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You got this, girl

This week’s feature is one dedicated to all of the women out there who are exceeding their own expectations. At a time in history where women are being asked to step out of traditional roles to lead, and share and be vulnerable - more than ever, the world is waiting.

In fact, genuine leadership from women with platforms of influence are on the rise. Last month, Winnipeg welcomed Michelle Obama – a fierce former First Lady who spoke from her heart about education, the needs of children and the challenges many women face today.

Michelle Obama and Brené Brown’s bestselling books are powerful studies of strength, grace, and authenticity.

The good news? Getting real is where it’s at. Perfectly posed social media influencers are not simply unattainable to the masses - they’re not welcome to the family dinner table.

Sexy is a woman who can leave it all on the gym floor one minute and comfort a crying babe the next. Vulnerability researcher Brené Brown believes by sharing our stories with someone who we trust and who accepts us, we receive the gift of belonging, releasing the hold negative energy can have over us. And let’s just be really honest with one another, holding it all in, all together - is so last year.

At the Winnipeg Free Press we have the great fortune of working shoulder-to-shoulder with many of Winnipeg’s best and most influential women. Women who advocate for others, who run organizations built on empathy and compassion. Women who bring their values to the office, who step into power and who do so with femininity and grace. Like our friend Tara at the Unexpected Gift - she is a woman who beat breast cancer, wrote a book about her journey and opened a business to support others who walk that path.

Like our friends Annitta Stenning of CancerCare Manitoba or the lovely Elba Haid who pledged $100,000 towards helping Heart and Stroke raise one million to help save women’s lives. Like Karly Tardiff, a new-to Winnipegger who organized Chain for Change or Brigette Lacquette, who became the first Indigenous woman to represent Canada in Olympic hockey. Like the mom who lives next door, or our in-house mom, Karen Buss, director of advertising sales who remembers everyone's birthday on our floor, who ensures white linen table cloths are in place for our annual holiday luncheon, and who keeps a running supply of treats in her office for anyone who needs a late afternoon pick-me-up.

After all, what women offer to the world is different than our male counterparts. Not better or worse, just different. And so to the women in our lives who have fought and overcome everything from balancing motherhood to battling illnesses, we salute you.

Today’s feature is about women who have overcome adversity and said, "Yes!" to stepping into shoes that needed filling. Shoes that confidently walk a woman into a boardroom or a ballroom. Shoes that run miles, jump at the chance to cheer on a child, that deliver slices of pizza on hot lunch days. Shoes that shop for households and make a woman feel beautiful.

Take it from our friends at Lennard Taylor Design Studio - you can face just about anything with a smile and the confidence of knowing you’re doing the best you can.

 

SUPPORT SYSTEMS

At the age of 42, Tara Torchia-Wells was diagnosed with cancer, a finding that changed her life, but one that also provided her with an unexpected gift. Having experienced all facets of the cancer journey, she acquired the knowledge of what is required to overcome the physical and emotional struggles. She has answers, compassion and products to help ease the process. At her shop, The Unexpected Gift, this survivor and author, now holds space for and offers support for others in their recovery. One product line that operates as a shop within a shop is Amoena, the world leader in meeting the unique needs of women touched by breast cancer. Tara who is also a certified fitter says, "Cancer changed my life. I now know what is authentically important. Family, friends and people are what life is about." If I can assist — in any capacity — so that others can spend more time with those they love, I’ve done what I feel called to do." That is a Gift.

Tara Torchia-Wells from The Unexpected Gift. Her store features Amoena mastectomy bras and other products designed specifically for cancer patients.

SARTORIAL STRENGTH

As the weather chills it’s time to start thinking about everything that makes you feel warm, especially coats. At Lennard Taylor, we believe in supporting our local community by handcrafting our coats in-house at our retail store in the Exchange District. Crafted with kindness and a Canadiana twist for confident, sophisticated women, whether it’s in his clothes, his art or his words, Lennard Taylor is an advocate for strong women everywhere. Featured, is our full-length coat, Jordan, made from Canadian wool. Hearty yet elegant, if you rip or stain our coats don’t throw them out; we can mend the tears or paint over the stains with Lennard’s signature art. At Lennard Taylor Design Studio, we believe in clothing for life, not a season. Drop by our studio at 246 McDermot Avenue today.

Lennard Taylor’s full-length wool coat, Jordan. View available sizes and colours at lennardtaylor.com.

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