It’s often been noted that the Chinese symbol for “Crisis” is composed of two characters – the symbol for danger, and the symbol for opportunity.
Looking at our latest Protégé spotlight, Gail Orkay, the combination couldn’t possibly be more appropriate.
In 1998, Gail was diagnosed with severe level of fibromyalgia. Chronic, debilitating pain, muscle discomfort and digestive problems followed. When other attempts proved unable to assist in her recovery, a family friend introduced her to Jin Shin Jyutsu.
Jin Shin Jyutsu, as Gail would discover, is a four thousand year old practice, focusing on the use of touch to restore balance and reduce stress. As the treatment does not require disrobing, aromic fragrances, needles, or herbal remedies, Gail found found the treatment both comfortable and non-invasive. More importantly, Gail describes that she found the treatment to be highly effective. The treatment worked so well, in fact, that friends were soon asking for lessons and treatments themselves. Before long, Gail’s private lessons with friends and family blossomed into Key Elements Health, a Green Bay business now employing three full time, professionally trained practioners.
As the business grew, Gail looked for opportunities to expand her business training and skillsets, and found it in the Mentor-Protégé program. Gail was paired with Mike Vandelangenberg from the Score Program. Toghether, they worked to create a metric to track weekly sessions, vendor fair responses and other ways to track presentation and feedback. The results from these metrics would be used to plan goals and gauge short and long term success.
Despite having turned her once debilitating illness into an inspiration for her greatest success, Gail’s mentor still found her to be lack the confidence in her skills and their ability to contribute to her community. Finally convincing Gail to give a presentation at Bellin Health Hospital, the success of her speech led her to launch several others. Gail’s talks now command extensive waiting lists.
As a result of support from her mentor, Gail also soon found herself obtaining her first government contract—an achievement she describes as being “unimaginable” prior to enrolling in the Mentor-Protégé program.
Now with her own staff, and plans to expand into hospital settings within the next two years, Gail has also been active in using her new found success to give back to the community. In addition to volunteering at the Aging and Disability Resource Center, where she teaches self-empowerment classes for seniors, a local nursing home, and a series of Learning in Retirement workshops, Gail also applies her skills to assist at a regional animal shelter. Her work with the shelter focused on reducing the fear, anxiety and trauama of the rescues. Her work resulted in the animals being ready for transition into new homes much faster than usual.
All of us with AFF and the Packers are extremely proud of Gail’s success, and have no doubts of her plans for growth and expansion in the new year. Starting from a place that would have caused many to give up before they’d even started, Gailovercame adversity, found her passion, and, with the help of the Mentor-Protégé program, is now able to share her success with her community and all of Green Bay.
Congratulations Gail–we wish you a bright and prosperous 2015!