I do a lot of different things and stay pretty busy. Recently someone asked me, "what's your favorite thing about what you do?" Without hesitation I answered, "I love to connect people".
I like it because it is such a simple thing to do and it is fun to see how a new relationship can grow, create, make change and develop into something truly beautiful.
That is exactly what my new partnership with Bumble is all about. As I mentioned in my previous post, Bumble is SO MUCH MORE than a dating app. It is a company with integrity, that values community, togetherness and creates an environment to meet new people and grow relationships. BumbleBFF is the bees knees.<---(I'm very clever)
I recently hosted a launch party on the rooftop of 700 Central and invited a bunch of inspiring, creative, entrepreneurial, kind-spirited women over to chat. (with beer from our friends at Fair State Brewing Coop)
We did the usual, "Hi, how are you? What do you do?", etc., but the magic really happened when we went around in the group and stated what we do and something WE NEED HELP WITH. Because we all need a little help. There were a ton of laughs, tears, vulnerability and real relationships that grew out of it. I followed up with people to see what they thought and I was genuinely so pleasantly SHOCKED by some of the feedback that I decided to dedicate this blog post to it. So download BumbleBFF if your'e looking for someone that might make you react like THIS:
// ATHENA & KELSEY'S STORY //
Athena is a photographer, storyteller, do-it-aller, whiskey drinker, FEMINIST and honestly just so much more. She can inspire the hell out of you within minutes. Someone should just pay her to go around the world and inspire people. She is a staple in the Minneapolis community for her ability to always show up and pour her heart into whatever is in front of her. It really is incredible.
Kelsey. (I could write a very similar thing for Kelsey but they are also very different.) Kelsey has THE BEST INSTAGRAM BIO EVER. Children with disabilities, crop tops, exercise, cold beer on rooftops and humanity in general are scarily close to equal in regards to things Kelsey is passionate about. She is a Minneapolis yoga teacher with a twist - she's missing half of her left arm. Years of bullying for said lucky fin have made her passionate about disability, body image and making people laugh. She's a strong believer in the notion that the minute you laugh is the minute you win because you're able to let down your walls and love others better.
This is what Athena said after meeting Kelsey:
"I knew the second Kelsey started talking that this girl was my spirit animal. She's witty and irreverent with a huge heart that beats to help and uplift others, and truly just an effervescent human. That night we exchanged numbers via Instagram and hung out two days later. We talk daily - sharing our emotional struggles as well as life's highlights (and how burgers are HANDS DOWN better than hot dogs in EVERY DAMN WAY) and I truly feel like I found a deep kinship and lifelong friend in her (despite feeling like I'm maybe old enough to be her (unfortunately young) mother (I age well. It's deceptive, I know)). In the short time I've known her Kelsey has already inspired and motivated me to do better and more for my community and those around me. She encourages open and honest vulnerability in real life as well as on social media, and authentic real-life voices like hers - and hopefully mine, as well - are soooooo needed in this age of curated and cultivated social sharing. She motivates anyone who comes near her - in real life or digitally - to push past whatever limitations they have and live their best lives (as their best selves). And, she points out, you can't spell "disability" without LIT. Which will hopefully be a collaborative effort tee shirt coming to you soon.
I cannot wait to get into all kinds of shenanigans with this girl - while also trying to save the world. Even if it's only a small piece of it. "
And this is what Kelsey said about Athena:
"Meeting Athena was basically like the scene from a movie that you hoped you'd always have with your significant other that turns spouse. While I'm currently swiping right (and primarily left) to try to find a life partner, meeting Athena was no joke - I saw her rocking a white pixie cut and a white tee that read "BADASS FEMINIST" sans bra and knew that she was 1. a little spitfire 2. a kindred spirit and 3. going to challenge me and rock my world.
At the Bumble BFF launch we all went around and started saying the basic things about ourselves along with some prompted vulnerability from Sarah - "What is one thing you need?" she asked, because we all need something. Answers varied, but my home girl Athena's response was so real and vulnerable - anyone who doesn't mind crying in front of 20+ strangers while bearing their true self and struggles is basically on my life squad whether they want to be or not. In less than 24 hours I was at her house, this time we were both braless and were unloading about the deepest parts of our stories - at 10 AM on a Wednesday and zero alcohol. AMEN.
