Our guest today is Gemma who runs a business called Awkward Conversations. She works with teenage girls who experience bullying, peer and friendship issues. She helps them by looking at their experience from different perspectives, releasing emotional charges, creating new and empowering beliefs, and helps them take action to live the life they want. She teaches girls to be their unique selves, creating confidence and self-worth.

Gemma is passionate about helping teenage girls due to events and experiences from her own past and childhood. It’s an impressionable time when you start to form and cement your belief systems about yourself and the world. She realized as she got older that she could change her negative beliefs about herself and wanted to help teach these lessons to young girls so they could work through them earlier in life.

Joanne has a degree in speech pathology, audiology and English literature, and worked as a business office manager in finance, and as a credit manager at various organizations. She left her job to focus on a passion project developing a program for teens at risk. While doing this she began substitute teaching which took her on a path to becoming a high school teacher which she continued for 25 years.

Having worked both in the private sector as well as in schools, Joanne had an appreciation for how bullying that began at school had a tendency to continue in the workplace as kids grew up, often taking their bullying behaviours with them.

During the last eight years of teaching, Joanne developed a program that addressed bullying in the school, called Becoming Bullyproof. This program combined her tactics she used as a teacher in the classroom with advice and best practices that parents, students, teachers and administration can use to document, communicate and take action on bullying incidents. Joanne will describe this in detail later.