Q.U.E.S.T. - Quiet Your Ego So That...

Today on my morning walk (omg, my morning ritual is on fire!! but more on that later), the word “quest” kept coming into my consciousness. In and out as if trying to send me a message, the word quest, quest, quest. I am personally on a quest right now to take myself into a deeper layer of my work, both my professional work and my inner work. So, the fact that this word kept entering my mind makes sense. But, as I walked, the word seemed to spell itself into an acronym that I had to share with you.

Now, I love a good acronym as a tool for remembering a framework or structure, but my creative (sometimes wild) brain doesn’t typically work in an acronym-loaded way. But, this one seemed to be handed to me like a little soft thought bubble falling out of the redwood trees. The letters appeared before me and they look like this. 

Q - Quiet

U - U/Your

E - Ego

S- So

T- That….

And the rest is up to you. Quiet your ego so that…

  • You can heal.

  • You can forgive.

  • You can overcome resistance.

  • You can say yes.

  • You can say no.

  • You can love.

  • You can grieve in the time and way you need.

  • You can make something.

  • You can try something new.

  • You can get unstuck.

  • You can cry.

  • You can stop crying. 

  • You can ask for more.

  • You can overcome shame.

  • You can love your body.

  • You can love yourself.

  • You can rekindle a relationship.

  • You can begin anew.

  • You can walk away.

  • You can walk back in.

  • You can say you’re sorry.

  • You can love more deeply.

  • You can create a new ritual.

  • You can quit.

  • You can persevere.

Or, whatever is required. This Q.U.E.S.T. is about quieting the “shoulds" and the expectations, the patterns and the hurt. To quiet your chattering mind so that you can move forward or look back. 

I hope it’s a useful tool for you. For me, it’s been occupying my mind all morning. “Grace, quiet your ego so that you can write this blog post today. Quiet your ego so that you can take a morning walk before you commit to anything else. Quiet your ego so that you can go easy on yourself as you get back to work”. And so on….enjoy the QUEST. We’ve got this. 



It's my birthday.

This weekend I turn 44. Even my son was surprised...he thought I’ve been 41 “for a long time.” I’m sure I’ve missed some deadlines in the quest for eternal youth...my forehead still moves, I’m hardly ever vegan, and I don’t love Soul Cycle (sorry, not sorry). As I reflect on these recent years, I’m in awe not of the numbers on my birthday, but of what’s happened in this human experience. What I’ve learned. What I’ve lost. What has grown. And, what I’ve shed.

As I’ve shared with you my dearest community, my sister, Maggie, died in May. Running my business amidst this personal crisis was hard and I became overwhelmed with stress and self-doubt. I don’t think I slept for what felt like most of 2018. The flip side is that I have never felt nor imagined the depth of love as I did during the precious time I had with my sister.

Losing my sister and trying to participate in day-to-day life was a bit of a blur. I wandered. I cried. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t write. I resisted going to dance class. I was hurting and wanted to stay away from anything that brought me close to the deep places in my soul. My ability to manifest what I wanted felt broken; my magic touch no longer available to me. I became angry. I started to hate clichés and positive mantras...even the ones I had made up myself (and probably told you to do). I couldn’t be kind to myself, practice self-care, or show up fully...all of the things I prescribe to others. Darkness. 

During that time, a few leases and opportunities to open new Hivery locations fell apart. A guy in a shiny VC office mansplained that I had to open another Hivery fast in order to scale and “be relevant.” Otherwise, my work wouldn’t matter. I refrained from calling him a douche bag (victory bell!).

The days felt heavy. People that I never expected stuck to my side like glue, some showed up in a blindingly love-filled way, and conversely some wandered off (or lost my phone number). Even with a tribe, the road felt dark. People often said, “I know you have so many people around who love you...” as if to say that I’d be fine, but the loneliness was intense.

Through the cracks came faint melodies that started to sound like courage. We gathered 350 women for our Entrepreneur + Inspiration Lab event in San Francisco that finally reminded me again of my creative zone. I learned that if I don’t express myself, I die a little inside. Very good to know. Life hack...don’t forget. Another victory bell would soon be in sight when the location we’d been working on for over a year in SF finally came through.

That day at our big event, I felt the sunshine. That day I also met a world-class doctor. After meeting with her, to review my breast cancer risk (off the charts is what she called it, I believe), I decided to have a preventative double mastectomy. A couple months later, she held my hand and sang “Dear Theodosia” while I went under anesthesia. I woke up different, and in pain, but quite proud of myself for not chickening out. Glennon Doyle, you say “we can do hard things”…but geez. 

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. During these past two weeks of recovery, I’ve watched 18 movies and entire seasons of “Fixer Upper.”  I refuse to look at my iPhone screen time report as the boredom has led to an insane (and inane!) amount of scrolling. I am in beta mode right now, striving for Grace 2.0...I think I need to design a 2.0 t-shirt. I’m entirely sick of bone broth.

And the weirdest part? I’m happy. Confusingly, slowly, like moving underwater, humbly, happy. Hopeful. Willing. Ready. Alive. No longer attached to expectations, but thrilled to be here. Grateful for the love of a community I created, and just as grateful to be part of a world that I’m only a tiny molecule in.

Here I sit, surrounded by the massive love in my house and in my life. In awe. More willing than ever to walk through the door of what’s possible. Compassionate for all those whose struggles and battles are so much harder than mine. It is not a comparison of hardships, but on the global scale, I know I’ve had it easy. My hurt softens me to the hurt of others, and for that, this whole thing has been a whopper of a gift.

I see it again...the road ahead. And I’m squarely on it, facing forward. The rear view mirror is there to remind me of my fear, sadness and all that has been endured, but can be tilted away so as not to obstruct my view of the light. Licking my wounds, and putting a soft hand on yours, I have been beat up, broken-hearted, and reduced to pieces. I know you have, too. And I’m still here. With you. With so much love to give and so much more life in me. 

Screw resolutions. I’ve earned wisdom. And I intend to use it to create magnificent, bright spots on this curvy and unexpected road of life for as many humans as I can. As Pema Chodron writes, “Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”… That’s the quest: to humbly accept fear, to know that we don’t know, to have courage to stand on shaky ground, and to love fully and deeply, anyway and always.

Even with the unexpected. Even in the dark. There’s light. Don’t worry. Whether near or far, we’ve got each other. With unrelenting commitment, we’ve got this.



ARTISTS SPOTLIGHT: Truth To Paper's Kate Nicholson and Rachel Hebert

Thanks to the talents of Kate Nicholson and Rachel Hebert, those looking for deeply moving, strikingly beautiful, profoundly original artwork need not look any further than the walls of The Hivery.

Kate and Rachel are the talents behind Truth to Paper, a creative agency focused on bringing poetry and art into the world. On Nov. 6, the duo premiered their first combined show at The Hivery with an impressive collection of visual art. The show is scheduled to last into January, and all works are for sale (note: several works have been sold, as of this posting).

The creative pair met eight years ago when their daughters (each has two) went to the same school. Both artists themselves—Rachel a dancer and painter, Kate a writer and photographer— they quickly found themselves in deep conversations about the process of moving from full-time moms back into the world of art making.

Both were fascinated by poetry—reading it and writing it in their personal time. In fall 2017—by then BFFs—they decided to go into business together and, at The Hivery’s 2017 Holiday Market, launched Truth to Paper.

“We wanted to bring poetry out of books and out of our private worlds,” said Rachel. “There is definitely a thread of wanting to reclaim language, and bring more beauty to the world, particularly in response to what we are seeing in the news right now.”

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The initial vision of Truth to Paper was to create small poem cards for table settings and greeting cards, but that quickly morphed into something much larger. Inspired by the 2018 Women’s March, Rachel and Kate created special poems and art pieces for the event. In May 2018, they worked with vulnerability researcher Dr. Brene Brown on a poem that would serve as her introduction at Mom 2.0, one of the world’s largest parenting blogging conferences.

This fall, Kate and Rachel designed The Hivery’s Empowerment Studio, the new space at the end of the hall in the Mill Valley location. If you haven’t seen it, please check it out—the design and artwork (including a massive mural of a dancer) are not to be missed. (And, if you’re interested in renting this beautiful space, more information is available here!)


Then, in October 2018, the pair created the entire visual integration for The Hivery’s Entrepreneur & Inspiration Lab at Fort Mason. Remember the rainbow Instagram wall? The custom poem on the back page of the program? The language behind the stage?

That was all them.

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The current show is a natural extension of their work combining written and visual art, and an exciting development for Truth to Paper fanatics (of which there are many!). Each piece is an original, many cut from vintage books with use of gold leaf and burning techniques. A few of the larger pieces are slate in color with words found—if carefully looked for—and gold spreading like veins.

“Kintsugi, the Japanese tradition of fixing broken pottery with gold, was one of our inspirations for the show,” says Rachel. “We love the idea that a mended piece is more valuable because of its breaking.”


Among the pair’s many pieces is one titled “First Matter,” which, from a distance looks to be a large circle with lines coming out of it. Upon closer inspection the work reveals itself to be an intricate series of phrases—unhelpful messages Rachel and Kate received from childhood have been written and then burned out. Phrases they’d like their daughters to absorb are written on the other side of the lines from where childhood phrases are burned.

“We were making stuff and somehow ended up in the territory of things our parents said to us and implicit messages we received,” says Kate. “It became an intensely personal piece. We spent the day crying and burning things.”

As for future plans, Kate and Rachel are keeping their options open. They are considering a book project, but regardless of what the future holds, they are enjoying the collaborative process of art making, saying it is incredibly freeing to step outside their individual studios and work together.

“Watch this space,” says Kate, “because we are just getting started.”

Wrap-Up - The Hivery's 2018 Entrepreneur + Inspiration Lab


The Hivery’s Entrepreneur + Inspiration Lab on Sunday, October 14 in Fort Mason, San Francisco was amazing beyond our wildest dreams! From the keynote speeches (hilarious to tears and back again), to the yummy lunch from Greens Restaurant, to the connections made in the afternoon workshops, to walking between buildings on the incredibly beautiful day looking out at San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, and then at happy hour where we were blown away by an intergenerational choir. WHOA. Sunday was a day we will never forget.

A special thank you to our generous sponsors, without whom we couldn’t have put on this unforgettable event, including Boon Supply, Eileen Fisher, True Myth, Tangent, Madison Reed, and the many others who gifted goodies and services in our gift bags.


We cannot send a huge enough thank you to each of our speakers, workshop leaders, and collaborators. Your insights are changing the world and you made magic on Sunday. Here are a just a few of our favorite moments from the day (we could fill a book with them all!!):


“The time is now. The time is now to step into that deep inner rumbling that tells you that you were made for something only you can do. Change doesn’t happen when we’re in our comfort zone. We are stepping in, we are being bold, we are using our voice. YES WE ARE!” - Grace Kraaijvanger, Founder of The Hivery

“You are like a unique strand of DNA. You bring experience, knowledge, wisdom, and passion in your package. No one else has what you have. I won’t ask you; I will demand of you. If you don’t let it out, the world will not get it. You are truly the only one. Step into your boldness.” - Grace

“I believe we are artists of this life. We get to be creative, start over, make mistakes, and change mediums. Each of you is a masterpiece.” - Grace


“One day I was working on the floor of the Stock Exchange and I went out for coffee, but instead of a coffee shop, I went to the nearest church and bawled my eyes out. I was miserable. I called my father and he said, ‘You have to find something you love. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you need to quit.’ His words were so freeing and inspiring, and helped me start my search for my true passion.” - Marie Forleo, Entrepreneur, Host of MarieTV and Founder of B-School

“Everyone has self doubt, even the most successful, famous people. The most important thing is to realize where it comes from. You have so much goodness inside of you.” - Marie

“Simplify to amplify.” - Marie


“I believe that inside of each of you is a genius. That doesn’t mean everything will go perfectly, though. Failure is your best friend.” - Amy Errett, founder of Madison Reed

“Have I been discriminated against because I’m a woman and I’m gay? Probably. But I don’t give a s***. The greatest equalizer in the world is when you feel competent and centered in who you are, when you know you’re amazing, you put out an energy. You feel it.” - Amy


“I had a spiritual awakening in that moment. Finally there was a vernacular for committing to my potential.” - Rosie Acosta, Founder of Radically Loved: Yoga, Health + Wellness


“All I think about in my life is women's empowerment. Women are the game changers.”
- Dr. Tererai Trent, Humanitarian and Founder of Tererai Trent International

“Dreams are greater when tied to the betterment of a community.” - Tererai

“When you believe in your uniqueness, in your greatness, the heavens open.” - Tererai

“My dear American women. I need to tell you…November, November, November.” - Tererai

(We hear you, Tererai.)

