Janeen Halliwell

Director, We Move Forward 2012 retreat Celebrating International Women's Day 2012 on Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Topics: Health & Fitness, Business & Finance
Interview Date: September-27-2011
Extraordinary Insights: "Be aware of self doubt. Recognize it and let it be known that it’s not welcome. Instead, think possibilities."

Audio-only version:

Janeen Halliwell lives and works from a suitcase.  For 27 years, she has volunteered, worked, trained and led organizations that focus on improving lives.  After graduating from Carleton University, she moved to Toronto where she worked in a Homeless Shelter for Women, and supported children and adults with developmental disabilities. Her love of travel and adventure took her to Oxford, England where she worked supporting people with cerebral palsy to move from institutional to community settings.  This work formed the beginning of what became Janeen’s first career path – she soon managed community services for people with disabilities and by the time she was 33 was the Director of a private quality assurance company with 28 staff.  This company was contracted by BC’s Ministry of Community and Social Services to conduct program evaluations of disability services throughout the Province.  During this time, Janeen completed a Master’s degree in Leadership and began teaching in the areas of leadership and organizational learning for BC’s Justice Institute, Royal Roads University and York University.  From 2007 – 2009 Janeen worked as a cook and deckhand with her husband, Steve, a professional Captain.  She accumulated 9000 sea miles during this time.  Her passion is learning through travel and hers and Steve’s intention is to find a way to give back along the way. She currently works as an independent consultant and trainer traveling to where her work leads her. When Janeen isn’t working face-to-face she works remotely from her home in Colonia La Gloria on Isla Mujeres (Island of Women), Mexico.  Janeen and her husband Steve renovated a home on Isla in 2005 the same year Hurricane Wilma, a category 5 hurricane, slowly worked her way over the Yucatan Pennisula.  They were in their boarded-up home for 3.5 days and when they emerged they were faced with the tragic reality that many of their neighbours who live in homes made of carton (tar paper) no longer had roofs over their head and all their belongings were in ruin.  With the assistance and generosity of friends and members of on-line communities, $11,000 was raised in one week.  With the support of the local community, Steve and Janeen distributed the carton and other supplies to those in need.  What was most rewarding was witnessing the locals take care of each other and share what little they had left.  They had never experienced such a strong sense of community. It might be for this reason that Janeen is spearheading a 3-day retreat celebrating International Women’s Day on Isla Mujeres, Mexico in March 2012.  The event ‘We Move Forward 2012’ (WMF) is about women coming together to form community and explore and set in motion actions for realizing their potential. The event begins the moment after registration - a “Note to Self” that starts the process of clarifying your personal vision of a desired future.  The core theme of the event centers on Personal Vision, Values, Voice and Vessel – as it is these 4 elements that move us forward in a desired direction.  WMF blends together featured speakers, interactive workshops, and mindful movement sessions.  Engaging lessons on Mayan History provided by a Maya elder and cultural experiences such as an evening of entertainment in the town square are weaved throughout the 3 days. Goodness, learning, and giving back are the core values guiding this event.  5% of every registration fee goes toward PEACE Isla Mujeres, a non-profit organization with which Janeen has been very involved since its inception.  Additionally, 5 % of every registration dollar goes toward sponsoring the inclusion of local women who would otherwise not be able to attend.