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Your turn: Define the Renaissance Woman, featuring Dorothy Garlough

22 Apr

Meet Dorothy Garlough, an Innovating Renaissance Woman

We recently featured several amazing Renaissance women here on Sister Leadership, and following that post we kept asking our Sister Leaders through social media to share their stories. And I have to say, I’m surprised this term isn’t used more often for all the impact and talent we’ve been hearing about. One such impressive self-declared Renaissance woman is Dorothy Garlough of Innovation Advancement. Dorothy is a creative consultant who supports employers and employees in becoming  more engaged in their work through fostering innovation.

Following our post “Are you a 21st Century Renaissance Woman?” Dorothy responded with this great comment:

“No doubt, I would be considered a Renaissance woman . . . or a jack of all trades and a Master of none! Actually, I am a Master Photographer, a published author, a lifelong gardener, a dental hygienist and now a Trainer. Earlier in life, I was an architect, designing my own home and then a construction worker when my owner-built home was manifest with the help of friends and family. My greatest creative effort however, was to finance and raise my two sons for 12 of their formative years alone. I consider this to be my greatest success as they are fine young men today, and I have survived to tell about it!”

Don’t you love how she combines her life experience with arts, earth, trade, construction and raising a family in the idea of being a Renaissance woman? So, loving Dorothy’s comment, we asked her to reflect on our definition of the renaissance woman, which goes like this: A Renaissance woman is curious to life, the senses, and new potential – mastering and exploring  the whole body-mind-spirit experience that includes the logical and the imagination. She is always curious, always learning and able to master both old and new skills.

Dorothy was happy to play our game, (by the way, we love that so many incredible and accomplished women are willing to play our ‘imagine if’ games. Thanks to you all!), and she gave us her own personal reflection on the definition and how she herself sees the Renaissance woman:

“Cam’s definition of Renaissance women spoke to me. We both support that the Renaissance Woman is a creator. Through her interests, beliefs and values she develops her greatest creation . . . her life. She becomes what she focuses upon, and what she puts her energy to. With each additional skill she disrobes her old self, taking on the new persona of her new self. She begins to wear her new skin, comfortably and powerfully. There is great joy in recognizing the gifts that she has been given and developing them through continuous effort.

It takes courage to explore new arenas. Fear is the biggest obstacle . . . the fear of the unknown. The new direction that the Renaissance woman takes may not be tried and true. Yet it is her curiosity and her need to expand that drives the Renaissance woman. Confidence is birthed when she recognizes that she is no longer a beginner but now has gained skill. Joy is the result for indeed, happiness comes not from what she has but from who she becomes.

I believe that all women have the gifts to become a Renaissance woman. We are all creators. When we pay attention to our natural interests and pursue them relentlessly, we grow, gain skills and transform not only ourselves but the world around us.

None of us are all logical or all imaginative. We are completed when we use the whole brain, the innovative/creative brain and the logical/scientific brain to manifest our dreams into reality.

I am no different than other women. The saying that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ can be applied to my triumphs in life.  In addition, I have a lot of drive. “

How do you like Dorothy’s definition? Does it match your own, or would you have more to add? Let us know in the comments!

As we prepare to bridge from the Renaissance and the inspiring Leonardo Da Vinci to Emotional Intelligence and NLP tools for self-awareness, let’s give one last hoorah for all the fantastic women who have been showcased during this series. We thank you all for your stories, and many thanks today to Dorothy for sharing her perception. If you want to learn more about Dorothy, why not check out her website at Innovation Advancement? Or follow her blog too (and please say that we said “hello!”)

Till next week!


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.

Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!


The Modern-Day Renaissance Women

15 Apr

Last week we asked, “are you a 21st century renaissance woman?” And this week I have some fascinating answers for you.

When we dipped into the subject of Da Vinci, I’d originally planned to talk about the Renaissance man. But then it occurred to me – “Hey, what about the ladies; what makes a Renaissance woman?”

Here’s the definition I came up with: A Renaissance woman is someone who is curious to life, the senses, and new potential – mastering and exploring the whole body-mind-spirit experience that includes the logical and the imagination. She is always curious, always learning and able to master both old and new skills.

And the funny thing is, so many of us are multi-talented and capable in different ways. When you really stop to think about it, I bet you are a Renaissance woman, and I bet you know many as well. Here are few ladies who dared to share what they’ve mastered.

Remember our incredible Canadian Olympic Synchronized swimmers? I do. They performed beautifully (and with so much creativity) while in London. Well Jo-Annie Fortin not only knows how to work in a team, be a top athlete, remain resilient, as she shared in our Sister Leadership interview – she’s also a perfectionist and studying sciences in school to become a future Sports Psychologist. That takes a lot of analytical skills.

Denise Amyot isn’t ‘just’ president and CEO of the Canadian Science and Technology Museum Corportation, who broke down why it’s essential to take risks as a leader (a great SL interview, if you want to click through) – she’s also strong in languages, sailing, and is really great with people as she networks around the world.

And what about the highly impressive Ruhksana Malik who shared her story of experience and becoming such a success in consulting, research and telecommunications? She has travelled to Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Pakistan, England, USA, and once drove from west-coast to east-coast California to Toronto. Also, she loves to help women organizations – particularly young girls – get an education.

Nicole Beudoin, President of the Quebec Business Women’s Network not only knows how to lead giant organizations like Via Rail – she’s a very proud mother and grandmother too. (She went to night school after having had her family to study accounting. From there her talent exploded)

And a new friend from the Sister Leadership Facebook page, Marxe Urteaga is an Organizational Development Specialist, a coach, a trainer, a jewellery maker, cook of Mexican foods, tarot card reader, social media advisor, helps immigrants integrate into their new lives and practises Mexican healing arts (curanderismo). She left a really interesting quote that I think is worth sharing here, and captures the Renaissance woman to a tee.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
-Robert A. Heinlein

Since we’re sharing, I’ll put myself out there too as a 21st Century Renaissance woman. I’m a business woman, top sales person and expert in marketing and communications. Also, I’m also an ICF Certified Executive Coach (Royal Roads University), storyteller, piano player, plus, I love to create and imagine – that’s my butterfly fluttering through space.

All this to say that we should be celebrating yourself not only for the accomplishments written on a resume – but for our rounded and exciting stories, hidden talents, daily purists. Women today (and women across time) are perfect examples of the balance between passions. That includes YOU too.

So, how are you a Renaissance woman? We’d love to hear your stories and experiences. Please share in the comments, or get in touch directly.

Till next time!


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her knowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. Camille is currently accepting applications for the Women’s Executive Network  Senior Executives Wisdom Peer Mentoring program. Applications to this exciting and knowledge-sharing program are available here.

Read more from Camille as she aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook.

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