With the Women’s Conference just around the corner, I was asked to write an article about the woman behind this brainchild: Eileen Rodriguez. I had heard of her quite often while working at My Refuge House (MRH), but I never had a face to the name. I didn’t know what to expect as I walked into her salon, tastefully named Couture Salon & Spa, but Eileen herself warmly greeted me. She gave me a tour around the space and I was sold right when she let me smell an all-natural pumpkin scrub that smelled like Thanksgiving-in-a-jar. Not only does her salon promote a great cause in partnership with My Refuge House, but it also boasts all-natural hair and skin products and the concept of a slow salon and spa, in which customers feel more Zen and relaxed – the opposite of many salons we find nowadays that try to get customers in and out.
Once we sat down and started the interview, it took no time for her to warm up. Eileen opened up with stories of a painful past, divine interventions, and God’s plan for her. When she was younger, she had been sexually abused by two of her relatives. She had tried to keep this hidden for years, but eventually she had to face her past and her fears when one of her abusers walked through the doors of her salon. Although she remained cool as a cucumber, after the incident she found herself asking God why He had let this happen to her. But they say that sometimes what you’re looking for is right under your nose. The same day, she saw a thank you card that My Refuge House sent her when she had donated some products to MRH. She never gave serious thought into what My Refuge House worked for and what kind of organization it was after pinning the card on her wall. However, that night after doing some research on My Refuge House, she knew then and there that she wanted to get involved – and the rest is history.
While some people throw parties on yachts for their thirtieth birthday, Eileen decided to hold a women’s conference and have all proceeds go to My Refuge House. She envisioned the Women’s Conference to support female entrepreneurs, leaders and advocates of women in their personal and professional growth, while promoting MRH and our cause. The conference brings inspirational speakers, branding coaches and all kinds of speakers who help invest in women and their businesses. The conference’s theme of women empowering women goes hand-in-hand with the women and girls building each other up at My Refuge House and with our motto: “Restoring One Life At A Time”. The conference itself embodies this idea of mutual support as family and friends of Eileen and even her clients sponsored the conference last year and will do so again this year.
In the end, it turned out that the interview with Eileen became more of a heart-to-heart talk from one woman to another. As I shared a bit of my own struggles, Eileen encouraged me. She showed so much grace and elegance as she talked, but at the same time exuded such beautiful strength. Rather than harboring anger and hatred, Eileen gives thanks for the pain because that pain is now a platform on which she stands to do bigger and better things for other women and girls like her.
If you are interested in sharing your story and connection to My Refuge House through our “Connecting Through Storytelling” series, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heather Bland is the CEO of My Refuge House. She loves to tell stories and talk about strengths. Feel free to email her at email@example.com
You also have the opportunity to hear Heather speak on September 24th at Eileen’s 2nd Annual Enriching Your Life’s SOIL Conference in Anaheim, California. Get your tickets today! All proceeds benefit My Refuge House.
“Restoring One Life At A Time” would not be possible without incredible people like you and Eileen. Consider making or increasing your financial contribution to support our girls today. Text “MRH” to 41-444 to donate today! Thank you.