March 2020 Sister Spotlight: Virginia Elder
One of our many 2019 upgrades to our membership was a Sister Spotlight each and every month! We have loved reading the many stories of our sisters, and excited to continue this for 2020.
Our March 2020 spotlight is Virginia Elder. I am so excited to share her story, as she has been such an engaged member of our tribe for a few years now. She has truly taken some courageous leaps in her life and business, and I can't wait for everyone to read more about that here.
Virginia was born and raised in Texas, though she admits she's never owned a horse or cowboy boots. She graduated high school in a small town in East Texas where she was in the top 10 of her graduating class, Captain of the drill team, and yes, even Prom Queen. "The country just wasn't my thing, though," Virginia admits, as she moved to Richardson at 17 with a scholarship to attend the University of Texas at Dallas, pursuing an accounting degree. She met her husband, Rich, in college, and they purchased their first home immediately after graduating. They soon adopted their fur-babies, Honey and Sugar, both dogs. She worked for a construction company and learned the ropes of contract negotiation, reading blueprints, and all about business management while her husband taught math and coached soccer at Rowlett High School. They moved to St. Tomas, USVI for a year, on a whim, knowing they'd never have another opportunity like that again. Virginia adds,"That truly was our adventurous phase and we still reminisce about the friends we met there and the fun we had. I wanted a family, though, and started yearning to return to Texas." They now have two beautiful kiddos, and have celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary.
Virginia found Every Heart Sisters online back in 2017, and assumed it was just another networking group. She admits to feeling 'in the trenches' with two young children, loads of debt, and a side hustle with Plexus offering health supplements and solutions. She admits she was new to the whole MLM scene, and the idea of marketing herself online or even in-person was pretty mind-blowing to her. She says, "I really had no idea what I was doing. I was super nervous but needed additional income. So I attended one of their Girls' Night Out evening events (now called Elevate) and a handful of other networking events. I quickly realized Every Heart was different. It didn't feel like the women were there to sell, which was such a relief to me. The leader, Janet, was always so supportive from afar, and I just knew there was some connection there, but I couldn't put my finger on it."
As time passed, the constant exposure to women entrepreneurs started to open Virginia's mind. She adds, "None of their lives looked the same. They all ran different types of businesses, had kids of all ages, but they were all DOING it! Meanwhile, I was driving to work in tears everyday, missing out on the precious infant lives of my kids, all because I had to make money.
Between our personal finance journey, the pull to be at home and available with my young family, and the inspiration and connection I developed with other women through Every Heart, I started to see that I had the power to change my life. I didn’t have to drive to work every day. I didn’t have to be away from my kids. I didn’t have to be in debt. Maybe it took me 3 years from joining Every Heart to get to the point where I am now, but it’s not a race and I’m so happy to have been part of this group for this long. I didn’t have any mom-friends before. Being a wife/mom/working professional was lonely and my only friends were the wives of my husband’s fraternity brothers. Now I have dozens of strong women friends of every age, demographic, profession, and passion and am so thankful to have met most of them through this amazing group."
In 2018, Virginia launched Happy Healthy Abundance as a way to share her debt-free journey, parenting challenges, her family's focus on health, and personal finance management. She admits that no one ever taught her how to manage money, and that she really screwed things up in her twenties and early thirties. But she wanted to help other moms avoid her mistakes. She faced bankruptcy with a two year-old and a newborn, and she shares how incredibly stressful that time truly was for her and her family. She told me, "I wasn't just worried about all of the normal baby stuff like milk, diapers, and sleep-cycles; I was trying to figure out which payment we could or couldn't make. Long story - but I dug in and devoured every personal finance book or podcast I could access, budgeted, scrimped and saved, sold things, and strategized like crazy for 3 straight years until we paid it all off. This eventually led to me becoming a Financial Coach, helping women learn personal finance management, discover and flip mindset issues, and pay off debt so they can save for the life they want. I left my full-time job in June of 2019, and I'm proud to say I now podcast, coach, blog, and manage Happy Healthy Abundance full-time!"
I told y'all you would love her story!
Over the years she has walked for March of Dimes in support of friends with premature infants, and she recently taught a class of teenage girls about finances through FreshStartHeart.org. She believes strongly that literacy and access to books is the key to children growing up in poverty, so she is faithful to organizations such as Milk and Bookies and Room to Read. She says she has a soft heart, so really any organization can tug at her heart strings. "I'm thankful for Every Heart in this way, too, because I've had the opportunity to learn about so many local non-profits and meet the amazing women who have starte them." She loves books, and now her kids love books, and she makes a point to give books as gifts as often as it applies. She is proud to frequent Half-Price Bookstores to buy and sell and always loves the smell of a paperback. She admits, "I'm weird like that and I complete accept my own strangeness, lol."
Virginia's family has dwindled over the past few years, as her fur-babies were getting older. They had to make the tough decision to put Honey to rest in the fall of 2016, and their kitty, Ziggy, disappeared last spring. Sugar is now approaching 15 years old, and Genie (the kitty she got in college) is nearly 17 years old! At one point, she says she felt like she was going insane with two kids, two dogs and two cats. They miss the ones who are gone now, but life is a bit calmer.
Virginia loves to improve and grow, and will be teaching some local workshops, attending conferences, and has even accepted a few speaking engagements. She is also providing launch and editing services for podcasters, which was an unexpected twist, but she loves it and says it's so fun. She says she is still pretty sure she's an introvert, but she knows the importance of getting herself out there to grow and flourish.
Private Facebook Group: Money Minded Mamas
Thank you Virginia for sharing a bit of your story and your HEART with us!
If you'd like to visit one of our events to meet Virginia and our other amazing members, please check out more information here.