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      News & Press — maja arnold

      Have FAITH to Follow Your Dreams

      Have FAITH to Follow Your Dreams

      Diving into entrepreneurship is terrifying. With the inevitable failures and second-guessing and learning as you go, it is quite possibly the most challenging role any woman could ever take on.

      It tests all that you’re made of. And exposes all that you’re not. It takes a lot of FAITH.

      Just like being a mom does. Especially when you’re the mama to a child with special needs.

      A little over a year ago, Kristin Bentley left a position as an executive creative for a startup – that gained such visibility it acquired contracts with Fortune 500 companies such as Hilton and US Foods – having FAITH that launching her own company, Elisely, would open new doors to a career path full of passion and purpose.

      Weeks later, the state of Washington was quarantined. And a few months after that, Kristin’s now five-year-old son was diagnosed with moderate ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

      She says the diagnosis didn’t come as a surprise. At three years old he could build a vortex out of large cardboard IKEA blocks and explain in broken speech how they form. And categorize a deck of dinosaur cards by the periods they lived in and what they ate. But, he also ate the drywall in his bedroom and would wander from the house if he thought no one was looking.

      Even though Kristin already knew it in her heart that her son was affected by autism, it didn’t make it any easier to accept. She says it took her and her husband a few months to process what it meant for their son’s future.

      “The hardest part, as a parent, is accepting that what your child’s future might look like is now a little different than how you’d envisioned,” she says. “Of course, you still want the best for them. But you have to modify what that now means and have FAITH in your ability to embrace it.”

      2020 was a year full of pivoting, personal growth and required self-care for all of us. Most of us found ourselves juggling a new balancing act of working from home, overseeing our children’s education as they transitioned to virtual learning, and struggling to maintain our own mental health needs.

      For some of us, the last year wasn’t much different than others. The juggling act of working from home and overseeing the education and weekly therapy of a child with special needs often comes with tears of both joy and heartache.

      Sometimes, the only thing that gets you through your day is pure FAITH. FAITH in yourself, FAITH in your partner, and FAITH that you are not failing your child.

      Today, Elisely Co is a creative agency that assists aspiring authors and a publishing company with a global platform for those looking to launch a magazine or book. Together, they power an online teen community of creative leaders that provides mentorship through the collaborative creation of Teen Creative Magazine, a quarterly digital and print magazine read in over 19 countries that globally raises the voices of GenZ.

      “Everyone has a story,” says Kristin. “We all experience hardships. Every single one of us. And when we’re struggling we often isolate ourselves and don’t speak up, because in that moment we feel vulnerable and raw. It takes a lot of courage and FAITH to own our truths, to be authentic with others by sharing our stories. But, when we do... it creates community and strength and healing. You never know who you’ll inspire.”

      Finding HOPE on Memorial Day

      Finding HOPE on Memorial Day

      HOPE is what fills life with promise and light. It fills our souls on days that feel dark, knowing that brighter ones are just around the corner. Much of this HOPE we carry as women comes from being part of a community that is larger than us. Here, at Maja Arnold, we represent a community of inspiring women.

      Women like Shellie Willis, a veteran and advocate to military communities across the country. Shellie's heart shines through in all she does, as she provides HOPE to our female veterans, as she shifts the needle in their lives by providing them with life-changing skills and resources. 

      After 24 years of service in the US Army, Shellie retired a Master Sergeant and shares that starting a new career as a civilian was absolutely daunting for her. She believes that very few veterans have HOPE during their transition out of the military and land their "dream career," start a business, or even decide to continue their education immediately afterwards. 

      Over the last six and half years of working in workforce development with a focus on veteran’s initiatives, she has found that most really don’t have a clue without being given a strong sense of direction and purpose as to what that next move should be. Shellie also discovered that service women didn’t realize they were a highly underrepresented demographic within a demographic.   

      As women, she says they identified with where they served, whether it be as a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, Marine or Coast Guardsmen, and that their voices and identities were aborted by those roles. She realized immediately after retirement that women spend much of their time serving and suppressing at the same time.

      So, Shellie decided to create a movement and community of HOPE that continues to educate and empower our service women to and through transition, for however long it takes by building a community of connectors in life coaching, lifestyle, branding, health and wellness, financial readiness and more. Service women need to be reminded they are women and that they are amazing, she says. Long after their military service they can define themselves and be empowered to shift into their next phase of life.

      Redefining You Foundation is a community for transitioning service women, women veterans, and military spouses providing them HOPE through access to local, regional and national resources. Being redefined means shifting your thinking and lifestyle to the next phase in life by creating a blueprint that requires activation and accountability, says Shellie.

      For the work Shellie has done to support our women veterans she received the Female Founder Alliance Champion Award in 2019 and currently serves as the Ms. Veteran America 2020 2nd Runner Up. 

      To learn more about Redefining You Foundation click HERE.

      We at Maja Arnold would like to wish a very Happy Memorial Day to our service members, veterans, and their families. To those whose loved one gave the ultimate sacrifice, they will never be forgotten. And to Shellie, thank you for brightening the way by filling our female veterans with HOPE.

       Photo credits: Abby Laguido, founder of Pixel Parlour

      This Sunday, We Celebrate Moms Around the World

      This Sunday, We Celebrate Moms Around the World

      There's an old saying that goes something like, "you never know what it's like to watch your heart walk around on its own two little feet, until you become a mother."

       

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