I think most of us have heard the saying “life works in mysterious ways”, well this saying holds so much truth to the friendship I have created with my millennial Bridging the Gap partner.
A few months ago while attending a marketing industry event, I met my millennial partner Jessica Shepard, a Social Media and Marketing entrepreneur by day and lifestyle blogger at night. We instantly connected while chatting about the delicate balancing act between motherhood and working full-time.
Although years apart, Jessica and I have more in common than not in common. A few months ago we both decided to spread our entrepreneurial wings and add new initiatives to our already full plate. Jessica, who started her blog several years ago, was in the process of launching a second business in the form of a marketing and social media strategy company. I, on the other hand, had established a marketing research firm three years ago and now I was in the process of launching a side gig in the form of a lifestyle blog.
Throughout the process of achieving our separate goals, Jessica and I, although years apart have been able to share and learn from each other's experience, wisdom, and guidance.
Several weeks ago while catching up, Jessica and I realized that in addition to our entrepreneurial spirits we both shared life-changing moments which have helped to shape us into the women, moms, wives, sisters, friends and business owners we are today.
Jessica a multicultural beauty who has inherited all of the best qualities of her Puerto Rican and Mexican roots is funny, smart, a great mommy, great sister, and MAJOR a fighter!
My millennial friend found herself in the fight of her life when at the very young age of 31 was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. At the time of the diagnose, her daughter Gianna, was only 4 years old. This is the time when most parents are basking in the beautiful sunshine motherhood brings but instead my friend, was dealing with scheduled chemotherapy and radiation sessions and the outcome of a double mastectomy. Jessica, who comes from a very close family was showered with immense support and love throughout her battle.
During my conversation with Jessica about her journey with breast cancer, I learned that she had received her treatments for her battle with cancer in the same oncology treatment center my mother had received care years before for her battle with lung cancer - in fact, we actually know some of the same oncologists!
After struggling with the idea for a few years of a second pregnancy and the risk of cancer returning this amazing fighter decided to move forward with the decision of growing her family. Her adorable baby boy, Trace, who Jessica attributes for making her a mother, was born 6 years after his sister made her appearance. At the time of her son’s birth, Jessica was a full-time marketing strategist for a national banking brand. A few years into the wild juggling ride, Jessica decided that it was time to put down her briefcase to find a better balance for everyone. She struggled with the idea of putting down the corporate pursuit and image she had worked so hard for and was afraid making this change would portray her as weak and not an independent woman.
Jessica recalls feeling completely overwhelmed with guilt and fear of what her daughter would think of mommy leaving her job, but to her surprise, the only comment Gianna made was “does this mean you can pick me up from school now?” Jessica knew in heart and soul she had made the right decision.
Although our major lifetime experiences have been very different, we have certainly both dealt with a great deal of loss and adversity in our lives. Just four short years before Jessica was fighting for her life and dealing with the physical loss of a double mastectomy my family and I were dealing with the loss of our beautiful baby girl who decided to become our guardian angel before her time - Yet another way that our lifetime experiences have helped us to create a special friendship.
Jessica is now the proud owner of a social media and marketing strategist company and is the voice behind Rebel Soul Mom, formerly known as Pink Lemons and Rainbows. The blog once started out as a place to journal her battle with breast cancer, now has grown to lifestyle and parenting blog. Taking a tour of Jessica’s blog is like having a conversation with a friend. Her tone is funny, compassionate and 100% genuine - Grab a cup of coffee, tea, wine and your favorite blanket and start reading!
Jessica’s style is a mix of comfort chic with an edgy vibe. When asked how she determines her outfit of the day - she simply says “ My outfits totally fit my mood. At the same time, it has to be functional for what I’m doing that day. Whether it’s working, spending it outside with my youngest or running a million errands, my outfit has to make me feel happy .”
I am honored to have this busy marketing strategist, lifestyle blogger, mom, wife and cancer survivor as my millennial partner. Today we are excited to be accompanied by 200 amazing Influencers as we launch the Bridging the Gap Campaign. A movement, unlike one that I have participated in before, where millennials and mid-lifers come together to break down the walls that have been created in the past due to the age difference.
The campaign which unites women and some men across our nation is helping to create friendships, share wisdom and show support of one another’s successes regardless of demographic differences. #We Are Stronger Together is not only one the hashtags supporting the campaign but a movement and energy that should be recognized and embraced.
It is truly time to embrace what makes us different and most importantly what unites us and makes us stronger.
I am reminded daily by my millennial family and friends how much we have in common and how much we can learn from one another. It takes a village to get through this thing call life and I am happy to share the journey with my beautiful millennial friends.
Click here to learn more about the campaign and the amazing 200 people that are part of it.