If you couldn’t join us this year, we would love to see you next October! To get a taste of the day, check out our Facebook album.

Photos by Sophia Mavrides and Jacquelyn Warner.

September Hivery Circle - Radha Agrawal, author of BELONG


Our September Hivery Circle with Radha Agrawal was one for the books! It was a deeply inspiring evening focused on belonging, and our universal need to come together in community. Known to many of us as the co-founder and CEO of Daybreaker, a company that puts on sunrise dance parties all over the world (if you haven’t gone, sign up for the next one - they are EPIC), Radha took to The Hivery stage with our very own Grace Kraaijvanger to discuss her latest creation, her book BELONG: Find Your People, Create Community and Live A More Connected Life.

“The first sentence in my book is ‘When I turned thirty, I realized I didn’t belong,’” she told the crowd. Radha’s vulnerability didn’t stop there. She explained in detail how, at 30, she’d found herself surrounded by people who weren’t inspiring, and doing things that didn’t reflect her values. She spent the next several years building a more nourishing community and launched Daybreaker in December 2013, a community that has now extended to more than 25 cities and has upwards of 500,000 members.

In addition to explaining her background, she offered clear, actionable takeaways on how everyone can build the communities of their dreams. Just a few of her nuggets of wisdom included:

  • Her CRAWL method, an acronym for how to build a community, but also a message of patience. “It’s a reminder that building a sustained community takes time,” Radha said. “We built Daybreaker over five years.”

  • The importance of rituals in community. At Daybreaker, participants are greeted by hugging committees rather than imposing-looking bouncers. “I cannot tell you how many people have cried on my shoulder over the years,” she explained. “We all need human touch; I think I’ve hugged upwards of 10,000 people in five years. It is so powerful.”

  • When building a community, Radha explained that it is paramount to choose people wisely. “We launched Daybreaker by creating a carefully curated list of 300 people that would define the energetic mix of our core community,” she said. “When creating a community, those choices must be very thoughtful to create the energetic centrifuge that you want.”

  • She also talked about the so-called “mean girls of our minds.” “We all have a cafeteria in our minds where there are mean girls sitting at a table with their pink jackets on filled with comparison, judgement and perfectionism,” she said, to a laughing (read: knowing) crowd. “It’s up to us to find our soul sisters and sit with them instead.”

More than anything, Radha explained the importance of creating community from a space of authenticity. “If you want to build something, it has to be from the heart.”

We are so thankful to Radha for sharing her wisdom and her time.

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Click here to see more photos from our September Hivery Circle on Facebook.

Grace's Corner: A Tribute to Maggie

Dearest you,

I’ve spent most of my four years since starting The Hivery as open-hearted and transparent as I know how to be. Telling my story seemed so safe among the kindness and love of a community centered on elevating each other. You always made me feel like I could lead so openly.


But I’ve been quiet these past few months and the weeks since the heartbreaking death of my dear younger sister, Maggie. She died a little over a month ago, and I’ve wanted to say something for a long time. And like a long lost friend, I have felt the urge many, many times to reach out and write to you. Like when you pick up the phone to call and then set it down because you don’t know what to say.

Sometimes it was because the pain was too great and the emotions too raw to tell my story. And sometimes, especially when Maggie was sick, I had to choose between sitting down to write versus spending precious moments being present with my sister. And as the moments became more and more fleeting, I had to choose Maggie.

Now, as I grieve and try to process, I feel “ready” to begin to share. I don’t yet know the fullness of this experience, but it has begun to feel, only recently, like it is needing to come out. Glennon Doyle, a favorite author and activist of mine, talks about how she is able to be so transparent in her writing by not sharing her story in real-time. She allows some time to pass so that the rawness isn’t in the moment, but can be recalled with the slight safety of distance. I understand that now. I’m still raw and my heart is fragile and ripped open, but I feel called to express my love for Maggie and to begin to tell her story and mine, too.

Maggie was diagnosed with breast cancer last September at the age of 33. The day that I found out, I was shattered with worry… I remember vividly how I crumbled; I sat and cried in the shower at what she would have to go through to get through this. I was angry and sad for her that she would have to put her life on hold, take time off from a job she loved, and possibly have the opportunity to have children taken away from her. At that time, I never thought she would die.


She was living in LA with her boyfriend, Brandon, and with him and my other sisters, we created a schedule to go with her to every chemo. I loved being by her side and was amazed at her determination to conquer this chemo thing, stay strong, and keep her routine. She worked full-time throughout chemo (she was a chef and the director of catering for a chic LA restaurant group). She was determined to show up as her best self, both for battling cancer, and for her future. She admitted often that this "cancer bullshit” was the most traumatic experience she’d ever been through, yet all she could talk about was how lucky she was to be so loved, to have healthcare, to have a second chance. She kept us laughing throughout her chemo treatments, making jokes with the chemo nurse that she’s here for happy hour, and requesting a margarita in her IV bag.

One morning, during my visit for her fourth round of treatment, I was leaving Maggie's house in LA…it was early, and time for me to go to the airport. Maggie was still sleeping, so I quietly tip-toed into her room and sat next to her on the bed. “I’m leaving,” I said, and kissed her on the cheek. Her eyes opened, I rubbed her little, bald head…it was the most perfect, little head I’ve ever seen. Bald and sleeping, she couldn’t help but be adorable. “I miss you already, Mags”, I told her.

“You need to go. You’ve got stuff to do. Keep doing what you’re doing, Grace. You’re doing the right thing.” she said. And then, “Mom’s proud of you."

“Mom’s proud of you, too.” I told her, as the tears welled up. My heart hurt and my heart was bursting at the same time.

Even after her own chemo treatment, in her pajamas, with her sweet, little face looking up at me like a Buddhist angel, she thought of me, coached me, encouraged me, and loved me. I sat on the bed that morning and felt through my veins what it means to love so deeply that it hurts.


And, she did it…she did exactly what “they" told her to do. She did all of the chemo treatments. She continued an organic, vegan diet. She did yoga, she meditated, she went to acupuncture. She journaled. She practiced gratitude. She started telling me in November how scared she was and that she’d been thinking about what it means to face mortality, to think about being afraid to die. I reassured her. We read “The Hero’s Journey” by Joseph Campbell together and picked out where she was on the journey. She had accepted the call, she was in the dark night of the soul, she would reach transformation. She would use everything she’d learned for good and to make a difference. She got a double mastectomy in January. The end was in sight. She’d do a few rounds of radiation, go back to work, and put this horrible nightmare behind her. They scanned her breasts and saw no evidence of disease. We celebrated. She was worn out.

But, two weeks after her surgery, she just wasn’t recovering. She was exhausted and having debilitating headaches. They told her to come in to do a brain MRI, just in case. A few hours later, she called me. I was in a meeting with a potential investor for The Hivery…it felt like an important meeting until the phone rang. It’s amazing how life screeches to a halt when you get that call. “It’s in my brain.” she shrieked. “The cancer is in my brain!". I got on a plane to LA a few hours later. I laid with her in the hospital bed. “They told me that I’m going to die.” she cried. It couldn’t be true, it couldn’t be true. But, there it was. The truth.

I started to bargain in that unreasonable and unuseful way we do when we are desperate. “You can have my business. I will give up my house. I will do anything. I will start all over. But, please don’t take my sister. Please don’t take her from me.”…I’m not sure who in those situations we think will hold our business or our house as collateral, but we negotiate with the voices in our heads, nonetheless. We plead to the universe, to anyone, and to no one. We beg for the world not to be so brutal. Please no suffering, please no pain. Please don’t take my sister.

I tried to be strong for her. And sometimes I wasn’t. Sometimes, I was just her sister. And she felt for me, too. She asked me about our other sisters, “Grace, what will Abby do if I die? What will Emily do? What are you going to do?”…I told her that I didn’t know. I didn’t know what to do without her. I didn’t know how to raise my kids without her. I didn’t know how to have confidence without her. I didn’t know how to be inspired without her. I worried that I would lose my light, my soul, the flow of inspiration forever. That I would be sad for the rest of my life.

So, I stuck to her like glue. And, it was hard. I spent most of February and March in LA with her. She had brain surgery and a port put in her brain so they could inject chemo directly into her brain. We thought, “We can buy some time, and then we can beat this". She would be terrified one moment, and calmly tell me the next that THIS was not going to take her down, that she was not done. We got a second opinion at UCSF, and they gave us some hope. They would try other things.

“She’s young, and aggressive cancer needs aggressive treatment.” they told us. We drove her to SF in mid-March and she moved in with me. I was so happy to have her in my home. I wanted to take care of my little sister. My kids and husband were in it with me. We shifted from our family life to a life centered around focusing on hope and miracles. I have an amazing team at The Hivery that picked up the slack at work and allowed me to focus completely on her. The community rallied around her. The love notes started pouring in. We were all in with Maggie.


We were determined to heal and created our days around the objective of thriving. Maggie and I created some beloved routines that I will treasure forever. We touched a redwood tree everyday. She wrote about self-love everyday. She taught me how to like green tea…she began her day each morning with our wonderful friend and meditation teacher, Rachel Rossitto. We lovingly nicknamed her “moonbeam” for the way she floated into our home each morning to sit with Maggie, sing, guide, drink tea, and meditate together. She saw my dear friend, Malcolm Campbell, a spiritual therapist. She was willing to go deep in body, mind and spirit to beat this. And, I was determinedly by her side. We drove to full brain radiation together every day for weeks. We decided we were the only weirdos who could enjoy the car ride to radiation as much as we did. We talked about the future. She got her appetite back. We rewarded ourselves with great meals, worthy of her foodie/chef palate. Our baby niece, Cici, was born. We flew to Minneapolis for her baptism as Maggie was the godmother.

Just before our trip, she had begun complaining about a back ache. The pain got worse. And worse. And worse. When we got home, they MRI’ed her spine. The cancer had spread again. This time to her spine. We held each other up in the hallway of the hospital when she got the news.

Her legs gave as she gasped, “Grace, I’m so afraid.”
“Me, too, sister.” I said. We hung on to each other; we stared at each other. The sounds of the city went silent. When we got in the elevator, we saw regular humans, who weren’t dying. They seemed like another world.

We shuffled out. We went home. The pain got worse and worse and worse.

We went to the hospital. They told us she was not going to be long. The moment that she passed in my arms, her spirit floated up and away from her physical body. I learned everything in that moment; I felt the closeness of the other side and went with her as far as I could. She was beautiful. I believe that she took her last breath, as if to say, “I’m ready."

The night before my sister’s funeral, I thought I might need to go to the hospital due to a piercing pain in my sternum. It didn’t feel like chest pains, but felt serious enough that I called a friend who is a Chinese medicine doctor. She explained that when loss is so great, it creates a loss of breath and that the breath can stay in the chest cavity and create tightness. She explained further and then said, “Grace, what is happening to you is that you are heartbroken. You are not having a heart attack. You are in the depth of the human experience and your body knows that this is the precipice of love and agony.”…Nothing ever felt so true.

I don’t pretend to have wise words of wisdom on the path of grieving. I have experience with loss but we are always beginners again and again when it comes to heartbreak. I know that I will go on, even when I don’t want to. I know that so many dear friends, family, and those before me have experienced the depth of loss. I watch them with deep respect; I feel the weight of their hearts. And I will live and survive, and feel joy again. I will create beauty and admire it, too. This level of sadness is not forever, but the agony is deep. And the questions are intense. “Why do I get to enjoy this sunset? Why am I the fortunate being that gets to be here?”…


A few weeks ago, I was driving on the freeway and I admittedly cut someone off. I was distracted, likely crying, and pulled a lame lane-change maneuver. The driver laid on the horn. Many, many times. She was enraged. She flipped me off first with her left hand, then her right, then with both. My first thought? “Hmm, maybe her sister died, too.” Things had started to shift. My broken heart was softening. There would be light in the cracks.  

