We must show we care. We all have lip service when it comes to worthy causes, but we rarely sacrifice something of ourselves to demonstrate how much we believe in social justice. It’s not just about posting things on social media etc.; it’s about being the change you wish to see. The change starts with each and every one of us. Are you a Community/Citizen that Cares? We have a responsibility to stand up boldly for our convictions. Our very humanity depends on each of us willing to pay the cost to protect and care for one another. When we can get to that juncture where people hurt for the hurting, we will make great strides in healing humankind.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Blaise Hunter.
Blaise Hunter is breaking barriers with her consulting agency Blaise the Trail inc. Known as the Modern-Day Superhero — Heroine, she contends for women to own their super identity. Blaise is an author, multi award-winning humanitarian, international speaker, fertility expert, certified human rights advocate, Mother of Purpose, and Breaker of Chains. She is the fertility expert that doesn’t help people get pregnant; rather, Blaise inspires others to be fertile in their lives by birthing their purpose, dreams, voices, books, and brands.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I had three major ah ha moments that brought me to where I am today. All my life I struggled with self-hatred and poor body image but when my daughter was three years old, I had an epiphany. If I want my precious child to own her worth and breathe fire on this world, then her biggest role model, her mama, better start practicing what she preaches. This intention was the fuel that sparked the fire in my belly. From there, I began a quest to get to the root of why I struggled with loving myself flaws and all.
The second catalyst happened when I walked into an alternative health office to work on personal growth and heal a deadly auto-immune disease. The first thing the practitioner said to me was, “You have an auto-immune disorder that physically attacks your own body and healthy cells. Do you think there is a link with that and the fact you hate yourself so much and you attack yourself with your thoughts?” From that moment on I committed myself to starving this disease by feeding on self-love instead.
The third ah ha moment and the most defining moment of my life took place after experiencing my first miscarriage. My grief-stricken heart along with battling for my life took me to an unbelievably bad place. One day as I was sobbing on the couch, I looked at my phone and scrolled through Facebook. I saw a post about a woman healing minister coming From Texas to Alberta, Canada in a few weeks. I didn’t know her, but I thought I recognized her name. It turns out there was a connection. Her parents were healing ministers who visited my church when I was a little girl, and they left a lasting impact on me. The “Happy Hunters” have since passed on and their daughter, Joan Hunter (no relation), has taken over their ministry. I felt an internal pull to see her. I called my mom to take me because I was too ill to drive, and she agreed. As we drove, I said a prayer, “God, I need a sign tonight that I’m not going to die and there is still some hope for my life. I don’t care what it is, but I need my sign.”
When the service began, I got loud in my head and uttered the same prayer, “God I need my sign. I will stay in this chair all night if I have to, but I am not leaving here without my sign.” Then out of nowhere this woman declares in the middle of her sentence someone is drawing on her so much, she can’t continue. Everyone went quiet and still. She walked over to me and looked me right in the eye and said, “God hears your cry. He sees your pain. The tears will end. Joy will come and you will write a book about it.” No question, that was my sign.
I left that service injected with a newfound hope for my life and I had a purpose to birth. After experiencing three miscarriages, I changed the narrative and authored a book to heal, break the chains of oppression, and rise through the ashes. I spoke out on taboo topics like body-image, self-worth, motherhood, and infertility. I wanted to be a role model for my daughter and teach her vulnerability is our superpower. Heroine: Embrace Your Flaws & Own Your Awesome became a healing tool for womankind. Through this, Blaise the Trail inc. was born. I prove women can still be fertile amongst a barren season. Drawing from my pain and life experiences, I empower women to pick up their miscarried dreams and birth their destiny. I also founded the award-winning non-profit organization: Footprints Infertility & Pregnancy Loss Support Initiative. My pain became my purpose.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
My business and mission are built on the intention that we are enough, and on this earth for a specific reason. This work is a passageway for me to fulfill my destiny and leave my mark on this world. I find it interesting how much backlash I get for simply owning who I am and helping others discover their purpose. It has taken a lot of soul work to not let the haters stop me. My biggest challenge has also been my greatest gift — rejection. I wrote my book and started my own business all in the effort to celebrate my worth and step into my power. I didn’t realize this would set off a chain of events that would test these very goals. Once I started to become my own heroine, many people didn’t appreciate this new persona. I am persecuted, betrayed, and wounded by strangers, family, and loved ones every single day, yet I still stand. By removing my own masks and allowing vulnerability to prevail, I also became the mirror. It’s the ultimate test. To recognize people aren’t rejecting me but rather their own reflection in the mirror. This is difficult for a girl who has a history with trauma and abandonment. I understand these situations are strengthening my will to love myself and own who I am at all costs. When I get a barrage of hurtful emails, calls, and confrontations I no longer take it as an attack on me or my character, I see it as an opportunity to choose love over rejection. To heal rather than hurt. The woman who is petrified about being rejected, chose a path that invites perpetual criticism. It’s paradoxical. This realization has forged a resolute spirit that I will not quit. The most beautiful thing has been birthed from these assaults — resiliency.