RAQUEL WHITING GILMER
FOUNDER, CEO, MOM, FRIEND
What is your origin story? Every hero has one
The story of Perfectly Me started with my own journey to find self-love and self-acceptance. As a young girl and teen, I struggled with my self-esteem. I was chubby and was regularly teased by other children and adults. I felt ashamed of my size, and of myself. The struggles with my weight and self-esteem lasted well into my adulthood but I did a lot of personal development work including lots of therapy and came to the understanding that no matter my size or my weight, I am perfectly me.
What are your superpowers?
My superpowers are perseverance and empathy.
Why did you start Perfectly Me?
Because of my own journey and struggles, I wanted to help other girls develop strong self-esteem so they would be best prepared for life’s challenges. I knew I couldn’t take away challenges such as peer pressure, bullies and most scary – the need to make tough personal choices, but I could give girls powerful tools they could use to help them overcome such challenges. In pursuit of my mission, in 2007 I developed the Perfectly Me Girls program, and delivered sessions in schools. I also started my own superhero universe in 2015 starting with the Awesome Perfectly Me Girls, superhero girls who fight the villains trying to squash girls’ self-esteem – anxiety, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of not being liked, self-doubt, self-hate, and the dreaded naysayers.
Over the years, I also expanded my own view of our superheroes and realized that they had to fight more than self-esteem challenges - self-love was only the beginning. The Awesome Perfectly Me Girls had to fight for and promote the supervalues that make kids superheroes – honesty, courage, kindness, compassion, perseverance, resilience, intelligence and more. Specifically, I wanted our superheroes to be tools that parents could use to help their kids become superheroes and the best humans. I also expanded our universe to include amazing boys with the introduction of Captain Kid Kindness in 2019 based on my son, Mikey. CKK is a kindergarten who works with his kindness crew to encourage kindness, empathy, and inclusion. And this year, we added the Perfectly Me Squad, a diverse group of elementary school heroes who fight AdversiT through STEAM, mindfulness, perseverance, and leadership.
I am passionate about this work because I’m a mom and I want my son to be a superhero and great human. And I know this isn’t going to be easy but I feel more confident because I’ve got my Perfectly Me Team and my superhero crew fighting along-side me, the Perfectly Me SuperHeroes.