IN HER SHOES TRAILBLAZER – Cathie Stonier, 56. Women share stories of stepping up and out in Life Part II.
CATHIE STONIER saw it coming. In two years her youngest son, Colin, would graduate from high school and then…..what? What did she want to do? How would the next chapter be characterized? A blank canvas faced her. What she did know is that she found great fulfillment in nurturing and that she needed to a create. Something else was driving her, having been on a spiritual journey for most of her life she also wanted to know her purpose and the answer to, “why am I here?”
Big questions requiring big answers.
Cathie began a process where she went back over her life identifying what she loved. It took 5 years of exploring and questioning before she had clarity. When she was ready to act she founded Wear your Wisdom a company whose mission marries retail with spirituality and social responsibility.
Cheryl: Let’s start with the spiritual journey that has guided you throughout most of your life ….it started in a most unlikely place.
CATHIE: Yes, indeed it did. At age 20 I decided to leave my position as a retail manager to become a dental assistant in a forward thinking, leading edge, practice. We spent time on team building and attended seminars on personal growth. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled was one of the most notable speakers. All of this led me on my journey to many inspiring books and mentors.
Cheryl: Goes to show we don’t know who our teachers will be and where we will meet them! What was the main message you took away from your work in the dental practice?
CATHIE: What this experience did for me was it opened my mind to strive to think outside the box, to choose a path of personal growth. To live consciously.
Cheryl: How has it guided your life?
CATHIE: It has driven me to understand myself better, to think about my goals and expectations. To live purposefully and to give back.
Cheryl: You were so proactive asking, “what’s next?” 2 years before your youngest son graduated high school! You came up with a simple…but oh-so-effective process for yourself. You went back over your life and asked yourself, “What do I love?” What did you discover?
CATHIE: I really enjoyed being a stay at home Mom. It was the most fulfilling “job” I ever had. When I could see that before long my “position” would become redundant, I started to think about who I was before I got married and had children, what gave me joy in my daily life and what I had liked about my previous roles. My focus had been so much on my family that I had lost touch with who I was. Many of us do this, it is done with the best of intentions, but it leaves us a little lost when the inevitable happens and we become empty nesters.
I enjoyed nurturing my family, being my own boss, budgeting, time management, troubleshooting, problem solving. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and back in 1992, when the boys were young, I created an online clothing business for newborns to four year olds called, Polar Babies Clothing Company.
I realized that I loved working from home, designing, manufacturing, marketing and all that went along with it. If I could create a business that again that supported a better quality of life for women and girls and encouraged a sense of community and offered a product for women that was ethically made (in Canada), environmentally conscious, and could be shipped fairly easily, then I would have checked of all of the boxes on my wish list.
Cheryl: What happened between identifying what you loved and founding Wear Your Wisdom? Where did the idea come from?
CATHIE: The idea percolated for 5 years. Oprah asks “What sparks the light in you?” I love this, and to find a purpose that really touched me I asked myself this question. I realized that it was the empowerment of women, particularly their economic empowerment. This would mean freedom to women to live the lives they choose. Women are the largest oppressed group in the world. I want to be a part of the solution in a positive way. As for the product, I decided on T-Shirts. They are my go-to choice for their comfort, versatility and ease of care. They have a tradition of being used as a vehicle to make a statement. My biggest challenge was finding a reputable supplier. When I discovered Me to We Style it was time to get started!
Cheryl: There are many meanings in Wear Your Wisdom…and great depth in the concept. Would you share them with us?
CATHIE: I like to say there are 4 ways to show your wisdom when you wear one of our T-Shirts:
1- you are supporting the economic empowerment of women and girls “Empower women and you will see a decrease in poverty, illiteracy, disease and violence”
2- you are making the best choice for your health and the environment by choosing 100% organic cotton
3-you are supporting ethical manufacturing right here in Canada
4-Bonus! By supporting Wear Your Wisdom, your are also supporting Me to We Style who not only supports Free the Children they also plant a tree for every T-Shirt they sell.
On my site you can read more on each of these points. I also have a page of inspirational quotes, a few economic tips and links, links to sites where men are supporting women’s equality, and a blog that I hope will become an interactive online community.
Cheryl: What are your hopes/dreams/goals for wear your wisdom?
CATHIE: I hope that Wear Your Wisdom will grow to be a profitable organization that brings women together in a positive way to support and inspire each other and to share their wisdom. As Wear Your Wisdom grows, I plan to print a single, meaningful word on the T-Shirts like “ kindness” “Balance” “Hope” “Joy” etc… that women will enjoy wearing. Ideally they will go to the online community to share dialogue on these topics and have a say as to what might be a good choice for the next T-Shirt.
Cheryl: I love your nod to Men in Men Supporting Women.
Cheryl: As people we tend to be either process or results oriented. You strike me as being uniquely both. Are You? Where are you in the process of Life Part II and Wear Your Wisdom?
CATHIE: I think you are right Cheryl. In this case, the process is where the opportunity for creativity lies. I have to love what I’m doing and feel the integrity. After that, yes, results matter in order to stay motivated. This is an exciting time in Life Part ll to have the time and energy to put myself back on the list!
Cheryl: Understanding your purpose and answering “why am I here” is important to you…can you answer it now or do you have a sense?
CATHIE: I don’t have a definitive answer yet! I am optimistic that I will figure it out. In the meantime, yes, as I get older and wiser I do have a better sense of who I am and why I’m here. We all need a reason to get up in the morning. I like to be productive, if I can be creative and do good, so much the better!
Cheryl: You have a need to contribute and leave something of value. What do you hope your legacy will be?
CATHIE: My most precious legacy will be my two sons. The world needs more good men. I myself aspire to be an asset to society, a contributor, a positive energy. The Dali Lama inspires me. He is peaceful and ego less.
Cheryl: What is the wisdom you most want to wear?
CATHIE: Kindness. If we all embraced kindness it would transform our world. I strive to be a part of that evolution.
Time spent with Cathie leaves me with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. A d-y-n-a-m-o (oh yeah) with a strong moral compass, deeply thoughtful and with a plan that seeks to create WINS for all. WOW!