When I lost my mom seven years ago, the grief was intense. There was a moment crying on my living room floor when I searched and searched in floods of tears for who I could be and for what to do with the intensity of the loss I felt in my heart. I had to make something. I was certain. And from that, I made a Hivery. From this loss of my dear sister, I can’t see what might come out. But, the seeking and the willingness to let it out are what my sister wanted; and, I know deep in my heart it is the only way that I can survive.

So, now what? Where to go from here? How to rebuild or transform a soul that feels hurt, broken and tender. There is a pressure in the opening as if there is a new call to be. There is a searching and a gap, a distance between where I am and what I yearn for. And I’ve noticed that amidst the darkness, the cracks of light are starting to come back. I’m starting to hope again, to plan, to create, to think about ways to improve, and ways to go deeper.

As it relates to The Hivery I have, through this experience, been changed forever. And The Hivery is not “just” a business any longer. It’s not about where the next Hivery locations will be, although it is our intention to spread The Hivery love far and wide. It’s not even “just” a women’s co-working space. It’s a tangible, artistic expression of the human experience, specifically a community who is willing to boldly live at the epicenter. To use our talent, love, pain, and vulnerability for the service of others and for the depth of being the fullest humans we can be.


At a time of agony for so many, children separated from families, people suffering unimaginable anguish, it has never been more important to live at the greatest level of our own potential, in order to make the most meaningful contribution we can. To soar with authenticity, love, and beauty, to dig deep in order to be fully alive. To stand with the wisdom of experience through the pain, the suffering, the anger, the fury, the hardship. To speak with bold voices, answer the calls, honor the opening of the heart. To know that you’ve felt the deepest love and the depth of sorrow, and yet, to know you must go on. To make something that helps people make an impact, make their contribution, do something that matters. And it all matters. That’s what I’m learning. I’m learning, each day with the help of my sweet sister Maggie’s voice in my ear… the crux, the depth, the gravity, the love, of what it means to be a woman.






p.s. Many of you so kindly expressed interest in coming to Maggie’s memorial service and I know it wasn’t possible for all. I’ve attached a video of the eulogy that I was so honored to give for my sister. I hope it helps you know her a little better. There was no one like our dear Maggie.

Collaboration Corner: Sheryl Ott & Monique Johnson

We are so excited to highlight Dare to Detour, a company that puts on transformational retreats for women, founded by Hivery member Sheryl Ott who collaborated with several others in our community to make her dream a reality. One notable partnership was between her and Monique Johnson, founder of MOJO Design, a branding and design firm. EXCITING NOTE! The next Dare to Detour retreat will be Sept. 13-16, 2018 at the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch in Gallatin Gateway, Montana.

Our conversation with Sheryl and Monique...

Sheryl Ott

Sheryl Ott

Monique Johnson

Monique Johnson

Tell us a little about your backgrounds?
Sheryl: I was born in San Francisco, grew up in Oregon and moved to New York City right after college on a dare. I worked in new product development for American Express, then moved back to the Bay Area about 20 years ago and fundraised for local non-profits until earlier this year when I decided to launch Dare to Detour.

Monique: I studied illustration in school, but soon after merged more into graphic design. After designing for many years, I gradually honed in on my true love: branding!

How did you first hear about The Hivery?
Sheryl: I read about The Hivery back in 2015 in the Marin Independent Journal and thought it was interesting, but it wasn’t until early 2016 when I saw a post on Facebook about the What’s Next program that I decided to sign up to see what it was all about. I took the class and met Monique there, who was also participating. I was impressed because she quit her job in the middle of the class!

Monique: I heard about The Hivery through a friend when we were talking about clarity around my career and that I was in need of work/life balance.



How did you come up with the idea to collaborate?
Sheryl: Laura and Linda, the What’s Next leaders, were really supportive of my idea for Dare to Detour from the start. I actually came up with the idea while driving to class one day. I felt as if I had no business being in the class with other women who were working in the “real world.” But they encouraged me. Monique also believed in my idea from the start. She was so supportive, it felt like the logical next step to ask her to help develop the logo, brand, and website. This, and the fact that she is so talented.

Monique: When I heard what Sheryl was brewing up, I immediately knew I wanted to be part of it. All aspects of the retreat she was creating were appealing to me personally and I absolutely thrive on helping new businesses get off the ground.

Who else have you collaborated with at The Hivery and why?
Sheryl: Dare to Detour has truly been a Hivery collaboration. In addition to Monique’s help, I’ve also collaborated with Laura Riordan and Linda Lesem of What’s Next to teach workshops at the retreat, Kelli Ronci to lead a creative practice workshop and the women of Prim’d Marketing for support. Also, Grace has been hugely instrumental with her encouragement since I joined The Hivery.

Monique: Outside of collaborating with Sheryl on Dare to Detour, I’ve worked with Susan George on the Big Picture project, which was really fun because it was in a new industry for me, and great for my portfolio. I helped Deborah Green with LiveaMoment clarify her brand and build her website, and most recently Grace connected me with Carolina Boutique, my newest client, on designing her brand and website.

What do you think it is about The Hivery that allows for such beautiful collaboration?
Sheryl: The Hivery provides a safe and supportive place for self-exploration; the environment really facilitates open communication and celebrates the strength and empowerment of women. It also helps that the atmosphere is uber positive and aesthetically beautiful.

Monique: The workspace is utterly gorgeous and inspiring, and the women that work there are incredible. Each has their own story and one is more amazing than the next!

For women who haven’t yet found a collaboration partner at The Hivery or elsewhere, what advice can you offer them?
Sheryl: Don’t hesitate to inquire, ask, and explore new relationships. Attend workshops, Hivery Circle events, and fully participate. Put yourself out there. I felt like an imposter for the first six to eight months at The Hivery. I was uncomfortable, but I put on my best outfits and put myself out there. If I can do it, you can too!

Monique: Sit next to someone new. Chat with people during lunch because conversation is the best marketing tool.

Why is collaborating so important to you?
Sheryl: For me, it’s always been about bringing together the right team for the job. I am more interested in facilitating the process, so having the right team to collaborate with allows me to focus on the things I do best and know that I can trust others to have their eyes on the end result.

Monique: I really love empowering entrepreneurs by building beautiful brands to amplify their message. It makes me proud.


International Women's Day Recap: What It Means To Be a Courageous Woman

The Hivery's March 8th International Women’s Day: What It Means to Be a Courageous Woman was one of the best events in Hivery her-story! Teaming up with Athleta to bring this amazing evening of The Power of She: United We Thrive to The Hivery community was not only inspiring and exciting, but also incredibly fun! We are still buzzing from the energy of the event and we wanted to share some of the highlights with you below...

Hivery Founder and CEO, Grace Kraaijvanger, opened up the evening with her new definition of courage, inspired by her sister, Maggie, who is battling cancer: “I learned something incredible from Maggie last week. I was talking to her about how brave she is and she told me, 'I’m not brave; I’m just showing up.' I realized that is what it means to be a courageous woman. That is what courageous women do, we show up.”


An excerpt from the evening... 


Gratitude to our inspirational panelists and event collaborators...

The Marin Girls Chorus opened our evening with their inspiring voices.

Susan Goss-Brown, VP, Stores and Store Ops, Athleta, expressed her happiness for her company’s dedication to placing women in positions of leadership: “There were no examples of women, or people in leadership who looked like me in my 30-year career. We must have diverse examples in leadership, otherwise people can’t imagine it for themselves.”

Emma Mayerson, Founding Executive Director, Alliance for Girls, talked about starting her organization in her early 20s and going to meetings with executives much older than she was: “Everyone believed in what I was saying; they believed in me so fully that I started believing in myself. I learned that our courage lives in our community.”

Nikki Silvestri, Founder and CEO, Soil and Shadow commented on the strength and importance of female relationships: “We act as mirrors for other women. When we support each other, we are at our strongest.”

Julie Castro Abrams, Founder & CEO, How Women Lead spoke and laughed about how excited she is about the global movement for women’s rights and her dedication to the cause: “I’m on fire about being a catalyst for women and girls and all bets are off, baby!”

Linda Calhoun, Founder/Executive Producer, Career Girls, explained how her organization helps bust ingrained cultural ideas: “We disrupt stereotypes of the ‘kind’ of work women can do every single day.”

Athleta sponsored our inspirational The Power of She: United We Thrive event series and Le Grand Courtâge poured lovely french sparkling wine to make the evening extra special.

We are honored to have celebrated International Women's Day and National Women's History Month with all of you this year!

In kindness and community,


What Makes You Feel Courageous?

Courage can mean different things on different days. One day’s courageous act could be speaking truth to a family member, while another day’s act could be honoring the need for an afternoon nap. We've been so grateful to team up with Athleta for National Women's History month to bring some incredible events to The Hivery. And, the primary question we've been asking ourselves all month-long is: What does it mean to be a courageous woman?

We have been blown away by our Hivery community's willingness to share their battle wounds and the lessons they've learned with so much grace. Below we've included some of their incredible insights. And, Susan Goss Brown, VP of Operations at Athleta, joined us in our female-fueled coworking space on International Women's Day to answer that same question. In working together with Athleta this month, we are grateful to show The Power of She: United We Thrive.


Courage - Faye Wilder.jpeg

Faye Wylder

Describe a time when you felt courageous.
Honestly, I don’t ever really feel courageous. Most of the time I feel afraid and slightly confused. I’m an entrepreneur, an artist, a leader, a mother, and a human. And so, I act with courage most every day because most every day asks me to risk my reputation, my privilege, my ideas about the way things are, and my limiting beliefs about Love. The risk always pays off.

What feelings mix with courage for you?
For me, I think courage really shines alongside terror, which sometimes masquerades as jealousy, doubt, procrastination, righteousness, and sloth.

What advice can you offer other women looking to feel more courageous?
Courage exists beyond the doorway of fear, which exists beyond the doorway of pain. Say a prayer, take a breath, and open those doors. Every day. Every time. Those are the doors to God.

Courage - Sharon.png

Sharon Stahl

Describe a time when you felt courageous.
My most courageous act was to jump into New York advertising as an Art Director.  It didn’t seem courageous at the time. I was in shock. I was new. I was green. I was in over my head. I had no idea what I was doing.

There was a meeting of the Creative Department, which was 100 people strong, but only 4 were women. It took me a year to be able to talk in full sentences in meetings. The only thing that gave me strength was the inner knowledge that I could do my job well. I stayed 12 years. It was torture at times, but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.  

What advice can you offer other women looking to feel more courageous?
Confidence is the nurturing mother of courage. With confidence, you can face risk and adversity and overcome your fears. And luckily, there are ways to boost confidence in whatever you do.

  1. Be so prepared that you don’t need notes.
  2. Be the source of the magic. Adding the magic makes you extraordinary. It makes you different. It defines you. Being the deliverer of magic gives you confidence. People love you for it. And, more importantly, you love yourself for it.
  3. Develop deep relationships with people with whom you share mutual respect and admiration. You will fail, but it is critical to have people around you that know it is JUST FAILURE and has nothing to do with your talent or self-worth.
  4. Never ever (not even once) be unkind.
  5. Learn from failures. Your failures are the ugly step-sisters of your successes and you can’t go through life without them, so you might as well put them to good use.
  6. Allow yourself what I call "My Minimum Daily Requirement of Misery.” I give it five minutes and then say, out-loud, "Knock it off!" and get back to work.

With confidence comes courage. Fear doesn’t stand a chance with those two on your side.

Be the best self you can be, take pride in your craft, say no to idiots, choose happiness, garner friendships that last a lifetime, learn how to make a good martini, and floss.


Courage - Cheryl and teacher.jpg

Dr. Cheryl Huang

Describe a time when you felt courageous.
Leading up to my 50th birthday, I gathered the courage to create a bucket list in writing. The item on the list that required the most courage was signing up for dance classes. To overcome my fears, I imagined the worst outcome: that I would look like an older lady striving to move her older bones to music.

I tried the classes and was hooked. They have turned out to be my go-to for fun, joy, inspiration, energy, and confidence. These days, I truly cannot imagine life without them. Fortunately, I got there because I cared more about doing what I wanted deep in my heart than what I looked like in the process. If I am lucky enough, I hope to be that 90 year-old who is still dancing like no one's watching!

What advice can you offer other women looking to increase their feelings of courage?Perspective has really helped me. Many of my older relatives were artists and intellectuals in Communist China and, as such, were persecuted by the Communists. My great uncle was an extraordinary photographer who captured the grace and beauty of Shanghai's women, and Communists burned all of his works. My great uncle ended up committing suicide because along with the photos, they had destroyed his soul.

