By: Lauren Moss
A little girl from Kansas, with a love for the outdoors and exploration, took her first unofficial flight when she was just a child. She attached a ramp to the top of her family’s toolshed and, using a wooden box as a sled, flew into the air momentarily before crashing to the ground. On that day, a busted lip and a newfound sense of exhilaration filled the face of young Amelia Earhart. At that moment, she became fearless. Fifty years later, a young girl from Mississippi was raised in extreme poverty by a single teenage mother. She endured countless years of abuse and hardships before moving to Tennessee to seek a better life for herself. Starting at a small news station in Nashville, she worked her way up to becoming one of the most famous and successful people in history. Her name is Oprah Winfrey and she is fearless. These extraordinary women proved what can happen when you kick fear to the curb and start living courageously.
Even though most women aren’t flying planes across the Atlantic or starting their own television networks, they can still live fearlessly on a daily basis. A fearless female is a woman who choses to live passionately and confidently no matter what negativity is thrown her way. It is the single mother who juggles gymnastics’ practice, soccer games, and tackles the grocery list all while running her own small business. It is the quiet girl who tries out for the tennis team and makes it after rejection the year before. It is Violette Sproul, the CEO and founder of the multinational company Femfessionals.
If you were to look up the definition of a strong, fearless female, you would see a picture of Violette. A beautiful, confident woman who has served as an advisor to the City of Miami Mayor, been a part of The White House: Women Environmental Leaders in South Florida, and has been involved in countless charity organizations throughout her life. As a longtime business leader and former owner of a Pilate’s studio, Sproul has always had a keen eye for entrepreneurship and a love for helping people reach their highest potential. She started her first business, a personal training service, at the young age of 23 and has embarked on multiple entrepreneurial ventures since. After she closed the doors to her Pilate’s studio, she didn’t let herself get discouraged. Instead, she kicked negativity aside and decided to use her lifelong skill of connecting people to change the lives of others.
In 2009, the bubbly mother of three realized that there was an overwhelming need for a community event where business savvy women could gather together to share ideas, encourage one another, and learn how to grow as professionals. She decided to take action. Sproul began planning meetings and events in order to connect with other professional women in her community. After multiple gatherings of business women in Miami and a year of hard work and planning, Femfessionals was born. According to the company’s website, Femfessionals.com, “A Femfessional is a savvy business woman characterized as positive, open-minded, driven, professional, ambitious and desirous of forming strong strategic connections with similar minded professional women to benefit each other personally and professionally and to benefit their community.” When Sproul and her team officially founded the business in 2010, they knew they had something special on their hands but they had no idea that it would take off across the nation. At the founding FemCity location in Miami, the turnout for workshops, meetings, and social events began to grow exponentially. The more women that attended, the more people they told about their life changing experiences. “When you have 200 women that are coming together to help one another out, there is no greater power than that,” said Sproul, when explaining the ability for groups of women to work together to change their own lives and the lives of others. The positive feedback from the first few hundred Femfessionals led women across the country to beg for new FemCity locations so they too could be part of the movement. Right before her eyes, Sproul saw her dreams of “helping women generate revenue and make connections” become a reality.
As of 2014, there are 60 FemCity locations across the U.S., including two in Canada. With such rapid growth, Violette is no stranger to facing business challenges. She explains that it has been a struggle to teach women that female unity is crucial to successful businesses, partnerships, and growth in the professional realm. Women are taught from a very young age that we should treat each other as competition, not allies, on the path to success. Sproul works everyday to break out of this societal pitfall and show women that, “They really do grow more, faster, and stronger if they use each other, if they endorse each other, if they support each other.” Through Femfessionals she has witnessed the harmful competitiveness disappear and the female support system grow. When fear starts creeping in, women need to have that support system to fall back on; the group that places them back on their feet and pushes them forward.
“When you walk into the room you feel the warmth and love and respect they have for one another. I think that is the most amazing thing because with that their revenue increases, their support system grows, and then their vision amplifies of what they can really achieve. They use each other for that, like a sisterhood. That is the most amazing thing of all,” explains founder and CEO of this professional female networking revolution, Violette Sproul.
Sproul is the true definition of what it means to be a fearless female. She conquers every adverse situation with positivity and grace. She does not let her adversaries bring her down because she chooses perseverance over all else. She believes that all women, including herself, have the ability to accomplish whatever they set their minds to. Her wish for every woman, Femfessional or not, is for us to, “be kind to one another. Encourage one another. And be there as a sister.” Just like Earhart and Winfrey, Violette Sproul made a choice to live fearlessly and the decision has certainly paid off.