Embracing Change with Valencia McClure
Following a very successful career in Corporate America, Valencia McClure, founder of The Artistry Of Essential Oils, is living proof that natural wellness is possible even amid seemingly impossible situations.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2015, her search for positive results and more natural healings was a difficult road; one faced with a lot of reading, research, and consultations regarding holistic recovery. Now in remission and a trained aromatherapist, The Artistry Of Essential Oils is a vision birthed out of survival and strength.
Valencia has served on the Board of Visitors for the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and on the Boards of Directors for Susan G. Komen Maryland, Bowie State University and the Girl Scouts Central Maryland. She was named one of Savoy Magazine’s 2019 Most Influential Women in Corporate America, Baltimore Sun’s Top 25 Women to Watch in 2016 and a recipient of the 2016 President’s Roundtable Corporate Executive Trailblazer Award. Valencia is a graduate of Leadership Maryland and Dallas. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism
from the University of Texas at Arlington.
As founder of The Artistry Of Essential Oils, she is committed to creating a movement that encourages people to be the best they can be, and that includes caring about what you put on your skin and supporting your total wellbeing. As she likes to say, “Walk in your natural beauty.”
Being a strong advocate for finding a cure for breast cancer and the empowerment of young girls, The Artistry Of Essential Oils will donate a portion of its proceeds to organizations furthering the mission of breast cancer research and advancing the empowerment of young girls and women. The Artistry Of Essential Oils is committed to improving your emotional wellness and quality of life using essential oil blends and perfecting your natural canvas with age-defying skincare. Our products are hand-made and formulated with 100% therapeutic essential oils, natural and organic products. They are a non-toxic, clean beauty solution you can feel good about. Together, let’s take a holistic approach to improving all around wellness-mind body and soul.
Whether you’re newly diagnosed, a long-term survivor or still in active treatment, breast cancer can affect how you feel inside and out. You have to cope with the emotional strain of the diagnosis and the challenges of treatment, as well as the stresses of daily life. Even though your diagnosis may be similar to another, person’s the way breast cancer impacts your life is unique for today’s guest breast cancer triggered a positive change in her life, which led to an overhaul of her career and the fulfillment of a new dream here to share her story and how she embraced change is Valencia McClure, Valencia. Welcome to the show.
Hi, thank you. Thanks so much for having me.
I love I love your, your energy, love your vibe. And I know you’ve got a unique story. Give us some details about yourself and what was happening in your life when you were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Sure, definitely. I was diagnosed in 2015, April of 2015. And so for me, life was great. I was an executive in the energy industry, had a great job, a great personal and professional life, huge golfer, you know, so just kind of, I was living on the East coast, living in Maryland at the time. So everything was going along fine. And then I ha was having very intense pain in my breast. I have a high tolerance for pain and this pain, it just felt unusual. And so I knew, okay, let me go have it checked out. I wasn’t even thinking in terms of, of it being cancer, because I always heard the term, if it’s pain, it’s not cancer because it was on my left side. I kept thinking, okay, maybe it’s something related to my heart or perhaps I pulled a muscle within my chest, but I knew I needed to get it checked out.
So went into my OB GYN and she did an exam. She said, I don’t feel anything. Everything feels great, but let me go ahead and have you take an ultrasound and a mammogram just to be safe and sure enough in the ultrasound is where they thought the cancer. And so at that time, then of course it was still, I had to have the biopsy. And then of course it turned into, I got the call saying that you have breast cancer. The good news is, is that it was caught so early. So I was a stage one, which, and that really kind of is what led me to being so public about my journey. Because if in fact you’re unfortunate to hear those words, you have cancer it’s so it’s such a different journey if it’s an early stage cancer. So it’s so important, always. So people listen to what your body is saying.
Make sure you’re getting your annual mammograms because it can save your life. Yeah, obviously that was a, an alter for me, those words. And so when you first hear the words, it it’s really very surreal. And at the moment you’re the first thoughts are, how is this going to impact my life? What will my life be like going forward, host cancer, and how long do I have to live? So, you know, your, your mind takes you to those thoughts. And for me, I’ve always been a very positive person. So once I kind of had those thoughts, then I had to reel myself back in and then really kind of compartmentalize it and say, okay, what are the next steps? What do I need to do? I’m going to have this taken care of, and life will be fine. And so that started me then on obviously the journey of meeting with doctors and then the whole journey of surgery, radiation and post-cancer.
Wow. Wow. And so I’d imagine, you know, balancing a career, you were successful executive in corporate America, and now you’re coming under a great deal of stress, right. So can you tell us about how you balance that with the unexpected diagnosis and the subsequent treatment?
Sure. So my, I was fortunate because I had such a supportive family, so that was really my, that was my rock. That was my foundation. At the time when I received the call saying that I had breast cancer, my parents happened to be in town visiting from Texas. So they were there with me. I am a very strong in my faith. And so of course that was on my knees praying. And then from there, it became, and I actually turned to the Coleman organization because when you have a diagnosis such as cancer, you want to make sure that you receiving your information from a credible source. And from my past relationship with Coleman, when I lived in Texas, I knew that was a credible source. So turn to the Komen organization of, okay, w what are the steps? So to help me really kind of put everything in perspective I had to outline, okay.
I knew I needed to meet with doctors. I knew I needed to meet with two different doctors. And then to outline, I had to put it in perspective of what is the timeline, what happens next? How does it impact my life? How do I make this fit within my schedule? And so I’m still thinking in terms of, of like, this is a project. And as I met with doctors, I had to come to the realization of my cancer treatment became first priority over anything else that I had on my schedule. So it did take me through a different thought process. I was also fortunate that I had a very supportive CEO and a very supportive team where I worked. And so that obviously makes a world of difference. Being able to have a good support system from family, friends, and your professional life. So I had that as well, but it did mean that I had to, for the first time in a long time in my life prioritize the work schedule.
