The Women’s Executive Network (WXN) contains some of my biggest role models. They’ve worked so hard and deserve every bit of recognition they have, not just because of their amazing accomplishments, but because these were entrepreneurs who unapologetically defended what they believed in when it wasn’t always easy to.

I grew up in a time when men were always recognized, promoted, and congratulated for their accomplishments. Women? Not so much. Next to a man, I always felt like I was supposed to come in second place. I was pressured by society to fill supporting, nurturing roles and step aside to give men their rightful place in the spotlight.

So despite all I’d done, a part of me wasn’t completely sure if I deserved to be in the spotlight. More than that, I was intimidated by the rigid and in-depth application process to apply for a WXN award as I wasn’t sure if I could hold my ground under the scrutiny of a magnifying glass. It all felt so high calibre, like to be considered a winner you’d have to be in a whole different league.

So, naturally, when I found out I earned a spot among this league, I cried.

One thing you should understand is the health and fitness industry from ten years ago is vastly different from what it is today. Back then, I felt muted, like I was speaking a language nobody understood. Health was an afterthought; something you didn’t have to worry about until you were old. People didn’t understand I was trying to save them from a painful future because of things they thought were natural from aging. The truth is, with a few exceptions, your health rapidly deteriorates when you age only if you spend most of your life ignoring it.

There was almost a stigma to being fit. If you’ve ever brought your health food or said ‘no’ to alcohol at a party, you know what I mean. You had to eat and drink like everyone else to be liked by them. I had in-person fitness studios with a decent community, but my members were almost seen as housewives who had nothing better to do except stay fit. We were alienated because people didn’t see health with the same sense of urgency we did.

Things have changed now, especially in a post-pandemic era. People realize the things they once believed were rightfully theirs — their mental health, body, and happiness — can be taken very quickly.

It is in this era that I’m finally able to communicate my message. Nowadays, so much of our confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth is derived from the way we look and feel on the inside. Especially with the rise of social media, our ‘diet culture’, and most of us feeling unworthy of being loved unless we look or act a certain way, it’s important now more than ever to communicate that the root of our solution starts with proper nutrition and regular exercise. It’s not just about looking good in a little back dress anymore; it’s also about mental health and the way we feel in the long term. For that, proper nutrition can really transform your life.

But beyond your own health, it’s also about those you care about. To be a good parent, caregiver, or to perform your best and help others, you need your health. You must be active in taking care of your body because your health is your life and it is actually the most unselfish thing you can do to cherish it.

As soon as I realized my message was resonating with people, I knew I needed a channel to connect to them. I began to build a platform where I could broadcast this message, and this is how Best of You came to be. It was a training program built from everything I knew and loved. I wanted to teach people how to use the healing powers of food to build a happy, healthy life for themselves and their families.

I knew people were in desperate need of a resource they could trust. But I had no idea Best of You would explode to what it is today, and I certainly didn’t expect thousands of people from around the world to embrace me and what I stand for.

Winning the Top 100 award in the BMO Category feels like people are finally saying, “okay Sue, we hear you.” The women who win this award are the change-makers of the world who live for far more than just a paycheck. Likewise, I don’t feel like this is a career or job. It is my life’s calling to help women, defend what I believe in, and Stand in RAW Courage. Winning is a personal validation that I can finally take a breath of fresh air because I found where I belong.