So when I come to The Hivery and I hear everyone describe their hopes and dreams,  I feel so strongly that we must express ourselves and follow our passion projects. It is truly not about outcome (fame, fortune, awards, ego). It's about human rights, freedom, and opportunity. We should never give those up for fear or lack of courage. We really owe it to the world to share the gifts we all have and showcase the human spirit.

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”
— Asian Proverb
Courage - Kate.jpg

Kate Nicholson

Describe a time when you felt courageous.
I hate to say desperation is the shadow of courage, but sometimes it feels that way. Only when you shine a really bright light do you fully notice it, but it’s always there, lurking. And not necessarily desperation as 'rock bottom,’ but more of a final realization that things just can't stay the same.

To me, courage is the desperate need for change. "Why do I keeping picking the same crap boyfriend, over and over?" becomes "Maybe it's not them, maybe it's me." Ouch. "Why is it so hard to pretend everything is fine when Dad drinks?" becomes "I’m done pretending everything is fine when I live with an alcoholic." Change. When things just can’t stay the same anymore, you have to turn it around and look at it from a perspective of momentum. "What can I do to change, because I can’t keep doing this."

That's what brought me to start a poetry company with my best friend. I know, you're thinking a) poetry company? and b) going into business with your best friend? You're not talking courage, you're talking crazy. And maybe so, maybe change tinged with a touch of crazy is exactly what courage is.

We never intended to start a poetry company. All we wanted was a little honesty. At first it was greeting cards, then it became much more. So how to have the courage to do that? You get really comfortable with your own vulnerability and fear, and do it anyway.

The thing is, as soon as we were real—as the words we wrote were honest and true and we scraped the protective covering off of our wounds and worries, and put that to paper, bare for all to see and read and feel, well, people felt. They felt us. They felt the truth to the words and, they responded. With tears, with sighs, they responded. And, they asked for more. So, out of a greeting card company, a poetry company was born. Now, as a company, we bring true emotions to events and fundraising dinners, to conferences and private parties in the form of poemlets.

That’s the funny thing about courage—it lays deep inside right next to the shame and fear you want to keep most hidden away. Everyone has their own version. I can’t tell you what courage looks like for you, I can only tell you what it looked like for me. It was using my voice, inviting people to hear my inner-most musings, taking the spotlight and shining it right on my words as if to think they had weight enough to matter to anyone else but me. It was the most, is the most still, uncomfortable thing I could do.

But that’s courage. Taking the naked part of you and offering it up for someone else’s gaze, to take in, to evaluate, even to judge. Funny, though, when you’re naked, you have nothing left to hide. Yes, you’re open for utter rejection. But, if you're accepted, it’s absolute.

What advice can you offer others who want to be more courageous?
The thing about courage is that, yeah, you may fail if you go out on a limb and let yourself be vulnerable. But you may not fail. And that feeling—inching outside of your comfort zone and succeeding—well, there’s nothing like it. And there is absolutely no chance of succeeding if you don’t even try. Remember, when it feels heavy and scary, that’s just a message from yourself on the importance of your decision to you. Will you be disappointed in yourself if you don’t follow through? If the answer is yes, then the decision is actually already made. Instead of "if" you’ll be facing the bigger question of "when?"

The other thing about courage is that it’s bigger than that naysayer bully in your head. A LOT bigger. Go ahead and stand up with your courage and wallup that bully down!


Courage - Janet Crawford.jpg

Janet Crawford

Describe a time when you felt courageous.
Several years ago, I was beginning to work with a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley who had recently hosted a global conference on innovation. I noted that the percentage of women attending this prestigious by-invite-only event was extremely low (probably less than 10%).  From the inside of the industry, I started to note a number of disturbing trends when it came to including, respecting, listening to, and funding women.

VC is an extremely male culture and at the time, very little attention was being paid to the condition of women in the workplace (it was assumed that the issue was “solved”).  I was the only woman at the firm in a non-support role. I was a newbie to the culture and wanted to be an “insider.” I did NOT want to solidify my first impression as a complaining feminist. I wanted to be known as a leadership and culture strategist, not as the annoying nag constantly playing the gender card.

I’m not sure I would have described the feeling at the time as being courageous.  It was more like a compulsion, but I spoke up strongly and often to point out when women were being left out of the conversation, inaccurate assumptions made about us, etc.  It was simply unacceptable that we were in the 2000’s and this level of marginalization of women from the big conversations shaping the world was still happening, but even worse, happening at the hands of ostensibly well-intentioned men.

What feelings did you have mixed with courage?
Lots of heart-pounding, exhausting fear and anger, sadness, righteous indignation, mixed with hope, resolve, determination, satisfaction and pride.

What happened as a product of your courageous actions?
Two years later, at their subsequent conference, women represented half the speakers AND audience.

What advice can you offer others who want to be more courageous?

  • Do a lot of work on your inner compass.  Know who you are, what you value and what you will and won’t tolerate. Don’t let the outside world define that for you.
  • Know your goals and focus on the end game.
  • Put the situation in perspective. How will you feel about this 10 years from now?  What’s a real threat vs. an imaginary menace? Your mind can cook up some really scary narratives. Pay attention, because it may be giving you good information on how to protect yourself, but don’t let it spin out of control.  The story you tell yourself about what’s happening (or could happen) is often scarier than reality.
  • Take super good care of yourself. A well-cared for body, mind, and spirit are essential.
  • Surround yourself with a posse of support…people who will cheer you on, give you good advice, and reassure you that you’re not taking crazy pills.


Susan Goss Brown, from The Hivery's International Women's Day: What It Means to Be a Courageous Woman


Thank you Dear Hivery Community for your wisdom, for your support, and for opening your hearts to share your stories of courage.

In Kindness, Creativity, and Community,


Collaboration Corner: Anne LaFollette & Kim Thompson Steel

The Hivery is not only a gorgeous place to work, meet friends, build community and get inspired. It is also a place to find potential partners. There are countless stories of members who’ve met and collaborated on projects—even built businesses together!


We are so excited to highlight
the amazing Hivery collaboration between
Anne LaFollette & Kim Thompson Steel


Anne LaFollette and Kim Thompson Steel

Anne LaFollette and Kim Thompson Steel

Tell us a little bit about your backgrounds?

Anne: After 20+ years climbing the corporate ladder at huge global retailers like Esprit, the Gap and Old Navy and achieving "success" at the executive level, I decided it was time for me. This also coincided with my son's departure for college at the Rhode Island School of Design. I thought to myself: he must have gotten his creative talent from somewhere. Maybe it's time I explored my own creativity! And I still have all those art supplies I’ve collected over the years in the basement...

Kim: I'm originally from Toronto where I started my career in animation before moving to California in 1995 to work at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).  When my daughter was tiny, I was laid off and spent a couple of years freelancing and teaching before deciding that my storytelling skills might translate well in creating short, web-based videos. Photography was just a hobby for me back then, but over time became a passion that led me to where I am currently—pursuing photography projects that encompass my love of natural light, food, landscapes, and lifestyle imagery of makers and their work.


How were you two initially connected?

Anne: I met Kim at The Hivery. I was initially a little intimidated by her because she has this amazing background in photography and video from her years working at ILM. ILM and anything associated with George Lucas, the Star Wars films and Pixar is the holy grail! We got to know each other slowly through the concierge team and seeing each other in the space.

Kim: I met Anne through the work exchange/concierge program at The Hivery shortly after she joined. I was inspired by her story of completely switching directions to pursue art and pattern-making after her corporate career. Her enthusiasm and energy were so engaging, and I absolutely loved her designs!


How did you come up with the idea to collaborate? Why was it attractive?

Anne: I wanted to work with Kim pretty much from the get go! I would periodically see new websites she had built and they were always gorgeous! But I really couldn't afford her or I wasn't quite ready to make an investment in my business. I built my website myself along with all of my branding assets. But I really love Kim's eye and her photographic style and thought maybe we could collaborate on an "About Me" video and updated photography. It ended up being brilliant. I had so much fun working with her and my video and new product shots and images are absolutely amazing. I wish I had done it sooner and we continue to explore what we might do together next!

Kim: As soon as Anne approached me, I was on board. You can't fake loving someone else's work, and since I am making a conscious choice to work with not only people I like, but do work I appreciate, it was a no-brainer.


Who else have you collaborated with at The Hivery and why?

Anne: I'm a natural connector of people. Whenever I meet someone new, I'm immediately thinking about who else I know that they should meet. I haven’t collaborated with anyone else yet, but I've connected a ton of people to other talented women at The Hivery who hopefully will collaborate on something together. A few recent examples include Barbara Waxman, who needed a graphic designer. I sent her the names of five talented Hivery members. She eventually asked me to connect her directly with Monique Johnson of Mojo Design and Tina Wolfe of Treat Street Snacks. Another example is Marci Rinkoff who needed marketing help. I connected her with the fabulous Prim’d marketing team.

Kim: Even though I used to be a concierge (and thus did tours and greeted folks as they arrive), I'm actually a bit introverted and sometimes reluctant to stick my neck out...which is why my collaboration with Anne worked out so well—she did the hard work! I have also done headshots for a few Hivery members including Meghen Kurtzig, Marlis Jansen, Lisa Rueff, and Lisa Joss, as well as helped build websites in Squarespace for Lisa and for Thais Derich. I recently did my first fashion shoot for Lindsay Regan and her new activewear line. I also shoot many events for The Hivery.


What is it about The Hivery that allows for such beautiful collaboration?

Anne: There is so much talent at The Hivery. I feel blessed to interact with, learn about, and learn from the women who spend time in the space. Grace has definitely set the tone for collaboration by the events she organizes and the interactions she has with members every day.

Kim: I agree with Anne—the wealth of talent, and the variety of skills that our members possess is truly inspiring. I would be happy working with and for Hivery members almost exclusively. When I do tours on Monday mornings, we always start at the member photo board near the door because, for me, it represents what The Hivery is all about: the community and collaboration that has blossomed from bringing women together in this space.


For women who haven't yet found a collaborative partner at The Hivery or elsewhere, what are two or three pieces of advice for them?

Anne: Introduce yourself to someone new everyday. Tell them about what you are working on and show genuine curiosity about what they are working on. Ask other members to introduce you to other members they think you should meet.

Kim: Our online community board, with profiles of all our members and what they do, is a gold mine. If you are looking for a coach, a financial advisor, a photographer, a writer, or anything that your business or life requires, it's so easy to type in what you are looking for and reach out in whatever way is comfortable for you. It’s one of the best benefits of membership!


Why is collaborating so important to you?

Anne: Doing everything by yourself is lonely! And there is so much more power and talent that comes from people putting their heads together to solve a problem or develop assets. And it’s fun! Collaboration creates a deeper bond between people as well. I not only know Kim better now but I appreciate her talent even more after our collaboration because I witnessed her talent in action. It was a beautiful experience to behold! I can't wait to collaborate with her again soon.

Kim: As someone who worked in a team environment for many years, I often found the years of working from home depressing and demotivating. Working on projects with someone is inspiring and brings so much energy and deeply-needed light to my life. And even when I'm working on an independent project, coworking at The Hivery offers that sense of camaraderie that working alone at home will never offer.

The Video Story Kim created with Anne

Elle Luna and Susie Herrick on Freeing the Feminine Voice and Speaking Your Truth

We are so excited to host Elle Luna and Susie Herrick on The Hivery stage at the March 13th Hivery Circle to launch their new book, YOUR STORY IS YOUR POWER: Free Your Feminine Voice. We sat down with Elle and Susie in advance of this special event to hear more about their collaboration and to get a sneak preview of their upcoming book.   

We love the idea for your book! Where did it come from?

Susie: For me, the idea came years ago after having an interaction with my father that changed my perspective on how I should work with my internal world and my internalized misogyny. I wanted to get my dad to stop criticizing my mom, but every time I thought about saying something I realized that there was an underlying feeling of getting killed for standing out. It didn’t make sense until I did some research and learned that some of my ancestors were in the Salem witch trials. There was a transmission process of terror that had gone through generations.

Wow, that is fascinating. How did you approach your father?

Susie: I was having a phone conversation with him and he was arguing with my mother about how she hadn’t involved him in planning her birthday party, telling her she was betraying the marriage. It was at that moment that I knew something was wrong. I told him how I felt, we argued and I hung up on him—something I’d never done. I then wrote him an email telling him it was time to stop speaking and treating my mother that way and to start aligning with women.

