Meet Cissie Gerber
Lilac Tree Client and Director of Sales & Marketing
How did you get involved with TLT?
Cissie: I learned about The Lilac Tree from a social worker. She suggested that I look at their website and from the website, I learned about Divorce University™.
What stage of divorce were you in when you were introduced to TLT?
Cissie: I was just starting to think that a divorce might be in my future, so I was in the contemplation stage. I didn’t even have a lawyer at the time.
What events did you participate in at TLT?
Cissie: I attended the 2009 Divorce University™. It was an awesome experience. I sat through all the workshops and stayed there the entire day.
Divorce University™ was eye opening for me. I learned so many different things about what may be coming my way. The most important pieces of information came from listening to the financial panelists emphasizing the importance of knowing what your financial situation is and offering advice on how to find out. They taught that me that it was imperative to know what I had and what I didn’t have. I personally had been in the dark about our finances.
How was your experience?
Cissie: Sitting in the room filled with women in similar situations to mine was very inspiring and reassuring. I realized that I wasn’t alone and there was so much support available. I had moved to Chicago from another state and always lived in my ex-husband’s world. Having the knowledge that there were resources and options out there helped me move forward with the divorce.
I had been a stay-at-home mom since my first of three children was born. I loved, and still love, being a mom and my children were my entire world. I started to recognize that there is more to life than being a great mom, especially as the kids were growing up and would soon leave the nest. I had given up my career, and with that, lost some of my self-esteem and fulfillment. I had forgotten who I had been and needed to find my own identity and passion. The Lilac Tree workshops helped me see that I needed to do something for myself, and after that, I started to teach Sunday school to pre-schoolers through second graders.
What are you doing now?
Cissie: I work at Right At Home which is a private-duty Home Care agency providing home care services to those who need assistance in their home. I am their director of sales and marketing. Prior to that, I worked at a health care and rehab center. I started working part-time in their activities department and worked my way up to be their Community Outreach Coordinator. I love my new career in the aging field and have made many new friends in this special industry. I blossomed from a quiet non-working mom into an outgoing marketing professional. I spend my days meeting new people and talking to families in need. I have regained my passion and confidence.
What advice would you give to women as they go through their Divorce?
Cissie: Practically, you must be educated on your legal rights. Reach out for education and support at Lilac Tree. Get counseling from a professional therapist and find an experienced lawyer who will be honest with you about what you can expect throughout the process from start to finish. Find something that you are good at, and find your passion. You don’t have to go through divorce alone and yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel.