How 'high vibe' women can inspire self-doubting teen girls

The ME Project will surround a group of 14 to 16-year-old girls with six role models on Saturday, at the Edmonton Inn and Conference Centre, including keynote speaker Marianne Ryan, the first woman commanding officer of the RCMP in Alberta.

'When people say ‘no’ to me, it’s a challenge to try it out'

Edmonton life coach Harriet Tinka says women who are “high vibe” achievers can help teenage girls believe in themselves. (Thandiwe Konguavi/CBC)

They've risen through the ranks of the RCMP, the IT sector, and even football refereeing.

They're women who Edmonton life coach Harriet Tinka calls "high vibe" achievers.

And Tinka says they can help teenage girls believe in themselves.

"When people say 'no' to me, it's a challenge to try it out," said Tinka, in an interview on CBC Edmonton's Radio Active Tuesday.

"A high vibe achiever is someone who lives life to the limit and doesn't let failures, obstacles, or challenges define them."

Tinka has organized the ME project, a day-long conference at the Edmonton Inn and Conference Centre for 14 to 16-year-old girls. 

The keynote speaker for the June 1 event is Marianne Ryan, the first woman commanding officer of the RCMP in Alberta.

"It's all about empowering these young girls which is so important to do at this point," said Tinka. "Planting that seed and making them know that they're worth it, they're good enough."

As of Tuesday, 50 girls had registered to attend the event.

Panellists include Wanda Costen, the Dean of MacEwan University's School of Business; activist April Eve Wiberg, whose Stolen Sisters and Brothers Awareness Movement advocates for missing and murdered Indigenous people; serial IT entrepreneur Catherine Vu; and former Olympic Games shot putter Georgette Reed.

'Strong self-esteem'

Despite the advancement of women in society today, many girls still struggle with limiting beliefs, said Tinka.

"They feel like they are not able to achieve what other people are achieving," said Tinka. "So we need to go inside that internal dialogue and tell them to 'let it go. That is not the reality. Other people's opinions should never be your reality.'"

Negative messages can bombard girls from schoolyard bullies to television and other media, said Tinka. While it's difficult to limit exposure to these influences, the important thing is to have the tools to deal with negative messages when they do come, she said.

"If somebody tells you you're not good enough, if you really have a good foundation, a strong self-esteem, that's not going to really faze you at all," Tinka said.

Tinka encourages teen girls to explore beyond their comfort zones, and to have a role model or mentor.

"Somebody that you're going to look up to because there's days that we're not feeling good enough," said Tinka. "But if you have somebody who is encouraging you, who's always supporting you, that's really the key."

Parents and caregivers have a big role to play, she said.

"Your role model really starts at home," said Tinka. "If you get the support from your family …  you really develop into a strong teenager."

About the Author

Thandiwe Konguavi


Thandiwe Konguavi is an award-winning journalist, born in Zimbabwe. She is a reporter/editor at CBC Edmonton. Reach her at thandiwe.konguavi@cbc.ca. Follow her on Twitter @cbcthandiwe.


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