He took it well, shared it with friends, sent me flowers, and emailed me back. It was the first time I saw what it meant to work internally and effect the external. I had an unconscious misogyny that I had been working at for a long time at that point. It ended up turning into my book Aphrodite Emerges: The Journey That Changed My Life – And Changed My Father’s Too, which came out in 2017. Elle illustrated it, which was magic.

Elle, what was it about the topic of freeing your feminine voice that resonated with you?

Elle: Right after the Women’s March in early 2017, my editor from Workman Publishing [the publisher who released Elle’s bestseller The Crossroads of Should and Must] reached out. She’d seen Susie’s book and asked if we wanted to do a book that would build on everything happening since Trump was elected. We started working on this new book in spring 2017 and finished it in early October. It was really fast.

I became passionate about this work because of the work that was rising to the surface in my internal world. Susie and I talk a lot about the moment we discovered internalized cultural misogyny. For me, it was my internal voice that pointed me to this. I used to call it my inner critic, but after a while I was starting to realize that it wasn’t just a critic—it was hateful and it was commenting on my femininity.

The more I worked with that voice, the better I felt. It was all about bringing awareness.

Why do you think the topic of freeing the feminine voice is so important right now?

Elle: I think things are coming up to the surface right now—the #MeToo movement, the election. In the book, we write about why feminine power is the best way forward. Women have so many natural strengths and gifts. Everything from the innate ability to create beautiful spaces, to stepping forward to protect the natural world, to coming together to solve enormous problems facing our planet.

Susie: I look at the proliferation of beauty that has come from Elle alone—what she has put out in the universe—and it has to do with her ability to look at herself and put out what is raw and what is true. I think there is a need for that right now. Women have an innate way of collecting together and coming up with exquisite things. I think the time is now to step into that power.

Elle Luna is a designer, painter, and writer, and the author of The Crossroads of Should and Must. She facilitates the global art movement #The100DayProject, and has previously worked as a designer at IDEO and with teams on apps and websites, including Medium, Mailbox, and Uber. Ms. Luna speaks to groups around the world and lives in San Francisco and online at elleluna.com and on Instagram at @elleluna.

Susie Herrick is a licensed psychotherapist, Enneagram teacher, mediator, trainer, consultant, and writer. She has taught, coached, and mentored more than two thousand graduate students in counseling psychology over the past 25 years. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Limited signed copies of YOUR STORY IS YOUR POWER: Free Your Feminine Voice will be available for purchase for $17.95 at the end of the March 13th Hivery Circle.

Please feel free to come alone and mingle with your Hivery community or bring a friend. ALL ARE WELCOME at this beautiful celebration of courage and The Power of She: United We Thrive! As seats are limited, advance online registration is required. 

Gratitude to our event sponsor

International Women’s Day: Courage

Happy March Dear Community! Over the next 30 days, The Hivery is celebrating The Power of She: United We Thrive with inspirational, empowering events and storytelling, starting with a panel discussion on International Women's Day, Thursday, March 8th. The event, What It Means to Be a Courageous Woman, will feature a performance by the Marin Girl’s Chorus, insights from a collection of incredible women, and an inspiring conversation with our community.

Recently, we sat down with three of the evening’s panelists to get a sneak preview and capture their thoughts on courage. Here is what they had to say...

Nikki Silvestri.jpg

Nikki Silvestri, founder and CEO, Soil and Shadow, a project development firm working to create systems of change while improving relationships between communities:

What does it mean to be a courageous woman?
Having the guts to face life as it is—instead of life as we want it to be.

Who are some of the courageous women in your life and why?
My dear friend Vonda Vaden Bates, who lost her husband to hospital error and has taken on patient safety as a result. My mother, who has stamina for life’s challenges in a way I can’t even comprehend. My business partner Ryan, who pivoted from Olympic athlete to serving athletes through massage therapy—healing those who really need it.

What are some misconceptions about courage?
That courage and fear are mutually exclusive. Fear is strongest when we have the most courage.

What advice can you offer women who aren't feeling especially courageous at the moment?
What you are feeling is enough. Go deeper into it, and eventually you will move through it to the action you’re meant to take.


Linda Calhoun_headshot.jpg

Linda Calhoun, executive director, Career Girls, a video-based career exploration tool for girls that focuses on jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM):

What does it mean to be a courageous woman?
Being courageous means that even with fear so great that it makes your whole body tremble, you summon the will, the resolve to do what needs to be done or speak the truth that needs to be heard.


Who are some of the courageous women in your life and why?
My paternal grandmother immediately comes to mind. She was born and raised in rural Massie’s Mill, Virginia, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She was one of eight children born to a very poor subsistence farmer and a maid. She never went beyond eighth grade, but after my father and three of his siblings all left the area to find higher wages and escape Jim Crow segregation, she insisted that my grandfather and the two remaining children pick up their stakes and join the rest of the family in Connecticut.

At first, my grandfather balked. Despite racism and poverty, he had an extended family that enjoyed some creature comforts derived from bootlegging. He did not want to leave. She responding by telling him that she was going to leave (with or without him) and take their two youngest children with her.

Understanding that she would not back down, he relented and went from earning 10¢ per hour in a coal mine to earning enough money to buy a truck and a suburban lot. She had the courage to uproot herself and her children, with no income and an eighth-grade education, to create a much better life for her family.

What are some misconceptions about courage?
The biggest misconception is that courage means the absence of fear. It is exactly the opposite. You take action in the face of fear. You believe in yourself, the world, and the universe that somehow you will be able to face whatever is on the other side of that decision.

What advice can you offer women who aren't feeling especially courageous at the moment?
My advice is to remember. Remember whom you are descended from. Remember what they endured or suffered to bring you to this point. Remember how you have overcome past struggles and obstacles. And, remember who you are. I know who I am and what is important to me. In addition, be pro-active. Prepare for the worst. Not only have a plan A, but also B, C, and D. Knowing that I have created a plan of action for every worrisome scenario gives me enormous peace of mind.


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Julie Castro Abrams, founder and CEO, How Women Lead, a Bay Area network for the promotion of diverse women’s voices:

What does it mean to be a courageous woman?
Women are conditioned toward certain behaviors like care taking, saying yes, pleasing others, and letting others have airtime. So truthfully, courage shows up in every day ways that may not be defined as courageous. Saying no can be an act of courage. Speaking your truth and asking for your fair share is courageous. When someone interrupts you and takes your words away, standing up and demanding to be heard is courageous. Standing up for your own family, your community, for their rights and safety is courageous.

Who are some of the courageous women in your life and why?
Today I am going to say it is Emma Gonzalez. She is standing up strong and using her voice. Emma shows us you don’t have to be THE expert and have all the answers to know the difference between right and wrong. She has a right to speak up and stand up.

What are some misconceptions about courage, in your opinion?

  • Courage is about guns and risking our lives.
  • Courage is stepping out regardless of the cost to others.
  • Courage is loud and white and male and heterosexual.

What advice can you offer women who aren't feeling especially courageous at the moment?
First look at your life with generosity of spirit. Identify three times you have been courageous in your life. Did you know you were being courageous at the time? What were the circumstances? Are you the same person? Thank yourself—be proud of yourself. Now think about three times this month you have moved out of your comfort zone to stand up for yourself or others to take action. OR…Just ask your friends to tell you where they see you being courageous. They know!


We look forward to celebrating
International Women’s Day with you!

Member Survey: How Do You Practice Mindfulness?

February's focus on Mindfulness brought so many amazing #womendoingcoolstuff to The Hivery stage. Check out our Facebook Album from Sharon Salzberg's evening on Equanimity: The Balance Born of Wisdom with Sharon Salzberg and join The Hivery movement on Instagram @TheHivery.

Keeping with the spirit of mindfulness for a few more days in February, we polled our own members on what they do to stay mindful. Check out these responses and please add your two cents below on how you stay centered throughout your day, week, month. We love hearing and learning from you!

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Beth Crittenden
I meditate daily for 10-20 minutes and also consider playing tennis a mindfulness practice. I play for fun as well as compete in USTA, usually playing about an hour and a half at a time, around four days per week. The meditative part of tennis is that my mind just has to be with the ball that is coming to me. It can be easy to get distracted planning for future shots, and/or judging current or past shots, or the score, or what the other person is saying, etc. Meditation has helped me worry less about what others are thinking as they watch me play, or thinking about their responses if I win or lose the match.


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Tarja Parssinen
As a high-energy person, I have to work extra hard to slow myself down and stay mindful. For me, it's all about time. It's about shaping my calendar before the start of each week and before the start of each day to ensure I have enough time to be present in what I'm doing. Being mindful means deleting all social media apps off my phone. My mind is too fractured if there are notifications tapping me on the shoulder all the time. At work, I try to take breaks every 15 minutes to stretch and move. I also try to be mindful when I eat and think about how I’m eating. I try not to eat at my desk, while I’m working or watching TV. My goal is to sit down at the dining room table and eat without electronics. And finally, exercise creates the space and calm for me to be mindful. As I've gotten older, the forms of exercises themselves have become more spiritual and less frenetic and body image driven. Being mindful is hard, but I'm a healthier, happier person for it.


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Janine Kovac
My mindfulness practice is my morning writing practice. I write three pages, front and back, in a journal. I don’t revise them or reread them. In fact, after they are written, I never refer to these words again. Their sole purpose is to flow from brain to page without being judged or evaluated. It’s so freeing to have this one corner of my writing that is not open to revision. Sometimes the thoughts are unformed. Sometimes the words are misspelled or the sentences are incomplete. But that’s fine. The point isn’t to create great writing or even to chew on the buds of great ideas. The point is to spend the time it takes to write three pages, front and back, without checking the time or my email. Without even checking to see if I like what I’ve written so far. To stay in the present moment, word by word.


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Erin Ceynar
I discovered Amy Cuddy’s book Presence in 2012, at a time when I was making large monetary asks to high finance types (read: rich white men) as part of my job. The book really resonated with me and since then, whenever I’m in a stressful situation, I will practice a “power pose” by putting both hands on my hips like a super hero and saying, “You got this!” It’s really helped.


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Gayle Canton
I work as a psychotherapist and mindfulness coach, and one of my favorite practices for myself and my clients is setting an alarm 15 minutes before needing to get up, and doing a short meditation and intention setting exercise. I find that this allows us to step out of bed fully awake. I also recommend creating “to-be” lists rather than just “to-do” lists. Writing down five daily gratitudes at the end of the day also helps with mindfulness as we start to see what we are grateful for everywhere. Lastly, I try to notice if I feel triggered, and do a short breathing exercise.


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Susan Lopes
When I first wake up in the morning, while still in bed, I pray to my higher power (changes all the time but always nature— from Mt. Tam to the beach to the sky to the sunshine.) I thank my higher power and then I ask for “help.” Just generic help. Then I pray for the people that I’m thinking about at that time. Often I will set my intention before I get out of bed. When I get up, a friend and I will text each other what we’re grateful for. The list can be as simple as a good night’s sleep or that I have a roof over my head. Other times it’s a laundry list of things. I like to read Martha Beck’s thought-provoking quote of the day in my email inbox. During the day, I’ve been practicing being present, turning off my cell phone so I don’t miss serendipitous opportunities, and making conscious efforts to listen and pay attention to others and to my own feelings. At the end of the day, there’s a short "End of Day" meditation I love by Deepak Chopra, where you observe your day and then let it go.


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Jennifer Ghidinelli
I try to expose myself to people, places and experiences that encourage and invite mindfulness. That can be going to events at The Hivery (Wellness Wednesdays, Discovery Circles, Hivery Circles, Member Spotlights), reading books, signing up for email newsletters that talk about mindfulness, going to therapy, etc. My daily mindfulness ritual begins at 5:30 am: I make a cup of tea and then relax in a large comfy chair with my dog. Then I do something that's just for me and geared towards mindfulness. These days I knit and listen to a few of my favorite podcasts, usually Super Soul Conversations and Good Life Project, or an audio book. I just finished Michael Singer's The Untethered Soul and now I'm listening to Gabrielle Bernstein's Judgment Detox. Other days, usually when life is feeling really tough, I'll do a guided meditation instead. My favorite is Oprah & Deepak's guided meditations. And lastly, my 2-year-old daughter has been a great catalyst for mindfulness. As a teacher to her, I'm always pointing out the beauty around us: a sunset, a pretty flower, the bird chirping, how the leaves feel between your fingers. And now she's pointing those things out to me. It makes us both present and grateful.


