#KnowYourCommunity is an ECBC campaign that hopes to raise awareness of groups/charities/organisations/people that help those living with a mental illness and empowering others.
ECBC spoke to Marie, founder of Empowerment House, about her organisation and how it can help those living with a mental illness in and around Manchester.
My name is Marie Hall. I am currently based in the North West.
My goal is to reach as many women as I possibly can through EMPOWERMENT HOUSE.
Who will benefit from becoming empowered? The test is simple. Whoever you are, however successful/unsuccessful you may see yourself, where ever you are – you will feel those moments of ‘What am I doing here?’, ‘What do I really want to do with my life?’ Or ‘I’m not good enough to start something new.’ For the times when a woman experiences the above, I have created the EMPOWERMENT HOUSE programme, mentor programme and network.
The programme consists of modules, workshops, guest speakers on specific areas, a mentor programme and female empowerment network. The programme will empower women and assist them in taking their power back, maybe even realising their power for the first time. It is an enabling environment for women to come to and be around like minded females who are also on their own journey of empowerment.
Upon completion of the programme women will feel empowered and supported to be able to change what needs changing, identify and understand their feelings and know that they are not alone as they move forward in making the changes that they want to be made in their lives. They will have people to turn to, a mentor for the tricky questions and to talk through any difficulties with. Their mentor will also have already done what the mentee is trying to achieve and so the mentee will have that experience to dip into whenever necessary.
Attendees will also be put into a Whats App group so that during the following weeks after day 1 of the programme, they can continue to support each other and motivate each other. This will also be the beginnings of the attendees creating their own network, as well as becoming a part of the EMPOWERMENT HOUSE network.
It is about re-writing our own narratives based on what we want. Where we are today, or where we have come from has no bearing on where we are going.
How did Empowerment House come about?
EMPOWERMENT HOUSE came about from my own years of feeling totally powerless and incapable. I was trying to develop in a career that I didn’t want and wondering how the hell did this happen. I hated myself and my life. I was in a mentally and physically abusive relationship where I felt trapped. I persevered thinking that it would get better, if I could be better.
I lived at home where my parents were in the midst of a nasty divorce. This led my mum to be depressed and she was physically lashing out at me whenever she reached boiling point. I would go to him to get out of the negativity going on at home, end up having a terrible time with him, so go home when it got too much with him, to then be in the middle of my parents problems. It was a mess.
My main disempowering areas where my lack of direction, my negative home life and my abusive relationship. I was in my early twenties when I decided enough was enough. I made three massive life changing decisions in a short space of time.
First of all I decided I was no longer going to dance and sing. I stopped going to Theatre School and stopped going to London to work with my manager. I gave no explanation to anybody, I just stopped. I knew if I tried to explain to anybody they would try to talk me out of my decision and I wasn’t sure I had the confidence to stand my ground, so I stopped and I didn’t leave the subject open for discussion with anybody.
Next, I asked my cousin if I could move in with her. I left home and moved in with her. I then realised I didn’t need a place to run to from my negative home life anymore, because I lived with my cousin and this environment was peace, reflection and healing. So, this enabled me to consider the possibility of ending my abusive relationship. I ended the abusive relationship that I had been in since I was 16 years old. Just like that.
Right through my twenties and up to my thirties and beyond I developed my empowerment muscle through books, courses, taking risks, making moves completely outside of what I knew and what had been my comfort zone.
I started asking questions, I reached out to people I admired and felt inspired by. I cut myself off from everything that hurt me, drained me, made me feel unable or powerless. My growth in these years was both incredible and completely not what anybody who knew me growing up envisioned for me.
From about the age of 32, I started to understand that my journey and what I had grown through was not unusual or unique.
I love to watch people and listen to them and their views of themselves and their futures. It became common to hear females of all ages talk about how they hated their lives, wished they would have done this or done that, gone there or never started what they had started. My questions were, why didn’t you and why haven’t you and what is stopping you now?
