Powerful Women Who Believe in Empowering Others Share Their Stories and Insight

Jessica Welch, Personal Trainer and CrossFit Coach at Telos Fitness

Wife and mom of two boys

“If I had to sum up my life mission, it would be to help people become the healthiest versions of themselves: spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. I think that passion is what has led me to training and coaching and combining my faith with fitness. What I love most is using exercise to build strength and character inside the gym, for all the things we want to do and to be outside the gym. Coaching at Telos has taught me the importance of a growth mindset and how much fun a healthy community can be. My favorite thing besides the amazing friendships here is watching transformation on the outside as it starts to reflect changes on the inside.”

What are your goals for the future?

I’ve seen the way that intentional eating and a healthy mindset toward fitness has transformed my life. As I learn and grow, I hope to offer more classes and seminars that are open to anyone. Someday down the road, I have a vision for a whole foods protein shake and smoothie shop that would specialize in sports nutrition and helping people fuel their active and busy lives.

What words of wisdom would you want to impart to other women?

If you’re like me, you struggle with comparison and feeling like you don’t quite measure up. We can let go of perfection in order to be present with those who love us and need us. And if we stop comparing long enough, we will realize that with a little bit of vulnerability and determination and a lot of friendships, the best is still ahead of us.

Tamara Grimm, Special Education Teacher at Lewis & Clark MS and Special Olympics Billings Schools Local Project Coordinator

Wife and aunt to four nephews

“I have always loved working with kids. When young, I promised my little sister I would do everything I could to make the world better and more accepting of persons with disabilities. My sister, Tanya, was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. The doctors told my mom and dad they would need to place her in an institution. My parents were not going to do that…but God had other plans for my sister and needed her to help him, so he took her to heaven, granting her freedom from all of her complications. You could say that my sister was my inspiration to pursue a degree that encompassed all kids with and without disabilities.”

What are your goals for the future?

My goal for the future is to continue to better myself through the inspiration of all the kids that I work with and train through Special Olympics; to teach the world that kids with disabilities are not scary but inspiring. They can teach us how to get along and not judge others who look or sound different. Different is OK.

What words of wisdom would you want to impart to other women?

To look at others as you would like them to look at you. Don’t judge others before you get to know them. That making mistakes are only learning blocks in your life. Learn from them and grow.

Britney Higgs, Founder/President of HER Campaign

Wife and mother of two boys and one girl

“Six years ago, my dear friend Kristin Steingraber had just gotten home from a mission to India where they helped women working in brothels within the Red Light District. She told me of the atrocities of sex trafficking. It broke my heart. I knew from that moment on, I could never turn a blind eye to the issue. Almost three years ago, I was walking in the hills in Eastern Montana with my family when God gave me a vision for a safe house in Billings, providing hope and healing for survivors of sex trafficking. We sold our home, most of our belongings, quit our careers and jumped fully into that vision. On Dec. 1, 2017, we opened the doors of the HER Refuge, our first home for women stepping out of sexual exploitation.”

In a few words, what are your goals for the future?

We have huge dreams for the HER Campaign. Our desire is to help women survivors heal, grow and find purpose throughout Montana and beyond. Our dream is to expand to a ranch someday and raise up other individuals to run safe houses through similar home-like environments as the HER Refuge.

What words of wisdom would you want to impart to other women?

There is always hope. In a dark and hurting world, we have the opportunity as women to be carriers of light and support for our sisters. By walking the path of healing for ourselves, recognizing our worth and true identity, we get to live in a place of overflow where there is an expression of love unconditional, joy abounding and peace that passes all understanding.

Jennie Poetzl, Women’s Ministry Director at Faith Chapel

Wife and mother to four children

“My husband, Nate, and I moved to Billings in 2012. In 2013 I took over for Ginger Simmons, who had led Faith Chapel’s women’s groups for 34 years. When Nate and I made the decision to come here, we talked through it and decided we wanted to do this as a team. Women’s ministry was the right fit for me. Those were some big shoes to follow, but Ginger was so supportive. I am forever grateful for the love, time and encouragement she gave to help mentor me as I navigated the new role. I love working with women—they have so much wisdom to offer, and I feel like I learn something new from them every week.”

What are your goals for the future?

The aspect of my job I love most is being able to identify strengths and gifts in other women and give them an opportunity to gain confidence by using them. I would love to give our small groups more opportunities for community outreach this fall. There are so many worthy organizations in Billings working hard to improve people’s lives.

What words of wisdom would you want to impart to other women?

Don’t let the lies we so often believe about other women—that they are catty or mean or judgmental—keep you from genuine community. Choose to step out of your comfort zone, and when that old monster of insecurity starts to resurface, make a habit of believing the best possible motive behind another’s words or actions. We are all saints and sinners alike, and every woman has something unique and valuable to contribute. Don’t deprive others of what you have to give, because we grow better together.