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Meghen Kurtzig
I practice Transcendental Meditation. I watched a friend transform as she learned and so I took the classes myself. It has been a few years now and continues to be an integral part of my day. It helps me lay a solid foundation for stable and tranquil mentality.


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Susan Fassberg
I really like meditating with the Insight Timer or Headspace apps and recently discovered What's Good: Daily Gratitude, an app by Wesley Moore. The interface is easy to use, and the prompts and reminders that support a gratitude habit are excellent. In the past I’ve used a handwritten journal (The Five-Minute Journal), which requires only five minutes daily to fill in, first thing in the morning and right before bed. In addition, two of the most important practices off and on over decades have been Tai Chi and the Buddhist Lovingkindness meditation. Tai chi builds strength and balance as it clears the mental dance floor. And the Lovingkindness meditation feels almost effortless because the focus is not a mantra, nor is it the breath. It’s on expanding one’s feelings of generosity and compassion first to those close to us and then to our extended families and friends, and then to others everywhere, even to our enemies.


The Hivery Circle Speakers Spotlight: Bristol Baughan & Nikola Love

This February, we are exploring the topic of Mindfulness through blog posts and events, including the Tuesday, Feb 13 Hivery Circle, where a group of multidimensional speakers will take The Hivery stage in a TED-style evening. We look forward to welcoming Gina Vance, CCHT, who will start us off with an Opening Mind/Body Meditation and lead us into our panel of featured guests:

We recently had the opportunity to sit down in advance of the event with two of our featured panelists—Bristol Baughan and Nikola Love—and we are excited to share their stories and insights with you!

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Bristol Baughan

Hi Bristol! We would love it if you could tell us a little about your background.
Growing up, I was really ambitious. I was on a mission to change the world and ended up working at the White House and then moving to L.A. to make movies. My idea was that if I could make a film that inspired and engaged people, it would make change. I led with an energy of achievement until I was around 29 years old.


What happened then?
I got depressed and burned out, and decided to take a break and travel. People said I was crazy. From the outside, it looked like I was living this fabulous life, but the truth was, I was working myself into the ground and didn’t have any self-care. I was sacrificing myself on the altar of doing for others. It was then that I had to question the beliefs that were unconsciously running my mind.

What has happened since you quit?
It’s been an experiment of me trying to discover what practices help me feel a sense of connection and aliveness. Meditation has helped. I’ve been on a mission to find my heart and my soul and discover what the hell that even means. It’s taken me to India and Thailand, among other places. Since then, I’ve gotten my masters degree in spiritual psychology, created a one-woman play called Judge-A-Holic about my road to recovery, started writing blogs and created Inner Astronauts, where I coach groups of women as well as do one-on-one coaching. About six months ago, I dreamt that I wanted to be in the redwoods and decided to move to Marin from LA.

What advice can you offer to women who want to get into mindfulness but feel a little intimidated?
I recommend setting easy goals. Start by meditating two minutes per week. Even that can be really powerful. There are tons of apps out there to help, but it’s like dating—you want to find the practice that helps you feel connected and alive. I think it’s all about starting to question the panic in our minds and asking: What is the mind so afraid will happen if we slow down and observe it? Often the answer will lead to freedom.



Nikola Love

It's so wonderful to meet you, Nikola! Please tell us about your background.
Sure! I’m based in Los Angeles and own Special Place Productions with my husband. We do both film, photography and art. I did my training in sacred commerce, communications, and film. I really love motion imagery and storytelling, but when we first started out, we found that we didn’t feel aligned with a lot of the work we were getting on things like commercials, so we decided to create a production company aligned with our mission statement of doing
good and spreading beauty and positivity
in the world.

What are you working on now?
We are working on our 3D scanning company, as well as on art, music videos, marketing promotional videos, and we’re really excited about transitioning into creating in the virtual reality space with a conscious mindset.

What do you mean by “a conscious mindset?”
I find that a lot of work in the VR space—be it games or movies—revolves around violence. We are dedicated to making beautiful things with VR; right now we’re working on a project relating to our spiritual connection with animals and the environment.

How does mindfulness manifest in your life?
I try to be in a mindful place no matter what I’m doing, be it packing groceries or talking with a friend or "working.” I find that when I get quiet with myself, I’m able to live from a higher place, a more mindful place. I try to be in that space and be mindful to serve the highest outcome for the planet and myself even if a decision doesn’t seem logically sound.

I try and live by a few power ideals:

Treat yourself, others, animals and the planet with love and respect and always take the awakened path in all communications and actions.

  1. Always lead by intuition.
  2. Do things in a way you're proud of.
  3. Follow your inner voice/guide above all. ALWAYS.
  4. Don’t do anything because it is considered the “proper way” to do it. Paint outside the lines and envision new and bold alternatives to the "common reality" that raises the vibration.

What advice can you offer to women who want to get into mindfulness, but feel a little intimidated?
I think there is a grand illusion around the concept of mindfulness that isn’t super helpful—that you have to sit and meditate for hours to be mindful. Instead, I believe in an integrated approach to spirituality. As long as you have intention behind what you do, anything can be considered a mindfulness practice—anything from picking your kids up from school to folding clothes to running a business.

I believe that being present in the moment is the biggest connector to mindfulness. If you are being completely present—even doing the most menial tasks—you are practicing mindfulness beautifully.

Register in advance to join in the conversation with Bristol, Nikola,
and our amazing guests as we explore Mindfulness on Tuesday, Feb 13, 7-9pm.

where the mind is full of the essence of life.




Grace Kraaijvanger in Conversation With Sharon Salzberg

My dear Hivery Community! I am so excited to share this post with you today. I’ve been following the career of Sharon Salzberg for years now. She, along with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein, established the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, back in the mid-1970s and have since become three of the most influential meditation teachers in the United States.

Sharon now splits her time between Barre and New York City, teaching meditation wherever she goes. She also is the author of the bestselling book Real Love, which I highly recommend.

Please mark your calendars because Sharon herself will be at The Hivery for a one-night-only event on Wednesday, Feb. 21 from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. talking about Equanimity with our community. Please purchase tickets today and tell your friends! This event will sell out.

To help you get more acquainted with Sharon and her work, I had the great fortune of hopping on the phone to interview her in early December. Here is an excerpt from our conversation. Enjoy!

Exclusive Interview with
Meditation Master Teacher Sharon Salzberg

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Grace: So often women come to The Hivery feeling stuck, or at the beginning of a transition in their lives, which often can feel like “stuckness.” What does the integration of mindfulness/meditation mean during periods of transformation? What answers can we find?

Sharon: The place I’d start would be to encourage people to hang out with that feeling of stuckness. We can be impatient for a resolution and get stressed out in the process. We believe the process of transformation is best served by a kind of balance. But when we can get interested in our experience and have a bit of space from it, we don’t feel as crushed and overwhelmed by what’s going on.

It helps to feel connected to the emotion, but not overwhelmed by it. And this is best served by being able to hang out in some kindness to the self, in that feeling of stuckness, without having to push or prod or force anything to happen. Most of us are not skilled in hanging out with uncomfortable feelings. We aren’t trained to do that.

Grace: Yes. I think we can think of being stuck as being a problem where we are "broken." But at the same time, so many beautiful things can come out of that place. It can be painful, though, while you’re in there.

How does this relate to women and creating work? So many of us feel like we are juggling too many responsibilities while also striving for balance. I’m definitely guilty of that—you should have seen me this morning trying to usher my kids out the door for school!

How can we use mindfulness to get out of the cycle of overwhelm?

Sharon: I’m a believer in daily, formal meditation practice, just 10-15 minutes. It can be hard for women to take even that amount of time for themselves, but if you do that, it can provide you with a platform for what we really encourage, called "short moments, many times."

In terms of multitasking, you may not be able to stop all day every day, but if you can take small moments to do one thing at a time. Like drinking a cup of tea and enjoying it. We are so used to drinking beverages while watching TV, while on a conference call, that we feel perpetually unfulfilled. Research tells us that when we’re multitasking, we actually aren’t doing anything very well.

Other short activities can also help you find peace and pause. One is waiting for the phone to ring three times before picking it up, instead of racing to pick it up on the first ring. This helps create space. Another idea is to write an email and not send it right away, and instead take a few breaths first.

Grace: This is so true. The less we do, the better, especially moment by moment.

Sharon: Exactly. And you don’t have to look at your day as a whole. Thinking about how to bring peace in those short moments is enough.

Grace: I started out as a dancer, and feel like we did mindfulness training in ballet school, but didn’t know it was mindfulness training until much later. Because of that training, it is interesting for me to see mindfulness and meditation become more popular now.

I feel like there is a groundswell of interest in this area. What is that like for you—being such a pillar in this movement for more than 40 years—to see mindfulness and meditation become so popular?

Sharon: It is astonishing, extraordinary. It’s great that access is so widespread now. Of course there are problems, too. I worry about expensive teacher trainings because the old fashioned way was to train for years, not hours. That isn’t to say that the people doing the training aren’t doing amazing work. I just caution people not to feel like they are “done” at a certain time, but instead that we are perpetually students.

I also see a danger in doing this work on your own. There is so much trauma, projection, and uncertainty in the general population. It is good to have a sense of community when you are doing this work.

Grace: I couldn’t agree with you more. I often tell people who feel creatively stuck that they are not permanently stuck, but rather might be lonely and isolated. Isn’t it true that it can be transformative when people feel like they belong?

Sharon: Absolutely. Finding people who share your values is a gift. Just as we need help at times, we can be the helper at other times.

Grace: I’d love to talk about your event at The Hivery around the topic of equanimity. What does that concept mean?

Sharon: I love equanimity. It is an odd word and we can tend to think of it as meaning indifference and not caring, but it doesn’t mean those things at all. I like to think about it in the context of the voice of wisdom. It is the balance born of wisdom. For example, you may be deeply compassionate about a friend and try to do everything you can do to make that person change/get better, but the voice of wisdom tells us that it isn’t up to us, it isn’t in our hands.

Burnout is related to trying to make someone be happy or do something you think they should be doing. Equanimity is the opposite of that. It supports qualities like love and compassion. It means balance. The balance born of love and wisdom—wisdom that we are not in control. When you don’t lead with wisdom, you can often feel responsible with everyone else’s happiness, which can create burnout.

Equanimity is the strength that fortifies love and compassion. It goes hand-in-hand with the truth of how things are.

Grace: You spoke earlier about being a perpetual student. What does that mean?

Sharon: It is extremely useful never to feel like you’re done learning. I’ve had wonderful teachers throughout my meditation life and still have teachers. I find it really fun to be a student. It is a life-long journey. We are always learning, no matter our age or experience.

Grace: Sharon, thank you so much for your time. I cannot wait for you to come to The Hivery. I know we will have a lot of fun, and I'm so excited to share your mindfulness teachings with our community.

Sharon: Thanks for chatting, Grace. This was wonderful.

From one of the world’s foremost experts on lovingkindness meditation comes a field guide for anyone seeking awakened living in the 21st century. Real Love will revolutionize what true connection and love mean to you, and empower you with practical and creative tools to embody it.

Grace's Corner: Renewal, Transformation and the Start of 2018

Happy New Year, Hivery Community! We kicked off 2018 with the January 8th Hivery Circle, which brought together several incredible women to share on the topic of renewal. For this month’s blog, I’d like to share a few of my words from that night on this very important topic. Wishing you all kindness, creativity, and community this year and always.

At the start of every year, those who are curious, energized, and thoughtful look both introspectively and outside for what the New Year brings. For many of us, these new beginnings bring with them a sense of RENEWAL.

Definition of RENEW: to make (something) new, fresh, or strong again. : to make (a promise, vow, etc.) again. : to begin again especially with more energy or enthusiasm.

And yet, to renew, to begin again, to continue to evolve—it isn’t always the easiest path, is it? Complacency seems easier and at first less painful, but it can also be the root of agony. Stagnation causes heartbreak. It’s the desire to be our fullest selves that draws us into the topic of renewal.

Through years of talking with and coaching women looking to create change in their lives (at the start of the year, or otherwise),  I’ve been in the very lucky position of getting to observe traits that lead to lasting change.

