Jessica Shields of Youngstown, Ohio, is 31 years old and the first female K9 unit officer in the history of the Youngstown Police Department. Prior to her eight years as an officer, she played Division I basketball at Kent State University. After graduation, she got into weightlifting to fill the void of being a collegiate athlete. She’s competed in three bodybuilding shows and is training for her first powerlifting meet in May 2020.

The following is what strong(her) means to Jessica:

Each and every woman is blessed with a different set of traits that makes them strong(her). It’s up to you how you unleash your strong!

A strong woman creates herself. She follows her intuition, and if she listens carefully, her intuition will whisper her most desired goals and dreams. She becomes true to herself and her soul. She finds the courage to stop blindly following the path that’s expected of her from her outside influences, friends, and family. She unapologetically stands up for herself and the journey she’s chosen to follow. She fights to overcome the fear of taking chances, the fear of failure, and the fear of public’s mockery.

A strong woman keeps faith in her abilities due to the hard work and dedication she puts into her chosen path. She won’t let herself down. She has a vision, and that vision is her purpose, and that purpose is her way of manifesting her sense of fulfillment in this life. She puts in the time and the work necessary to get to where she wants to go, understands that sacrifices are necessary, and continually chooses to put herself first.

A strong(her) woman is the creator of her own happiness. She doesn’t allow her inner turmoil to wipe the smile off of her face or rip the joy from her soul. She persists through her struggles.

Most importantly, a strong(her) woman knows how to lead from love. She doesn’t consider kindness a weakness. She loves and never stops loving.

Kindness is a necessary part of a strong woman’s being because it allows them to emotionally connect with all people in the world. A strong(her) woman that shows kindness knows how to build people up from the inside out. She’s able to show true empathy, stand up for what is right in the face of adversity, and has genuine appreciation for others. She will make her mark in the world, and once she does — she reaches back to help others.

Thank you Jessica for your support and being Strong(her)!

Please submit your Strong(her) story with a picture in your Strong(her) Apparel to: herstory@strongher.com