#WomenOfAce: Meet Jamie Conroy
Mentor, activator, advocate, and yogi. While Jamie Conroy is all those things, the work she is doing to empower youth in the community is beyond incredible. She is diminishing separation by bringing people together and encouraging youth to awaken to their innate gifts and abilities.
Ace: What are you up to? ( Your current hustle )
Jamie: I am the Co-Founder/Executive Director of ORENDA SOCIETY. The Orenda Society is a non-for-profit organization that delivers yoga, mindfulness, mentorship, and coaching programming to youth in our community. The word Orenda means “the force present in all people that empowers them to change their own lives and affect the world.” The Orenda Society was created to ignite and allow transformation in youth. We encourage youth to live self-directed lives, accessing their own inner resources to effectively respond to life challenges, and still connect to their authentic self. We facilitate dialogue around self care, gratitude, friendships, body image, anxiety, self worth, and self love which allows youth to be heard, have a voice and feel supported. We advocate for mental health, we dig deep and answer the tough questions about ourselves. We come to our yoga mats, we breathe, we move, and we surrender. Orenda continues to lead hundreds of youth through registered programs, summer camps, workshops, and one on one mentoring.
Ace: Why is this important to you? ( Where did this passion come from? )
Jamie: If something like this was around when I was a young woman, it would have shifted so much in my world. Connecting with individuals in their adolescent years and supporting their personal growth, is incredibly rewarding work. The girls that come to our programming learn tools and new ways to manage stress, anxiety, and develop a greater sense of self awareness, so that they are better able to effectively respond to life challenges. We witness growth and impactful transformations in the youth we mentor. Recognizing we all have the ability to make changes in our own lives. When we provide a safe space it allows youth to rise up and take a stand for themselves and others.
Ace: What was your dream job growing up? How do you think this has influenced who you are today?
Jamie: My dream was to leave the small town in Ontario that I grew up in (which is beautiful and I appreciate it so much now) and to go to University. I wanted something bigger than myself, I wanted to make a difference. That dream job I was chasing was to become an educator. After completing a teaching degree at the University of Calgary, I gained valuable experiences working in the classroom and as an educator working with aboriginal communities. Although teaching was a passion, I soon came to realize I had the ability to educate and have an impact on youth in my community beyond the classroom experience. This “dream job” fuelled my desire which has lead me to learn, grow, and take on new challenges.
Ace: If you could describe yourself in only three words, what would they be?
Jamie: Real, relatable, and driven.
Ace: Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?
Jamie: I could think of a few, but the truth is my biggest inspirations comes from women who are leaders in their own lives. The go getters, the entrepreneurial mammas, the women who fight against all odds to create a better life for themselves. The women who tell the truth, who understand the struggle, and still have the awareness to be grateful and to see the greater good. The women who smile and know there is light in darkness. The women who walk next to me, in front of me, or behind me, striving to live authentically and do the best they can.
Ace: What does the term “Boss Babe” mean to you?
Jamie: When I think of boss, the first thing that comes to mind is leadership. Being a “Boss Babe” means being a leader in your own life, knowing when to hustle and when to step back, the ability to take a stand for yourself and others, and having the ability to ask for guidance and support. (No one has all the answers). No bullshit!
Ace: How do you empower other women?
Jamie: I believe in the power of being real, raw and vulnerable. I believe that sharing your story is empowering and allows other women to take a stand for themselves. There is something very healing about “real talk”. I believe in listening versus reacting, and truly hearing what someone is saying. I have learned in collaboration over competition, and building each other up - celebrate other women. Avoid all gossip or negative talk. Honesty and empathy. Learn to understand each other and laugh, because it’s pure medicine.
Ace: What is the best advice you’ve ever received from another woman?
Jamie: Trust your gut and intuition. Stay true to yourself, and what other people say about you is really none of your business. Just keep doing you! Listen more then you speak.
Ace: Can you share the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a failure?
Jamie: Perseverance. As long as you stay honest and keep doing the good work, things will turn around. When one door closes, another opens. First, you need to believe in what you are doing in order to manifest vision into reality.
Ace: When you are feeling overwhelmed, what do you do to find peace?
Jamie: Putting paper to pen, and getting my thoughts down. Meditation also helps me find peace, and going for a good run where I can feel my legs moving, my lungs working, and my heart beating.
Ace: What legacy do you hope to be remembered for?
Jamie: The legacy I hope to have is that women and girls I have worked with over the years, one day look back and remember me as someone who was able to support them through some really big times in their lives, and to know I’ve had an impact. I want to be remembered as someone who helped women and girls come together and rise through real conversation, transformation, and movement.
Ace: Where can we find out more about you so we can continue to support you?
Jamie: To learn more about the Orenda Society you can follow us on social media and check out our website here. If you know of schools, or youth that could benefit from our programming we always appreciate when people share what we are up to. As a growing non-profit we are always looking for funders, and funding/grant opportunities to support the work we are doing in community. If you are interested in sponsoring or know of grants that would benefit our organization we would love to hear from you.