Where’s your voice?

We all remember being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  My response was always, “A teacher,” (except in kindergarten when all the other girls said ‘nurse,’ so I did too).

I definitely did not want to be a nurse, but never did I think I would join the business world. Certainly not as an entrepreneur! I became a teacher.

My students always asked, “Why do I have to learn this?” Or, “When am I ever going to use this?”  I never really knew or had enough life experience to answer that question in a way that was truly convincing.  I remember being that child and wondering why I had to memorize all of those equations in chemistry… when would I ever use that?

Now I have the answer.  Now I can tell that young teacher and any student with that age-old question why one should never give up or disregard an opportunity to learn.  Why the basic subjects, English, Mathematics, Chemistry, etc. are all important to setting us up for the possibilities that await us.

My view of the world was this: You finish high school, choose which secondary path you want to follow for the rest of your life, and that’s it.  You’ve chosen, now do.

Today, chemistry is essential in my everyday life.  I would never have dreamed only a year before Beautiful Rock was formed, I would spend my days making soap, creating recipes and hand crafting beautiful products from only the ideas and imagination and interests of our team.

I’m a shining example for my students that you never know what path life might lead you down.

If an opportunity presents itself, take it!

Last year, I received a phone call that forced me into a situation I would normally have avoided!  I was the recipient of last year’s NLOWE Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  To say I was shocked would be an understatement, but honored and proud, there’s no understatement there!

I was elated.  Then I was told, “We’d like you to do a speech.”
Ugh

“And the Premier may be attending!”
Double Ugh!

Now, you have to understand, I don’t have a great reputation for public speaking.  In fact, a memory I will always carry with me from university is from a presentation I did in the last year of my university degree.  My professor’s question at the end of my presentation was, “Are you ok?”  I was mortified, but I wasn’t unaware that half way through my speech, as usually happened, my face flushed a glorious shade of red, while at the same time my chest tightened to the point that every word became a labored effort to just……get…..…..to…….the……………….END (phew)!

The evening came.  I entered the awards gala.

Of course it was beautifully decorated.  And the room was packed!  I soaked up the experience.  I realized that the opportunity to witness a speech by the Premier was one that does not come by everyday and I was moved by her poise and her amazing ability to address a crowd in such a strong, eloquent way.  That night I was witness to the power of women as each presenter and recipient took to the microphone.

I was introduced by AnneMarie Vaughan, the President of the College of the North Atlantic.  I walked on stage to receive my award from NLOWE board member Hilda Broomfield-Letemplier of Pressure Pipe Steel Fabrication Ltd. and Premier Kathy Dunderdale (who sat to my right on stage as I gave my thank you speech). 

I stood at the podium and began to speak.

Something was different.

I was calm. I spoke in a way I had always wanted.  I even enjoyed applause halfway through!  Receiving the award that night was not the only huge accomplishment of the evening.  I had found my voice! And the confidence that comes when you work so hard on something you truly love and are recognized in such a magnificent way.  It was validating, and motivational.  It gave each one of us the confidence to know we are doing something right, that our team is on the right path.

Since then, I have presented at a Breast Cancer Function, I was featured on Skyways with Gina Brown, which was televised across the province, and I’ve done numerous radio interviews.  The Beautiful Rock Team was awarded the Small Business Award from the Gander Chamber of Commerce and I am so excited to have the opportunity to be a presenter at The Power of Girls Conference in St. John’s this month.

I will get to tell those teenage girls why learning is so important; why they have to learn the things they will “never use.” To grab on to every opportunity no matter how intimidating it may seem.  It is only when we push ourselves that we grow closer to reaching our full potential and to realizing the possibilities that are out there waiting.

It’s not often you have the opportunity to thank people in such a public way.  I would like to thank NLOWE for not only the award, but also for helping me find my voice.

Katherine-ProfileKatherine Hiscock is the the owner of Beautiful Rock and the winner of the 2012 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  To view Beautiful Rock’s lines of natural and handmade personal care products visit www.beautifulrock.ca.  You can also find Beautiful Rock on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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