Purpose Out of Pain

Jennasis Speaks is a place where women are able to raise their voices —  not in anger, but with a passion for creating connections and community by sharing their personal journeys. 

In some instances, the journeys entailed painful experiences, such as living with a physical disability, surviving sexual assault or losing a child. 

For some of these women, it wasn’t enough to persevere through their personal pain. They chose to transform pain into purpose. 

Shifting Gears 

Tricia Downing had a clear picture of her future — competing as an Olympic cyclist, finding a life partner and establishing a career. That picture shattered 20 years ago when a car accident left her paralyzed from the chest down.

Recovering from the accident was the first step in a physical and emotional journey. Tricia had to shed past goals and set new ones. To do that, she focused on who she was, what she wanted from her new life, and what she was willing to do to create that new life.

A lifelong athlete, she craved competition. This led her to participate first in triathlons and then as a paralympic athlete. She embraced the opportunity to share her story, so she honed her skills and is now a motivational speaker. 

She also knew she wanted to write, so she penned her memoir, published her first novel, and is preparing to publish her second.  

She knows the power of womens’ stories, and so she is always willing to share her own.

Legacy of Love after Loss 

For Christi and Mark Tripodi, the world changed forever 20 years ago when their 3-year-old son died unexpectedly from a sudden illness. 

Struggling to keep going, they sought counseling, only to find few resources for people like them — parents with limited means trying to bear the weight of unimaginable grief.

Driven by their experience, and a desire to honor their little boy, the Tripodis launched the non-profit organization Cornerstone of Hope in 2003. Since then, Cornerstone has served more than 37,000 grieving children, teens, adults, and families.

Christie’s story is about growing through grief and finding purpose in easing the grief of others. 

Freeing Secrets

Lauren Brill was 16 years old when two strangers she met at a party drugged and sexually assaulted her. While she eventually told her family what had happened, it was years before Lauren decided sharing her story might help others. 

A successful sports broadcaster, Lauren shared her story in an open letter that was posted on a national television network website. The response was stunning and instantaneous. 

Inspired by the public reaction, Lauren launched The Unsealed, an online platform where people from all walks of life post open and personal letters, share their painful truths, and find a community of healing and hope.

 Lauren’s story is an example of how sharing personal pain can create a healing path for others to follow.  

Powering a Passion Project

The Jennasis Speaks movement had been in Jennifer Malcolm’s heart for more than a decade. The COVID-19 pandemic gave her time and space to make her dream a reality. 

Many of us have been changed by what we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, we had firsthand experience with illness and loss. Others of us had to find new ways to do our work and to stay connected with our families, our friends, and our communities. 

For many of us, the pandemic caused us to shift how we spent our time and energy. 

For Jennifer, the pandemic was the catalyst to focus on her heartfelt belief that women need a place where they can safely share their stories, and in so doing find their own paths to passion and purpose. 

The pandemic slowed life down, which gave Jennifer time to reflect on her experiences and dig more deeply into the inspiration she had carried in her heart. She had space to create some themes that became the foundation for her passion project. And she had time and space to brainstorm with others — her supportive work team, her family, and friends— to build on that foundation. 

The Jennasis Speaks podcast is that place, and we at Jennasis Speaks are honored they have shared their stories of pain and purpose with us. 

To learn more about Jennasis Speaks, visit our website and tune in to our weekly podcast where women share their empowering stories. For ALS resources, visit https://teamgleason.org/# and https://www.als.org/.


Jennasis Speaks is a platform that empowers women to safely share their stories, promoting healing and growth through the power of collective vulnerability and acceptance. Believing that “every woman has a story…and every story matters,” founder Jennifer Malcolm hosts a new guest each week to tell her story on the Jennasis Speaks podcast and invites listeners to connect and find their own paths to passion and purpose.


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