Elsie Morden, 21, has been struggling with bullying, depression, and anxiety for longer than she can remember. Growing up in rural Manitoba, her high school years were the toughest. Bullying turned into a vicious cycle, and she often felt as if there was no escape.
Elsie’s world began to darken, to the point that life didn’t feel worth living anymore.
Then, shock struck; after being assaulted by a bully, Elsie says she opened her eyes, and decided she needed a new approach. She became a new woman: bold, positive and looking for change.
“We are all going to have some bad days, but we're also going to have some really good days, and those are the days worth fighting for," Elsie says. "Despite the overwhelming hard times, I refused to bow to defeat, and eventually gained the strength to pull through, only becoming more driven than ever to rise above it all.”
Elsie focused on what she loves in order to heal; picking up the family guitar, strumming cords, all while scribbling down her thoughts, became Elsie’s medicine.
“Music saved my life, and I hope that my music can do the same for others.”
She realized many people share a similar story of bullying, and it sparked a passion to prevent others from feeling trapped and alone. Elsie knew she wanted to make a difference, and began working on her message of hope.
“I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through until I was in Grade 11, and I felt so alone for so long," she recalls. "I had musical inspirations, but that was it. I want to be the inspiration to kids that I never had growing up.”
During senior year at just 17, Elsie founded the No Time for That Anti-Bullying Society, a registered Canadian charity, and created the, “No Time for That” Tour. She emailed schools in her home province of Manitoba in hopes of being invited to present her story and music. Her goal was, and remains, to share her message of empathy and empowerment with as many youth as possible to prevent and stop bullying, and tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness. She also wants to encourage youth to be themselves, follow their dreams, make positive life choices, and respect, support, love, and care for each other.
Many schools responded, and Elsie was on her way to making a difference.
“The presentation has always been and always will be offered free of charge, as I don’t want money to be a barrier for students to hear my story,” she says. “So donations are needed in order to keep touring.”
Today, Elsie has traveled to over 500 schools across Canada with the “No Time for That” Tour, accepted several awards in recognition of her powerful presentation, and is a Manitoba Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year Nominee for her debut full length album.
When asked what the most rewarding part of her career is Elsie says: “I will receive a message from someone saying that I changed their life when I came to their school three years ago, and they still listen to my songs all the time. That’s why I do what I do.”
Elsie’s advice for anyone struggling: “Positivity is key; sometimes we can't change negative people or events, but we can totally change the way we are affected by them, and we can't let them bring us down.”
Elsie now lives in Nova Scotia, and she continues aspiring to inspire. Her goals include growing the No Time for That Anti-Bullying Society charity, empowering others to become leaders, releasing more music, and someday have charting singles.
Elsie expresses how being a member of the Centre for Women in Business can only further her aspirations, particularly being new to Nova Scotia.
“Being surrounded by so many successful, strong, like-minded businesswomen is extremely empowering," she says. "They all inspire me to be a better person and work harder to achieve my goals. I would recommend joining an organization like the Centre to all women in business.”