I can’t believe that it’s already May, and Mother’s Day is this weekend! I look forward to a whole day of spending time with my kids, gardening and being together as a family. I’m hoping that I might even get them to hug each other a little bit. (Bliss for me, not-so-much for the teenagers.)
I love that there’s a day carved out just for moms, but I wish all the amazing women in my life could be celebrated for how much they’ve given me. Even as a grown-up woman, I look to other women every day for mentoring and inspiration. The success of my business depends heavily on my amazing network of strong women, and my success as a mom has so much to do with the close connection I have with my sisters and girlfriends.
So today, in honor of SCA’s Amazing Woman Everywhere campaign and Team SCA (the first all-female team to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race), I’m celebrating a very special woman in my life (who also happens to be an amazing mom – just not MY mom)…
I met Yulady at yoga teacher training at Strala in the summer of 2010.
After class one day, Tara Stiles told me she had another student – a mom of 6 – who was pretty and funny and whom she knew I would love. We had both signed up for the first-ever Strala Guide teacher training, and Tara couldn’t wait for us to meet.
She was right. I fell in love with Yulady from day one. She was a a tiny ball of electricity… all hair and accent (she’s Colombian) and flashy spandex yoga pants. We became fast friends and started our journeys as yoga teachers together. It’s a bond that will last a lifetime.
Fast forward to nearly two years later, in May 2012, she called me and told me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I think I cried more than she did. I felt helpless, and I couldn’t believe how calm she was. I guess yoga and meditation is good for something, after all.
We talked about what would happen next, and somehow, in that conversation, we decided that she should talk about her cancer to the world through YouTube videos. Happy Mother’s Day – You Have Cancer was her first one. What followed was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Since that day, Yulady has been a force for honesty, fierceness, and bravery in the face of fear and adversity. Cancer wasn’t her first health battle (which you’ll learn by following her on YouTube and Instagram), but it has definitely been her most public. She has literally inspired hundreds of thousands of followers, readers, and viewers with her powerful story of gratitude over grief. Yulady lay exposed in the spirit of service.
She inspires me.
Being a woman can sometimes be tough. We often have to work harder, achieve more, and shine brighter just to be recognized. But that’s also what makes being a woman awesome. Exceeding expectations, being warriors, and breaking boundaries are just some of the challenges that we conquer every day just by living as we were intended. Adversity only makes us stronger, and sisterhood makes us unstoppable.
But women are built for strength.
Team SCA is the first truly professional all-female team to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race and includes 13 women (ranging in age from 28-40) from all over the world – including three Americans, Sara Hastreiter (age 30, from Wyoming) and Sally Barkow (age 34, from Wisconsin), and Sophie Ciszek (age 30, dual citizen of US/Australia). Other amazing members of Team SCA include Dee Caffari (GBR), the only woman to have sailed solo both ways around the world (both east and west); two moms, Abby Ehler (GBR and AUS) and Carolijn Brouwer (NED), who both have young sons; and Elodie-Jane and Justine Mettraux, the first two sisters to sail this race. Individual bios for each team member and more team information can be found on the Team SCA blog, here. Not only is this the first all-female team in the past decade, but it’s also the first time there is a completely level playing field amongst teams. Each team is competing using the same boat (The Volvo Ocean 65, or VO65), meaning all sails, all design elements are fixed and no changes could be made by any team. The team trained on the boat in Lanzarote, Spain for roughly two years to prepare for the race. Now in the sixth month of the round-the-world race, Team SCA is competing in leg 5 – sailing for an estimated 20 days between Auckland, New Zealand and Itajaí, Brazil.
The Volvo Ocean Race is the toughest offshore sailing race in the world. The history of the race goes back to 1973 and is considered the Everest of racing. The race lasts for nine months, covering 39,379 nautical miles (almost two laps around the equator). It started in Alicante, Spain in October 2014 and stops in nine countries around the world before it finishes in Gothenburg, Sweden in June 2015. The race will make one stop in North America: Newport, RI, arriving between May 5-9, 2015.
SCA believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live life to the fullest, and we are committed to creating value for people and nature. To champion these ideals, SCA launches Amazing Women Everywhere, to celebrate women who have a positive impact on others.
The women of SCA’s all-female racing team, Team SCA, exemplify this spirit. They have come from all walks of life and backgrounds to take on one of the world’s most challenging endeavors, the Volvo Ocean Race. For nine months, their journey of hard work and determination will inspire millions around the world. Follow along with Team SCA on Facebook!
We aim to gather thousands of stories from all over the world and inspire thousands more by illustrating that amazing women truly are everywhere. Visit http://www.teamsca.com/awemosaic to submit a photo of an amazing woman in your life.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SCA. The opinions and text are all mine.