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first became a published author, I set out to expand my presence beyond Canada. I went on a book tour in LA, Vegas, and New York. High on the launch of a new venture, I was bursting with blind ambition. Since I was gaining much success in my home country, I thought it would just multiply. My two suitcases were filled with fifty books, and I was confident I would sell out. I told my husband he might even have to express ship more books to me before the next city. I sold eleven books at the first event and then another ten at the second. Most of my books accompanied me and my wounded pride back home again. I told my husband how I felt silly that I got caught up in a dream. I joked how I massively overshot that projection. He sweetly reminded me how he admired my ability to have hope and that isn’t silly at all. I learned that it’s ok to take a risk and fall. It’s ok to laugh at yourself and appreciate the dreamer within. I honour that woman and celebrate the courage to think big. Go big or go home with heavy bags filled with books. Either way, holding onto hope is the best luggage to carry.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
Footprints: Infertility & Pregnancy Loss Support Initiative is a philanthropic arm of Blaise the Trail inc. It was founded in 2018 after experiencing three miscarriages of my own. I felt the lack of empathy in the system and the barbaric practices that take place. Determined to heal my heart and ensure no other parent goes what I went through, I became a social justice slayer. To be a voice for the voiceless is at the crux of this crusade. I also wanted to create a haven for dads as well. Men grieve too and unfortunately, even in the 21st century, there aren’t many resources to support the dads. I formed regular support group meetings which transitioned to virtual gatherings during the pandemic and continues today with my Facebook group and a worldwide online community. Footprints is dedicated to the mental and emotional wellness of men and women. This is a safe place to grieve, heal, share, and gather information on how to navigate through this journey. No longer do we need to feel ashamed or sit alone with our pain. We are all Mothers of Purpose and Fathers of Destiny.
The mandate for Footprints is a two-part mission:
1) Improve the systems on the frontlines to ensure parents get the proper care, information, and emotional support the moment their trauma happens. This includes handing out mental health support bags.
2) Create a world-wide support community to continue the efforts in bridging the gap with emotional and mental health in the following weeks, months, and years.
I see the value in fostering meaningful collaborations. A partnership with my local community and the medical staff paved the way for us to create hand-made support bags to be given out in clinics and hospitals as well as mailed all over the world free of charge. These bags include mental health resource tools, certificate of life, a Footprints bracelet, a copy of my book Heroine, and helpful information for parents to assist them in this process. In 2019, we erected a standing memorial in Bonnyville, AB for parents to honour the memory or dream of their babies.
I am a three-time award-winning humanitarian for my advocacy with Footprints. I fight for parent’s rights as well as contend to make our angel babies count. I am changing the medical system one hospital at a time. Determined to put the care back into healthcare, my mission is to create a ripple effect of compassion and healing all over the world starting with the community in which I abide.
Since its inception, Footprints has won local, national, and global awards for the positive social impact it is making on this world. As a certified human rights advocate from Washington, DC, my charge is to defend women’s health rights, the rights of parents, and the lives of their babies. Affiliated with the US Institute of Diplomacy and Human Rights, I create a dialogue of how reproductive health needs to be included with human rights discussions. What’s happening in today’s healthcare systems is not humane when it comes to infertility and pregnancy loss matters. The dignity has been removed from humanity entirely. My keynote speech at the Diplomacy and Human Rights Education Summit championed how women’s health rights are human rights. I take a unique approach with Articles 4 and 5 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and weave it into the Women’s Rights Movement. I disrupt current injustices with poignant stories and experiences that provoke empathy.
I fashioned this initiative because my husband and I experienced the death of our three babies and the grief that accompanied them. I took a leap of faith to forge something where we could feel connected and not isolated. It is time to break free and allow healing to happen. This is my legacy. I invite you to join me in my quest for change. I want to see better systems in place for grieving mothers and fathers. I want to have more resources included on the frontlines. I want to encourage people who haven’t experienced infertility or loss to join the Footprints community because there is strength in numbers and power in compassion.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
This story will stay with me forever. There was a mother who came to my very first Footprints support group meeting. She was quiet and reserved but when it was her turn to introduce herself and share, she let her vulnerability flow. Her voice shook as she explained the horrific trauma of miscarrying her baby just a few months prior. It was busy in the emergency department that night and this mother suffered something no woman should ever endure. She delivered her dead baby on a blood-soaked stretcher and was forced to stay attached to her lifeless child for an agonizing four hours. There was no dignity shown to this grieving mother. There was no empathy or humanity demonstrated by this barbaric act. This mother experienced trauma from losing a baby and then was brutally tortured by the very system in place that was supposed to help her. Her world had become unsafe. So, she sought out my support group for emotional shelter.
