Written by Rachel Dawn Hayes.

Websq-Tricia_Barendregt-9645-EditIt’s been said work-life balance no longer exists, that the two have become intertwined—work is life and life is work. If your work is rooted in a cause you’re passionate about, this is a good thing. If not, well…that’s another blog post.

Tricia Barendregt, WCA’s new VP of Career Services and subject of this month’s Member Spotlight, happily fits into the former category, but it’s definitely been a process. After a career of various marketing roles, including copywriting, email marketing, media management, and most recently as the director of marketing for a software company, Tricia came to realize the planning, strategizing and coordinating that comes with the typical marketing role wasn’t really her cup of tea. “I’ve always been most satisfied when I’m being creative and writing,” she shares.

During this time of self-discovery, Tricia was also managing her health after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, a very common autoimmune disorder. “I was balancing doctor’s appointments, and although my current position was very flexible, it wasn’t a sustainable [situation]. I needed to be able to focus on my health,” says Tricia.

She admits that her first freelance gigs were found by accident, but she soon realized contract work—with its innate flexibility and the bonus of working from home—was a great fit for her life.

Today, Tricia blogs about health, lifestyle, entertainment and tourism for Literally, Darling, which is syndicated by the Huffington Post, and The Mighty, a blog that shares personal and powerful stories. She also writes about entertainment and tourism for TexasHillCountry.com. Tricia’s situation is ideal, in part, because she’s able to select projects and topics she enjoys, which removes a lot of stress. “If I don’t feel well and I’m stressed over my work, it makes my health worse,” she says.

Perhaps the greatest advantage, though, is how Tricia has been able to weave her passion for helping others with invisible and chronic diseases into her writing and the platforms it’s afforded. “There are people out there that we have no idea are sick or struggling. I’m trying to bring out the invisible,” Tricia says.

Tricia’s writing platform focuses on the sharing of experiences and personal narratives about autoimmune disease. She also encourages women to listen to their bodies and intuition and stresses the importance of self-care.

“[The blogs I write for] have provided feedback that readers have had the same or similar experiences as me—up to and including autoimmune disease and miscarriage. My stories have resulted in people—women—being informed and talking to their doctors about how to have healthy pregnancies [with autoimmune diseases],” says Tricia.

Tricia’s next professional feat, and writing topic, will focus on yoga—specifically modified yoga for those with illnesses, injuries and limited abilities. She’s beginning work on her yoga certification in January 2016 and will be learning modifications for poses. She plans to write about the experience during and after she’s certified, Tricia will start a blog or website to share what’s she’s learned.

“I’m a communicator at heart, but I have all these passions and I want to help people. I feel I should use my skills in that way,” she says.

Tricia also sings and performs in a band called Miss Jones & The Furrballs. She describes them as a crazy, zany, full show band that’s as much as comedy act as a musical show. She has served on WCA’s Communications Committee as well as host for WCA’s Careers Over Coffee North. “I want to continue to network and volunteer. I find it very rewarding to connect with people and learn about their passions.”