I started writing about this. I wrote articles, I prepared exercises which could help a person peel back the whys. I had so much content but I never did anything with it. I watched documentaries, TED Talks, read books on these subjects and articles and it gave me so much clarity.
I started using my little exercises and theories on friends and family who would come to me with stories about what they were experiencing and I would encourage them and assist them in turning things around. This developed in such a positive way. I felt that I needed to share this with people who didn’t know me but who could benefit from what I knew to be true.
In November 2018, aged 38 I started my female empowerment blog which led to enquiries from people that I had never met, asking me if I held workshops or if we could meet to talk through this further. I was asked if I do coaching or provide one on one sessions. Unfortunately at that point I did not, but what became clear was that all those years of writing everything down and also my blog, I had in fact been developing something which could potentially benefit other women.
At this realisation things moved quickly. I created the programme and I then reached out to the Women’s Organisation to see how I could make this into a business where I would be able to reach females from all over.
I wanted to deliver the programme and talk about it to a room of women all at different stages and ages in different careers or points of life, who would provide their own valuable insight into empowerment and basically tell me what I was missing, where I could tweak and amend, all with the same objective of making the programme effective in order to provide a positive impact to females who would benefit.
Reaching out to The Women’s Organisation and the pilot event were the best moves I could have made. The energy and magic in the room on the day of the pilot was so tangible. We had tears, we had laughter, we had deep personal sharing, listening, empathy, understanding, vulnerability, open and honest dialogue which flowed easily. Nothing was forced, it was authentic. It was one of the most empowering experiences of my whole life and from that came, what I now see as the very beginning of the EMPOWERMENT HOUSE female network.
Tell us about the programme and what you hope to achieve.
EMPOWERMENT HOUSE is a female empowerment programme which is made up of various modules all with specific content and also practical exercises to do during the programme and to also use as part of the tools which you will take from the programme. The programme encourages the attendee to talk in an enabling and supportive environment about her own stories, experiences and realisations.
Attendees will be supplied with the EMPOWERMENT HOUSE materials on day 1 of the programme.
There will be speakers talking about ‘how to become financially savvy’ and ‘work/life balance’. There will also be an amazing 2 hour workshop on fear and why we feel the way we do when fear kicks in.
There will be EMPOWERMENT HOUSE networking events throughout the year where all women are welcome to come to make those contacts and introductions.
There will be women in our network representing everything from advice in business and finance, a place to turn in a difficult situation that you need help getting out of, mental health, any issue that a woman may face in the work place but she doesn’t know what to do, advice on how to approach that pay rise request, where to go if you are looking to start your own business, or maybe you want to return to the workplace after a 10 year sabbatical.
EMPOWERMENT HOUSE will have women who have been there, done that and can guide and support you through it. Anything which may lead a women to feel disempowered, is a reason to approach EMPOWERMENT HOUSE. Our door will always be open.
Eventually EMPOWERMENT HOUSEs will be scattered all over the UK and it will be enabling and empowering females to make their dreams come true.
Do you have future events we can attend?
EMPOWERMENT HOUSE will be kicking off the new-year with a kick ass programme being delivered in January, over 4 weeks, in the Liverpool area.
The first programme begins on Saturday 4th January, running through Saturday 11th Jan, Sat 18th Jan and Sat 25th Jan. All going on at the Womens Org.
This will be aimed at ambitious/career/business women who have a desire to succeed, progress and grow either within their existing place of work or maybe they want to take the leap and start their own thing or completely change their career direction. Although if you are not a career or business woman and want to attend, you are absolutely encouraged to attend.
Maybe you feel overlooked and underestimated. What do you need to do to take control, get your power back and make it happen? Step 1, book onto the EMPOWERMENT HOUSE programme and make 2020 the year of you and building the life that you want.
Do you relate to Marie’s story and vision? If so comment below or get in touch.