Denise McAlister is a former teacher with a qualification in Sexuality and Sexual Health from Dublin City University. She is honouring her calling to open up the conversation around STI’s putting an end to associated shame and stigma with her powerful message – ‘It’s Okay’.

Denise joined PR with Heart to explore her calling. Without a product or business she followed her heart bringing a fun and experimental approach to the course.

She is now clear on her purpose, message, audience, communication channel and her offering is naturally emerging.

For Denise this is a personal journey. Having contracted an STI as a teenager, her self image and sexual confidence was affected by the shame and stigma. She kept it as a secret for 15 years and avoided relationships.

Then, as she began to open up about it in women’s circles she found talking about it empowering. She describes this first step as: “daunting, nerve wracking, vulnerable. However, vulnerable conversations are memorable. Vulnerability and openness connects with people.”

Over the 5 weeks of PR with Heart Denise, embraced her calling. Her key channel of communication was identified as Instagram and she bravely set up the Instagram account – @LetsTalkSTIs – to share her story, signpost quality non-judgemental information and normalise the conversation.

She says: “This feels like what I’m meant to do and there is real clarity in that. PR with Heart gave me a structure, support from you, from the group, it is so empowering that it gave me the push to do it and then you are on a roll.”

Her advice to anyone with a calling, not yet with the courage or clarity: “Listen to your intuition and take it step by step.

And of PR with Heart she says: “I loved PR with Heart. Kat, you are so intuitive you can tune into what we need and support us. The group has so much support to give you momentum, accountability and encouragement. The structure for me, breaking it down into small steps is much more manageable. And listening to your heart. I wouldn’t normally do that and it pinpointed obvious actions and sparks of ideas.”

If you have an STI – It is Okay. Follow Denise on Instagram at Letstalkstis. Reach out to her for support and signposting to quality, non-judgemental information.

You can listen to Denise share her journey to becoming visible and vocal on episode 14 of the True Business Podcast.

Kat Byles · Ep14 – True Business – Following your Calling – Lets Talk STIs – Denise McAlister
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