Speaker, Trainer, Coach at Project Excellence
What are you most passionate about and what drives you?
My name is Jacklyn Ruan, and I was born in the gem of the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda. I came to St.Thomas quite a few years ago to attend college, but I fell in love with my soul mate and stayed. We have been married for over twenty -two years and have two beautiful daughters, Laurika and Dhymond. I am most passionate about service. You look into the eyes of someone who needs a hand up, and you help them. It is just that indescribable feeling of joy that entirely takes over your entire being simply because you are giving back; simply because you see someone all the better because you said yes to helping, to serving. There is absolutely nothing like it!
What have been your personal challenges and how have they defined you?
What drives me is seeing someone grow and thrive, seeing them arrive at their full potential. I lost my older brother about ten years ago. His passing still affects me up to this day. It was almost the end of the school year when he became ill. I had to ask for leave, and I went to see him; however, I could not stay long. I promised him that I would be back as soon as I closed out the school year. I remember so distinctly that he looked into my eyes and asked me why I was leaving him. He told me that he would miss me guarding him every day. I used to lie right next to him every day and talk and watch over him because he had difficulty breathing and was on oxygen. I left to hand in my paperwork and closed out my classroom, and two days after I left, he died. That broke me. I lost my Mom on February 4th, 2020. I traveled back and forth over several months to help to take care of her. All of us, my brothers, sisters, and I spent Christmas together with her. Again I left to go back to work, and I was planning to go right back. Two days before I was to go home, she passed away. Again, I never got to say goodbye. I made a promise to myself when my brother died that I would be my own boss so that I would have the freedom to be with my family without restrictions.
I have been working towards that ever since. It is a powerful desire for freedom that has defined who I am at my core. There is a burning need to be free to be with my loved ones whenever, however, no matter what. My Mom’s passing and not being there again because of obligations to others have solidified that need. I have learned that I am resilient and carry that indomitable spirit within. I can face and overcome anything. That is the mindset that I now have.
How have professional networks empowered you?
Professional networks have exposed me to the world in terms of what is possible, what is needed, and made me realize that the world needs more helping hands on deck. It has also heightened my awareness that resources are there and that we need access to these resources. Professional networks have allowed me to meet others with my mindset and exposed me to opportunities to grow personally and professionally. These networks have revealed to me the power of women entrepreneurs, which lets me know that I am not alone. It lets me know that I have a place to flourish in a Community of women who are just like me, seeking to better their small corners of the world and grow their businesses that frees them to serve not just where they are but globally.
Who are your role models and why?
My role model is my Mom. I watched her from an early age going hard for her family. She was a domestic worker who cleaned the homes of wealthy people and later in her life, she got a cleaning position at a bank, which she held for over twenty plus years. She took pride in her work and became known for her honesty, integrity, and the excellence with which she performed her tasks. In addition to this, she sold food to supplement her income. We all had to pitch in and help so, that taught us to work hard, and it taught us not to depend on handouts but to be innovative and go after what we wanted. Entrepreneurship runs in my blood. A single Mom, she raised all her seven children with a strict moral code. Much of who I am today is because of who my Mom was and how she raised me.
What does Work-Life Balance mean to you?
Work balance is getting up every day and doing what I love, so it is not work. It means to me put self-care at the top of my list of priorities. I once believed that running myself ragged showed how much I valued what I did, but after a devastating illness, my eyes were open to the absolute need for self-care, and it freed me from any guilt of just taking care of myself and putting myself first. I cannot pour from an empty cup. I have to put on my oxygen mask first.
How would you like the community at SHEconomy to help you?
I hope that SHEconomy would be a platform where I can share my services and get them seen by people looking for such services. I would like for it to be a place where I can find opportunities to grow my business. I would also like the opportunity to support other businesses in whatever way that I can.
What would you like to share with the SHEconomy community?
To the SHEconomy community, I would like to say simply, I honored to be a part of your powerful voices and I am ready to serve in whatever capacity. “Hear us ROAR!”