Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Capturing the moments!

Special thanks to our FIERCE photographer Linda Patterson of Timeless Edge Photography who once again caught the special moments of the FIERCE awards!!

Take a look!! Click here to view the gallery and purchase!

Timeless Edge Photography: FIERCE Gala 2012
All photos copyright Timeless Edge Photography

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FIERCE SPARKLE! By SherryLynn Wrenn

Can you live a life of showing people authentic kindness love everyday and do it fiercely? You bet your ass you can! I saw it with my own two eyes, felt it with my own one heart last week at the FIERCE women of the year awards last week.

The definition of SPARKLE is one that seems to be on the “softer” side I understand. It is one that people believe leaves little room for the tough stuff but the truth is, it is about bringing the GOOD in your life and leaving out nasty. Leaving out the catty. Those who try to come into your life with negative energy and bullshit gossip get deflected by your SPARKLE and they get that with a ferocity not matched by anything else!

The FIERCE Woman of the Year Awards 2012 were held at the River Cree Resort and Casino this year. It was our biggest, best, glitziest and badassiest (yes, I made that a word) event to date. There were so many women holding one another up, supporting and celebrating one another, the energy was palatable. This is when FIERCE meets SPARKLE!

Am I silly enough to believe there was no jealousy or bits of cattiness happening in quiet corners of the room? No, I’m not but what I am VERY aware of is the FIERCE community doesn't welcome it and it was bits and it happened in quiet corners.

It is not welcome and those particular people will not be there next year because they know their kind is not appreciated, celebrated or acknowledged.

This province is so blessed to have something like FIERCE Woman of the Year to look forward to; the SPARKLY realness, the fun and fabulousness.

I spoke to one woman, her name, Sabrina, who very recently lost her brother to suicide, told me “I have been hiding from the world when there is something like THIS out there. Celebrating people like ME. What am I doing?! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!”

You can give, you can take. You can be real...you can be YOU. You can be FIERCE and you can SPARKLE. Just DO.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Malala and Amanda: Young girls who made a difference

Picture via NYTimes video
October 11, 2012 was the International Day of the Girl Child and yet the news this week has been filled with such anger, hate, sadness and grief concerning two very different young girls.

Malala Yousafazai is a 14-year-old Pakistani girl who has been sharing her story and speaking out against the Taliban since she was 11, fighting for education for young girls, only to be shot in the head and neck for courage.

What stands out for me, aside from the fearless strength of this young girl's character, is the fact that her friends were willing to die to protect her.

When gun-toting men stopped their school wagon in Mingora last Tuesday around 12.45 p.m. asking for Malala Yousafzai, none of the three girls inside spoke. This, despite the terrorists threatening to shoot all of them if they did not identify Malala. 
Today, stirred by the braveheart, who dared to stand up to the Taliban, and her friends, Shazia and Kainat, who refused to identify her even under threat, girls across Pakistan are saying ‘I am Malala.’
 Now, a movement of "I am Malala" has spread across Pakistan, showing the continued support for this young advocate. Although her wounds were serious, she has survived, and I believe she survived for a reason. Her fight, her story, her LIFE is going to change the world. She still has work to do.

Screen shot from Amanda Todd's video

On the other side of the world, closer to home for me, Amanda Todd has killed herself after years of bullying, both online and physically. When I first heard about this story, my first thought was for the mom who was going to bed unable to kiss her daughter good night ever again. I had just put Lola to bed, kissing her and admiring her innocence.

Amanda's death hit me hard because cyber bullying is something I have seen between so-called adults, and want to educate my own kids about so they can handle anything that comes their way.

Watching Amanda's video, seeing the outpouring of condolences online, and expressing my own frustration with cyber bullying on Twitter, I have come to the conclusion that Amanda's video that she posted only a month before killing herself, was maybe it was what her story was supposed to be.

Maybe her cries for help, her video, her death are all suppose to be lessons that might never be learned had this all not received the attention it has.

People are pissed and rightfully so. This young girl is dead because she was pushed over the edge by malicious, ignorant, selfish bullies. Not once. Not twice. But over the course of three years.

I hope these stories, Amanda's and Malala's, do not fade from memory like so many do.

These young girls have made a difference. Their stories will continue to make a difference if we actually LEARN something from them.

Young people have a voice. It is up to us to listen.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This is why I do what I do

Every year around this time, I question my sanity.

I barely sleep, I immerse myself in all things FIERCE neglecting my house and family, and I look like hell.

And then I get an email like this, reaffirming that FIERCE makes a difference to so many women because it connects them in a way no other networking group ever could (not the FIERCE is a networking group for the record).

