During the first month of the pandemic award-winning businesswoman, Claudine Reid MBE, decided to use some of her time helping women to build resilience during the lockdown and inspire them too by starting a regular online event entitled Navigating Life.
The weekly Saturday sessions, launched on April 18, 2020, proved to be so successful that Claudine is now getting ready to publish an anthology featuring the real-life stories of 29 of the 1000+ women who attended Navigating Life.
The anthology, to be launched on July 31, comprises two volumes entitled Navigating Life: Mindset Identity Relationships and Navigating Life: Grief and Loss respectively.
The stories in both books cover the breadth and depth of human experience and feature the real-life scenarios women have gone through. The autobiographical accounts include tales of women overcoming teenage pregnancy, bereavement, cancer, the death of a child via murder and sexual assault.
Claudine was inspired to produce the Navigating Life anthology after women started sharing how the weekly event was impacting their lives. She shared, “As a regular feature of Navigating Life, we have breakout rooms where people talk about what they learned at the event. People began sharing about the new connections they had made at the event and how that they had met new people offline, prayed with each, learnt about each, and began sharing their life experiences with each other.”
Hearing the testimonials about how Navigating Life was making a difference in women’s lives was inspiring and I thought it would be good to get the women to write down their stories and feature them in a book with the aim to help/inspire/motivate others. In addition, I also wanted women to be able to say that during the lockdown they shared their stories which have become messages of hope for other women, that may be navigating a challenging season of life.
When Claudine first launched Navigating Life she didn’t expect it to last long. She explained, “As head of the Women’s Department at ICAN Community Church I was keen to support women during the lockdown. That’s how the idea to run Navigating Life online events was borne.”
I expected it to run temporarily for just three months but it’s still being held every week as there has been a demand for it. Women have found Navigating Life to be empowering, informative, inspirational, and a place to meet other progressive Christian women.
Topics covered over the 15 months include Women Business and Money, relationships from a male perspective, amplifying your voice for influence, mental health, investments, legacy planning, social media, and more.
Like most women during lockdown, Claudine has been navigating life too. She’s also been busy.
Prior to and during the lockdown, this award-winning businesswoman has continued working as Managing Director of PJs Community Services, an award-winning social enterprise based in Croydon. In December 2020 she was appointed Chair of Lloyds Banking Group’s Black Business Advisory Committee, in April 2021 she was appointed as a Governor at Croydon College and in June 2021 Claudine became part of Forbes Coaches Council.
And like women who attend Navigating Life, Claudine has also been through some challenging times. In September 2019 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. She recalled, “That was a difficult time for me. I strongly believe there is something to be learned from all the experiences we go through, the good and the bad, and my experience with cancer taught me that when you face a difficult time, the strategy and mindset you choose to have whilst going through it, will help you overcome it. I chose to remain positive whilst navigating mine, all the while leaning on my faith, my amazing family and church community, and wider support networks. I would not have made it without them.”
If there is one thing that lockdown has taught us, is that we must be ready and prepared for anything so that we can successfully navigate the challenges, obstacles, and difficulties we face. It’s my hope that the stories in the Navigating Life anthology will help women overcome any life challenges they encounter.
Written By: Marcia Dixon