"Meet Woman on a Mission Janeen Halliwell "Meet Janeen Halliwell, Founder & Director of We Move Forward in Canada & Mexico

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.

I’m a Canadian woman who does business in North America – Canada, United States & Mexico. In the north, I work as a consultant & trainer with non-profit organizations. In Mexico, I am the Founder and Director of We Move Forward, a 3+ day International Women’s Day conference and celebration that takes place in the most fitting of places, Isla Mujeres, The Island of Women, Mexico. All of the work in which I’m involved focuses on improving lives.

What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place? What was the inspiration for your company/project?

The inspiration for We Move Forward stems from a number of factors. I initially came up with the idea following the my father’s painful death from pancreatic cancer. For sometime I had been wanting to offer a workshop to women on self-directed leadership. My graduate degree is in leadership and much of my work focuses on leadership and learning for individuals and organizations. I had also been wanting to take on something big for the sake of demonstrating on of the core fundamentals of leadership – taking risks. When I ran the idea of We Move Forward – a BIG risk and conference on self-directed leadership for women to be held on the tropical Island of Women by my mother, and her eyes lit up for the first time since my father’s death, I knew that I had to live my words and ‘move forward’ with We Move Forward.

Tell us about any new projects you have coming up (or recently completed).

We Move Forward is moving into its 3rd year. Each year 70+ women, including local Mexican women I sponsor to attend on Isla Mujeres, gather in community to celebrate themselves on International Women’s Day, March 8. WMF 2014 runs March 7 – 9, 2014. My mission: To create a community of ‘like-hearted and minded women’ that support one another to live their lives with passion and purpose. I am a firm believer that we are all ordinary women that are capable of extraordinary things. The WMF experience reinforces this through daily inspirational speakers, mindful movement sessions and small and large group discussions and social activities. The conference truly re-energizes all that makes women whole – body, mind and soul. I am pleased to say that We Move Forward is responsible for creating positive change in the lives of women who participate.

What is a typical day like for you?

I practice setting out a daily intention and a schedule that encompasses my life’s passion – learning (especially through travel), and my purpose – to inspire others to learn and share their learning. I love my consulting work and We Move Forward. I put in long and productive hours. Having children did not happen for me, so my spare time involves daily exercise of yoga and/or a walk, connecting with friends, nurturing my personal relationship, reading, and writing my first book.

Tell us about your community involvement – what you are passionate about outside of work and home and why/how you participate?

I have a home in Canada, and one on Isla Mujeres in Colonia La Gloria, where I am the only foreigner on my street. My work in Canada is with non-profit organizations and I have been involved in many on Isla Mujeres. Each year, women representatives from various charities on Isla Mujeres share their passion and purpose at WMF. A portion of every WMF 2014 registration will go toward The Ron Brown Scholarship Fund, which supports youth interested in post-secondary education with tuition fees and supplies.

What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?

The biggest risk I ever took was spearheading We Move Forward in 2012. I was stepping into the unknown territory of creating, promoting and hosting an international women’s conference. I made a lot of promises to speakers and participants. I was scared beyond belief, and yet I kept believing.

From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?

I draw my inspiration from women like me – women who have come from average families, who had average grades, and were of average height, weight and bra size. Women who step up, around and over the challenges that land in their path because they do believe that they can create a life that is filled with passion and purpose.

What do you do to keep yourself sharp? What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/your business?

Saying ‘yes’ to doing things that I have no business doing keeps me sharp! As a consultant I often get asked to take on projects that have elements of newness and I always say ‘yes’ and then figure out/research the next steps. And I prepare and practice, a lot.

What one thing would you like to learn this year?

It’s truly about time I get a better handle on speaking Spanish.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Traveling more and more to places I have yet to venture.

What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?

Close to home – visit with friends over good food and wine. Away from home with work or for pleasure – explore the nooks and crannies of new places.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

My life has involved many ups and downs. I’ve experienced marriage & divorce, life at its best & the lonesomeness that goes with loss, among many other things…and I continue to move forward with the support and encouragement of really wonderful women in my life. They are the ones I keep close and focus on. They fill my fuel tank. If you find someone depleting yours be aware of who they are and purposefully focus on the others. They make for much better company.

What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you? 

WEBSITE URL www.wemoveforward.com

FB: www.facebook.com/WeMoveForward

Twitter: @janeenhalliwell