My name is Michelle Lindstrom. I am a writer/editor who can’t sit still and do just one thing. My interests include writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and one day, I hope to include novels. My interest is pretty much everything has taken me in many directions and provided me with a wealth of experience that I’m sure will knit together somehow, some way, in the future.
Steve Jobs took a calligraphy course in college that later helped him create fonts for Apple, so there is some hope and method to my madness.
For schools and organizations that work with youth, I also do things beyond writing that may be of interest to you!
Walk the Talk
In the new year of 2017, the idea of Walk the Talk came to life. After asking a variety of people late in 2016, who I find to be inspirational, to come talk to kids in Grades 4-9, I found six willing and able people to take on the task. The principal of the school helped find a regular space for us to meet (the band room) Fridays at lunch every few weeks. The kids were taking through each speaker’s life journey to success, through hardships, and examples of grit to find their way. The speakers included a personal fitness trainer, an R&B singer/songwriter, a MS fighter, an entrepreneur/businessman, a rapper/video making company owner, and a TV news reporter. The purpose was to let the students know that success comes in all shapes and forms and even successful people have battles. They work hard and find ways to get through tough times and inspire others. They walk the talk.
The “I Am Me” Project
Since the spring of 2014, I have built on a personal passion to build self-esteem and self-awareness in young girls. To do that, I created a program I called “I am Me” that has been used and customized to suit the situation and group it was run in.
Spring 2014 – I organized a six-week program that ran once a week (every Saturday afternoon) for one hour with a group of 20 girls between the ages of 8-12 who were from the Edmonton Ismaili Community. Expert speakers presented to the girls on topics including Body Image, Leadership, Mental Health, Bullying and the Importance of Physical Activity. This group called the program “Girl Empowerment.”
Spring 2015 – With the same group as 2014, I led a similar program that ran over two weeks, but were two, full-day Sundays. The difference was that parents were invited and listened to one speaker in one room while the girls listened to another speaker in another room. This encouraged open discussion and questions and allowed the speakers to provide age appropriate and specific information for each group. I included Internet Safety and Building Better Communication Skills as topics in this set of sessions. By the end of the two days, both the girls and their parents heard from all the same speakers and were able to broach discussions with each other with a new toolbox of skills, language and empathy at their own dinner tables at home.
Spring 2016 – I took the idea of this program and brought it into a school in Sherwood Park to run over 10 weeks on Fridays at lunch time (following the school calendar, so there were some breaks between sessions). This program was targeted towards girls in Grades 4-6 and I led some of the sessions while speakers came out to the others.
The purpose of this is to be a proactive program, giving girls tools for what is ahead for what is most likely ahead of them: varied experience with bullying, sexism, peer pressure, dating, stress and more. The whole program is to encourage more discussion and for girls to expand their community and support system because they feel important, worthy and healthy. We called this “Girl Group.”
Putting Fun and Run Together – a school’s Fun Run Club
Spring 2015 – From experience of leading beginner adult running programs and training for my own half marathons and one full marathon, I took that knowledge to lead students in Grades 3 and 4 at one Sherwood Park school through a beginner’s running program. To keep it an inclusive and supportive program, there were no tryouts and everyone in those grades were welcome. It was important to keep it fun, organic and loosely planned as weather and the kids’ interest always played a factor in the practice sessions that ran twice a week after school for 10 weeks. We worked our way up to a distance of 3-kilometres by doing a mixture of age-appropriate body weight exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, burpees etc.) with relay races and running laps around the field (or gym if the weather was nasty). I organized a sponsored race with bibs, permits and swag bags exclusive to the students at the end of the training clinic. We called the group “Fun Run Club.”
Spring 2016 – We only ran the same program for five weeks this time still focusing on building up to the 3-kilometre race I had planned at the end of the clinic.
For businesses and start-ups, why should I be the one to write about you?
My Why: I have always been the one to ask, why? I cannot help but question why we do things the way we do? Is there a better way? Is this as good as it gets? Why did you become an entrepreneur?
This curiosity is something I feel most people have but as they grew up, they lost the child-like urge to ask a lot of questions. I haven’t, which drives my family, instructors and bosses crazy sometimes. I want to share what I find out with others and hope they’ll tell a friend, who will tell a friend … .
I have a soft spot for the underdog and Alberta’s underdogs, right now, are startups unrelated to oil and gas. It’s time to diversify Alberta in the eyes of international investors by letting everyone know about this province’s innovation, intelligence and talent.
My How: I will build hype where hype is deserved through my passion: communication. Through existing and new local community connections, I plan to connect with international communities via timely and purposeful social media posts; relevant events; meaningful volunteer opportunities; and honest media coverage.
My What: Increasing global visibility of Alberta’s start-up companies is a goal of mine and having start-ups take notice of me at the same time I take notice of them. Let’s work together.
What else about me?
- I’m a parent to two hilarious, smart and kind young girls.
- I’m married to my college sweetheart (although I don’t think we’ve ever actually called each other that).
- I’m a “runner,” in air quotes because I have one marathon and five half-marathons under my belt, yet I still question why I run every time I get out there. It’s usually when I’m done that the answer comes to me.
I’m intrigued by community building organizations and supportive people. Over the years, I’ve surrounded myself with more of these types of people via running groups, writing opportunities, non-profit involvement, other freelancers and entrepreneurs and various parenting connections (kid’s birthday parties, daycare, school, daughters’ friends and kid’s sports). These groups give me hope that we ultimately want to help each other yet find ourselves in the same boat wondering how to stay afloat with so many responsibilities and expectations.
I hope by sharing stories, it will help start conversations and continue to encourage the idea of “community.”