Because of my personal miscarriage horror at the hands of a cold medical system, I instantly bonded with this woman. I responded to her bravery by sharing my story of a nurse violating me. We both hugged and cried. Every month this woman would return to my meetings and gradually learned ways to put the pieces of her broken heart back together. I held space for her. I walked alongside her pain and misery. We both faced the wounds of our traumas and together we learned how to co-exist with our pain. Month after month I saw this woman emerge as a warrior. She transformed before my very eyes. Over time her desire to heal eclipsed the trauma. She found peace. She learned how to cope even amongst the pain. She no longer needed the support because she was strong enough to walk on her own. She eventually stopped coming to the meetings, but we stay connected. She sends me updates of appreciation of how I assisted her and how she has two more little rainbow babies. Her news of rebirth brings me joy but most importantly it anchors me to hope. Footprints is here to help, and it did just that with this woman. If this is the only mother I ever impact, I did good. Years later she continues to rave about Footprints and my efforts. She doesn’t know where she would be today if it wasn’t for me. But the truth is, I don’t know where I would be without her stretching out her hand and heart towards me.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Martin Luther King
We need to begin seeing each person with a newfound empathy. Every single one of us is going through a human experience. When we can cut through all the noise and get to the core of simply being compassionate to our neighbour, we will be at the intersect of transformation. I genuinely believe starting with these three things will not only help address the issues with my cause but many others as well.
- We must show we care. We all have lip service when it comes to worthy causes, but we rarely sacrifice something of ourselves to demonstrate how much we believe in social justice. It’s not just about posting things on social media etc.; it’s about being the change you wish to see. The change starts with each and every one of us. Are you a Community/Citizen that Cares? We have a responsibility to stand up boldly for our convictions. Our very humanity depends on each of us willing to pay the cost to protect and care for one another. When we can get to that juncture where people hurt for the hurting, we will make great strides in healing humankind.
- Our governing bodies need to be more approachable and willing to offer support for grassroot causes. Often there are funding options for Registered Charities/Non-profits, but for the groups just starting out, there are little opportunities to qualify for financial aid or even get advice on how to proceed. We need access. We need a seat at the table to highlight deficiencies and to collaborate on real solutions to the problems. We need the people who are supposedly working for us, to be of service to their citizens.
- We need to hold the line on our commitment to change. Everyone can agree there are gaps in the system but where is the action? Infertility and loss aren’t just medical issues; they are also mental health ones. We can’t just talk about making mental wellness a priority, our leaders need to act. One out of four women experience infertility or loss. This means a sizable percentage of each government’s citizens are experiencing the inhumane treatment or lack of empathy within the system. The rights of women are being violated according to articles 4 and 5 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Women are being enslaved by mental health prisons and then the very system designed to heal them, tortures them further. This must be addressed. It’s not ok to ignore anymore. I am sounding the alarm. If we claim we are the land of the free and the home of the brave and sing I stand on guard for thee, then we must commit to that very atmosphere.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams
This quote captures the essence of leadership for me. We don’t need to be famous, powerful, perfect, or wealthy to lead; it’s about using personal inspiration to influence. When I become the leader of my own life, a ripple effect of empowerment and motivation touches the world around me. It’s not a title; it’s a way of living. I think the story of the oyster and the pearl perfectly demonstrates what leadership means. When the parasite comes to attack the oyster, it doesn’t clamp down and avoid the problem. It does the opposite. The oyster welcomes the attacker and draws it in. It understands without the grit, there can never be a pearl. The oyster shows the power of resiliency by coating the parasite with a special liquid over and over, day after day until it turns its pain into a pearl. Just like the oyster, a leader doesn’t shy away from the sword. A leader forges ahead with sheer will and a resolute spirit. A leader gets gritty when they encounter the grit of life. A leader is born when they recognize a battle is the conduit for bravery. Be like the oyster today and inspire yourself and others. That is leadership at its finest.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Like most causes, it begins with the desire to make an impact. I was very naïve when I first set out on the Footprints path. When you think of a worthy cause, you never imagine it would be met with anything other than complete buy-in by others. I was wrong. I needed someone to say, “Be resolute, be resilient, and play it smart.” Since I didn’t have that guidance, I ended up having to figure out exactly what that meant all on my own. I drew from my experience of being a publicist and channeled those skills to create positive change. So many causes are admirable, but they lack a clear message, focus, and strategy. It’s not about a quick burst and then having it fizzle out. Causes need to be built from a slow burn that grows into scorching flames. That kind of fire power can never be extinguished.
