A professor and practitioner of holistic health, Gabrielle Pelicci of Bronx, NY devotes her life to teaching and therapy so that her students and clients can thrive. You can watch Gabrielle and her fellow finalists compete for a $10,000 bonus onstage this Friday, May 15 during the Know Your Value event in Washington, DC. The contest is part of the nationwide Know Your Value effort to provide dialogue, training and resources for women to learn and communicate their value in the workplace.
Why are you a believer in the Know Your Value movement?
I think that the Know Your Value movement is a powerful platform for women to connect and support each other. It teaches women to advocate for themselves and ask for the compensation that they deserve in the workplace. It also highlights critical issues about the way that women underestimate their abilities and hesitate to take risks. I am impressed with the women who are already on board with this movement: Elizabeth Warren, Brooke Shields, Katy Kay, to name a few. I hope that this movement empowers many women to be bolder, braver and do better for themselves.
What inspired you to enter the Grow Your Value bonus competition?
I was inspired to enter the competition after I read Mika's book, "Knowing Your Value," and attended the kick-off event in Philadelphia. The book and the conference resonated with me – I was humbled by the speakers who shared their struggle openly and honestly. I understood their frustrations of being overworked and underpaid. I decided that the competition would be a good opportunity for me to do something different – something that will dramatically change my life and the lives of all the people who cross my path.
What guidance would you offer to millennial women who are just beginning their careers?
I would advise millennial women who are just starting their careers to get a mentor as soon as possible for guidance and support. I would encourage them to join professional groups for networking and building relationships. I would also recommend that they keep a healthy work-life balance. If they want to have a long, sustainable career, they need to pace themselves and practice good self-care.
How has your professional identity evolved from when you were just starting out in the ‘real world’ to now?
When I was just starting out, I didn't have a clear sense of my value. I underestimated my intelligence, talent and competency. I was insecure about teaching, writing and sharing my ideas in public. It took a long time for me to build my sense of worth and self-confidence. I had a wonderful mentor in graduate school, who guided me and taught me how to navigate difficult situations. I studied with lots of brilliant teachers who served as positive role models. And I met many professional women along the way who inspired and encouraged me. Now that I have been teaching for 10 years, I know that what I have to teach matters. I know that it empowers people, heals people and gives them tools they need for self-care.
You and the other finalists completed a physically and emotionally rigorous “Corporate Athlete” course at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute. What did you learn about yourself that you had never considered before?
The training gave me a good boost of energy and helped me reconnect with my mission and purpose. During the training, I realized three important things: I need to enlist others to help me achieve my mission. I need to advocate for myself as much as I advocate for others. I need to pursue the things that make me joyful so that I can share that joy with others.
You teach and practice holistic health. So far, what has been the highlight of your career?
My favorite aspect of teaching holistic health is helping students to become healthier and happier people. After every course I teach, at least one student approaches me to say that her life is changed forever. My students experience positive transformation in their physical and mental health, and they are able to share their knowledge with others. The highlight of my career is not one event - it is the ongoing relationship with students and watching them grow and learn and have remarkable "a-ha" moments.
Your dream is to build an online university for students who don’t have the time or resources to attend traditional courses. What do you find most daunting about this career step and how will you face this challenge?
This next step in my career will have many new challenges – I will have to work harder, be more creative, take more risks and enlist fabulous people to help me. I will keep striving, working, struggling, learning and asking for support until I get it done. It took me 32 years to get my PhD. It may take 32 years until I have a successful online university. Just kidding, I hope it doesn’t take that long! This is something I want to share with others - something I need to share with others. It's not always easy to do the work that you love, but this is my calling and I will do everything in my power to make it happen.
You can learn more about Gabrielle and the other Grow Your Value finalists here.