CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — When life brings a new challenge, season or test each week, we can often find it harder to endure alone. But throughout Central Illinois, a woman has chosen a mission of uniting women together. Through her organization, they are pushed to succeed.

That group is called Founding Females, headquartered in Morton, Illinois, and started by a woman named Francie Hinrichsen in 2021. A seasoned entrepreneur herself, she wanted an opportunity for ambitious but hesitant women to have a safe place. A familiar family so all dreams can be achieved through encouragement, relatable testimonies and networking too.

“I went through a series of events in my life, I call them my life’s Fun House. Divorce, depression, unemployment, the challenges that life brings. I kept coming back to I just wanted to feel better. Get back to embracing my community and taking care of everyone because I’m a helper.”

Francie’s group Founding Females played a role in Heidi Esther’s growth and achievements. It was through their local meet-ups, held on the third Tuesday of each month, that provided her confidence, connection and courage to pursue her individual goals. Those relationships built launched her career. Heidi is now an author of “For Cryin’ Out Loud” which released in March 2022. She’s also a certified Emotional Intelligence Life Coach, Joy Coach, speaker and mentor.

If that wasn’t enough, Heidi is also a mother of two and proud U-of-I engineering alum. Now, Heidi’s work includes speaking at events, blogging, and using her multitude of skills to inspire women to believe in themselves. She also wants to remind them of their worth and potential.

“The main message of the book is even when we feel like we’re just moms or just helpers we also deserve our own joy. I was able to look back on that decade in the fun house and find five basic principles I had to learn to break open this joy.”

She goes on to say, “Worthiness is one. Feeling like I deserve my own joy. The second is resilience. Keep coming back to feel better. The third is support. Developing a support network. I didn’t have to do it alone. I could still feel good about who I was. Having a tribe of women and support around me.”

That’s also why Founding Females has been instrumental for Heidi, because they share the mission of nurturing and leading women to the best version of themselves. Bloomington is recently home to a chapter that has free, weekly meet-ups where like-minded women share. Heidi will also be working with Founding Females to form a chapter for Champaign-Urbana.

If there are any women driven to run a business, write a book or regain the confidence to be independent and strong, Founding Females and Heidi encourage you to reach out. Heidi can also be found volunteering with Junior League of Champaign-Urbana and other local groups.

For more on Heidi Esther and the work she’s doing for women, click here.

For the many resources and supports Founding Females offers, click here.

You can also visit their Facebook by going here.