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miniSHEs: First Love

Courtenay Rogers HeadshotCourtenay Rogers is a professional marketer with a passion for technology, her community and connecting others. She has a degree in French and Naval Science from the University of Mississippi and served as a naval officer aboard a guided missile destroyer, the USS Grace Hopper, upon graduation. While in the Navy, she earned her Surface Warfare qualification and served as the Undersea Warfare Officer as well as the Public Affairs Officer and Tomahawk Watch Officer during Operation Enduring Freedom. Courtenay is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Girls to the Moon, a Middle Tennessee-based social enterprise company that launches confident girls through events that build creativity, showcase leadership and inspire possibility. The mission of Girls to the Moon is to guide girls age 10-14 to become their best selves, impact their communities, and create a more inclusive culture. Her leadership and operations experience in the Navy led to her career track in technical project management and strategic planning, specifically in digital marketing. She is a past president of the Nashville American Marketing Association and a proud alumni of the Leadership Franklin program. In 2016, Courtenay ran an inspiring campaign for the Tennessee State Legislature and hopes to motivate more women to run for office. She also serves as the President of the Leadership Council for Veteran’s PATH, a non-profit that enables returning veterans to rediscover meaning, purpose, and joy in their lives through mindfulness, meditation, and a safe community. She is the proud mother of Clair, who inspires her to be a better person every day. 

My daughter didn’t breath for almost a full minute after she was born.

The baby was stuck in the birth canal and at almost 9 pounds, she barely made it out naturally. I remember hearing the nurse rush her to the other side of the room and calmly but firmly rub her until we heard that cry. It was in that moment that I realized I hadn’t fully breathed in my 29 years of life.

Everyone tells you that having kids will change you. I thought my life was perfect. But when my daughter was 6 months old, I had a panic attack because she wouldn’t eat the healthy organic homemade baby food I’d spent hours making. My life and my baby were on a schedule and I didn’t do well when not in control. It turns out that I was dealing with postpartum depression and after some time with a therapist and a prescription for anxiety medicine, I began to see my purpose in life more clearly.

I started seeing the world through the eyes of my baby girl and realized that my insecurities and desire to be perfect made me very judgemental and to be honest, quite mean. I knew I didn’t want to raise a daughter who judged someone based on their outfit or the color of their skin or the car they drove, so I worked on myself daily.
Becoming a mother helped me see people in a new light. I started smiling more, looking at the cashier in the eye and genuinely listening to a response when I asked someone how they were doing. Rather than judge a woman for wearing a short skirt, I would tell her I liked her outfit, and as my daughter got older, she started complimenting people too.

I also stopped making negative comments about my body in front of her because the last thing I ever wanted was for my daughter to look in the mirror and think she’s fat. I tell her daily that she’s strong and smart and kind and I repeat this same mantra to myself.

I’m genuinely convinced that to love another person, you must love yourself first.

Having a daughter, creating a social enterprise company that empowers young girls and running for public office are all huge milestones in my life that wouldn’t be nearly as impactful without love. The moment my baby girl took her first breath was the moment I learned to love. And I’ve learned to love myself, not just the daughter I brought into this world.

Want to hear more from Courtenay? Check out our latest episode of SHEspeaks featuring Courtenay and some of the members of #GTTM!

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