Bridging the Gap with Catherine Grace O’Connell
Hello everyone! Today’s blog post is an extra special, very different post, but with a powerful message! I am very excited to be talking about and being a part of a wonderful campaign called Bridging the Gap! What gap you may be wondering? In different social aspects of life, the most commonly recognized gap is the generation gap or age gap. People have always spoken about gaps between grandparents and grandkids. I even see the gap being an 80s/90s kids (pre google, smartphones and laptops) and kids coming in school now in days.
But one area that I didn’t realize that there was a gap is the age gap amongst influencers. For the most part, the people I follow who are also influencers are between ages 20-40 with a few that I follow that are over 50. However there are actually many influencers who are over the age of 50 that I was not aware of – probably because a lot of the over 50 influencers look so great that you don’t even realize that they are over 50. Today October 17th, this wonderful campaign Bridging the Gap is bringing together 100 millennial influencers and 100 midlife influencers (over 50) and partnering them together to get to know each other!! I was so excited to be paired up with the founder of this campaign, the FABULOUS Catherine Grace O’Connell!!
I literally did a few double takes at the email and even relooked up her name on Instagram just one sure it was who I thought it was! Hahaha So why am I so excited to be paired up with Catherine! Well I already said she is FABULOUS! Also she was one of those few over 50 influencers that I have been following from early on when I began blogging in Spring 2016. She always seemed like a fun spirited woman with so much personality! It really was not until I saw the photos of her kids that I realized that she was over 50!!! Haute Hottie!! I loved the idea of Bridging the Gap – inside every 50+ blogger is a younger woman and inside every Millennial is a 50 year old to be! This “reciprocal mentorship” is a great experience that everyone should have. Because Catherine and I do not live in the same state, we decided to do a “skype” like session using an app called Zoom! It was pretty cool because we got to see and hear each other pretty great! So now let’s meet Catherine!
“Changing Lives Instead of Changing Clothes”
Catherine is a Lifestyle & Fashion blogger based out of Los Angeles. She is a wonderful loving mom on top of being a blogger, a journalist and has her own Radio Show. Catherine really has a passion about cherishing women of all ages and how all ages should be celebrated and no age group is better than the other. She feels that we can definitely all learn from each no matter what your age or background is. Bridging the Gap campaign is not her first campaign she is founded that supports this idea! Earlier this year she had the Fierce 50 campaign. Another wonderful campaign celebrating all the beautiful women from all over who are 50 years and over! You should definitely check out these 50+ women and all they have to share and offer. This was another beautiful campaign showing how much Catherine really is such sincere caring person. From talking to her, I felt like I had this personal cheerleader who really listened and supported me.
Sometimes when you meet someone so caring and loving, they usually have a wonderful story to share! Our life experiences can sometimes mould us into who we become. Some people can take experiences and become something terrible and others can take experiences become something powerful and inspiring! The latter part was definitely Catherine. Catherine had almost faced death battling a terrible disease called Lyme disease. Hearing her describe the events that took place was hard and it made me sad. She left a brutal and subservient marriage to head to LA to earn her Masters in Spiritual Psychology. While in school she faced her second case of spinal meningitis. It was only then, after 10 years of surgeries and severe illnesses that an Integrative MD finally believed her. Within a few months, she was diagnosed with late stage Lyme Disease as the illness had found it’s way into her brain. She spent a year bedridden with daily seizures and went down to 100 lbs and her organs began shutting down. She then told me about her near death experience that happened on 11/11/14, and how the creation of the blog is what saved her life. She was without a voice for 54 years and now she uses her voice to help others, particularly those traditionally overlooked by society. She always felt like an outcast as she was treated that way and now she fights for the underdog. There were definitely sniffles during our conversation, she despite everything she went through it showed what a fighter that she was to overcome these obstacles and many others obstacles and still being that rock for her kids!
Many people may think about what they would do if they were in that situation and may reflect on the support of parents and brothers to get through such difficulty. But, not Catherine. For someone, who has so much love to give and gives so much, grew up in a loveless home and not close with her family at all, which anyone could imagine makes things even much harder. But during this low moment of her life battling Lyme disease, what motivated her was the love for her children and the love of fashion! Fashion was the way she could express herself and to make a connection with people. While thinking about her bucket list for when she got well, her love of fashion slowly but surely got her thinking about doing a fashion & lifestyle blog! If you take one look at her Instagram page, you definitely can feel so much happiness, positivity and love filled in each and every post that you would never think that she has been through so much and even close to death. Catherine draws you in with her warm smile and laugh –who wouldn’t want to follow her and be her friend! And her fashion style is AH-MAZING!! All that time I would joke (but I was really serious) for her to mail me her outfits because she finds the cutest pieces and wears them so well. She doesn’t look a day over 40! I remember showing the photo of her to my husband and he was like SHE IS OVER 50!?!?
Talking with Catherine, we learned that we are not so much different as well! We both have a love and care for people! We also both love HELPING people most importantly! I think it is quite well established what my biggest pet peeve is in the blogging world are cliques and not wanting to really widen out in the blogging world and also not sharing tips to make your girl boss successful (Read here). Everything is such a secret because everything is afraid for the other person to become more successful that you due to a tip that you shared. We both share the same sentiments; that is not important because there is enough work/opportunities to go around for everyone to be successful and women should be able to support other women! The real mission behind Bridging the Gap is bring the focus back to the heart and soul of the women and away from meaningless metrics that are easily fudged such as followings or engagement. As Catherine likes to say “The only metric that matters is a beautiful heart.” She believes in championing for inclusivity and diversity. She doesn’t see people in the way most do. Rather, she feels people. She has never understood competition and is helping to shift the paradigm to a heart-centered world where people learn collaboration rather than competition is the answer. Catherine Grace O’Connell is definitely an inspirational woman that if you are not already following you should! She was a wonderful heart and is truly caring! Her goal is to change lives and not change clothes and I feel she is already on the course of doing so! This campaign will also be raising money to fund charities and programs for disadvantaged women! We were partners in this campaign but it won’t stop here! I know I have her full support in what I do as blogger and she knows that she has mine as well!
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