The Power of the F.I.E.R.C.E. Brunch

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One of the reasons that I started this blog was because I wanted to write about things that interest me. Furthermore, I wanted to highlight women that truly inspire me because they want to make a difference in this world. I believe that the universe gives you exactly what you ask for, so it was of no coincidence that I attended the first, The Power of the F.I.E.R.C.E. brunch, event held at Katarina Bar & Grill in Queens, and wanted to write about it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 1:30pm. I was on my way to Kew gardens, in a cab. The day was gorgeous, blue skies and lots of sunshine. I was wearing a purple shirtdress, high heels, all accessorized, feeling myself as I felt fierce!! That was the premise of the event, to get women together to show up and show out. And so I did! Of course there was more to it than that, I will get into it later. At the beginning, I didn’t really know exactly what to expect. I only knew that three successful women in their own right, Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin, Justine Hornedo and Wendy Angulo, were going to talk about empowering women through their experiences.

So I arrived… A lovely woman greeted me at the door and handed me a blue folder with quotes inside. I entered the room. All the women that were there were dressed for the occasion. The energy in the room was vibrant, loving and welcoming. I felt very comfortable in the space and just what I needed to reinvigorate me.

Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin started the F.I.E.R.C.E. campaign with the hopes that women can come together and uplift one another, which prompted her to bring guest speakers to empower women for a brunch.

But before I go any further, what is the Fierce woman?

The Fierce woman is, “Female Inspiring, Empowering, Recognizing, Cultivating Evolution. The evolution of herself and other fellow women. In a time where most women are conditioned to compete against one another and tear each other down, this campaign is focused on uplifting and building each other up. The FIERCE Woman is focused, determined, and knows that there is no competition when you’re doing what you have been uniquely gifted to do.”

Nancy was a gracious host. Looking fabulous as always. She made sure to make everyone feel at ease and comfortable with her words. She spoke of her experiences and what led her to create the FIERCE woman campaign. She believes in sharing ideas, resources, and putting out the best. “You have to invest in yourself and help others.”

What I am going to do is to write about some of what caught my attention from the guest speakers.

I will start with the first speaker, Justine Hornedo. Justine is a mother, manages two busy health care practices at one of NY’s top health care facilities, and she has literally done it all.Her current goal is to speak to teens and motivate them. It was Justine’s first time as a motivational speaker and she did a fantastic job. She kept the women engaged. She was vulnerable and honest about her experiences. She explained that no matter the obstacles and hurdles, she did not let it defeat her. She spoke of her childhood, how she overcame living with drug addicted parents and the death of her mother at the age of 7. And since a young age she knew that she had the power to change, she had a choice. Justine has gone through a lot, from job loss, getting evicted, among other things and turning that around to buying a house, and living her dreams all because she did not let loss take over or debilitate her.

Here are some of my favorite points she made:

“Nothing should control you. Choose to do better. Choose to know that you’re more than capable of doing what you want to do!!!”

“My reason is bigger than what life could throw at me!”

“Reinvent yourself. Make goals and once completed you will be successful”

“Be passionate and do due diligence. You have to change everything within you and around you. Laser focus on a goal.”

“Believe in yourself!”

“Think about what your passionate about. And what you have to do to go to the next level.”

“If you speak it, it is possible!!”

With Justine Hornedo

The second speaker was Wendy Angulo, of Wendy Angulo Productions, she is the CEO and Founder of Canvas of Words. She is a lawyer, a mother, a well-rounded woman, who is on a mission to make a change in the poetry/art world. Wendy spoke candidly and honestly about her life. Wendy shared her experiences, of how divorce and the loss of her mother who died of cancer has made her the woman she is today. Although, these experiences were difficult to live through, it taught her resilience, determination, and acceptance of self. She had to rebuild herself in order for her to grow. It began with a journey of self-love, exerting human evolution. Buddhism has helped her to continue her path of self-love.

Here is some of what she had to say:

“I have a passion to inspire and motivate everyone. To go to your highest potential.”

“Do what works for you!! Always!! Customize to your needs. Doing what you love.”

“Create possibilities. Create opportunities.”“Reflect!”

