Michelle was born and raised in Barrie, ON. She is currently studying human rights and law at university in Toronto. In addition to her public speaking engagements, Michelle downhill skis, sails, skydives, travels both domestically and internationally in addition to a host of other activities designed to make her mother’s hair go grey. During the school year Michelle is employed in Student Accessibility Services, assisting students with a variety of disabilities to locate and acquire the services that they need to be successful in the classroom.
Influenced by a long line of strong women, though her sight loss journey was often disheartening, she fought valiantly to claim her rightful place in the world, her joy and her happiness. She continues to be an inspiration to those around her - not because of her disability and life experience - but because of her attitude, outlook, upbeat personality and willingness to talk frankly about hard things. Not afraid to look challenge in the face, her out of the box thought processes are recognized in the unusual way that she solves whatever dilemma is placed before her.
Workshop Description For “There’s No Way I Signed Up For This - Turning Struggle into Passion & Change Making”
For many of us, life can often feel like we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Always anticipating the negative can lead to an unhealthy mindset. Truly living is the process of thriving while accepting the challenges, pulling lessons from them, and finding the inner strength to rebuild - better and stronger. Through the sharing of personal experiences and stories, I encourage listeners to look critically at themselves, inspiring them to find their personal joy and purpose along the way. Using my ability to connect with students on a very personal level, my strength and courage prompts my listeners to think about how a change in perspective can help them to change their environment, realize their full potential, and find their joy.
In this workshop I will talk about my experiences as a survivor of childhood sexual violence and bullying as well as the challenges I faced with mental health stuff. Coming from a survivor/activist perspective I use my experience as a way to encourage and teach others to recognize how to use their stories to fight the good fight and stand up for those who don’t always have a voice. I encourage students to be able to develop their skills and beliefs about themselves so that when they look in the mirror they feel confident about themselves and the message they have to share, even when others don’t believe in it. I also talk about the challenges that come with being front and centre and how as an activist, individuals can continue to fight when it feels like the entire world is fighting back against them.