How Kristen experienced workplace trauma, and survived

Can you imagine leaving work knowing you’ve accomplished so much but feeling it’s not enough—day after day after day?

Kristen Holzapfel spent several years working as a child protection social worker and felt like this nearly every day. While her career was rewarding, it took its toll and nearly broke Kristen’s heart and her body.

Kristen is the author of Selfless: A social worker’s own story of trauma and recovery and a snapshot of her story is in today’s blog. Kristen will also share her story at The Network of Possibility event being held this Wednesday, 8 November.

An inspirational speaker, Kristen will talk about the trauma she experienced in her workplace and how it led to the development of anorexia. At The Network of Possibility, Kristen will talk about learning that she is human, not superhuman. She’ll share how she recovered from the illness, transformed her life and found a new, and equally rewarding, career.

Kristen’s words of wisdom apply to high-performing professionals at any level and in any field, especially those facing relentless and intense pressure.

Kristen didn’t heal alone. Animals played an important part in her recovery.

‘I’ve always found interacting with pets to be uplifting and good for the soul,’ says Kristen. ‘Animals helped me step back, no matter how hard my day was. They were always there, giving support and unconditional love. They were an immensely important part of my recovery.’

Kristen’s new career focused on pets. She opened Canberra’s Friendly Petsitter in 2014, a service providing overnight and daytime petsitting services for pets right where they feel most comfortable—in their own home.

‘I pursued a new passion,’ says Kristen. ‘The move was scary. I needed to make an income and that forced me to be creative with my ideas. It’s been a huge amount of work and plenty of times I’ve thrown my hands in the air thinking and said: “It’s just not working.”’

Canberra’s Friendly Petsitter has proven that it is working. And now Kristen is sharing her story as a guest speaker at The Network of Possibility.

Run by accredited executive coach Kim Vella, The Network of Possibility is no ordinary event. ‘We don’t yell or sell,’ says Kim. ‘We don’t whip out business cards the second we meet someone or push elevator pitches. This is a neutral and supportive space for members and guests to share defeats and triumphs. It’s a relationship-driven network where we make it a priority to get to know each other on a deeper level.’

Each event features speakers keen to share their experiences. ‘We’re about big changes in people’s lives,’ says Kim. ‘We unite community-minded Canberra professionals who want to use their time, energy and skills to give back.’

The Network of Possibility is a philanthropic event that raises funds for three charities—Karinya House; YWCA Canberra; and Toora Women Inc. The upcoming event—the last for 2017—is being held November 8, 6 to 8pm, 25 Forster Crescent. Book here.

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