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Name: Kelly McNelis
Business: Women For One
Location: Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Industry: Personal Services
Reason for starting? After experiencing a dysfunctional life (like we all have) including sexual abuse, divorce, as well as the death of a dear friend, and blending a family of 8, I realized that I wanted to give back to the world from the lessons which I had learned. I also wanted to create a global tribe of like-minded women who could learn from each other and accordingly share their own life lessons. It is my hope that, in continuing to share women’s voices, Women For One will encourage all people to take a stand on the issues that most impact our lives, while building a supportive community.
Related: Read about another entrepreneur empowering women here.
How do you define success? My definition of success is one that encompasses a woman’s sense of connection to her purpose, passion, and joy. For me, success is about defining my own success on a daily basis by getting clear on what I truly want to make happen for myself, my family, my business and the world. When we claim success on our own terms, based on what truly makes us come alive, we can live authentic and meaningful lives.
Biggest success: I am the leader of a global and diverse community of women who are connected by virtue of their shared stories and experiences, but who harbor a variety of perspectives and beliefs. Most communities tend to be more homogeneous and pivot on the idea that people should have specific shared values. Women For One has always strived to be a space where ALL women can express their views in a safe, supportive space, which is what I believe makes us so strong. We are a joyous tribe of non-like-minded women! This is our unique (and I believe, necessary) take on what it means to be in sisterhood, and I do not often see it replicated in other places.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? I view challenges and obstacles as wonderful learning opportunities, so I actually welcome critics and naysayers, especially when this invites dialogue and helps me to view my own life and decisions from a fresh perspective. Interestingly, I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a lot of naysayers. Women For One and the work I’ve done have received an enormous amount of support, as we are promoting something that I believe is fundamental to most people: full self-expression, sharing our truth, and creating authentic community.
Related: Seeking Women Entrepreneurs of ‘Passion and Purpose’
Who is your most important role model? I am most drawn to women who are 100% themselves, and who live their lives with grace, authenticity, and a sense of deep purpose that stems from what they are most passionate about. Women who are unafraid to bravely live their truth, no matter the consequences, inspire me with their courage and tenacity. I have been fortunate to meet so many women from many walks of life, of all races and backgrounds, who exemplify the feminine spirit of wisdom that runs through all of us. These unsung heroes are the ones who most inspire me to be the woman I was born to be.
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Edited by The Story Exchange