to pursue her Ph.D. in Public Health. Along the way, she continued to ride bikes, rocked out in a band, created a family, and as always found ways within even a more traditional lifestyle to live a life less travelled.
Now, as a single mother of two young ones, she works as a researcher at a prestigious university and is currently pursuing her newfound love of running. Her social media post this spring saying: "I hired the most expensive babysitter ever this weekend just so I could tag a 12-mile trail run. Best decision ever." was rousing and infectious.
Her work falls into the category of ‘no rest for the weary’. Allison does public health research, aiming to help people who are mentally ill or suffering from addiction get connected to treatment in the community, and out of our jails and prisons. She busts ass to get new grants for her group’s research in an era of slim funding for helping society’s most vulnerable members, and publishes her work in top scientific journals. She’s fighting a worthy fight to help people who are otherwise disdained, ignored, or discarded.
In the aforementioned “Out of F*cks” article on Medium, I mention that I literally bow down to the single moms of the world. Having so many of these true heroines as coaching clients (95% of my clients have been women), I've always been amazed at their ability to once again take matters into their own hands to navigate their overall health and wellbeing – mind, body and soul. We all know within wellness that you cannot properly support those around you without first supporting your own holistic health.
Allison claims she would have paid 10x what she did that day to embrace the great outdoors and breathe deep within this one type of moving meditation, trail running, which can bring priceless peace of mind to one’s day. Holistic health hint: move your body, in some way, every day.
Allison’s first goal of many for 2018 was her first ½ marathon, where she placed 3rd in her age bracket out of thousands of entries. Chalk one up for creating a challenge > sticking to it > experiencing progression > finding fulfillment > feeling freakin’ great. This is the epitome of holistic health within one realm, movement, which eventually ripples into all realms.
This does not mean you must enter a competition. This does not mean Allison’s or anyone’s life for that matter is totally figured out. This is simply one of the foundations of holistic health, utilizing tools and techniques to do away with distraction and place focus on what really matters. From here, we then navigate toward, instead of away from the tough stuff that comes up. This is the trail unsung heroines run daily.
It is with great hope we wellness warriors come together, co-create, co-operate, and learn to use our voices together for the future generations of girls, and boys, whose eyes are upon us. Look out world, 2018 has been a big year and the unsung heroines are now also becoming game changers ⚡
Without stepping on Molly's toes, if you know an inspiring human who is a modern day wellpreneur, athlete, adventurer, traveler, self-made, single person, mom, (ok - or dad) - or whatever you get the jist! - who is getting outside, straight up being rad, and staying as stoked as humanly possible as an unsung heroine in the process, please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org with Modern Day Unsung Heroine in the subject line.
Words cannot portray our gratitude to all unsung heroines past and present for keeping our fire alive.
-Founder, Joni Madere