I’m thrilled that Lindsay Sealey will be the guest speaker at our Oct 16th Women in the Spotlight Dinner. Lindsay is dedicated to girl empowerment and girl advocacy, and her passion and expertise are evident in her book Growing Strong Girls. I had the chance to ask Lindsay a few questions so we could learn a little more about what makes this “girl power” champion tick.

What made you decide to write the book Growing Strong Girls: Practical Tools to Cultivate Connection in the Preteen Years?

I decided to write this book because I felt strong enough to believe I had something different to offer readers (by focusing more on actionable steps than scary statistics or research) AND I began to realize how much impact I was having with girls – and I knew I needed to share my “secrets” with parents and those championing girls.

You are a huge advocate for empowering girls. Share a favourite moment where you know you made a difference for someone.

My “favourite moments” come almost daily: when a girl tells me she raised her hand in class or spoke up for another girl who was being bullied; when a girl tries out for a sports team or a play; when a girl disagrees with my opinion and is able to clearly explain her reasoning or decides to let go of a friend she realizes is unhealthy even though this often means she will be alone; and when girls tell me their struggles and stressors and I know this is only because they trust me and know I will do my very best to support them.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?

My greatest achievement so far is the decision to let go of uncertainty, insecurity, and fear (and the people who were holding me back) to become more brave, bold, and more confident. This manifested in quitting my “9 to 5” job (letting go of a paycheque and also security!) and listening to my inner voice to create a company of my own (BOLD NEW GIRLS) which is me living my dream, not someone else’s (embracing earning my own money and creating my own sense of security).

If you were to give a piece of advice to parents raising girls, what would it be?

Take time to listen, really listen to what she needs to tell you and to try to understand her world. She wants to connect with you and she needs to feel confident that you will be there for her. What gets in the way is the logistics of a busy family life (What do you want for dinner? Did you do your homework? Get off your screen…), as well as criticism, judgment, and interrogation. Getting to closeness where she will talk to us takes time and effort and comes at surprising times; we have to nurture the connection daily so she can get there and be able to feel comfortable enough to tell her stories.

Have you had any setbacks that have make you stronger or wiser?

Yes, I’ve had many setbacks – this is a natural part of being a business owner – some days, you feel like you are thriving and have the “Midas touch”, filled with ideas and energy and creativity. Other days, you feel as though you can’t get things right, people are disappointed in you, clients decide they no longer need you, you aren’t going fast enough, and you are stagnant in your growth. On a deeper level, I have always been held back by fear – and not believing I had value and worth. I have also felt very disappointed (in people and in life) and frustrated (I don’t always reach my goals in my timing). My greatest setback has been feeling so stuck in a job I no longer loved but not believing I could do anything else. I felt incredibly “fake” that I was doing a job half-heartedly and afraid that this would be “as good as it gets”. Yet, I learned to turn this setback into the opportunity to clarify what I really wanted to do and what my heart was telling me I needed to do.

What book(s) are on your night stand right now? What have you learned from them?

My “nightstand” is now on my phone – I only listen to books on Audible, which allow me to read faster and much more frequently. Right now, I am listening to Girling Up by Mayim Bialik, iGen by Jean Twenge, The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Raising Girls by Erika Karres and Rebecca Branstetter, Strong Mothers, Strong Sons by Meg Meeker, and Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. I am learning so much about girl growth and development, the influence of social media and technology on this generation of girls, the difference between boys and girls (their needs are more similar than I think we all realize), and how to be stronger and more resilient in the face of tragedy.

On social media, who do you follow and what influences do they have?

I follow anyone who is positive and passionate about what they love – whether it’s food, fitness, clothing and style, sports, photography, or business. There are so many strong and inspiring women who have decided to be the leader of their own lives – and they post such authentic pictures about their successes and also about their trials. I absolutely love this! I do not follow anyone who is fake or superficial, unhealthy, negative, cynical or using social media to “boast post” or put others down. I am very intentional about my usage and I use social media to my advantage – to help me feel part of a larger community of innovators, hard workers, and people using their skills and talents to do amazing things. I unfollow quickly (and tell girls to do the same) when someone I am following isn’t a “best fit” for me.

What is your favourite quote?

I love this verse from the Bible from Philippians 4:8 as it serves as a reminder to focus your thoughts on what is good, what is working, and your passion and purpose:

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

It’s so easy to focus on what isn’t working, what is holding you back, what you don’t have. You can let people bring you down or plant seeds of doubt in your mind. This verse reminds me to focus on my dreams, my goals, my path, and to do what I love and all I know to be true – to never waste my time on people that don’t share my values or being mediocre or complacent. I want to be better every day and to strive for excellence. To grow in this way, I have to take care of myself by focusing on the “good stuff” like gratitude, generosity, and being my best self. Then I know I am moving forward, I have more to offer girls, and I am a power of example to them.

Lindsay Sealey will be the guest speaker at our upcoming Oct 16th Women in the Spotlight Dinner. Lindsay is an educator and mentor whose passion is girl-empowerment and we’re excited that she’ll be sharing her expertise with us.