Jyl, Inspiring And Intelligent!MY VIEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | December 7, 2010 at 9:00 am
As part of the Heart Of Haiti Campaign ambassadors were asked to choose a blogger that reflected the essence of the Heart Of Haiti which was difficult to do in some ways yet easy to do in others. There are so many bloggers doing amazing things and there as so many that have a kind heart, but when you find bloggers who are both it is indeed a treasure. While I have been fortunate to find many inspiring, yet helpful, there is one that stands out for me. Jyl Johnson, who is the brains behind Mom It Forward, is someone I am more than proud to call my friend.
Jyl is one of those people who has a huge following and if you “spoke” to her online you would know why. While she speaks to so many people, when she does talk to you – you feel she has her attention on you. If you were fortunate to speak to IRL (in real life) then you would find her looking in your eyes (and not over your head like many do – read my post on Why big bloggers need to be nice to small bloggers). It is no secret that she has a thriving business which feeds on the fact that her relationships are passionate.
When I met her at Type A Mom conference, and we ended up in a hotel room having a quick chat (ok, not so quick) with Rachael and Amy, we got to know each other. With learning about some of my (adventurous) past I was asked to be a keynote. Being asked to speak was an honor but an opening keynote, and about my story, was amazing. It was unimaginable that I would be given such a platform to tell my tale. While families back home scrambled to get pictures showing my town burned to ashes in political riots in South Africa – I could not believe that me, a brown skinned immigrant would be standing and speaking about this, in Utah of all places. I doubt Jyl even realized the magnitude of her actions but we women of color on that opening keynote noticed and really appreciated.
Jyl continued to amaze me. Since I had a delayed flight post the EVO conference she played my tour guide (I swear only a crazy person would do this after hosting a huge conference). On that tour I saw 2 more important things that I loved about Jyl. The first was her passion for her family and the second her unwavering faith in her religion. It is hard to stay focused on a successful business and still keep family in perspective so I appreciated that a lot. The religion part was comforting yet when she mentioned her dream about going to India I wondered how she would fare, considering it was a country with a majority population having a religion different from hers. Then I learned she was going on a trip with Aveda (talk about amazing women, right?) in their project about getting clean water to the poor (yes, she never ceases to amaze me too). When I saw a picture of hers with a bindi (a dot on the forehead) I was floored. Here was a confident woman who could embody her own faith and embrace other cultures without flinching.
I could really go on but this is starting to sound like a eulogy and Jyl is alive and kicking butt. I am glad for the Heart Of Haiti campaign for giving me an excuse (we should never need excuses though to honor deserving people) to feature an amazing woman whom I am proud to call my friend.
Disclosure: I will be getting a stipend to help promote awareness as part of being a Heart Of Haiti ambassador!