First Nations Entrepreneur Uses Art to Help Others
The power of the imagination and using a variety of artistic modes changes peoples lives; eases anxiety, lessens fear, releases anger and provides alternative perspectives. Meghan Hajash understands the benefits of this process on emotions and mental health.
Meghan is the founder of Art Empowers, a business that brings the methods of expressive art therapy to its clients.
Meghan hasn’t always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Previously, growing up in the small First Nations town Teslin, with a population of about 450 people in the Yukon, she worked as a teacher.
“I used to work as an elementary teacher in a First Nations village, and I really enjoyed supporting the children and their families emotionally,” she said. “While I was working, on a whim I did a workshop on healing through the arts – and it totally transformed me!”
“I felt sure that this was what I am meant to do,” said Meghan.
After attending that first workshop, within a few months Meghan had done her research, applied and been accepted to an Expressive Art Therapy program at Langara.
Once her formal studies were done, Meghan could concentrate on how she wanted to bring her gift to help others – and EMBERS provided help and support.
“Expressive Art Therapy is a field that is trending now, so I went through the Self-Employment Program to get a crash course on starting my own business,” she said. “EMBERS was great, I learned a lot about my own business and having a business advisor is a huge advantage!”
Meghan offers a variety of workshops and one-to-one expressive art therapy to help people work through their stress, anxiety, and other issues that are often difficult to address in conventional forms.
Meghan sometimes works with her First Nations background and heritage into workshops as a way to connect with others.
“I think people have come to acknowledge the history of First Nations people and have respect for a diversified way of doing things.”
Through the whole journey of becoming a business owner, Meghan has never lost sight of her vision.
“It can be a daunting process, and it is totally worth it. Sometimes I can’t believe I am getting paid to do what I love!”
Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “Stay true to yourself, and say ‘Yes’ to those new opportunities that feel right – you never know where it will lead.”