Story by Brittany Sailors, Photos Courtesy of LIFT
As a female entrepreneur living in the Treasure Valley, I take every opportunity to grow my connections within the community. When I heard about an event called LIFT (LIVE: Inspired. Fearless. Thriving.), I knew right away I wanted to attend. LIFT is an organization founded by three Eagle women who desire to build community and foster healing conversations and connections. Pam Strain, Kirsten Holmberg, and Genny Heikka each share an inspirational talk during their annual LIFT event with follow-up offerings including small group discussions, studies, and workshops.
On a chilly evening, this January, I was among hundreds of women who braved the icy roads and poured into the Ambrose school’s auditorium, eager to receive encouragement and develop new life skills at the second annual LIFT convention. Throughout the event, I observed friends cheerfully greeting one another, making introductions, and establishing new connections. The night’s agenda included giveaways, social opportunities, and a message delivered by a team of women whose personalities and backgrounds were as diverse as those in attendance. Young and old, mothers, daughters, sisters, business owners, creatives, graduates, educators, and more, all met in one place to discover what it means to live with passion and purpose.
Halfway through the night, I was itching to get to know these three women on a personal level. Two days later, they rearranged their collective schedules to make time to meet with me. As we sat down to learn more about one another, I juggled my infant in one hand and typed with the other. Being mothers themselves, they went into instant support mode. Pam, soon to be a new grandmother, held out her arms to welcome my chubby-legged baby so I could continue typing. When he needed to nurse, Kirsten grabbed my laptop and began dictating the conversation, allowing me to tend to his impatient pleas. It was evident these women embraced the heart of what is means to be in community.
I asked them to tell me about which milestones or experiences brought them together and resulted in their teaming up to create LIFT. Pam, a Nebraska native, was the self-admitted tomboy of her family and felt she related best with boys growing up. Ironically, Pam would become the mother of four boys. As a young woman, she desired to feel her life and contribution mattered. She immersed herself in sports to feed a yearning for affirmation, a sense of belonging and value. Still, Pam felt like she wasn’t enough. Pam discovered the type of love and acceptance she desired wouldn’t originate from any of her worldly relationships. After nurturing a spiritual connection, she was relieved to discover the pressure was off to be anyone other than herself. Pam spent her time in college devoted to ministry and developing her confidence as a woman of strength. Pam would later find purpose and meaning in raising her four boys, beyond what she could have imagined for herself. Pam’s topic during the LIFT event was focused on “Living the Dash.” She encouraged us all to live a purpose-filled life during each phase of our existence. In addition to co-leading LIFT, Pam serves as the associate staff of Search Ministries, a faith-based organization providing safe places for women to dialogue about life’s big questions.
Kirsten shared how her journey began with the loss of her father at the age of nine. The void created by his absence drastically shaped the course of her life. She unintentionally built walls around her heart; pushing people away to avoid the chance of experiencing the loss of another loved one. It wasn’t until she was welcomed into a community of faith that fear gave way to healing, offering her a way to relate and engage with people. For the first time, she realized the benefit of community far outweighed the risk of losing it. Today, Kirsten co-leads LIFT, owns Platform Idaho, and oversees the Idaho Speakers Bureau. Her work helps small businesses, thought leaders, and subject-matter experts better deliver their message through writing, editing, and coaching public speaking. Not only is she coaching some of the TEDxBoise speakers, she recently spoke at TEDxTwin Falls where she shared her experience with a Russian adoption.
Genny shared with me her people pleasing tendencies began at an early age. Always seeking to ensure others were happy, she eventually discovered the joy in living a life true to herself. The beauty of this realization is that her compassionate nature is even more evident when she embraces authenticity. Her journey began in 2008 when she started a blog to capture her experiences as a mother. Her writing became more genuine over time as she grew to understand her imperfect experiences were what women related to most. She began with a focus on fellow mothers and later expanded her audience to women in all stages of life. In addition to her role as co-leader of LIFT, Genny also serves her community as an author, speaker, and educator. She wrote
Finding Mommy Bliss, published in 2014, and currently serves as adjunct faculty at Brown Mackie College.
With the second annual LIFT event under their belt, these three are looking forward to the next opportunity to lead women to discover their strengths and embrace community.
To learn more about their organization and keep
apprised of when you can participate in an
upcoming event, visit their website, liftedhigh.org.