Those are questions I am asked frequently as a business owner, but my answer is never quite what people are expecting. Sometimes I think my answer throws people off a little bit.
If you truly want to know what my passion is - the thing that drives me, what keeps me excited & motivated…then you have to be open to hearing my truth.
I have always wanted to help other people.
Since I was 6 years old our family was very involved in charity work. Whether it was gathering toys for kids at Christmas, food banks, donation centres, taking in kids that needed stability, we were always there to lend a helping hand. When we were finished volunteering, my mom and grandpa used to say to me “Didn’t that make you feel so happy? Even happier than receiving gifts for yourself?”
They were right..helping people filled me up with this overwhelming sense of joy and peace. This was a feeling I didn’t get anywhere else, this feeling was specific to helping others. No matter what “job” I had or whatever fun thing I was doing, I still never quite got that feeling back.
When I was 11 years old I started going to to a camp called “CISV”. Their core values are to teach understanding, leadership and peace/equality to children to create a better future. I was in the CISV program from the time I was 11 until I was 17. It changed my life. I went on a months long trip to Egypt when I was 11, and I think that is when my life changed forever. I remember coming home on the plane, feeling antsy with this fiery/passion filled thought… “One day I am going to help all of the people that I can, I don’t care what anyone says”.
As we got older and the teens in high school started to discuss what they wanted to go to school for - I felt super lost. I walked around the gym where they had all the different schools and programs but saw nothing for me. I asked someone if they knew of any charity or non profit courses but they said no and looked at me funny (this was over 10 years ago now).
I got overwhelmed and wanted to leave. My grandpas voice played in my head, telling me to just ask someone else. I saw my principal on the way out of the school and thought ..fine Ill ask. I said “There’s nothing down there for me. Is there such thing as doing charity work for a living?” And the principal laughed, wiped her eyes from her tears, said no, and told me to change my outfit and go back downstairs. She said that if I walked out of the school in that moment, I’d be expelled.
I left the school and didn’t go back. I knew that truthfully within me, the only “passion” I had was helping other people. It didn’t seem like something people should be dismissing or laughing at. I wanted to spend my life helping people who needed it, why was that so hard to believe? Why was it funny to people? It made me feel sick and start to question humanity as a whole.
Teachers, principals, family & friends mocked me. They told me that would be fine as something on the side, but that my passion did not line up with a real job and that I should just do some charity work on weekends to keep myself happy. “Just be a flight attendant, you know French”.
Even now, when people ask me “So, your passion is being creative right?”…Not really, no. I very much enjoy being creative and I think it helps a lot with my mental health coping strategies/traumas but again, it is not my passion.
My passion is to help other people. I spent nearly an entire year listening to all of the complaints that artists were facing. I made notes, took screen shots, videos, stayed up crazy hours of the night just trying to find more info on what was lacking for this community. I listened. I listened even when no one knew anyone cared. I implemented all of the services that I heard/knew that you all needed. I advocated for you before I even knew your names. I pushed to provide services that would be available for people in all different walks of life. I wanted this platform to be available to help EVERYONE, not just people with money.
I have kept pushing for you every day since this idea came to be, and will continue to push for you with such great fire, because THIS is my passion. YOU are my passion. I will continue to work hard to help you all grow your businesses and not have to face the hardships I had to face to get here.
Thank you all for reading, being here & for making my dreams come true one step at a time 💭✨