When you first meet Katie Dalton, you are guaranteed to be woo’d by her kind demeanor and witty banter. The more you get to know her, the more you see the depth and complexity of what makes Katie so incredible. You can’t help but develop a girl crush on this woman that is excelling in her professional life as a SVP at Audience Rewards, traveling the world every chance she gets, throwing soirees for her friends, crushing workouts, and top it all off, dedicating her time to being on Movemeant’s Board of Directors. Katie Dalton is a queen of queens putting in all the extra hustle to get the most out of life. It is hard to imagine Katie as anything other than the badass we know today but as is true for so many of us, the journey to become our fierce-selves is often a bumpy road!

This ‘Do it for you. Do it for her.’ story by Katie Dalton, SVP at Audience Rewards and member of Movemeant Foundation Board of Directors, was edited and condensed by Jessi Greenlee.

When I was in 6th grade, my mom eloped.

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My sister and I were away for the weekend at our dad’s, doing the kids-of-divorced-parents thing. When we arrived home our mother wanted to show us photos from her surprise wedding to a man who lived in Florida, which also meant: We were moving.

At that awkward and sensitive age of 12, I suddenly had to leave all familiarity behind and start over in a new state. I had always been an insecure, quiet girl but the sudden lack of stability and new environments amplified those traits and made it difficult to find my place. Walking into my new life, I felt uncool and intimidated in a new and unfamiliar environment. Kids dressed differently and already had their established cliques and designated lunch tables.

It took years but by 9th grade, I found my place. After years of taking gymnastics classes on my own, I auditioned for the high school dance and flag team – and I made it! At the time I was just excited to wear the uniform I had seen the cooler, older girls wear. Looking back though, joining the team impacted my life in much bigger ways.

The dance and flag team showed me what it means to have a girl squad. We laughed, we fought, we competed with one another but most importantly, we learned to work together towards a common goal. The bonds formed on that team were my first example of how empowering female friendships can be.

I also learned the addictive feeling of overcoming nerves and challenges. I was still that same shy girl but suddenly had to perform on the football field in front of everyone I knew. And when I succeeded, I experienced a high that still happens now when I push through a tough workout or nail a big presentation at work. I learned to prove to myself that I can do hard things.

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By trying things I was nervous about as a shy kid, I started to learn how to overcome my insecurities. Building self-worth is a life-long process and the tools I started to learn as a teen are the same ones that help me today.

For that 6th grade version of myself, so nervous about all of the unknowns ahead: I wish she could even begin to imagine what my life looks like today.

And I would tell her: Thank you.