Thursday, March 19, 2015

March is Women's History Month - Who is Your Inspirational Woman?

Beverly Hills, CA – It is not everyday that you find yourself sitting in a panel interview alongside the most amazing women, which I had a pleasure to experience during The Inspirational Woman Project (IWP) book launch on Thursday, March 4th 2015, in Beverly Hills, California. It was an incredible evening filled with positive energy, dynamic panelists and attendees who flew in from all over US to connect and support each other.

Hosted by TGIF Guide and sponsored by Caress (awesome photo booth!),  NESCAFÉ, Hint Water and Glam Squad, proceeds of this event benefits Women Empowered, a non-profit organization committed to the empowerment of women through volunteerism, mentorship and networking.

This is not just another book that you read and file with other dust collectors in your library. “The Inspirational Woman Project is a powerful movement that encourages all women to connect with their power of inspiration,” says author and publisher Bri Seeley. Yes, Bri the Fashion Designer, that is why her name sounds familiar!

Bri shares, "Both the IWP and my fashion brand are centered around femininity. With the IWP, women are able to connect and embrace what it means to be a woman on the inside. And with the fashion, it's taking that inner knowledge and embodying it on the outside." Feminine style, clean lines and soft materials are truly her fashion signature!

Bri Seeley

L-R from top: Bri Seeley, Italia Ricci, Sharon Blynn, Dosse-Via Marine Trenou, Joan Flame, Chistina Galarraga

After successfully breaking away from paparazzis and group selfies, Bri assembled the panel behind the red carpet poles and prepped us for the highlight of IWP "standing room only" event. 

Panelists L-R from top: Lisa Linh (Blogger/Marketer), Jean Thompson (CEO Seattle Chocolates), Jacqueline Depaul (Model), Jaclyn Mullen (Coach/Author), Lindsay Horvath (Marketer/Activist), Tanya Rivas (PR/Blogger), Italia Ricci (Actress), Megan Bell (Founder Glam On Inc.), Sheila Vertuno (Journalist), Sahar Andrade (Diversity & Culture Competence Speaker), Brooke June (Doctor of Philosophy), Wendy Gladney Dean (Author/Entrepreneur), Kate Retherford (Blogger), Rachel Yahne (Author), Cassia Jones (Actress, Director, Screenwriter), Kristin Hatfield (Owner EquiptBaby)

Wonderful words of wisdom were exchanged... some touching testimonies, some called for action, some refreshing validations and some obvious but necessary reminders.  I mustered enough confidence and humbly shared my two cents: 

How do you inspire other women?  

I don’t know that I inspire, hence I wasn’t sure how I ended up sitting next to these extraordinary individuals. What I know is that I want a better version of me than yesterday every time I wake up in the morning. In the IWP book I stated, “I believe in working together and investing quality time to benefit another being, a community or an entity.  To me, giving back (especially incognito) and helping those who are in need is edifying. If I am able to touch and uplift even just one life then I am happy. I cannot say that I do what I do to inspire other women… I do it to make a difference.  If it inspires others, that’s good and I hope that they pay it forward.”

What one word would you say is synonymous to a woman? 

Grace – The manner that one speaks and acts is what makes a woman.  Some say you either have grace or you don’t. I’d like to think that every woman has grace, though some may have misplaced theirs.

What is your current mantra?

“Love~Learn~Teach~Grow” – Love what you do, and I do not mean just your work. I meant be passionate in anything that you do in life. If not, at least like it and be good at it.  Learn it well, so that you can teach others. By teaching you will help others grow, as well as help grow your network and self worth, and the cycle, learn, teach and grow!

What is your super power? 

Many may think of this as a weakness, but I consider my introversion as my super power. It allows me to listen intently, have deeper connection and truly understand the other person.  And I like to rejuvenate my energy with alone time and quiet self-reflections.

L-R: Sheila Vertuno, Mallory Armstrong, Brooke June and Jacqueline Depaul

As the audience continue to thicken, I started feeling exhausted from being out and speaking in public.  While this is totally out of my element, I found myself holding the microphone towards the end of the discussion to share one last thought with everyone. “Every second that goes by is gone forever. As women, we are often quick to verbalize our thoughts and by the time we realize the impact of what we said on others, it was too late and there’s no rewinding.  Say it only if it is KIND, TRUE and NECESSARY! More often than not, I fail to do so, but I strive to practice it every opportunity I get," I concluded.

To be inspirational does not mean you have to be a know-it-all, perfect and successful in all your endeavors.  It is actually quite the opposite! To be inspirational is about how you carry yourself through the ups and downs in your life journey and how you impact the surroundings and the people around you.

The IWP book features a compilation of stories, quotes and inspiring moments of, not the famous un-relatable public figures and celebrities, but of 99 strong, motivational and real women that anyone can correlate and assimilate with.  You might ask, why 99 women?  Well, the 100th woman is reserved for the owner of the book. The last few pages are reserved for her to write her own story and be part of the IWP movement. Visit the IWP  Facebook page here to learn how to get involved.

I asked what's next for the IWP movement, and Bri said, "The goal is to take the book to 10 cities around the country. In each city we will host an event as well as a book signing. The idea is to start developing IWP pockets around the country to increase and expand the movement."  So far the movement is on target to reach 5,000 women by mid year, which means this project could reach up 10,000 by end of year.

‘Twas was an exhilarating night! I only wish there was enough time to have a one on one with each of these wonderful women that I admire. Thank you and kudos to Bri Seeley, for paving the path for this movement. Expect IWP to hit these following cities soon:  Phoenix, San Diego, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, NYC, Chicago, Miami, LA and Austin. Dates, to be announced so stay tuned!

What a way to kick off the International Women’s Day, an occasion that is celebrated every year on March 8th since 1911.  By the way, it is also Women’s History Month, who is the inspirational woman that you are celebrating this month?

One day this month, I am celebrating ME as it is my birthday month =) As far as my inspirational woman, my one and only mother. She is my rock! 

Get your FASH on, keep styling and make a fashion scene. Visit and LIKE “Chasing Sheila” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

(Photos courtesy of The Inspirational Woman Project and Desert Rh1no Photography)


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