Here are five truths I’ve learned about transformation:

#1. Change often starts in the muck, the mess, the heartbreak. The energy to create change comes from a dissatisfaction with the status quo. Some of the greatest transformation that I’ve seen from women at The Hivery began with being in a puddle on the floor. In which case, I’ve been known to say, “I know this is agony right now. And the timing might seem terrible for me to be saying this to you. But, I’m excited for you...you have to be broken open and deeply vulnerable in order to get to the center of your own soul.”

Nobody wants to do it—not real change, not soul change, not the painful molecular change required to truly become who you need to be. Nobody ever does real transformation for fun. Nobody ever does it on a dare. You do it only when your back is so far against the wall that you have no choice anymore.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

#2. We often refuse transformation or renewal due to insecurity and fear. (i.e. We have the power to make our own transformation a negative, and conversely we have the power to work through that refusal.) Throughout various stages of transformation, it’s often us who create the barriers to change. Barriers like, “I’m too old. I won’t make enough money. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have enough time. I have too many other responsibilities.” These are all great ways to get in our own way. That internal mind chatter can be our most powerful and listened-to voice.

Successful transformation occurs—not when we rid ourselves of that voice (as that is most often not realistic)—but when we learn to recognize the voice for what it is (fear) and develop the emotional fitness to keep moving forward anyway.

#3. Transformation comes from a willingness to do the work. As Joseph Campbell used to say, “Dragons have to be slain again and again.” I spent years as a ballet dancer, and trained intensively for almost 20 years. I learned early on that I could want to be a “good” ballet dancer all day long, and I could read books about it, and fantasize about being onstage, and talk about it with anyone who would listen. But, the reality was that the only way to be a good ballet dancer was to show up, take class, and dance, even (or especially) when I didn’t feel like it.

I wish there was another way. But, transformation requires work. And, not just “sometimes” work, but consistent work. Work doesn’t have to look like sweat. It can look like commitment to self, creative ritual, or morning meditation. But, the commitment piece is non-negotiable. You get what you pay for in the transformation department, and showing up is the most important part.

#4. Real change occurs when we become willing to not know the outcome. If you’re looking for a clear, chartered path where everything is proven and knowable, you will wait your whole life to step into yourself. The beauty of living fully is that you trust your intuition enough to live bravely. Transformation often feels like being on the edge of a cliff, looking out at a dark abyss with only the light of some twinkling stars to tantalize you forward. You don’t want to turn around and retreat, even though it would be safer and more familiar territory. But, launching into the unknown is scary, too.

True transformation comes when you are willing to let go of what is comfortable and known in order to step into the next chapter. Not knowing the outcome and trusting anyway is the creative process, and lasting change cannot be made without acceptance of the mystery of what is ahead.

#5. Transformation is often not an explosion. Real transformation is a soft opening of the heart and the head that begins and ends with self-love. Transformation won’t strike you on a Tuesday and hold you in its’ grip for all the days of your life. Transformation is a process that washes through you, creating introspection, exploration, forgiveness, compassion, delight, and ultimately self-love.

I’ll leave you with a story that showed me the way to realizing the importance of self-love these past few years. It was a gift to me through a series of dreams that were initially perplexing, and then eventually provided some much-needed guidance.

My mom passed away nearly seven years ago. For a couple years after she died, I felt like I’d lost her completely. She hadn’t visited me in a dream, I couldn’t conjure her face up over the oceans, I couldn’t feel her presence...or so I thought...and I craved that connection. I was envious when people talked about being “visited” by a loved one who had passed; that seemed like an impossibility for me.

But, simultaneously, and for years, I’d be woken up from a dream with a voice saying, “I love you. I love you. I love you.”... and for years it would startle me awake. Until one morning around 3 am, when I heard it again and again inside my own head. I thought I was going crazy. I could “feel” my mother’s presence, but was confused because it wasn’t her voice. Who was it? Repeating those words again and again? As I listened deeply, half-asleep, half-trying to figure this out, it was my voice. It was my sub-conscience reassuring me. I’ve always felt that it was the spirit of my mom who told me what I most needed to know. That it was not her love that I needed the most, it was my own.

Love of any variety is a dichotomy of beauty and agony...self-love is no different. It can be painful and might feel like it needs to be shoved away, due to the ego or our fear of being self-absorbed, or our fear of not being enough for the only “you” you have. But, the ability to love ourselves is the single most impactful ingredient to the transformation of who you really are. Without it, you are simply an observer on the ride and revelation of your truest self.

The desire to make personal, impactful change in one’s life is not enough on its’ own. With the exploration and commitment of these five truths, the adventure, joy, and magic of creating transformative change can become something that inspires and fuels you, long after the New Year’s excitement and resolutions have faded. Enjoy the bold and beautiful (albeit sometimes bumpy) journey of becoming who you really are.

One life on this earth is all that we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can.
— Frederick Buechner

Another Look at The Hivery Circle:
Renewal for Mind, Body, and Spirit

photography thanks to Kim Thompson Steel

"Back stage" huddle.

"Back stage" huddle.

Thank you to our amazing panel for sharing their inspirational stories.

Thank you to our amazing panel for sharing their inspirational stories.

Daniela Kratz from  Farmhouse Lab.

Daniela Kratz from Farmhouse Lab.

Our beloved community of members and guests.

Our beloved community of members and guests.

Sophie James Wine  (Sophie & James pictured here!).

Sophie James Wine (Sophie & James pictured here!).

The kind and wonderful women representing our incredible sponsor,  SkinSpirit .

The kind and wonderful women representing our incredible sponsor, SkinSpirit.





Grace’s Corner: My Journey to Reimagining Goal-Setting

I had an eye-opening experience this year around late October. I found an old notebook where I'd written out my New Year's resolutions for 2017. As I stared at the list with only a couple months left to go in the year, the words seemed to jump out at me.

I hadn’t accomplished a single goal.

I hadn't written a book, hadn't opened our second Hivery, and hadn't turned one of my workshops into an online course. 

"What a loser," my fear-brain piped in. I spent a good ten minutes being hard on myself. "You lost your focus." ... "You busied yourself with the wrong things." ... "What's wrong with you?"

Wow. That's the kind of self-talk that I would never allow at The Hivery. And here I was, engaged in a lively verbal shake-down in my own head. 

With some quiet time and my favorite "hike it off" strategy, I was able to get re-centered on where those original goals came from, why they mattered to me, and what NOT accomplishing them this year taught me. With further introspection and review, I "remembered" that 2017 has been an unbelievable year, filled with growth, learning, expansion, incredible friendships, countless victory bell moments with our members, and most importantly, love, family and joy.

I came back to my list a week later with fresh eyes and the knowledge that 2017 taught me a lot. Among the many lessons: in order to do anything new, I must go through the motions of exploring it, feeling it, and trying it on. That exploration time is part of my creative process and is not only time well-spent, but it is required for me to understand how important a goal is to me. I also learned that it is perfectly fine to walk away from a so-called goal, or answer the goal with “not now" if it doesn’t actually serve me, or just doesn’t feel right. 

I started thinking: what if I could reflect back on the past year and think about the things I did do rather than the things I didn’t do? What if I could look at the learnings I gained from moments when I had to change direction? Moments when things didn’t go according to plan?

I found myself humming along to the beloved musical, Hamilton, where the strong, impeccably smart character Angelica, sings, "You want a revolution? I want a revelation,” but I was singing, “You want a RESOLUTION? I want a REVELATION.” 

I realized that I, like Angelica, want something a little different. I don’t want to be bound by a holiday-based goal. I want to live, learn, change course, and create something. More than anything, I want to feel alive. That doesn’t always tie back to a goal I made in late December. That’s something I carry inside all year long. This change in thought did wonders for my disposition and has completely altered the way I look at goal-setting, especially as it relates to the proverbial New Year’s resolutions.

I would love to bust the perfection myth around this beginning-of-each-year tradition. New Year’s resolutions can disconnect us from the centeredness of actually being on the right track in order to somehow redirect us to thinking that something distant from us is really what we want. What’s more, that that distant thing is only attainable if we force ourselves into it at the outset of every New Year.

So how do we look at New Years’ goals with renewed perspective?

photo by Kim Thompson Steel

Here are a few ideas...

Get clear on your ‘why.’ Take a moment to think about the deeper reasons behind your goal. For me to do this, I have to get very quiet with myself. Only then can I assess my truth of either aiming for what I call a “should" goal vs. a goal that is inspiring and meaningful to me deep down.

Create a support structure. For the record, I’m not a goal-hater…and tbh (as my teenager says for "to be honest"), I’ll probably make some New Year’s resolutions again this year. I think goals can be good things, but in order to serve us, each one needs to have a support structure around it.


If your goal is to write a book, the first question is why? Why now? What story do you need to tell? Then, think about timing. When will you start outlining chapters? Will you start by trying to write for 10 minutes every day for two weeks? Would it be helpful if you joined a writers’ group, or even came to The Hivery every Tuesday and designated that your writing day? When you aren’t feeling your best, whom will you call to help prop you up and give you words of encouragement? Having an accountability buddy or mentor to coach you through the inevitable dips really works, especially for big, long-term goals. 

The need for support structure applies to all goals, from losing weight to spending time outdoors to travel. What support can you put around your objectives to help you along?

Prioritize the way you want to feel in the New Year.  Back in late November, I had the great fortune of attending Hivery member Megan Flatt’s Post-It Note Happy Hour in our Creative Studio. I love Megan’s insights as a coach and was really taken by her first question to the class. Instead of asking what our goals were, she asked how we wanted to feel.

We all wrote down the first things that came to us and it was incredible what my co-participants expressed. I want to feel expansive. I want to feel relaxed. I want to feel open.

My desired feeling? To live at the epicenter of my creativity.

I stared at my post-It and thought: wait! I do feel that way! Who cares if I didn’t achieve my New Year’s goals? I do feel like I’m living at the epicenter of my creativity every day. Realizing that was an incredible feeling. I had achieved my goal, albeit a different and more important one than I had written down as my resolution for the year.

Think about what you did do vs. what you didn’t do. To reiterate something I said earlier when I let you into the self-talk in my head, I think it can be easy for us to focus on our failures rather than on our successes. I’m willing to bet you scaled many mountains this year, even if they didn’t match your goal list. For this upcoming year, focus on how you want to feel, stay away from “should” goals, and create a structure for support (that’s what The Hivery is for!).

As always, you’ve got this.  




What We Learned in 2017: From Five ‘We Rise’ Semifinalists

The Hivery's ‘We Rise’ scholarship semifinalists are an incredible group of #womendoingcoolstuff! We wanted to continue to gain inspiration from them so we took a moment and asked: What did you learn in 2017? Here are several of their beautiful and empowering answers. 

Looking back on 2017, what are a few things you learned in your personal life?


Hannah Waen, Communications Manager, Trips for Kids Marin: I’ve learned not to be afraid to jump. Maybe you’ll crash, or perhaps you’ll fly, but at least you’ll be moving! A wise friend said this when I was caught in an unhappy and unhealthy work situation. I jumped, and I’m so glad I did. I also learned that challenging times are great opportunities for personal growth. Difficult times are when meaningful changes occur. Don’t be afraid to embrace the challenge when you’re being tested. And surround yourself with smart women. Your friendships and networks of female supporters will help you in unexpected ways.




Zphyna Caldwell, Artistic Director, Interactive Enrichment Company: I’ve learned to be more kind and gentle with myself, that love and acceptance come from within as long as I’m happy and know I did my best.





Gianna McLaren, Racecar Driver: It has been over a year now since I left everything I knew working for the Forest Service in order to pursue my dream of becoming a racecar driver. It has been the most fascinating, exciting, and challenging adventure I have ever embarked on. I came to Sonoma Raceway with literally nothing—no racing experience in any form—just a very big dream to be a Formula 1 driver. If, in the process of pursuing this dream, I can be an empowering inspiration to girls who need some encouragement to follow their true passion, in spite of what others might think, that would mean everything to me.





Erin Ceynar, Philanthropy Consultant: On January 3rd, 2017 I moved to the Bay Area from Minneapolis, MN. My big personal take-away is that change is good.





