I greatly admire Glori Meldrum. She is an entrepreneur, a wife, a mother and has won countless awards. She is a philanthropist and she has the unique distinction of being the first female president of the Entrepreneur’s Organization of Edmonton.
In addition to these things, Glori is the founder and chair of the board of directors of Little Warriors. Little Warriors is a charitable organization with a national focus that educates adults about how to help prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. She was the driving force behind the Be Brave Ranch, a residential treatment program for children who have experienced sexual abuse. It opened in September of 2014.
This January, Glori was kind enough to chat with me about herself, her organization and the things that matter most to her.
What do Little Warriors and the Be Brave Ranch mean to you?
The Be Brave Ranch is a place of hope where kids and their families can go to heal.
One of the most engaging facets of your campaign to get the ranch opened up was in appealing to and showcasing the contributions of “every day Albertans”. How can every day people get involved with your organization now? What does the organization still need most?
The Ranch has no government funding and runs completely off of donations. Fundraising is vital to the continued operation of this important program. A list of items needed as donations are listed here.
Was being an entrepreneur your original career plan? If not, what was?
Being an entrepreneur was always Glori’s plan. Her parents were divorced and her father was an entrepreneur. She grew up dreaming of being her own boss.
What do you find most rewarding and challenging about being an entrepreneur and about founding Little Warriors and the Be Brave Ranch?
Glori has found that balancing it all can be really challenging, while raising four kids and running two businesses.
What women do you look up to the most?
Glori looks up to women like Mother Theresa. She admires women who lead a life of service, serving other people.
What advice do you have for women starting out as entrepreneurs?
Glori’s advice revolved around integrity. She advocates knowing who you are and being true to that always. She counsels women starting out as entrepreneurs to be who they are in their decisions.
How do you make time for taking care of yourself when you are so busy taking care of others? What is your self-care plan like?
This has been an area that Glori has struggled with this year. She used to be in great shape and is working on getting back to that by working with a personal trainer three times a week. She’s also trying to eating better.
What strategies do you use to insulate yourself from the effects of vicarious trauma when you do this important work?
Glori listens intently but doesn’t let other people’s trauma attach her soul. She does this to protect her emotional health so she can do the best she can for the kids in the programs she supports.
Research indicates many eating disorder patients have experienced sexual abuse. Does the Be Brave ranch address body image issues in its programming or are there plans to integrate that piece in the future?
Body image is definitely integrated into the Be Brave Ranch programming. Glori is aware of the linkages between childhood sexual abuse and prostitution, addiction and eating disorders. The programming offered is designed to prevent these outcomes.
As a First Nations person myself, I’m curious about the role of culture in healing from sexual abuse. Do you have experience with integrating culture into the healing process?
Traditional First Nations healing approaches are not yet integrated into the program, but a company is sponsoring the development of an effective Aboriginal program for the Ranch. This remains a priority for the organization.
Who are your biggest supporters?
There is a complete list of supporters on the Be Brave Ranch website, which includes anonymous families in Vancouver and Calgary, the Labonte’s in Edmonton, the Shaw Family, the Yakimic Group and companies like Shoemaker Drywall – Calgary.
What’s next for you, what’s the next big goal now that the ranch is open?
Glori’s next orders of business include getting fit, getting a life, finding balance and being more involved in her company, g[squared]. For the ranch, her goal is for it to be the best long term facility with proven outcomes in the world and to keep healing kids.
I first heard about Glori and her organization through an initiative called Wrap Them In Love, where quilts were being solicited to welcome participants to the program at the Be Brave Ranch. As an Aboriginal person, this touched my heart because of our cultural beliefs about the ceremonial importance of blankets. I am so grateful she took the time to chat with me so I could learn more about her and her organization. I wish her nothing but the best in achieving her goals and healing kids.