Moving back to Minnesota after living in South Africa was the hardest experience of my life. I had no friends, I had no support structure and I was lonely all of the time. Even when I was around people, I never felt an instantaneous authenticity like I found in Athena. I don't care who you are, what you're going through or what you've been through - if you are relentlessly authentic I will love you and support you forever. I wish I knew Athena back then. Now we text and snap on a regular basis, share life's joys and shit holes and I often feel my heart twinge wishing we had known each other before. I'm still waiting for a badass picture of us to which I will caption "Thanks a lot to everyone who knows us both and didn't introduce us sooner. Bumble dating success story."
I love Athena because of the way that she speaks life and truth into my and everyone's world. As a creative writer and passionate human being it's so easy for me to get tossed around by my emotions but Athena can take one look at my life and say "NOPE. That's not what that is," and make things that seem catastrophic in my brain tolerable. She gives me great creative insight and advice, and is such an incredible role model of the mom/entrepreneur/creative/
Dunno if you can put that Trump line in there, but it's v true." (I left that Trump part in there)
// KATIE & MANDY'S STORY //
Katie is the owner + visionary behind Steller Hair Company. As a young, female [successful] entrepreneur Katie is also extremely compassionate and also super open and vulnerable. Sometimes it is hard to find a balance with those things OR someone who can share the same struggles.
Enter Mandy of MySister.org.
Mandy is the CEO...CEO of MySister.org. MY SISTER's mission is to prevent sex trafficking, educate communities, empower the population, provide after-care for survivors and offer growth opportunities to at-risk women through the sales of statement-making, ethically-sourced apparel and accessories. SHOP HERE. Mandy is a visionary, a leader, making a BIG difference in the world. That doesn't mean she has days where she questions her decisions or has moments of doubt. It is important for her to have someone to talk with about these things that can relate.
This is what Katie said in regard to meeting Mandy:
"Mandy has been someone who I have had a entrepreneur/human-advocate crush on ever since I became aware of her and her passion to create change in the dark world of sex-trafficking. When I finally had the chance to meet and connect with her in person, I could sense we were going to do great things together. Not only do we relate on a female-business-owner level (which can honestly feel pretty lonely at times. It is so comforting to talk to someone who "gets it" and can remind you why it's worth it), we both have a determination to use the life we have as an opportunity to create impactful change in the world (within our communities, and beyond).
I have realized how much of my immediate community I only know through social media. Having the chance to meet Mandy in person was a gift. We can do good things on the inter-webs, and I believe that great things happen when we show up and look someone in the eyeballs and *actually* connect."
This is what Mandy said about Katie:
"I was immediately intrigued by the idea of BUMBLEBIZZ and BUMBLE BFF because, as a business owner, there are oftentimes days and situations where you just need a fellow business owner friend to vent to, bounce things off of, or just know that you’re not alone - but we may not know how or have the bandwidth to seek them out. As we introduced ourselves at Sarah's gathering and I shared that I’ve been wanting to find some business owner pals, Katie lit up with a “ME TOO!”. And from there, it felt like long-time friends reconnecting. We quickly started texting and setting up some get togethers. Katie has since participated in one of my company’s creative focus groups, which truly helped us break through some idea barriers. It was so great to have a supportive friend there and a fellow community business owner who has the same dreams to help her business, team and community thrive and grow. That’s the thing - even running two completely different types of businesses - we share the same hope and drive to better the community and offer opportunities and a loving place for people that need it. That’s pretty awesome to, so quickly, find in a new friend. From there, I visited Katie’s salon for some self-care. During our hair session, we shared SO many feelings, thoughts and experiences, many of which are similar. I have found a new soul sister. And I may have never connected with Katie had it not been prompted by the business-mixed-with-friendship mission of the evening. I’m so grateful I got to experience the absolute best of what BUMBLEBIZZ can bring!"
Loooooooong story short. Download Bumble. :)