The women of Virago

INFLUENTIAL: The women of Virago — 15 of T&T’s most influential women are featured in the upcoming release Virago — Warrior Women.

IT has been a busy year for Michelle Borel, but the author, broadcaster and motivational speaker is not thinking about slowing down — at least not yet. This Sunday she will be front and centre at the Virago — Warrior Women (Butterfly Edition) book launch.

Virago — Warrior Women is unlike any other book on the local literary scene. It features the stories of 15 influential women across various fields such as arts and entertainment, media, fashion, aviation, medicine, politics, communications and marketing.

The Butterfly Edition, which comprises the who’s who of T&T’s society including Mickela Panday, Shelly Dass, Destra Garcia, Shannon Hutchinson, Lara Quentrall-Thomas, Penelope Spencer, Nikki Crosby, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Dr Sacha JC Baynes, among many others, aims to create a movement of women supporting women.

Besides the personal accounts of its contributors, the chapters also offer actionable steps which can help readers uncover the best version of themselves and continue on their journey to empowerment, says Borel, who already has a number of motivational and children’s books to her name. Borel came up with the book’s concept back in February but started working on it in June alongside her friends and colleagues — Spencer and Crosby.

“The motivation for this book came early this year. The social climate at the time brought with it a sense that we needed to have a dialogue that would be everlasting. Having a collection of women share their experiences and the lessons they learned during their character building moments felt right,” said Borel.

She initially reached out to Spencer and Crosby, who agreed that such a book was necessary and threw their full support behind Borel. The three women came together and compiled a list of names of women they thought were perfect candidates for the book.

“I reached out to everyone within the same hour because as my mother always says: procrastination is the killer of time,” adds Borel.

Powerful women

The word ‘Virago’, which means a woman of great stature, strength and courage, was chosen as the book’s title.

In the pages of the book, the influencers open up about topics such as endometriosis, post partum depression, women in business, networking, finding your voice, the loss of a child, abuse and much more. ‘Courage’ is the main thread that connects all the stories.

“No matter what knocked on the door of life for each and every one of these powerful women, they had the courage to keep going. As Steve Harvey says: ‘If you’re going through hell, why stop there? Keep going’. That is what these women did, they kept going,” says Borel. “What we ladies of Virago want readers to take away is that, despite our various walks of life and the character-building moments that come our way, we all have that warrior spirit within us which gives us the courage to carry on. There is power within you.”

Several of the women featured in the book joined forces in other tangible ways to make it a reality, Lori Borde did the photography editing; the cover artwork was done by Shannon Hutchinson and soca artiste Destra will be releasing a song on Virago soon.

Part proceeds from the first year

of sales of Virago — Warrior Women will go to Conflict Women, an NGO that aids survivors of domestic violence by giving them necessary skills to develop their own businesses.

What started as an idea has blossomed into something far bigger. Borel, Spencer and Crosby have since established Virago Global Publishing LLC and are in the process of registering the Virago Global NGO. There is also a version of Virago — Warrior Women in Barbados which will officially be launched on International Women’s Day next year. Trinidad’s branch will launch on November 25 — which happens to be the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The Virago — Warrior Women book launch will take place on November 21 at Charran’s auditorium at Trincity Mall. The book will also be available on Amazon.


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