A Saturday spent at a Becoming Boss event is a Saturday well spent. I have been to all but one of them, and I have never walked away without learning something new or meeting new amazing women. As I head to the door, I am filled with a sense of pride for being in real clothes before 10 am, which is almost always followed by "but oh my gosh I have to socialize". The nerves are real and the elevator ride up to The Penthouse at One East Avenue was just enough to send me into full anxiety mode. But when the doors opened, Becoming Boss No. 7 sponsor Stacy Ercan (Stacy K Floral) was standing there smiling and you cannot have any negative feelings while looking at flowers. As you move into the space the room is electric. The buzzing of 150+ women who are all passionate, eager, and ready to learn. Sunlight fills the room from all sides. The view is so beautiful and also terrifying if you’re scared of heights like me. I am greeted by hugs and familiar faces.
My anxiety starts to disappear just as show runner Sarah Knight asks everyone to find their seats. Sarah is relatable as fuck... can I say that? I mean, everyone feels a connection to this idea that she had in the middle of the night. She says her "thank yous" and I resonate deeply as she thanks her husband who she claims “she treats the worst but loves the most”... which I swear is every small business wife to their partner.
Sarah introduces Kathy Turiano co-owner of Joe Bean Coffee roasters. Kathy has never had a problem getting people to listen, which is something I’ve always admired about her. The room falls quiet as she starts to speak and I immediately love where it's going because it is different than anything we’ve heard before. She tells us she’s going to give us some advice/experiences on being a woman and fighting for your business which I have retitled “How To Fight Like a Girl”. She’s a wizard at moving between sincerity, laughter, and raw honesty. I pretty much couldn’t write fast enough but here are some of the “quick tips” she shared with us:
+ Assess situations and count cost: “is this fight worth being in”
+ Get yourself a good coach, someone who will be tough and honest
+ BE BOLD! Ask for help!
+ Avoid old patterns of fighting: “anger is useless and uncontrollable”
+ Face your emotions... just not in public... “feel your feels, then go to battle”
+ Be creative with what you have.
+ Know who you are up against, be prepared!
+ Become Elasti-girl! Be resilient!
+ Don’t settle and don’t give up!
+ Don’t buy into feeling sorry for yourself.
Sarah calls up the rest of the panel. Consisting of Hannah Betts from Livestyled, Amber Odhner and Catelyn Augustine from Eat Me ice cream, artist Brittany Williams, Kathy Turiano and Dena Jones of Joe Bean Coffee Roasters. All of these women are ones I’ve personally looked up to in our community. They are all excellent at their craft and in my opinion have a strong sense of self and the message they're trying to convey. They didn’t hold back while answering questions. It was reassuring to hear people who have been stuck in the same places I have or had to figure out some of the same lessons. They spoke candidly about “grinding consistently” working day jobs and sometimes other odd jobs just to put money back into their passion project. They spoke honestly about the fear of leaving the comfort and stability of a full time job for the creative life. They talked about uncomfortable things like making boundaries with family and close friends. And a hard one for so many of us, knowing when to ask for help. They were all so relatable.
Knowing your worth seemed to be an underlying theme of the morning. Trusting yourself and your instincts and remembering that none of us really know what were doing. They stressed when you find yourself in situations that you’re not getting heard, SPEAK UP! KNOW YOUR WORTH! LISTEN TO A LOT OF BEYONCÉ BEFOREHAND!
We break for BXCR donuts, Glen Edith coffee, Joe Bean cold brew, and mimosas (if you’re me and mingling is by far the hardest part). But everyone is inspired and excited and meeting each other. Some people just meeting strangers and some of us are fan girling over our favorite local ladies, IRL! It is really amazing to watch so many women make connections. Selfies are taken and instagram handles exchanged. We head back to our seats for the second half of the panel. The ladies focused a lot on branding, it's amazing that from so many different women it can seem like one fluid thought. First and foremost, “Love what you’re putting into the world”, (I live by this so it was so good to hear someone say it out loud). And the rest was simple and clear: Stay consent. Stay true. Know yourself. Know your story. Know your mission. Be okay with evolution. The panel wraps up by reflecting on things they would tell their former self when just starting out. Which is pretty much summed up as: having imagination, a lot of focus, and being self aware. Knowing you are far more capable than you think you are be brave enough to take risks.
There is something really magical about the world Sarah has created here, that is why no matter what, I carve out time to go. We are all human and trying. We all need support and understanding. We all need to be reminded that we are not in it alone.