WENDY KNIGHT AGARD - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
DOCTOR OF HEILKUNST MEDICINE, CONSCIOUS LIVING AND WELLNESS COACH
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Wendy Knight Agard helps people discover what she calls their own personal brand of genius, resulting in more fulfilling relationships (including the relationship with themselves); a more satisfying career; accelerated achievement of goals; a healthier mind, body, soul and spirit and the ability to break through old, harmful patterns. She does this through her coaching programs, speaking, writing and her WhatsEatingU program. The WhatsEatingU program is focused on helping the black community achieve greater health by addressing the emotional eating that is at the root of weight issues. Wendy is trained as a Doctor of Heilkunst Medicine and Wellness Coach. Her passion is to constantly evolve her consciousness and to help others do the same, particularly those in the black community.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a mother of two teenagers and wife of an amazing man. My husband and girls are a close second priority after my own physical, emotional and soul/spiritual health. I was born in Canada to Bajan parents. After 20 years in the corporate world, I left my career to have more of a personal impact on the world through my current work. With the help of a supportive family, I was able to complete an intensive 4-year full time certification program while working full time and parenting our children. Since then I have engaged in post-graduate studies in Anthroposophy and become a certified Coach as part of my never-ending thirst for learning.
I have served as a volunteer Champion with the YouthMBA program, a volunteer columnist with Capital Woman Magazine (a magazine dedicated to showcasing the diversity, contribution and strength of women), am a founding member of the Network of Business and Professional Black Women and recently participated in the International Black Summit in Ottawa.
Tell us what many people may not know about you?
As a child I loved visual arts and spent many hours drawing. I love to have quiet time to just be. This often surprises people because they see the outgoing and social side of me, but I need a balance between the two sides.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
My inspiration is the desire to evolve my consciousness and grow as a person. It is easy to be motivated when I'm engaged in activities that contribute to that, such as working with coaching clients, speaking to share my experience and to motivate others and creating content that will help others to evolve their consciousness. When I am participating in these activities I'm in what I call my "creative flow" and the inspiration is limitless.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
Hard work, a supportive husband and supportive children. I've been able to feel fear and take the risk anyway, by leaving a high paying career to make more of a personal impact on the world. Expect me to share my content and work with ever growing numbers of people, through online brands like WhatsEatingU, coaching entrepreneurs and leaders, my podcast on iTunes, speaking and writing.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Changing others' lives for the better by helping them to evolve their consciousness.
Having a dream and going after it, despite the financial, career and personal risks.
Recognizing that I have gifts to share with others and making the effort to do so.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
I listen to my body and my soul - when it wants rest, I give it rest. I schedule time in my calendar for things like yoga, quiet time, personal development and family. By building the balance into my calendar, I make sure it happens.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
Food: I love chocolate, but it's hard to choose one favourite food, as I love all types of food and flavours. A well balanced, savoury meal with a glass of wine is lovely.
Books: It is hard to choose just one. I love Maya Angelou's series on her early life, Austin Clarke's "The Polished Hoe", Pablo Coelho's "The Alchemist". I tend to enjoy fiction that is more about the internal world of the characters than any specific action happening in the external world. For non-fiction, I enjoy books that help me evolve my consciousness.
Music: Jazz, "old school" R&B, blues.
Movies: I've never had a favourite movie. I love all sorts of movies, ranging from comedies to quiet, cerebral films.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
While we may not experience as much of the overt racism we read about in the US, there are still many challenges that I have experienced. Growing up in the 60's and 70's I was called "nigger" by my neighbours and the word was used freely in play, with the white kids seeming to have no repercussions for their behaviour from the surrounding adults. When I reached high school I was eager to see more dark faces in the hallways, but another problem arose. Most of these black students were not born in Canada as I was and therefore did not see me as one of them. I had no Caribbean accent and lived in a neighbourhood that had very few black families. I was called "OREO" and teased about not having experienced certain West Indian traditions. I was called "rich girl", though my family was not rich in an objective sense. Not being fully accepted by the white or black community meant that it was a strange childhood in which I never felt like I truly belonged to a community.
In the work force I had plenty of opportunity for excellent jobs and career advancement. Comments would emerge from co-workers related to race from time to time and there were a few situations with clients whereby the clients would not take me seriously because of the colour of my skin. This was so obvious that white co-workers pointed it out to me. I had the CEO of a company I was a VP at tell me that I was "not black", presumably because I did not meet the stereotype he had in his mind as to what being black meant.
As a 49- year old parent, it is difficult to see that after all these years many of these issues still affect my daughters. Racial comments and assumptions are made based on stereotypes and there are situations where they are not treated the same as others because of the colour of their skin. I do believe, however, that they have ample opportunity, as I did, to find a path to living the life they want, doing whatever work they choose to do and having whatever education they choose to have in this country.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like TD Jakes, Beyonce, Tyler Perry, Obama, BET, etc.
I think this is more difficult in Canada, but not impossible. We need to continue the efforts to showcase our leaders so that we know who in our community has a message, a talent, leadership, a character trait or content that we can learn from.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
Michaelle Jean, Oscar Peterson (even though he is no longer with us), Measha Brueggergosman. I think there needs to be more ways for us to see what others are doing so we can have role models and mentors that we can actually interact with - not just famous people who we might never meet. I have enjoyed watching the people I mentioned from afar, but have not many any of them.
Should and do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?
Any form of art such as music is so personal and can affect people on such a deep level that being moved by the music must be the first reason to choose to experience it. After that criterion is met, then yes, we should absolutely support and patronize black music and events. On the business side of things, I believe supporting black business is an important priority, provided the business can actually provide the service or product you need.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
It is not as strong as it could be and is something I plan to spend more time learning about. Although we all have the opportunity to learn about it on our own if we choose to, a more balanced history curriculum needs to be included in public schools.
A few words from Wendy to an uninspired person:
Live your truth. Don't let anyone tell you what should be important to you or what you should do with your life. Invest the time and energy in yourself to connect with your truth and then make all of your decisions based on that.
Online connections to Wendy:->>twitter: @WhatsEatingU