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 fantastic Nicole "Nic" Winzey, founder of Winzday Events, a company that creates meaningful events for social impact organizations.
Congratulations! What attracted you to The Hivery and our ‘We Rise’ scholarship opportunity? Thanks, I’m so excited. I live in San Francisco and first heard about The Hivery through my friend Rachel Schneider. She posted something about the scholarship on Facebook and it piqued my interest, especially because of the focus on women entrepreneurs, the angle of social good, and the connection to Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Still I Rise.’
Also, this has been the year of saying ‘YES’ to me. I am an event manager, but saying that has been a struggle. I find that when I get close to success, I tend to run away. I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome, so when I saw this scholarship program I told myself: ‘Nic, Try it! Apply and see what happens!’ And so I did.
We are so glad you did. And thank you for your vulnerability—so many of us have similar thoughts. Can you tell us a little about how you came up with the idea for Winzday Events? The idea came to me several years ago while organizing dinners and fun events on Wednesday evenings. I loved doing things in the middle of the week, especially around food. I’d been working in marketing and advertising for a long time and was just making lateral moves; I couldn’t seem to move up. I was also noticing that I’d stopped drawing.
Are you an artist?
I am. I was an artist as a little kid and I remember getting busted for drawing in class. I would get my paper taken away and then start drawing again the minute I could. But after years in the corporate world, one day I realized that I’d stopped drawing altogether. This was back in 2014, and it was a pivotal moment for me. I loved planning events, so I decided to quit and try event planning as a profession.
I decided to invest the time and resources into doing a pop-up dining event called "Pure Imagination."
Like the song from Willy Wonka?
Yes, exactly! The theme was that you can do anything. I targeted selling 35 tickets online and sold 40. I curated a playlist for it and curated the menu. It was a complete success.
That event sounds incredible. How did you transition from that pop-up to Winzday Events?There have been a lot of things in between. I worked on events for the Rosenberg Foundation and Tides, two incredible organizations. Working with them opened my eyes to a number of issues in our area—from homelessness and poverty to criminal justice and racial justice. I had a front row seat to activists and educators in the social justice space and realized that I wanted to be part of the movement.
So, in June 2017, I branched off on my own and now I help social impact organizations with their events. I’m doing Winzday Events—a play on my name and the fact that I like to hold events for friends on Wednesdays—in addition to taking other event work on the side.
How will this scholarship help you do your work?
There are so many great things about this scholarship, starting with the mentorship piece. I need a mentor. And to have access to the space, which is beautiful. I also like that there is one free day to fundraise. I may do that or donate that day to one of my social justice projects. I also really appreciate the $500 donation to my business. And even more than that, I’m excited to have access to the amazing women at The Hivery and the events offered. I went to the Entrepreneur Lab a few weeks back and was blown away. It made me feel like I’d found my tribe.
Yay! Now for the advice question: What suggestions can you offer women who want to ‘rise’ themselves, and step into something new and possibly scary?
Honestly, I’d show them a picture I just drew. It is of a young Nic with squiggly lines showing periods of time when I’ve been unemployed, when I’ve had different jobs and where I am right now. On the right side of the picture is a depiction of myself as a confident stick figure. It shows that the path to doing what you want can be curvy, squiggly and all kinds of crazy [laughs], but it is still connected. All of the steps you take from point A to point B are necessary to who you are, and that there is nothing wrong with your story. I’d tell them to own their own truth, as hard as that can be at times.
And I’d tell them to find an accountability partner—someone who will give you a push and also some love. We can’t do this alone. When I feel uncertain, I call a friend and feel 50 times better. I think that is why places like The Hivery are so important.
We hope you'll join us on Tuesday, November 14th, 7:00-9:00pm at The Hivery to meet Nic 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!