Shelli Varela is the creator of the inspiring, innovative system that helps confused, uncertain or otherwise hesitant women go guns-a-blazin’ towards the life of their dreams.
As someone who was once a struggling artist herself, Shelli knew what it was like to want big things…..but never knew which path to take to get there. That’s when she stumbled into the world of firefighting (Yes, firefighting!). A career option that seemed as far-fetched from an art career as you could imagine, there was something about the thrill of the chase, the challenge and the reward that fulfilled her in all sorts of new and exciting ways. Soon (actually 1162 days later), she found herself with the title of first female firefighter in Canada’s sixth largest city, and ultimately worked her way up to Fire Captain– despite many naysayers and doubters, who once even included herself.
Shelli’s struggle to earn a role in a non-traditional career taught her a few things including key concepts such as transformational mindset, goal architecting and strategic success engineering.
Shelli now uses her system to show people how to achieve their own dreams- regardless of what they may be.
Shelli Varela proudly became the first female firefighter with the Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services in 1994, and most recently its first female Fire Captain.
Over the years, Shelli has used her own experiences to serve as an example that all things are possible.
In 2010 she was awarded the Firefighter of the Year Award acknowledging 10 years of charity work and outstanding community service and continues to use her spare time to lecture in both Canada and the United States on tenacity, empowerment and overcoming adversity.
As a traveling member of Firefighters Without Borders, Shelli has had the privilege of working with firefighters in other countries and meeting her World Vision Sponsor Child.
Shelli has writing in her genes. Her grandfather, Ray Varela, was a writer who worked as both a newspaper journalist as well as a fiction writer. From a very early age, Shelli has been writing and creating “word paintings” from her vivid childhood imagination. In middle school Shelli was given a failing grade on several creative writing projects including an insightful poem that likened death to the changing of the seasons. Her teacher, Mrs. Bertram, insisted such a poem could not have been written by such a young girl and refused to change her grade until her parents could prove that she did, in fact, author the piece.
While pursuing her dream to become a firefighter, Shelli dabbled in writing only occasionally – putting her creative mind to one side and donning a more logical pragmatic approach to her new path. This hiatus lasted over a decade until the passing of her father in 2011.
Shortly after losing her Dad she began working on a book about success, goals and positive mindset. While reflecting on her loss, she had come to understand that much of her own success had come from her upbringing and decided to write a story that kids could relate to using her firefighting career as a metaphor.
With nothing but a story and a dream to get the book published, Shelli flew to California, along with dozens of fellow writers from around the world to attend a writing seminar hosted by a reputable literary agency. Hungry for feedback and insight into the publishing world she embarked on a learning journey to gain insight into the industry only to encounter some cutting words from the agents that would ignite the fight within her. They said, “The odds are that none of you can realistically expect to get published. Ever.”
From that moment it was “on”.
Never a big believer in limiting beliefs, Shelli decided to pursue self-publishing.
“Everything is Possible.” This sentence had not only become a common theme in her life, but her mantra and like many times before, she reverse-engineered her dilemma, broke it down into bite-size pieces, and began to tackle the task at hand- one small step at a time.
Six months later Peanut Meets the Pigtailed Firefighter was released.
Shelli is currently working on her second book and continues to contribute her writing throughout the Internet.