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Women’s History Month: A Round-up of Our Favourite Inspirational Women Part Two!

On March 1st, the beginning of Women’s History Month, I thought it would be an awesome idea to have the girls on Team Jilly contribute and share who their favourite female role models are. Since our team is getting SO big, we had to split this series up into two parts. Today, the rest of the girls are sharing who their female role models are and why!

If you missed part one, make sure to check it out here! Take it away ladies!

Shay Merritt

My Mom, Jane Merritt

When I think about inspirational women in my life I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many, it’s hard to pick just one! Everyone inspires me in different ways but if I were to pick just ONE who’s inspired me my entire life, it would have to be my MOM! I have always struggled putting into words how much my Mama means to me because I’ve always felt that no words would ever be able to do it justice, but lets give this a shot!  

For those that don’t know my mom, she is a very proud Czech by the name of Jane Browne (now Merritt) who didn’t speak english until she was 5. She is a free spirited hippy who was a teacher my entire life (she was even my kindergarten teacher), who now creates pottery amongst many other things in her spare time. She speaks 5 languages, is a travelling expert, and knows how to bring out the positive in any situation all while making anything and everything FUN (she definitely knows how to have a good time and is the person you call on a Friday night). 

My mom has so graciously shaped me and guided me into who I am today. She challenges me to be the best version of myself every day and sparks the creativity in my soul. The way she raised me (and my brothers), she always encouraged me to chase my wildest dreams and that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and work hard. She has always been my biggest cheerleader and support system, whether it was competitive ski racing, provincial beach volleyball, french immersion, moving across the world by myself at 19, to working with Jillian Harris, the list goes on. If it didn’t work out, which I have had my fair share of falls, she has always been right there beside me to pick me up and brush me off (literally). We have been through it all together. 

We have such a deep connection that I have grown to realize this isn’t the case for every parent or child. I feel so lucky to be raised by such an inspirational role model who has set the bar high in every aspect of life. I hope someday I’ll be lucky enough to lead by her example and share that same bond with children of my own. 

As my mom would say, peace, love, laughter, and happiness is all that matters! Cheers to all the inspirational women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them. 

XO Shay 

Jillian Harris Women History Month Round-Up
Women's History Month Round-Up

Abbi Warden

Joanne Barry-Babule

There are SO many incredible female role models in my life, but I couldn’t think of anyone better to dedicate this piece to than my amazing mom, Joanne. My mom is one of the most selfless ladies I have ever met, if a friend is in need of help or her daughter decides to pack up and move across the country she is always there to lend a helping hand. True story, my mom was the first person I called when I got the news that I landed my dream job with Team Jilly, which meant packing up and moving across the country, at that very moment she told me she was making the 4-day trek with me. 

On top of that, she has the best fashion sense; she used to be a Buyer for Sears and The Hudson’s Bay Company, so whenever I have a question about a new trending piece to buy, she is always my go-to. She ended her successful career in the fashion industry when my step-dad had the opportunity to move to Chicago for work. Since then, she has just started a side-hustle helping clients design and plan their dream home interiors. Even though she lives far away (and I haven’t seen her in a few months), she texts and calls daily and FaceTimes weekly over a glass of wine to catch up. I feel so blessed to have her as a role model and can’t wait to squeeze her again soon!

Jillian Harris Women's History Month Blog Round-Up

Alison Irwin

Lori Irwin

I am so fortunate to be surrounded by empowering, thoughtful, and supportive women from Team Jilly to my family and friends. Thank you, Team Jilly, for being a huge support system and for always looking out for me. Moving across the country by myself has been made so much easier because of you all and quickly made Kelowna feel like home. I am especially grateful to all my beautiful friends too for being there for me each and every day and bringing so much joy to my life! I must speak more about my amazing Mother, Lori Irwin. 

My Mother, Lori is sunshine personified. To say my mom is my biggest cheerleader is an understatement! She is the most supportive, caring, witty, nurturing, and down-to-earth soul. I was not the easiest child (lol!) so how patient and understanding she has always been stands out to me. She is such a joyful presence and I have learned so much from her.

My house was usually the “hub” of the friend group and I think a big reason for that was because of the environment my parents created. My Mom would always go out of her way to ask how my friends were doing and genuinely cared about each and every one of them. Another major reason is probably because our family knows how to have a good time too haha!

Thank you, Mom, for everything that you do for me and for always encouraging me to do what makes me happy. You are so beautiful inside and out and I am so proud to be your daughter.

Jillian Harris Women History Month Round-Up

Shauna Gardiner

Shelley Gardiner

I come from a long line of strong-willed and vibrant women but when I think about the most influential and inspiring woman in my life, of course the first person I think of is my mom, Shelley Gardiner.  

Something I have always respected about my mom is her strength and compassion. She has always put the needs of others before her own, especially when it comes to family. If I’ve had a bad day or I have exciting news she’s always the first person I call and I usually hang up feeling better than I did before, no matter the circumstance. 

I have always admired my mom’s eye for design, and to say I get my creativity and talent from her would be an understatement. She has been my biggest fan from the moment I was born, and she continues to be a source of unwavering support and encouragement. Her passion and dedication to her own craft as an interior designer is truly inspiring and motivates me in my own field every day. 

I would not be the woman I am today without the positive and affirming influence she has given to not only me but everyone close to her.  And I am truly grateful that I can not only call her my mom but also my closest friend. 

Camielle Stewart

Darlene Calder

My Mom, my best friend and biggest role model. I vividly remember following her around as a little girl and wanting be just like her when I grew up. She has the kindest and most caring heart of anyone I’ve ever met. Whether we were taking in injured animals, caring for her children, husband, son in laws and now grandchildren in the most loving way. She has been there for all of us in ways I’ll be eternally grateful for. 

Having three children of my own, I hope to adopt some of her amazing qualities by spreading love and compassion to others. 

Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this women’s history month round-up, we would love to know below, who are your favourite female role models!


Team Jilly

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  1. Awesome Women………ALL! So much inspiration in your stories! Well done, Team Women! 💝 You Rock!

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