How can women be their best selves?

Like so many women, Kelly Cox Watkins was engaged in a battle between the person she was expected to be and the person she was meant to be. As a working mom raising children in Hinsdale, hers were among the few whose mothers didn't meet them each day to walk home for lunch.

She found herself worrying about how others saw her. Yet she knew she was happier when she balanced motherhood with the job she loved.

"I thrived, and I was a better mom," said Watkins, who refers to her decision to live life her way as "congruence."

"Congruence is the secret to conquering that constant nagging, unsettled feeling," said Watkins, principal strategist at Spiritus Strategies, an organization she founded to help women become and be the best, most authentic versions of themselves.

Watkins holds a master's degree in nursing, with a specialty in leadership and administration. A registered nurse for more than 40 years, Watkins works as vice president of market development at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago and as a trained strategist with The Woman School, a Florida-based organization dedicated to helping women live the lives they want to live and be the people they want to be. A resident of Hinsdale for more than 25 years, she's also a wife, mother and grandmother.

Sharing her knowledge and experience, Watkins will help women live the lives they want during two free one-hour seminars on Jan. 5 and 12. "Know Your WHY" will be held at The Community House and will offer a glimpse into Watkins' five-session class, "Jump Start Your Journey to Wholeness." Based on Watkins' own journey to become her own authentic self, the class is intended to help other women discover and embrace the person they want to be.

Held via ZOOM, the first session of "Jump Start Your Journey to Wholeness" is set for Feb. 16 and will serve as an introduction, followed by three weekly classes dedicated to group sessions.

"We'll talk about wholeness, congruence and visualization," Watkins said.

Week four will offer private meetings between each participant and Watkins to put together a plan to begin the journey toward congruence. During the final session, participants are invited to come together and share their experiences and where their journey is headed.

Participants can learn more and register through The Community House.

"It's my way of giving back to the community," said Watkins, whose family has long benefited from the offerings of The Community House. She said she hopes to see her curriculum become an ongoing part of TCH programming.

The struggle to balance work, family and a woman's personal goals and interests has always been a challenge, but Watkins said the pandemic brought it to a whole new level.

"It was a very challenging time for everyone, but for women, they're drowning," she said.

Watkins said she hopes women will emerge from her class with a new vision of who they are and a clear path toward becoming their best self.

"It's about living in congruence with who you are just dying to be," she said.

- by Sandy Illian Bosch