SEASON 2, EPISODE 2: CONTENT WARNING
This episode includes discussions about sex trafficking and exploitation of young children. So, if this is something you want to skip, you should skip it. So, if this is something you want to skip, you should skip it. Listener discretion advised.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month so I’m interviewing a variety of nonprofit leaders—founders, CEOs, and Executive Directors—who run organizations addressing the horrible evil of human trafficking.
My guest in this episode is Heather Bland. Heather is the CEO of My Refuge House, a long-term aftercare home in Cebu Philippines where survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse live in a safe, family-like environment while receiving comprehensive, therapeutic care so they can reclaim their lives.
During our interview, Heather shares how she knew from a very young age what she wanted to be when she grew up, and I promise you it’s something you’ve never heard of before! We also discuss the incredible origin story of My Refuge House and how one small church in Southern California determined to change lives in the Philippines.
Heather is also a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and so we have some bonus content at the beginning of our interview where we discuss the StrengthsFinder Assessment as well as Marcus Buckingham’s StandOut Assessment (which he is currently offering at no charge due to the pandemic). Links to both assessments are in the show notes.
My interview with Heather is a little longer than others, but I promise you’ll go away informed, inspired, and filled-up with hope for humanity—not to mention a little more educated about discovering your strengths.
She’s just a phenomenal leader, plus she’s funny and fun. I’m excited for you to meet her. This was such an interesting, lively conversation—despite the heavy subject matter. I think it’s because what Heather and her team are doing at My Refuge House is so incredibly inspiring.
Enjoy this incredible conversation with this hope wielding, loud laughing, includer, optimist, storyteller, coffee drinker, and inventor of “the good vibe thumb”: Heather Bland the CEO of My Refuge House.
📌 Check out our Pinterest board for information about Human Trafficking
🎧 Click here to listen to this episode:
About Heather Bland
Heather Bland is the CEO of My Refuge House, a therapeutic program in the Philippines that journeys with survivors, families, and communities impacted by sexual exploitation and trafficking. Heather is currently based in Southern California, but is originally from the Appalachian mountains of Virginia.
Heather loves telling stories and has a passion for including the marginalized. She is an experienced leader, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. Her professional philosophy centers around infusing hope and promoting resilience as a means to fully support others as they realize their potential.
In her free time, Heather loves spending time with friends and family, including her witty husband Joey and their two silly sons, Jack and Ike. You might also find Heather people watching at any local coffee shop.
🔗 Connect with My Refuge House:
- Website: https://myrefugehouse.org
- Donate: https://myrefugehouse.kindful.com/
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/myrefugehouse
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/myrefugehouse
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/myrefugehouse
- LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/company/my-refuge-house
- YouTube: https://youtube.com/myrefugehousevideos
🙌 Connect with Heather Bland:
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/heather.bland
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/hsfbland
- LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/hsfbland
📢 Also Mentioned in This Episode:
- Cynthia Wade at DoOver.Me (Chicagoland/Online)
- Adrean Stinnett at J127 Ministry (Oklahoma)
- Check out the interview with Adrean in Season 1, Episode #12
- Brené Brown at https://brenebrown.com
💪 Online Strengths Assessments:
- Gallup / CliftonStrengths Assessment: https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/252137/home.aspx
- Marcus Buckingham’s StandOut Assessment: https://mailchi.mp/marcusbuckingham.com/standout-assessment
Heather’s Son and His Superhero Origin Story & Artwork
As mom Heather says, “It’s a work in progress… Aren’t all of our origin stories always a work in progress?”
“Whatever exploded was nuclear and when Shren laid down in it, he kind of died but became a superhero, and his bunny that tragically died is now his heart…or something like that.”
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