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My guest this week is Holly Christine Hayes, founder and CEO of Sanctuary Project, a survivor-run nonprofit social enterprise in Austin, Texas, employing and empowering women who’ve survived lives of trafficking, violence, and addiction.
As a survivor herself, Holly knows the path to recovery can be long and rocky. Her vision and leadership create a safe space for other survivors to grow in practical skills, unleash their creativity, embrace their femininity, and heal their hearts – all in community with other survivors.
Holly is an award-winning author, podcaster and coveted women’s ministry and business leadership speaker. She and her husband, Jeff, enjoy life on a hobby farm, with their chickens, goats, cows, dogs, and the newest addition to the farm, their daughter Havana, who they welcomed two years ago.
6:15 – Holly 101
- Holly was a trafficking survivor and now spends her days focusing on redemption and telling her story.
- Her trafficking lasted a few months, but she has had a rich life since. Although she was trafficked, that’s no who she is.
- She now has a jewelry line and helps other women.
10:32 – Glorifying difficult stories
- Society often glorifies difficult stories and gruesome details. We should focus on how people became respectable members of society and turned their lives around.
- The pornography of pain is a real thing.
16:36 – A rad life
- The rad life Holly has today didn’t come overnight. She now has freedom in Christ and fought hard for it.
- If you’re in a tough journey, be patient with yourself. You’ll experience failures and successes. It’s important to have those life experiences.
21:59 – Helping women
- Holly helps women with therapeutic tools and Biblical tools.
- Many of the women struggle with self-hatred and self-esteem issues. Holly surrounds them with positive feedback and beautiful things.
25:28 – Starting a non-profit
- Holly started her career as a shoe shiner and then worked in real estate and fashion before starting her non-profit.
31:38 – Challenges in business
- Holly never expected her business to be as successful as it is. She found a much larger market for it than she imagined.
- Doors have swung wide open, and it’s an interesting problem to have.
- Her biggest challenge is accepting help and giving up some control.
48:42 – On the horizon
- Holly is excited to have some new products coming out for the holidays.
- She has an expanded stain glass collection coming.
49:31 – Get to know you
- Why start a farm? She lived in Paris before moving to Austin and was used to cheaper prices for goat cheese. She and her husband joked about getting a goat. Long story short, she now has goats but never milks them.
Because my internal world is well, my external world is well as well. I can make decisions for myself and set boundaries for myself to keep that world well.
I want survivors, I want women to feel so empowered that they are not their past. They are not their story.
Yes, I was trafficked, but that’s not the entirety of my story or who I am.
This rad life I have today didn’t come overnight.
CONNECT WITH HOLLY
ABOUT HOLLY CHRISTINE HAYES:
Holly is a survivor of human trafficking, abuse, and addiction. When she hit rock bottom, she found herself homeless and crying out on the floor of a public bathroom. Now she is the Founder/CEO of a company helping other women break out of the dark cycle. Sanctuary Project is a survivor-run nonprofit jewelry enterprise, based in Austin, that provides meaningful employment and job training to women who have survived trafficking, violence and addiction. Holly is now a wife, mom author and speaker.
Holly Christine Hayes is Founder + CEO of Sanctuary Project, a survivor-run nonprofit social enterprise employing and empowering women who’ve survived lives of trafficking, violence and addiction in Austin, Texas. Holly is a survivor of human trafficking, abuse, and addiction. When she hit rock bottom, she found herself homeless and crying out on the floor of a public bathroom. Her vision and leadership create a safe space for other survivors to grow in practical skills, unleash their creativity, embrace their femininity, and heal their hearts – all in community with other survivors.
Holly is passionate about sharing her vulnerable journey of healing. She speaks in jails, recovery communities and conferences all over the globe. She and her husband, Jeff, enjoy life on a hobby farm and vineyard outside of Austin, with their chickens, goats, cows, dogs and one-year-old daughter Havana.
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