The Truth Behind Our Titles ®

Alaska

Gail’s Truth

Gail ForrestGail Forrest is the executive vice president – administration for Chugach Alaska Corporation. Gail leads HR, Facilities and Information Technology for a native Alaska corporation of 5,000 employees worldwide. She has 38 years of experience in running human resources and various other staff functions for major corporations.

How did it affect your life and work?

I spent my first twenty years of my career in companies that I would call “alcohol embracing.” It was the Mad Men era, and drinking in the office, liquid lunches and early cocktail hours were all part of the culture. Partying and trying to keep up with “the boys” was a survival mechanism, but I still managed to work 60-70 hours a week and produce a good product. I rarely missed work, but I always wonder how amazing I could have been without a hangover. New Year’s Day 19 years ago, I just stopped, and with the help of a 12-step program, have not gone back. I take it one day at a time.

I have always felt the weight was a much more challenging issue. Food was always a comfort for me; social events centered on food and I love to cook as much as I love to eat. I had no interest in exercise and my weight constantly bounced up and down by hundreds of pounds, at many points in my life reaching 300 pounds. I stressed my heart with yoyo dieting so much that in 2005 I nearly died from congestive heart failure. It was the wakeup call I needed!

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Audry

Audry’s Truth

Audry Burnett is a an executive HR Partner for Concern Worldwide US, Inc., an affiliate of Concern Worldwide, and supports the Concern network by recruiting staff, supporting program development, creating public awareness of humanitarian issues, and financially supporting programs. Their motto is “do as much as you can, for as many as you can, for as long as you can, the best that you can.”

Audry’s Truth

As the middle child of seven, I was often quiet. My parents both worked hard just to make ends meet, so you can imagine what a disappointment I felt myself to be when I found out I was pregnant at 15, shortly after my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was going through chemotherapy. I felt like an embarrassment to my family, although they lovingly supported me. I tried to see the bright side of the situation – a baby – but the rest of my life (looking ahead from the ripe age of 15) seemed like an impossible road to navigate. The road was extremely difficult, involving a failed marriage, four more children, and severe depression. Depression is a beast and came without warning. I did my best to keep it at bay and sometimes I was successful. I would look at my children, (15, 11, 5, and 2-year-old twins) and muster up a smile. I made up my mind that I would not let them see me fall apart. (more…)

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Lorry

Lorry’s Truth

Lorry Leigh Belhumeur, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and the Chief Executive Officer of Western Youth Services, the leading provider of mental health and wellness services for children, youth, and families in Orange County, CA. 

Lorry’s Truth

I’ll start by sharing the story of a little girl: She grew up in a house with alcohol abuse and violence, multiple marriages and dads, and lots of yelling, screaming, chaos, and fear. There were days she felt she literally fought for her life. She slept with a pillow over her head to drown out the noise, but that didn’t stop her from repeating in her head the hateful words she heard over and over: “You’re rotten, stupid, fat…I wish you had never been born!”

That little girl was me. (more…)

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