So a lot of what I did in the evenings and weekends that were nice to do is because of the job I had to really put a stop on that, because it really did come down to health is first health was number one for me. And how do I make sure that I am going through this journey to where I’m going to come out in the best health and wellness in the end. So it did mean having to really restructure that professional and personal schedule, which was hard for me. I’d never really did that before, because it really, my life was all about all, about the work. And so that was a big adjustment for me.
Wow. Wow. I can, I can only imagine. And so I also understand that you’re utilizing essential oils for your own wellbeing. Walk us through that a little bit and what happened next,
As I said, you know, as I really put the emphasis on, okay. On my whole health and wellness, it came down to one, we know toxins are not good for anyone who’s going through any type of illness, especially cancer. It’s all about trying to remove toxins in your life. So I had to kind of do a full, really reorg within my life. So as I looked at what I was putting on and in my skin, that first thing came to, okay, it’s your skincare, your cosmetics, your personal care, what you clean with, what you wash your dishes in when you wash your clothes. And so I almost did like a cleaning out of everything that I was using to replace with clean and natural. And so, as I was going through that journey, two things that I knew were going to happen since I knew I was going to have radiation and the impact radiation has on your skin, I needed to make sure that I was preparing my skin for the radiation and then what, what needed to happen during and post.
And that’s how I turn to essential oils. So frankincense Hoba roasted. Those were lifesavers for me when it came to really making sure I was nourishing my skin the way I needed to. And then the other part, and you hear it all the time when you’re going through it, an illness, 80% of it is your mindset. And so, although I’m always a kind of joyful person by nature, but I knew I wanted to support my mindset, keep myself uplifted encouraged as I was going through it. And so I also turned to essential oil. So I would diffuse orange and peppermint essential oil. I would diffuse Rosemary and frankincense all to kind of keep my mind strengthened to keep me focused and to keep me uplifted. And so, as I saw the benefits of what essential oils were doing in my life, through my cancer journey, then that led me to become certified.
So I became a certified enrollment therapist. So I really wanted to make sure that I was educated and trained to truly use essential oils to the greatest benefit that they provide. So that started me on this whole different mindset, a passion that I never knew I had before. And then I started formulating products for colleagues. And so when they people would say, Oh, I have a headache or I’m depressed, or I have hot flashes, I would start formulating products for them. And when I saw the feedback that I would receive, how it was working in other people’s lives, not just in my own and others, that really started me then on a different journey using essential oils.
Wow. That’s fantastic. How did you have the courage to embrace that change and follow your new passion?
It, it was an interesting path and it took a while because I have I’m a 30 plus year corporate America person, even after my cancer journey, I was promoted to a higher level. I was vice-president over governmental, external affairs within the energy industry. So a very, very great job, great career at which I thought I would have probably continued on until I was 60. But once I hit 55, I was able to retire. So it was a couple of things that were going on. I think for me, there was a desire to move back home to Texas, to be close to family. And also this growing passion that I had for really wanting to educate the masses on the benefits of essential oils, as I truly started to see how they could work within people’s lives. So as that time started coming near and knowing that I could retire the thought of, okay, what would life be like if I am a full-time launching a business and being able to develop products on my own and have them to where people could purchase them.
It’s one thing to give them for people to try it at no cost. It’s another for people to purchase products. So as I continue to pray, pray on it, I felt that that was where God was leading me. You know, it’s always, you, you hear from so many people, it’s always such a joy to be able to do what you love and make a living from it. And that’s always the first step you want to find, what is it that you’re passionate about and can that passion truly turn into a lifestyle for you? And that’s what I found with essential oils. And so in December 19, December, 2019, I retired from my job. And in that same month, then I launched the artistry of essential oils.
Wow. That is fantastic. What final advice would you give to our listeners surrounding their breast health and their just overall wellbeing?
Right. So I would say first is to make sure you listen to your body because your body really does tell you what’s, what’s going on. When you see different changes happening, whether it’s changes within how your skin is looking pain, you might be feeling, even changes in your hair. If you see it going from looking lifeless or doll something’s going on within your body. So you want to listen to your body that’s first and foremost, to really be aware of what you’re putting in and on your body. Because it truly is about, there are certain things we can’t control in life, but there are others that we can control and we can control some of the toxins that we’re putting on and in our body and almost any type of illness, disease, lot of times it starts with toxic. So you really want to be cautious of what you’re putting on in, in your body.
And then I would also say for those that might, you know, have that unfortunate to where they do have an illness or disease, allow yourself to let other people in. And sometimes that’s hard, but that was one thing when people say they want to help allow them to be there for you when you are going through a tough time and last but not least, always remember mindset is about 80% of everything. So as sometimes when it’s so hard, but really keep that positive outlook, allow yourself to feel the feelings that you’re feeling you don’t. I mean, obviously we know it’s, it’s hard, but once you’ve let yourself feel the feelings, know what it takes to pick yourself back up and keep that positive outlook as you’re going through that journey, because it can get better. On the other side, I guarantee you, there is life after illness. It all depends on how you look at it as you’re going through the journey.
Hmm. Wow. Valencia, this has been fantastic. Your your is inspiring your conversations inspiring. Just thank you for joining me on the show today. It’s really been a pleasure.
Okay, great. You and one last thing too, always want to say it’s important when you go through a journey, share it with others because you never know how your journey can be an inspiration to other people. And it’s so important for people to hear what others are going through because they might be going through the same that’s right. So much. Thanks so much for having me on.