“Believe in yourself enough to follow your dreams.”

“Be determined and passionate and love what you do.”

“Respect your craft. Respect yourself. Improve it.”

“Network build connections. Use all your resources.”

“Be realistic understand what works and what doesn’t.”

“Don’t beat yourself up. Get rid of the need of pleasing people.”

Wendy ended with this quote, she lives by: “The only limitation we have is within ourselves, anything we are determined to accomplish will be accomplished as long as we set our minds to it. We should constantly manifest our highest potential as human beings through wisdom, compassion and courage”. By one of her favorite Buddhist Philosophers, Daisaku Ikeda

Wendy Angulo and I!

To conclude this powerful event, Nancy Arroyo Ruffin, left us with some words of wisdom. Nancy is a mother, an author, and a motivational speaker. She spoke of her dream of having a child and the attempts that were tried to conceive. She had a miscarriage, and although it was devastating, she continued to have hope. She realized that when she did get pregnant, that timing is everything. Things happen at the time that they should. And to never give up on a dream! And now currently she created the FIERCE woman campaign.

Here is what she had to say:

“We all have that gift.

“We need to bring each other up”

“We have the life to live and make our dreams come true.”

“Making the most of the your time.”

“We all have the power of choice. Decide to make the most of those seconds.”

“Dreams you can’t put on hold. Trust in timing. Except things at their own time. Successful people keep climbing.”

“Create for yourself opportunities. Make a desicion. Dream. Plan. Execute.”

“One failure doesn’t equal loss.”

“Adversity gives us strength.. Surround yourself with a good team.”

“Focus on the positive.”

“You have the power to change lives.”

“Successful people have visions. They believe it. And work hard. When earned it can’t be taken away.”

“Trusting yourself and talent.”

“Make positive choices. Dream Big!”

“Believe in yourself.”

This is what propelled Nancy to create this event because she too saw a need of uplifting women to reach their highest potential. And she did a great job putting it together. I loved it!!

With the hostess and creator, Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin!

Well, there you have it!! If this doesn’t inspire you I don’t know what will. It is affirming to know that these women held to their convictions and decided to pursue their dreams. No matter what was in their way. Nancy has a vision that the FIERCE campaign happens internationally. I can totally see that happening. We need this. We need to see women of color get together and empower each other. We cannot do it alone. We need each other. If we work together we can thrive.

I had a lovely time… I hope you can make the next one. For more information about Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin visit there you can read more about her and the guest speakers and what this campaign is all about.

Some of the materials included in the folder.

This event has been beauty, brains, and blogging approved!

‘Til the next event my loves!

This is HER!

The only limitation we have is within ourselves, anything we are determined to accomplish will be accomplished as long as we set our minds to it. We should constantly manifest our highest potential as human beings through wisdom, compassion and courage.

I have been thinking about what to write next. I feel as if I am in a stagnant position in life. Not knowing what to do next, questioning what my purpose is and what to do to obtain my goals, just to state a few. I guess I am having an existentialist moment. I understand that once I get clear on what I want then things will come in to place and all will align. I also know, it is an ongoing process of self-evolution, self-love, and self-awareness to get me through to my path. However, until I get to that point I must keep moving. I must look at others and follow their examples of perseverance and resilience. I have seen many women do remarkable things from directing and starring in plays, writing books, curating shows, poets reading and publishing their works to stay at home mothers. Women doing what they choose to do, what they LOVE to do and are passionate about it. This is why I decided to interview women who I find inspirational. There are so many of them so it is not going to be in any particular order. The point of these interviews is to get to know the woman in a deeper level, in soulful kind of way; get to their core. To know their fears/failures and how they continue to do what they love anyway. To let us know that we aren’t alone. That is what truly inspires me!