Therefore, I developed the SMART way to approach activism. People in power don’t respond to rage and complaints, they respond to meaningful discussions, proposed solutions, and collaboration. The problem is the public doesn’t know how to work the system. Too many times we try to be something we’re not. We have a narrative in our head of how an activist should portray themselves but if it’s not playing to our own unique strengths, it falls flat. It became imperative to navigate through my naiveness.
With 15 years of expertise in journalism, public relations, and unbridled passion, I had to play into my strengths of marketing to successfully launch a cause for social justice. I know how to play it smart and get results. My advocacy with Footprints is a proven track record. I am a three-time award-winning humanitarian because I played it SMART. I give this advice freely now because we all need some help when we first set out. If these five tips can help anyone influence change, their win is my win.
- Strategy — Nothing is ever won without a clear strategy. From the very beginning, any idea or path needs to be mapped out. We don’t dare begin a journey without google maps, yet we don’t GPS our conviction causes. Designing an effective philanthropic strategy is essential in reaching the desired destination.
- Marketing — It’s all in how you package it. You can make or break a cause based on its marketability. Be innovative. Connect the messaging with relevant topics. Be relatable. Establish a brand emotion that connects to the heart of the people. Momentum will derive from wise marketing.
- Ambassador — You are the most influential representative of the cause. Are your actions and words reflecting your values? Are you operating in a code of conduct that demonstrates integrity and provokes people to partner with you? Be a magnet not a deflector.
- Respect — Nothing can be transformed without respect leading the way. Even if you are meeting with groups and individuals that have oppositive views or agendas, conducting yourself with a presence that reflects honour is key. Charm the atmosphere by your character. You will move mountains with a noble reputation.
- Teamwork — Change can only happen with coming together, striving together, and working together. You might have the BIG idea, but without alliances your reach only goes so far. There is power in partnerships. Aligning with the right people and organizations will leverage the longevity of the cause.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
A Heroic Humanity. What defines a superhero? How does one attain a superpower? As I embarked on this quest for self-love and acceptance, I ended up unearthing an untapped power source — identity. Once I realized I was enough just as I am and I have all the know how and capabilities within me to navigate through life, I started to become my own superhero. I was equipped with superpowers that not even kryptonite can stop. We no longer need to look to fictional characters or others to rescue us. We are our own superheroes.
Learning who I was became a mighty superpower that unlocked other glorious ones along the way. Vulnerability was its sidekick. Then came connection and empathy. I have collected these powers throughout the years, and I can access them whenever I need to. I created the Heroine Movement to inspire others to step into their own power and be the heroes of their lives. We all have unique giftings and a purpose in this world. Nothing is more inspiring or motivating than to see someone rise through the ashes and battle back. We possess an infinite power within, we just need to uncover it. I wish for my Heroine Movement to trigger the desire for women to draw their swords and breathe fire on this world. We are Woman, Hear us ROAR!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.” — Benjamin Franklin
This quote has changed my life. Ben Franklin was talking about emotional death not the physical. Have you ever noticed how the entire world is on a diet? When we starve our bodies of nutrients and life for so long, it can lead to us depriving our souls as well. I think this world has lost its appetite for life. How many of us get comfortable in mediocrity? We take in just enough but nothing more. Pursuing one’s destiny and dreams is not found in the comfort zone. It’s messy and tough as hell but we aren’t living if we are just going through the motions. I don’t want to be the walking dead. I don’t want my daughter to think mediocre is living. I want to live with fire and zeal. I want to take risks and experience all what life has to offer. I want to be a conscious captain of my life and not a passive passenger. I might fall and fail in the process but at least I will be alive. I’m off the point-plan now. I feed on experiencing life to the fullest.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Amanda Knox. When I first learned about her story, I was a broadcast journalist eager to deliver powerful newscasts each morning. Her case and controversy were endlessly on the newswire. If I had the chance to speak with Amanda, I would apologize to her. I played a part in the narrative that so many citizens, especially journalist do. We blindly and thoughtlessly recycle what comes over the wire or newsfeeds without any thought of how our “game of telephone” will impact another person in this world. My voice participated in a smear campaign against another woman. Since then, I have learned more and now I do better. Amanda is a hero for many reasons. She became the oyster. She shows us resiliency and embodies leadership. Amanda turns her pain into her pearl each day. I admire that. Her courage is found in personal grit and the causes she fights for.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
People can join the Heroine Movement through my website www.blaisehunter.com or through my handle on social media @blaisethetrail
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Blaise Hunter of Blaise the Trail Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.