This is our story...
In our first year, we delivered dozens of experiences, reaching hundreds of women. We learned that, like the two of us, women are hungry to step into bigger versions of themselves. Many of us are ready to pay attention to the truth that lives inside of us.
In February 2018, 12 women huddled in an art gallery in San Francisco to join the launch of our first flagship program. Sitting with one another in a circle, we set our intentions for joining the program. A Canadian woman with spunk chimed in, “to make female friendships.” We are not alone. None of us are.
And it wasn’t always like this. Like the women who come to our program wanting clarity, we too struggled. We weren’t clear on what to create. The only thing we were clear about is that it was time to take action.
For Alicia, the moment of clarity came while coaching one of her first corporate clients. She looked out at the Oakland hills from her living room window with a coffee cup in hand. She was on a client call trying to stay engaged by really listening to her client. In that moment, her body resisted being with her client. He was evaluating the caliber of women with whom he worked. Her initial reaction after hanging up the phone was self judgment. She beat herself up for not appreciating how lucky she was to have secured a corporate contract. She felt she should be grateful. Later, she realized her body was telling her that more was available to her. When she took the time to listen to herself, she knew she wanted to empower women to see their own brilliance. She wanted to support clients to make the voices of outside evaluators tiny. She wanted to build up woman's own voices to shine brighter. She decided in that moment to shift her business in the direction she desired.
Gina’s moment of clarity hit while applying with executive coaching firms. She was looking to exit her current job in tech to pursue coaching full time. She dreamed of starting a practice that specialized in supporting women but doubted that she was capable of building her own business at this stage. What attracted her to these particular firms is that the founders seemed to be “just like her.” Former professionals-turned coaches with a passion for helping leaders in tech. Plus, getting hired into someone else’s firm meant that she’d be off the hook for starting her own business. She was listening to her nerves even though her heart knew she wanted to be a founder. She remembers being mid-interview with a female founder of one of the firms - a powerhouse coach whom she admired. At some point the interviewer said something like “A lot of these male executives are assholes. I don’t have a problem standing up to them. Do you?” she asked Gina. “No” Gina responded, feeling confident. And then the interviewer dropped a bomb: “We’re not going to hire you.” she said. “You don’t have enough experience.” Gina’s blood boiled. “Who does this person think she is?” and “ Who the hell is she to tell me I’m “not ready?” The gift, of course, is that this particular rejection gave Gina exactly the kick in the pants she needed to get over her own self-doubt about not being ready to start her own business. The moment Gina hung up the phone was the moment she decided to stop asking permission to do the work she loved. “I’m building my own f*cking business,” she thought. That’s when she got busy building the career of her dreams.
A mutual friend and fellow coach introduced the two of us more than a year before our moments of clarity. At the time we were following advice from coach mentors - “meet as many coaches as you can and learn from others.” In our initial meeting, we had an ease with one another. Each of us left with the impression that something “down the road” might be possible. We both believed that creating in partnership could flourish. A sum greater than its individual parts.
Following the spark of clarity that each of us received, we reconnected. We had each given ourselves space to dream and were ready to hit the ground running. By March we were meeting often, capitalizing on the in-between slots available in our calendars. We planned for a November launch of our flagship program. Our initial approach was “how can we get buts in seats.” We focussed our outreach to organizations. Again we found ourselves trying to “fit” over vision into an existing behemoth. We grew frustrated. We struggled to advocate for the women we dreamed would join us. The needs of organizations loomed in the background. November approached quickly and our idea felt dimmer rather than brighter. Seats were not filling. We boldly agreed to “pause” our efforts and revisit the original idea of what we wanted to create. At the beginning of 2018 we committed to reframing our focus to “what butts we want in seats.” We held our ideas with conviction, believing they were valuable. We spent our resources marketing to women directly. We designed our programs by asking how to create impactful experiences for women of varied backgrounds.
Our experiences involve gathering in a circle. Every one. When we join the circle of women who feel called to our experiences, we are grateful. Looking in their faces, we see the courage it took to seek clarity in our vision.
Today, when we engage with companies, it is because the value of our programming is lasting. They want what we have to offer.