Liz Ferro is an author, a mom, wife, speaker and the founder and CEO of Girls with Sole. As a child growing up in foster care, Ferro experienced sexual abuse but found solace in fitness, particularly swimming, biking and running. The empowerment gained from sports led her to create the non-profit organization Girls with Sole, which has received extensive national attention for its innovative and successful program curriculum. Ferro has completed more than 70 marathons; two 50K Ultras; five Ironman Triathlons; and countless road races and triathlons - including the epic and iconic Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco, California.
She completed a 26.2 Marathon in all 50 states, as well as on the Great Wall of China. Ferro has been featured on the NBC TODAY Show, in SELF, Runner's World, and Family Circle Magazine. She is the recipient of the 2018 Smartwomen Award for Progressive Organization; 2017 Community Changemaker Award from the Ohio Alliance To End Sexual Violence; 2016 Medical Mutual NEO Pillar Award; 2015 Perspectives Women Who Excel Award; and the 2015 Symbol of H.O.P.E. Award. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a mom of two kids and four rescue animals. I grew up in Rochester, NY, but have lived in the Cleveland, OH area for about thirty years. As a kid I was in four foster homes and experienced sexual abuse. I have used my experiences and the empowerment I found in fitness to help girls in need by starting the non-profit, Girls With Sole. I have done a marathon in all fifty states, on the Great Wall of China, and on a wildlife preserve in South Africa. Just about everything I do relates in some way to Girls With Sole - including the books I have written.
How did these books come to be?
Girls With Sole came to be because I wanted to reach more people in need of recognizing and unleashing the power we all have inside. I wrote my first book, Finish Line Feeling, to tell my story and how Girls With Sole came to be. Many times at speaking engagements, women have asked me why I don’t do programs for women…instead of just girls. So, that’s where the Girls With Sole workbook came into play! It’s for all the women and girls I might not reach with my nonprofit. Chameleon Girl came from my desire to get creative and attempt my first fiction novel.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by the creativity of writing, as well as storytelling. Whether I am recounting how events have already happened, or making them up in my imagination, I am inspired to write if I can help or entertain someone.
Do you see Girls with Sole, a work on non-fiction, and Chameleon Girl, your debut novel, as in conversation with one another? If so, in what ways?
The two books hold each other’s hands in a sense. Girls With Sole is a workbook and inspiration source that fosters and cultivates self-awareness, courage, and a strong foundation to build your dreams upon. In Chameleon Girl, the main character struggles with self-awareness but must dig deep within herself to find out who she really is, what’s real, and work with what she has to propel forward in life. It’s like the conversation is being held in both books and communicating their own life lessons.
Do you think about your audience while you write? If so, who do you hope your readers might be?
I always think about my audience while I’m writing. Sometimes, I think a little too much so. I want so much to help and inspire any one in any little bit that I can, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to make my words and writing style reflect that. I hope that my readers are people who root for the underdog and who feel underrepresented but come out at the end feeling strong and unstoppable.
How is the practice of writing similar to the practice of running?
They are quite similar in that it is often most difficult to get started!! The blank page is like trying to get my butt out the door. Once I start, though, things begin to flow, and I am ALWAYS glad I did it!
What might you tell a young woman who feels that their story isn’t worth sharing?
You never know who you might touch with your story…or who you are inspiring! If you share your story, it will not only make you feel better, but it could give permission to someone else to share theirs as well. It gives them the courage to give voice to their story and to feel worthy as well. It’s a ripple effect of awesomeness!
What are you working on next?
Well, I have already had many people tell me that they want me to write a sequel for Chameleon Girl, and it was just released on May 21, 2021. I can’t help but think about the possibility of continuing Nora’s story in a Part 2 of Chameleon Girl. I also have an idea in my head for a murder mystery - but haven’t begun developing it quite yet.