Marissa Viray, Director of Outreach, Girls Leadership: I learned that purchasing Moorea Seal’s book 52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity, Balance, and Joy was a really good idea. It taught me what and who makes me really happy, and as a result I’m spending more time with those people who bring me joy and less time on social media. I also decided to join the Inverness Yacht Club because I’d like to live up there one day. And this year I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my money club, a group of three women who came together a decade ago to crush debt and build savings. After all this time, I’ve learned that having a consistent support system has been critical to my financial success, and that their encouragement ultimately allowed me to take brave steps toward a career that is more fulfilling.


What are a few things you learned on a professional level?
Zphyna: On a professional level, I think of the Shakespeare quote "Reputation, Reputation, Reputation." The most important aspect of our business (besides serving kids) is to be known and well known for producing stellar classes, camps, and workshops. Our entire staff is friendly and charming and we truly connect with each and every student.

Hannah: I learned that I know more than I think I do, and that I can rise to the occasion when tested. I learned that everyone fakes it until they make it, and that it is okay to be uncomfortable and feel like a pretender. And finally, I learned that if it isn’t working, to make a change. Staying in an unsatisfying job and hoping it will get better is a disservice to yourself.

Gianna: I’ve learned a lot about overcoming the fears I experience as an introvert when it comes to being in open, public situations. Now that I have found what I am truly passionate about, I am no longer afraid to speak to the world about it.

Erin: In the end of 2016, I stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the Women's Foundation of Minnesota, an organization I helped found and held leadership positions in for 15 years. It was a retirement of sorts. Professionally, I chose to leave at the top of my game. I was intentional about this. I needed to recharge and I don't regret it.

Marissa: I learned that investing in a career/wellness coach is worth every penny, that there is a science to hiring strong team players, and that you can make a huge difference even with a tiny budget.


Looking ahead at 2018, what is exciting to you?
Zphyna: Expansion! We are adding adult courses, dramatic literature and improvisation to our Mill Valley program. We are also hoping to begin working in Ross and at additional private schools throughout the country.

Hannah: Next year will be a year of action. This year laid the foundation; 2018 is the time to implement, create and experiment. The prospect is intimidating and exciting at the same time. I can’t wait to start the year with a renewed vision, a boost of confidence and new goals—not to mention the backing of fantastic Hivery members.

Gianna: I am very excited and nervous about 2018. I am working hard right now to get sponsorship to race in the new US F4 series that will be on the West Coast for the first time. This would be my first season in car racing and the first step towards my ultimate dream of F1, so the 2018 season would be an incredible step in this journey!

Erin: I can't wait for 2018. I'm focusing on growing my consulting practice, building relationships in the Bay Area, working on the national roll out of the Young Women's Initiative and writing a book about my Cowboy Hall of Fame Great Grandmother—a true woman of the West.

Marissa: I’m excited to sail in Croatia, partner with brands like Athleta and REI to further our mission and to do more storytelling.


What advice would you give yourself 12 months ago?
Zphyna: I would tell myself to be patient, don’t worry and don’t panic. I’d tell myself that I’m amazing and everything is going to be great!

Hannah: I would advise myself to keep an open mind and absorb everything as if I was a sponge. You never know what information you gather becomes useful in six months, or what small thought could spark a new interest. Take time to sit with these new ideas and try them on. They might become your new passion.

Gianna: I would advise myself to truly believe in myself and what I’m capable of achieving. I'll never forget a talk one of the driving instructors at the karting track gave me at my second to the last race of the season. Up until then, I had been driving just like I was still trying to scope everything out, learn the basics of race craft, and perfect my driving skills on track. However, I was still very nervous when it came to driving so close right up on somebody's bumper, especially under braking while going into a turn, and making a proper pass. This particular instructor said he was disappointed that I hadn't made any really aggressive moves all season and how he thought that I was a racing driver but not acting like it. That got me really irritated and I said to myself "Of course I'm a racing driver!! I'll show you..." He also told me that I had to be really selfish and believe that the first place trophy is absolutely mine. Well I did. I went back out for the main race right after we had that talk and started passing other drivers with ease. That was the day I truly started racing, and won in my class that day. The final race of the season, I felt even more confident knowing that I had to get that trophy. I qualified 1st on pole with the fastest lap times out of a field of 10 drivers. And during the race, I led the field far in the front and won my first overall victory, plus the championship in my class. What an amazing feeling! So yes, you just have to believe that you are capable of something and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you overcome your initial fears and hesitations.

Erin: Take every reasonable opportunity presented to you. Show up and be authentic.

Marissa: Don’t take things so seriously. It will all work out.

And now...what advice would YOU give yourself 12 months ago? Share with us here, or with friends and family, or in your journal. And then...move forward into 2018 with the voice of your best advisor leading the way. 

Grace's Corner: Redefining Balance

I’m convinced that my most valuable life lessons have been learned in dance class. My last dance class was no exception, and gave me a new perspective on the way we look at creating balance in life. 

It was a sunny Saturday morning at my favorite, local ballet class. The room was filled with dancers across all different levels; some ex-professional dancers, some long-time dance enthusiasts, all of us just happy to be there, spending a morning moving our bodies. We’re a cheerful bunch that have been taking this Saturday morning class for years. Halfway through our barre exercises, we were doing rond du jambes (a circular motion of the leg), and ending the exercise with a balance in passe (a balance on one leg). Ending in a balance at the barre allows the dancer to find their center, taking the hand off the barre, often raising the arms overhead, and balancing in releve on the ball of the foot.

As I began my balance, my mind went through the mental checklist that I’ve been practicing for a lifetime: ground the energy of the ball of the foot down into the floor, pull up in the hip, connect the lowest abdominal muscle to the spine, pull up through the stomach, let the ribs fall down, sternum up, chin up, shoulders down, arms elongated, fingers relaxed, oh, and breathe. Lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, get higher, taller, listen to the music, and put the foot down and soutenau  (turn around). The interesting thing about balance in dance is that sometimes it works beautifully, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s as much emotional and mental as it is physical. You learn after a lifetime of dancing that some days are just better than others in the balance department. As we finished the balance exercise, our beloved teacher, Melinda, commented, “I love the stillness of balance. It’s so quiet."

And it struck me. In ballet, balance is still. It has an energy and the motion is flowing through the body, but in balance, you are doing one pose and you are staying there. You’re not rock hard or rigid in the balance, as that would create a “timber” effect. But, you are staying in one position and staying present in that single pose.

In life however, when we talk about balance, especially for women, we are talking about a balancing act of doing many, many things, often at the same time. Be successful, be smart, work hard, make money, be a great mom, be sexy, stay in shape, be a good friend, be spiritual, be beautiful, be creative, practice self-care. Don’t do too much of one thing and neglect the others. In this definition of balance, the dancer of life can feel like she’s juggling many balls in the name of balance.

photo by Weiferd Watts

photo by Weiferd Watts

See? I’ve got this balance thing down….juggle, toss, juggle, toss….I’ve totally got this. I can do it all. I won’t miss a beat. I won’t gain a pound. I’ve got my sunscreen on. My kid’s in advanced math. My business is profitable. My bed is made. I helped with the science project. I coordinated the carpool. I hired my first employee. I’ve got it. I’ve got it. Juggle. Toss. Meditate. Exercise. Juggle. Toss. Volunteer. Juggle. Toss. Shit. I dropped a ball. Damn, they’re all dropping. God damn it. There are balls everywhere…where am I going to put all these damn balls? Can’t anyone hold one just one f-n ball for me? I can’t do this. I’m not doing anything well. Aaaaargh.


Been there? Yeah, me too.

So, when I thought about what it means to balance in dance class, I wanted to apply that definition of balance to my life. Be still. Focus on this moment. Do this one thing. Check in with your whole body. Breathe, relax, lift up, higher, higher, elevate, and then put your foot down, and try it again. This time from the other side. Accept that some days my balance is better than others. Sometimes one leg is stronger than the other. And, you start to notice some patterns. It always works better when you breathe. Having a soft focus seems to help. Grounding down and elevating up at the same time creates an energy. Connect with your center. Wait, these sound like good rules for life.

So, my amazing community. Let’s redefine balance and live balance through the metaphorical dance lens. Stay grounded, yet elevated. Find your center. Breathe. And, remember that some days, it’s easier to balance than others. Come back to the barre, find your balance, and begin again. This time on the other side. You’ve got this.  

Hivery 'We Rise' Scholarship Spotlight: Brianna Russell

Inspired by Maya Angelou's poem, Still I Rise, and the powerful, brave work of women everywhere, we launched The Hivery 'We Rise' Scholarship Program in 2016 to empower, contribute and support passionate, bold beings who work tirelessly toward equality.

It has been an honor to meet and get to know the twelve semi-finalists and two awardees from this year's program. Today, we’d like to introduce you to the fabulous Brianna Russell, Founding Executive Director, Girls Leading Girls.

Brianna Russell - Girls Leading Girls.JPG

Could you please tell us a little about Girls Leading Girls? Absolutely! Girls Leading Girls uses soccer as a way to teach girls ages 7-18 about leadership and character building. We are based in San Francisco and coach soccer teams for more than 300 girls. We want everyone to have access to our programs, so we offer members a sliding payment scale. Some players don’t pay anything to join; others donate on top of the fee in order to help out girls who don't have the resources to pay anything at all.

We launched in 2014, and today we have more than 15 coaches. We’ve gotten so popular that now we have more demand than supply.

Your organization sounds amazing, especially because so much socialization and confidence building can stem from positive experiences in extra curricular activities, especially during childhood. Exactly. And that is where I got the idea. I grew up in the East Bay and played soccer through school, but in eighth grade things went downhill for me. I created Girls Leading Girls because it was exactly what I needed when I was 12 year old.

What happened when you were in eighth grade?
My dad was laid off from a job he’d had for 18 years. It was a really bad time for my family. I failed a class and got kicked off my soccer team. Looking back, I realize now that I was acting out because life was hard at home. My mom could see what I needed, though, and found another team where everyone was nice to me. It was a life game-changer.

I started performing well again, was named MVP, and the team felt like family to me. I didn’t want to miss out on practices or games. From there, I ended up playing soccer at Sacramento State.

What did you do after college?
I studied business in college, so I decided to try working in corporate America and hated it. I left two years later and went into the Peace Corps, where I would lead ‘girls circles,’ which were discussions where girls could ask about anything—questions about their periods, relationships, what it was like to live in the U.S.—you name it. I started playing soccer with them and we started a team.

After the Peace Corps, I came back to the U.S. and got my masters in international studies at USF. I knew I wanted to do something with a non-profit focus, and decided to coach soccer on the side. It was then that parents started asking me to coach their daughters’ teams.

Where did those inquiries come from, you think?
Several parents told me they wanted female coaches for their daughters because there are so few women in the sports. And it’s true; even here in San Francisco, there aren’t a lot of women in high positions in sports. I decided to look into it and created my own organization in 2014. Then, I took it a step further and made the model work for girls who couldn’t afford it. That is when Girls Leading Girls really took off.

I now do this full-time, and have an amazing staff of coaches—some who work three hours per week; others who work 15 hours per week.

What are some of your biggest challenges right now?
I’d love to figure out how to scale and grow larger than ever. I’m interested in finding out how I can open new branches without losing quality, especially legal and operations-wise. And I’m looking for funding to help me hire new staff. I’d love to accept every girl who expresses interest in our program, but right now we have to turn people away because we just don’t have enough bandwidth.

Congratulations on being a ‘We Rise’ scholarship winner! How can The Hivery help you achieve your vision? Thanks! I’m so excited to be part of The Hivery community. I think with its network of women—many of whom likely have backgrounds in marketing, consulting and finance—they may be able to point me in the right direction. I can’t wait to meet as many members as possible.

I also think the space at The Hivery is incredible. I live in San Francisco and it will be a nice place for me to go to get outside my house, interact with other women, attend events, and find inspiration.

Talk about inspiration: YOU are inspiring! What advice can you offer women who want to take a big leap, professionally? First, find a few key people you can trust to help you start. I had three board members and a parent help me start out, and they were huge in helping me figure out what my vision actually was.

Second, make sure the idea is something you care deeply about—something you’d want to be doing for 10 years. And finally, think big-picture. If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would your idea look like?

Brianna - Girls Leading Girls.jpg

We hope you'll join us on Tuesday, November 14th, 7:00-9:00pm at The Hivery to meet Brianna and the other 11 'We Rise' Scholarship finalists at a TedTalk-inspired Hivery Circle: Women Working Towards Equality. Free for Hivery members and $30 for non-members. Please register early to ensure you get a ticket for this inspiring evening!