BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Ever since the 1960s ushered in the second wave of feminism, women have fiercely fought for and gained more personal and professional opportunities than ever before.
As the struggle to hang onto and even increase those opportunities remains strong, so does the need to manage it all.
Motivational speaker and entrepreneur, Dr. Deitra Hickey, will tackle those issues during the Women’s Empowerment Night Out, a special event focused on stress and work-life balance. The event will be uplifting, entertaining and thought-provoking, with live performances by local musicians Kyle White and Lindsey Payne. The already sold-out event will take place at the Valentine Theater on March 8, which is International Woman’s Day.
The sponsors of the event include Buckeye Telesystem, Resolute Bank, and Mike Buganski with Skylight Financial.
Dr. Hickey will be selling all three of her books on March 8th that focus on stress maintenance, having perspective during adversity, and building connections and relationships.
“This is something I have always wanted to do – to create a women’s event that is different and unique to the Toledo area,” she said.
Many women lead such busy lives that they do not dedicate time to care for themselves.
“I have found that women tend to put themselves last, so a big topic of the evening will be how to put themselves first,” Deitra said.
Deitra will also talk about the “superwoman syndrome” or the continual need to accomplish it all perfectly. That behavior is actually based on an illusion and it often leads to unhappiness, she said.
“Unrealistic expectations, intensified by social media along with a heightened sense of proving themselves, have almost become a barrier to productivity because of the stress and pressure that they cause,” she explained.
Deitra will also discuss the importance of cultivating relationships with other women.
“We should show support for one another instead of passing judgment or seeing each other as competition,” she said.
As the founder and owner of Serenity Health & Wellness Center in Maumee, a business that offers a wide range of holistic services designed to help individuals relieve stress, pain and anxiety, Deitra wants women to feel empowered and filled with purpose and perspective.
“In doing so, women will reduce their stress, which will lead to greater peace, happiness and contentment,” she said.
Maintaining perspective, especially during times of great adversity, has played a significant role in Deitra’s life. As a young child, she experienced trauma when members of her family became victims of a violent crime. She also cared for her mother who had Multiple Sclerosis until she passed away at the young age of 48.
“I now know that even though I had a hand dealt to me that was less than desirable, my adversity truly wired me with a compassion and a drive to help people and empower others,” she said.
She was tested again when a fire broke out at one of her two business locations. The event took place last summer, and while no one was injured, an insurance discrepancy resulted in a large personal financial loss and the need to close that location.
Deitra admits that at the time, she felt defeated, which forced her to re-examine her personal perspective.
“The first week after the fire, I thought I was being ‘Captain Hypocrite’ because I had a tough time getting out of bed for two weeks,” she recalled.
The importance of feeling the pain and validating it, however, allowed her to move forward.
“I started implementing everything that I tell others to do and it worked,” she said. “I moved on and I moved forward. I counted my blessings. That was my mantra. It all comes full circle.”
Proceeds from the event will support Ruthie’s Angels, a nonprofit organization that Deitra launched in 2016. In addition, 100 percent of raffle proceeds will also be donated and the grand prize is a spa day at Serenity once a month for a year.
Ruthie’s Angles supports services not typically covered by insurance that are critical to physical, mental, and emotional recovery, such as counseling, life coaching, acupuncture, massage therapy and more.