"Experiencing adversity can make you stronger and help develop the ability to push through unexpected life discomforts and misfortunes. Gender, age, socio-economic status and the like, do not matter, it’s all about mindset. I encourage others to push the status quo, break stereotypes, and erase inequalities by being authentic in your passions, leading by example, and doing the right thing with the greater good in mind to reach success. Everyone has the power to choose and make decisions; I remind people to focus on what they have control over and guide them on how to take action. Every day is an opportunity to decide on who you want to be and how you want to show up in the world. "
Growing up, I had many hardships. After my parents divorced, my older sister and I grew up in a single parent home without ever knowing my father and we watched my mother struggle financially with the need for government assistance. I moved out on my own at the age of 18 and solely supported myself through school while working full time. At one point I was juggling three jobs. Despite these hardships, I never let the circumstances I was born into limit my achievements. I was more than my age, more than my gender, more than my socioeconomic status. I never allowed society or any others to create a limiting belief system within me. If I believed I could do something, I did it. I never thought about it, I just did it. I was being me. The things I could control were my education, attitude, and mindset, so I focused on those to break free from negative assumptions. My mother was strong and taught me independence and persistence in overcoming obstacles.
This way of thinking continued with me into my teen years and adulthood. My beliefs about who I was, how people saw me, and what my place was in the world had no gender differentiation, but rather had excellence, confidence, and resilience. It empowered me to have more input and control over my decisions and allowed me to live my truth; my truth about who I was and what I wanted without judgments, to pursue happiness in a life that I had imagined for myself–a life to be filled with passion and freedom to live to the fullest.
For me, gender was never a factor that held me back even though being a female is part of my identity. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not experienced all of these challenges. I recognize that this is my unique experience and it may not be the truth for other women.
Once I finally graduated from University in 2008, I moved to the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean to live my dream “to experience living abroad in another country”. Many told me I was “wasting my time” and that “I should smarten up and get a job”, that it was a “place to vacation and not a place to live”. When I moved back in 2009, I began my journey to become a police officer. After years of pushing myself through school, working 2-3-4 jobs at the same time to make ends meet, volunteering my free time, elevating my mental & physical strength, I reached my goal and became a Police Officer in 2011. Many told me I was “too small, too pretty, too nice” to be an officer, asking if I was sure that’s “really what I wanted to do” and if I knew what the “inherent risks, challenges, & dangers” were.
Today I am still living my dream “to experience life to the fullest and help as many people as possible by leaving a positive impact” as a police officer. Since becoming a police officer, I advocate for culture change within the policing industry by focusing on Crime Prevention, Evidence-Based Policing, Equity & Inclusion as it relates to gender/race/rank, officer Mental Health & Wellness, and the use of Law Enforcement Social Media. I have remained involved within the community as a leader through several activities:
▪ Active Executive Board Member for the International Society of Crime Prevention Practitioners (ISCPP)
▪ Community Liaison for the Canadian Society of Evidence Based Policing (CANSEBP)
▪ Advancing WE in Policing (AWIP) Ontario Working Group Committee
▪ First Responder Mindfulness Network (FRMN)
▪ Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Level 1 instructor
▪ Mental Health Ambassador
🌟Point is: Live Your Dream no matter what other people say. Live your dream through your life as it changes and as you change. Moving to the Caribbean was one of the best choices I had made; I met some of the coolest people from all over the world, gained an appreciation for other cultures, had too many amazing experiences to even list here, & it gave me life experience which ultimately helped me in getting hired. We only have one life so Do What You Love. Stay passionate & true to yourself. Sometimes all it takes is one person to effect positive change, don’t ever discount the impact you have on the world.