Women take time off to uplift each other

by Ron Fanfair
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Chesand Gregory

On a beautiful Sunday summer day, Rushen Reid could have been anywhere outdoors soaking up the rays. Instead, she was inside Angus Glen Golf Club for a few hours last summer at an event aiming to empower women to live more sustainably and consciously.
Chesand Gregory created the ‘Conscious Me: Live Better’ awareness platform.
“More than just supporting a friend and being away from my kids for a couple of hours, we need a break sometimes to focus on ourselves and our well-being,” Reid said. “I wanted to be part of this meaningful initiative that empowers women and offers an opportunity to network. Also, taking time for ourselves to talk about self-care is so important. You cannot pour from an empty cup. When we fill our cups, we in turn can fill the lives of our loved ones.”
Despite undergoing surgery two weeks prior to the event, Dorji Lham attended with five girlfriends.
“Chesie has been doing amazing things to uplift women,” said the owner of Go Above & Beyond Aviation that is an air cargo consultation brokerage and sales firm. “She is an inspiration. Though I am busy working, it is imperative I find time to network and be in an environment where the conversations are about things like holistic wellness and personal growth.”
Giving women opportunities to reach their full potential, said communications strategist Arlene Amitirigala, is critical.
“Everything we can achieve as individuals starts with self-belief, mindset, consciousness and being aware of who we are, what we want to do and why we want to do it,” she said. “(That’s why) Chesand conceptualized this event, expanding on what she does in schools and bringing together women and a smattering of men to talk about wellness, community and empowerment – the things that can make us great to help us to lift our families.”
The Jamaica Tourist Board was one of the lead sponsors.
“Chesand epitomizes women in the workforce who are giving back to their community,” said JTB Regional Director for Canada Angella Bennett. “We have to be conscious of the life we live as we pour out so much. This forum allows us to pour a little bit onto us. It is about living well, loving ourselves and empowering ourselves. To be in this amazing room with all these women is a treat.”
To make attendees feel special, Gregory provided a loving ambience that included fresh plants and a violinist.
“It is important for me to bring out the finer things in life for women to enjoy,” said the married mother of two young boys who is an author and creator of the JChessBoobie line breastfeeding covers.
A teacher in Jamaica before migrating to Canada, Gregory said she wants women to be the best version of themselves.
“Mothers, particularly ‘mompreneurs’ as I call them, are constantly under pressure, trying to juggle family life, raise children and engage in business activities,” said the 2012 Manchester Parish Queen runner-up who migrated to Canada two years later to join her husband, Omar Gregory, who is a scientist. “I aim to give confidence and a sense of self-worth through fun and parenting strategies. I was raised by a mother who didn’t have a lot of money, yet she gave me all the support she could.”
This year’s conference takes place on June 23 and the theme is ‘Dare to Dream Big: Wealth Beyond Riches’.

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