Vera Rutherford, founder of Visions by Vera LLC, embodies a journey of strength and resilience. Born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, in 1969, her life’s path was shaped by early personal struggles. At six, her world was shaken by her father’s mental breakdown and subsequent sexual abuse at his hands, coinciding with bullying at school - hardships that persisted for 12 years.
Fleeing her father’s house in search of safety, Vera’s first marriage led her into a different kind of struggle. Far from family and burdened by her husband’s addiction, she found strength in her faith and her community’s support, even through a time of homelessness and hunger.
Her second marriage, though blessed with a child, was marred by emotional abuse at the hands of a functional alcoholic narcissist. She stayed because he was such a good father and provider and his bad traits weren’t that bad, at least not initially. After twenty-five years, he left her for another woman, and she was finally free to become herself and discover who that was and to discover joy on her terms.
Like fire tempers steel, Vera's trials forged her into a determined advocate for others. She holds degrees and certifications in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Special Education (Several ), and a Master's in Elementary Education from Indiana University's Southeast campus where she graduated Summa Cum Laud with a 4.0 during her Bachelor's Degree and Magna Cum Laud during her Master's Degree. In addition, she has won many scholarships that relied heavily on the writing component as well as winning the IUS Research Writing Award during her Bachelor's Degree years while holding down a full-time job at a bustling law firm as a paralegal, a mother of a three-year-old son, and a wife of a narcissistic functional alcoholic. She also battled health issues related to her ongoing stress which included a three-month period where the right side of her body remained numb and tingly before they ruled out a stroke and determined it was complicated migraines.
She didn't only have academic successes, however. She also worked at that law firm where she started as a typist, was promoted to a legal secretary within three months, and was promoted again to a paralegal within six months as she learned the ropes and improved on how things were done by creating computer templates from scratch back before anyone else was doing it. She then took over the computer maintenance and backups as the company had never had anyone to do that before either, while continuing to do her paralegal duties and attend school as a psychology major, with her eye on law school before transferring to teaching. When asked why the sudden change after one and a half years of pursuing psychology and law, she replied, "I was born to help others. I realized as I worked at the law firm that by the time they got into the legal system, it was much harder to help them. I figured it would be best to catch them earlier and help form them into the best people they could be. I guess God had other plans since I never taught one day in elementary other than student teaching. Instead, I worked with preteens and teenagers and helped them to learn to get along with others, release emotional baggage in a safe and healthy way, and find their unique voices so that they could empower themselves and their futures."
In addition to helping students, Vera has volunteered at a local gamers' association where they use education and compassion to help minimize the chances that community members will commit suicide due to feelings of isolation, depression, PTSD, and other mental health disorders. Their organization also assists members of the community who are on the autism spectrum, now known as neurodivergent, as an expert helping people with problems that typically crop up, and as someone on the spectrum herself, Vera has helped community members to learn appropriate social skills, learn adaptive strategies for when they are feeling overwhelmed, increase their emotional IQ (or EQ), and to acquire and maintain a job. She has held many offices and is currently the CFO. In addition, she has helped individuals with resume writing, job applications, interview preparations, budget creation, healthcare maintenance, and disability application and acquisition as well as many other writing tasks.
Her battle with PTSD and anxiety, coupled with her vast and never-ending love of learning, lends her unique insights into the minds of those facing similar challenges. From students to executives, Vera has empowered hundreds to conquer stress and anxiety and find their unique voices.
An honored speaker at the Global Speakathon for Women Rockin’ Business, 2023, and a member of both the World Women's Association and Empowerment Network Television, Vera keeps helping as many people as possible even though she became disabled in 2019 and was no longer able to teach in the classroom. Vera is an accomplished author as well. Her debut book, "Overhaul Your Overthinking with These 10 Tips" combines practical wisdom with personal illustrations from her life along with her special brand of humor #Humor&Insight. She always utilized humor in the classroom whenever possible to help students remember the material and to take some of the stress away from subjects they may have found difficult, especially as she worked with students who had special needs for 17.5 years.
What's Vera's new mission now that she can no longer teach in a traditional classroom?
She wants to be an example for those looking to improve their mental and emotional well-being, especially those who have survived childhood trauma only to be faced with adult PTSD. To this end, she has taken her decades of expertise and created a program to help people who want to learn to release their emotions in a safe environment and in a healthy way, find or regain their voices, and empower themselves to create a more hopeful future. The name of her program is "Healing Ink: Rewrite Your Past to Empower Your Future Through Creative Writing -- Discover Your Voice and Overcome PTSD," Her approach during this self-paced transformative program is a harmony of empathy, experience, education, and humor.
For more information about Visions by Vera or Vera’s upcoming course, “Healing Ink: Rewrite Your Past to Empower Your Future Through Creative Writing" – Uncover Your Strength and Overcome PTSD,” you may contact her via any method listed on this Contact Sheet. You may also want to check out her self-help books and be on the lookout for her upcoming Survivor Series which will walk their readers through steps to overcome various types of abuse.