So, what a great way to start Women’s ‘Herstory’ Month by interviewing a woman who is inspirational…

I met this woman two years ago, she has accomplished so much in a matter of a short period of time. She had a vision and she went for it. She invested in herself and had a successful event. The event, Canvas of Words, sold out in Queens and reclaimed that poetry and the arts still exits in her borough. This motivated her to begin Wendy Angulo Productions, an organization whose goal is to support, encourage, and promote poetry and visual arts in the borough of Queens. Through Wendy Angulo Productions, she also manages established performance poets and writers.*

Her name is Wendy Angulo and she inspires me. The reason Wendy inspires me is that she is a woman who wants to leave a legacy for her son and for others. She inspires me to want to reach my goals and follow through. What I have noticed is that once she sets a goal, she plans and then executes. Wendy also helps others to achieve their goals and she believes in empowerment. She invests in herself so her dreams can become reality. Wendy makes sure that she always does her best to thrive in a world that isn’t always pleasant. So thank you for being an inspiration…

And it has been a pleasure to ask her a few questions to get to know her a little better.

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Hi Wendy!!! I am excited that you have allowed me to ask you a couple of questions about YOU… I want to get to know the Wendy that not every one knows.

Andreina: How would you describe yourself? Who are you at your core? Not the labels but who you are?

Wendy: I describe myself as a Latina Mother, independent, ambitious, and determined to succeed.
At my core, I am a very sensitive person who takes into consideration everything and everyone around her before making a decision. I explore all options and how my decisions will affect others before I execute, which is good and bad at the same time.

A: What are some of the things you live by? Quotes, mantras, religion, etc.

W: Well I am Buddhist, who strongly believes in the concept of Human Revolution and live by the mantra : “The only limitation we have is within ourselves, anything we are determined to accomplish will be accomplished as long as we set our minds to it. We should constantly manifest our highest potential as human beings through wisdom, compassion and courage”.
One of my favorite Buddhist Philosophers is Daisaku Ikeda and there’s one quote of him, which I constantly repeat and carry with me: “When your determination changes, everything will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success. On the other hand, if you think, “This is never going to work out,” then at that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight.”
At the end, everything in life boils down to your attitude when presented with an obstacle and/or painful situation…how you respond and react to it, will determine the course of your life at that moment.
We are the authors of our destiny and the only ones who have the power to change it at any given time.

A: What are some of your fears/set backs you’ve had to encounter and how have you overcome them to keep going?

W: Well definitely fear of failure and being alone.

When it comes to failure, I’ve learned that it is a part of life and even when you failed you learned, so what has helped me overcome every set back are the lessons I learned from them and how they’ve tested my character as human being. It could sound cliché but you learn from everything you experience, whether good or bad, the trick is to really open yourself to those lessons. Often times we blind ourselves to those lessons.
As to being alone, learning to love myself first and honor who I am with flaws and all has been necessary and a continuous process. We tend to judge ourselves constantly and to put up with people and situations that doesn’t serve a purpose in our lives just to avoid being alone.
Once you learn to feel comfortable in your own skin and within you, being alone is not even a thought because at the end you always have YOU.

A: What has been your biggest lesson so far?

W: Hmmmm well I think the loss of my mother….it definitely hit every chord in my life…from learning to appreciate the smallest things in life to not being afraid to die as long as I live to the fullest.

A: What is one aspect of you that you would like the world to know?

W: I would like the world to know that I’m not perfect, perfection is an illusion, there’s no such thing as the perfect person or the perfect life…we all have good and bad within us but the key is to recognize and not being afraid of being wrong or to fail at any given time in your life.
It is not easy to admit when you’re wrong or when you lose the battle (whatever that battle might be), but for me when you recognize it you still winning, there is a big lesson that lies behind that acceptance and that defines your character. Those moments have truly defined who I am today.

A: Finish the sentence

Love is… all we have.

Inspiration means… what drives you to create.

My legacy… Is my son and Canvas of Words.

I am… a Woman, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Latina and one hell of a Warrior.

I do this… for every dreamer who once was told he/she couldn’t do it.

Thank you Wendy! Thank you for being an inspiration to women everywhere. I love the quotes! Thank you for being vulnerable and open with us, losing your mother has been your biggest lesson, it is truly amazing your perspective. Thank you! You are roaring and we hear you!! Much success to you!!

*This is just a small portion of her bio. The rest of her bio can be found on the page, Canvas of Words, on Facebook.

This is me with the amazing and wonderful, Wendy Angulo!!

This is me with the amazing and wonderful, Wendy Angulo!!