Nominated for the award: Authors
Company: Laura Avolese
Biography: Laura’s childhood was steeped in mafia culture and domestic abuse. At just 10 years old she and her sister moved to Toronto to live with her grandparents after the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her father. Laura’s grandparents were close, but strict. They raised her with respect and discipline, but she struggled to overcome the demons of her past, turning to drinking and drugs to cope. After escaping a physically abusive boyfriend Laura fell into a psychologically abusive relationship and after three years, became pregnant. Forced by strict Italian tradition and facing the prospect of being disowned by her grandparents, Laura married. At 21 she gave birth to her son, and a daughter soon followed. At 29 a motivational course sparked a journey of forgiveness, acceptance, empowerment, and inner strength that changed Laura’s life forever. A few months later, following the tragic loss of her grandfather to suicide, Laura decided to seize control of her life. Laura left her abusive marriage refusing to accept alimony or child support payments, determined to remain independent and to support her two young children herself. She became a successful real estate agent in her 30s and seemed unstoppable - but it was not to last. Bankruptcy and depression hit Laura in her 40’s. With just $24 in her bank account she decided to rediscover the inner strength, spirituality, and power of forgiveness that changed her life at 29. In a matter of months, she turned her life around once again, reaching new levels of success and happiness. Her $24 bank account grew to more than six figures in under six months. Laura now devotes her life to empowering and inspiring others to pursue their dreams and overcome their past. She is a motivational speaker, life coach, successful real estate agent, and the author of 4 books, including Breaking Barriers, Empowering Women to Succeed, 365 Empowering Stories, and Dreaming Big and Being Bold . Laura uses her inner strength to share the lessons she’s learned about abuse, addiction, pain and forgiveness to help others find their inner strength, pursue their dreams and overcome the past. Laura has been featured on several television programs including CHCH TV Morning Live and various podcast series produced by Gordon So amongst others . Laura is particularly proud to be involved in the new documentary W’At Abowt Us produced by Shelland House of Films, which was released in May 2019. With this and future writing projects Laura continues to shed light on issues of abuse, addiction and reminds us of the power of forgiveness.