Hey Tamara!
I wanted to send you something that really put a smile on my face that I just had to share with you. While I am of course thankful that you chose me to represent the FIERCE awards on BTEdmonton... apparently I am not the only one. As you know, I try my hardest at Graves Disease awareness and in return, I have met multiple people from around the world with the same diagnosis.  
Because of you, someone out there felt a little less lonely dealing with it too. 
This lady who has had Graves for 19 years and had not met a single soul with it before, wrote me after seeing me on BT yesterday.  
I wanted to share this e-mail with you to let you know about your 'good deed'. Thank you for being the reason I now have the ability to help someone else through the hopeless times I have also been through. 
Hope all is well with you!! Good luck and enjoy the FIERCE awards!!! (It will be amazing!)

(Rayanne won't be at the FIERCE awards next week because she will be having surgery again but our FIERCE girls will definitely be thinking of her!!)

I was diagnosed in march 1994.  I went for a routine physical.... Ended up with graves.  Never heard of it....I was 25..... And a few months away from my first wedding anniversary.  That June I had radioactive iodine.... That July I celebrated my first anniversary ..... And began to gain weight & everything began to fall further apart.  By November I was 60 lbs heavier. 
I spent years driving home from the Dr. appointments crying  thinking what the hell is happening to me.  Like u, i thought.... I am here.... Suck it up..... FIGHT! 
Well it's been many years and to be honest I am still searching for answers.
I don't know anyone else with Graves.  And now I wonder why there is no support for us.... Or maybe there is & no one told me. I feel so alone.  
I saw u on BT this week.... But only caught the bit about ur award.  I didn't know who u were or what ur story was or why u were receiving the award.   
It is thanksgiving Monday morning .... And I can't sleep.  I turn on BT & see u again on their best of show.  This time I see the whole clip and am in total awe!!!!!! 
I believe everything happens for a reason. I was meant to see this....to learn about u. I googled u and read a bit of ur blog.  I had a few realizations and knew I  needed to talk to u.  Even though I've had it 19 years ago, I still yearn to learn more, Understand it better.... As I am still dealing with the fallout and am scared for my future... For my health. 
I really hope to hear from u... U r the  only other person I've come across with graves.... Wow:). I'm sad to say I'm glad to have seen u .... As I am sad you went & are going thru so much crap.... Yet have hope we can bring each other comfort and learn together....support each other. 
With hope and fight still in me....
I am thankful for so much today.... And now meeting u via media is one of the things I am thankful for.  Hang in there;). 

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When the world slips you a Jeffrey

You have no idea how seriously I'm thinking of installing a furry wall in my house.

It has been ONE HELLUVA ride this past month with all of the preparation for the FIERCE awards and I'm  BAFFLED by the fact that it's 9 days away!

The amount of detail that goes into this event boggles my mind even though I've been doing this for three years. I KNOW what I get myself into each year but I also know that this event matters, despite the struggle it's been to get here.

Last year at this time, I was practically begging for sponsors. This year, we are 90% sold out of our sponsorship opportunities.
The classy FIERCE committee. 

For the past two years, I've been co-ordinating the FIERCE awards by myself but last year I was lucky enough to have some seriously bad ass babes demand ask to be a part of it, and so the FIERCE committee was born.

Karissa was at the launch of the first-ever FIERCE event in March 2008 and has stood by me ever since, gently encouraging me to keep moving forward with it even when I wanted to quit. She is a true friend and I love her even if she is a bacon-eating vegetarian.

Special shout out to my sparkly flogger-wielding friend SherryLynn (who forces me to listen to her goddam Tigger impersonations is the first to be there when I rant on Facebook for help), Megan (who really needs a cheeseburger has been key in our FIERCE PR), Dawn (who brings a high level of inappropriate behaviour class to the group), and last but not least Katy (who has been instrumental in executing multiple shots of whiskey tasks and helping to build excitement for the event).

I'm not really sure what we're doing....

OK. Back to the details. I am all over the place, aren't I? I can't HELP it, there is so much to do that I've developed FIERCE ADD!!

Lee Hrbachewski
Sandra Fuentes
Rayanne Forbes

This year, we hosted a Nominee Celebration to give the nominees a chance to meet, mingle and learn about each other but also to find out more about what to expect at the gala and to present our Nominee Choice award. Congrats to our 2012 FIERCE Nominee Choice winners Rayanne Forbes, Lee Horbachewski and Sandra Fuenetes who received this GAWJUS diamond award!

Aside from adding the extra event, we've got a TONNE of A/V stuff we're adding to the gala (which takes a helluva lot of co-ordinating), nominee bio boards (that have to be edited and designed from scratch because I do NOT do cookie cutter templates), programs, vendor booths, promos to design, volunteers to co-ordinate, scripts to write, tickets to sell and send, judges to harass, nominees to harass, a jewelry line to launch, plus an assortment of other kick ass things which I won't bore you with.

Yesterday, I woke up refreshed after a FULL 8 hours sleep and decided to throw together THIS little gem!

We will have prints for sale at the gala and I am SO beyond thrilled with myself for being inspired and creative enough to do it

I'd love your feedback. And for you to buy a ticket to the FIERCE awards if you haven't got one already.

See you in a week!!!

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