Mia Lockhart is a Nova Scotia mom, massage therapist and in 2017 she founded Girls on Boards as a project with a mission near and dear to her heart. Girls on Boards is a non-profit organization using standup paddle boarding as a powerful metaphor to reach teen girls and women in talking about body confidence and self-esteem.
Their core offering is to sponsor standup paddle boarding trips for teen girls to help them relearn how to trust themselves, love their bodies and paddle their own journey.
Mia, is currently raising two teenage daughters and became acutely aware of today’s pressures from peers, media and social media constantly gnawing at the confidence and self-esteem of young people and is trying to change the conversation around what’s important and how to bypass image pressure. Having struggled with anorexia as a teen herself, she went through the challenges of having this dangerous eating disorder as well as the journey back to healthy eating and living. Her experience in healing was through joining sports and learning to take care of her body as her best friend rather than an enemy has been a lifelong journey. 25 years later, it seems to have paid off, as her own daughters do not struggle with any eating disorders and now they are on a mission to spread the message of healthy body image to teen girls around them.
Girls on Boards also offer women's retreats on paddle boards, building confidence and community for women in work and life. Every woman's retreat sponsors a teen retreat. Learn more at www.girlsonoboards.co
What's your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?
Atlantic Canada understands work-life balance better than anywhere in Canada. Our biggest opportunity is to keep this mindset, keep this culture and maintain healthy bodies and minds so we can continue to produce environmentally conscious and mentally healthy companies and policies. People are our greatest assets and we need to continue to keep our workforce mentally and physically healthy.
What was your greatest stage of growth? What made it a shift for you?
My greatest stage of growth so far has been diving into my story. Openly sharing of my struggles with an eating disorder as a teen, blogging about it 25 years later and really creating a conversation was the biggest eye opener for me, not only in hearing all the feedback about how common this struggle is but also how much it has shaped my life, my approach to vibrant and healthy living and why I feel so drawn to help others to heal and love their bodies. Body shame is the #1 trigger for women in North America, and it is holding girls and women back from showing up fully in their lives, my goal is to help more women and girls step out from behind this curtain so they can share their greatest gifts and not be held back by a bully in their own heads.
What's your favourite or most read book or podcast? Now or at each of your greatest stages of growth?
My favorite and most read book is (it sits beside my bed) "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" by Dr. Christane Northrup. During the hardest times in my life, I found a lot of help from the book, "The Ecstasy of Surrender" by Dr. Judith Orloff.
What's your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?
My deepest learning from this past year has been to ask for help and reach out often. More than ever I've realized this mission is bigger than me and the more I reach out, the more lives we can impact together. I've let go of the "I-can-do-it-all-myself" reins!
Who's inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?
Melinda Gates inspires me with the magnitude of work she is doing for women around the globe. I feel there is so much more to do and it's definitely a life long mission for me.
What are the principles you live by?
My mantra is "Show Up" - that's all we can do, is be 100% present and give what we can. If we wait until everything is perfect, or hold back from facing challenges, we will never get where we need to go. The world needs each person to show up as themselves, everyone else is taken. The more we can trust our own gifts, the better we are able to share them.
Massage Therapist, Non Profit Founder, Mom of 4, Women's Empowerment Activist & Play Advocate