Photography by Juila Hart // Recap by Alyssa Belasco
There is something about the “Becoming Boss” series that allows you to walk in feeling one way and walk out inspired, empowered, and ready to take on something new—whether you’re a maker, business owner, or like me, someone looking to learn something new on the reg. I love hearing other people’s stories. Sitting before a panel of women sharing the highs and lows of their journey toward becoming a boss babe consumes my attention and leaves me completely engaged in their story. Never mind that I spent Friday night getting my Roc Fringe Festival on until midnight, I am no longer tired (no sleeping in on these Saturdays).
Becoming Boss No. 4 took place in the open-concept space at the Culver Road Armory. What was once a blank canvas was now adorned from floor to ceiling (literally) by the incredibly talented Sky Armstrong—artist, florist and designer otherwise known as Skyvanah. Before the program started, we were treated to Glen Edith Coffee, beautiful BXCR donuts, and Nutella filled Simply Crepes croissants, a perfect morning spread, IMO.
Sarah Knight, founder of Roc Girl Gang welcomed everyone, gave a shout out to Becoming Boss No. 4 sponsor, Shop Peppermint, which is where the adorable primary-colored dress she rocked was from. Sarah welcomed keynote speaker Danielle Ponder to the stage, where she began by belting out her song “Three Word Revolution”, my FAVORITE song from the debut EP Blow Out the Sun by Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People. The song felt as though it was the anthem for all of the women in the audience. Danielle Ponder is a Public Defender by day, representing 300 clients at any given time and giving them a voice to be heard in the court system. At night she’s the incredible voice behind Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People, traveling city to city and sometimes overseas to perform. I’m exhausted just thinking about that. Danielle shared that “Life is like a meditation. Thoughts flow through your mind, but you don’t stop breathing.” My biggest takeaway from Danielle was the reminder to learn to tell people no, which is something that I struggle with, and that “We are no good to anyone if we aren’t taking care of ourselves.” Danielle also shared that she sets a reminder filled with feel-good affirmations about herself to pop up every morning at 9 am. I love the idea of starting the day with a joyous pick-me-up from me to me!
The Becoming Boss No. 4 panel consisted of some of my favorite local businesses in Rochester, who joined Danielle Ponder on the stage: Molly Flaherty of M/Body, health and wellness studio; Marisa Krol of Interstellar Love Craft, artist and jewelry metalsmith; and Molly Hartley and Kate Cassels of Scratch Bakeshop.
There was an overall theme that blossomed organically from the Becoming Boss No. 4 panel, and that was authenticity and self-care. There were many takeaways and words of wisdom from this panel of accomplished business owners. A few of these nuggets that seemed to really resonate with audience were:
- “There is a fear of being poor, especially if you grew up poor.” – Danielle Ponder
- “You need to learn humility.” – Molly Flaherty
- “Get a good business plan, nail yourself down. You need to have a tight, awesome business plan.” – Molly Flaherty
- “Be clear before you extend any further” – Marisa Krol
- On the name Interstellar Love Craft – “I knew I needed a series of words that connected with what my soul was saying.”
- Molly of Scratch Bakeshop lives by the words of her mom: “Follow your joy, you’ll be happy and you’re putting that vibe into the universe.”
After a short break, Kate and Molly of Scratch Bakeshop led a workshop on the Top 5 Tips for Marketing Your Brand, which I think can apply to both a business brand, as well as a personal brand:
- Be yourself
- Say yes to everything… at first
- Utilize social media
- Remain flexible
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Toward the end of the panel, Sarah asked a question that really rounded out the morning well: “What makes you stand out above everyone else?” Danielle Ponder shared that the community is interested in her story, and that she’s always felt their support. Molly Flaherty responded with “Authenticity and integrity; you can’t fake either of those things. Rochester raises the contenders, not the pretenders.” Molly Hartley ended by recommended everyone putting their energy and love out there, and expecting it to come back.
While this year’s “Becoming Boss” series may be complete, there is still a great deal of valuable information that we’ve taken away from this historically sold-out series. As women in today’s world, we can use these lessons going forward in business practice and in life. Thank you to Sarah Knight for allowing us women of Rochester to be part of your Roc Girl Gang and Becoming Boss brainchild. There is no question why I’ve had perfect attendance for all four of these events, I leave each one feeling like my best self, ready to take on a new challenge. Attending Becoming Boss will always be a priority in my planner.