- story by Lisa Monti
Twenty-five women share their inspirational stories about how they unpacked negativity and rejection and stopped being boxed in by the expectations of others.
The result is the Unboxed Book Project, an anthology that’s filled with lessons on how to move forward and upward in your life and career.
The project is led by Dorothy Wilson, publisher of Gulf Coast Woman magazine and an accomplished leader in marketing and strategic planning. She brought together 25 Coast women to share their stories of becoming “unboxed,” from circumstances and people who had kept them from achieving their best life.
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Publisher Dorothy Wilson says that although she believed the finished project would be inspirational, even she was surprised by the completed manuscript, once all the stories were assembled.
“I knew this had the potential to be powerful,” says Wilson. “I had no idea how powerful until I read the final version before it was sent to the printer. I was overwhelmed and so, so empowered and encouraged to see what these women had overcome. I thought I knew them all, yet discovered so much more about them.”
All four of the Hancock County writers say that the project helped them grow further by pushing them to record their pivotal life experiences.
“I had learned to soar early on. My mom that taught me I could do anything I set my mind to do. I believed her, even in the midst of trials and tribulations that are inevitable in life.”
Local real estate broker, Holly Lemoine-Raymond, also wrote about her mother’s encouragement. “She helped me find the courage to pursue my career in real estate, even though it seemed riskier to step out on my own," says Lemoine-Raymond. Her mother passed away in 2005.
"Owning your own company is something you have to grow into. Mom helped me understand that it is a process and that I’d learn along the way. She's no longer alive, but it seems that she still here encouraging me.”
Southgroup Insurance company owner, Angelyn Zeringue, says she found writing for the Unboxed book “very introspective and humbling.”
“It made me realize that all the bad times and good times define who you become,” she says. “For the project, we were invited to share an inspirational story from our lives.
"I am always inspired by learning how others overcame obstacles and accomplished great things."
Ellis Anderson, digital publisher of The Shoofly Magazine and French Quarter Journal, found the Unboxed assignment challenging, even for a professional writer and editor.
“To reveal how you overcame an obstacle, you have to relive it,” says Anderson. “That’s not always easy. But writing about an experience gives you a better understanding about yourself and a deeper appreciation for all the people who helped lift you up.
The first coast-wide book signing was held June 13 at 5:30pm at the White House Hotel in Biloxi. Several of the authors spoke, followed by a group book signing.
Two Hancock County signing events will be held with the four women from Bay-Waveland.
The first will take place at the Women’s Leadership Roundtable on Tuesday, June 25, from 5pm – 7pm at the Waveland Ground Zero Museum, 335 Coleman Ave. in Waveland. Publisher Dorothy Wilson will be present, as well as the four local writers.
A second Hancock County Unboxed event will be held Thursday, June 27, at Brandi Stage Portraiture, 833B U.S. 90, Bay St Louis. There will be light refreshments, drinks and networking starting at 6pm, with the writers sharing more about their stories.