THE SECOND HAPPY HOUR FROM OUR FELLOW, VANESSA!
But first, words from our founder: THANK YOU to all the women who showed up last week at our second happy hour! It's amazing to see who shows up and how, even outside of a long work day, you're there for one another. Glide through photos from the event and dive into Vanessa's perspective, our new fellow, who will be taking an active roll writing to you and covering future events! Cheers ya'll!
As someone who is barely the drinking age, I was a little nervous to attend my first happy hour and Behold.Her event. It can be nerve-wracking to feel like the youngest in the room, but once all the smiling faces started filtering in, I realized just how accepting and welcoming this group really is!
The vendors were incredible! Fluffness showed up with all the flavors! Tatiana’s amazing choice of honey and rose cotton candy blew my mind away. The second choice with caramel tasted like a hint of autumn I’d been craving in these 80+ degree days.
Casey and April from Lil’ Miss Whoopie came through with delicious bite-sized pumpkin and chocolate whoopie pies. Many of us were guilty of sneaking back for our third, fourth, and maybe eighth. Whatever, who’s counting, right? They were addicting.
Who can forget Alice from Cheese Monster who was busting her ass in the back piling little mounds of heaven onto juicy cubes of watermelon topped with mint? If you were wondering why the feta was particularly creamy and amazing, it’s because it was made from sheep’s milk! I’m guilty of being the unaccepting lactose intolerant consumer, but it was easy to ignore.
A huge thanks goes out to Pia, Rachel, and Kate from Republic Restoratives for being such gracious hosts for us in their badass distillery. It’s so inspiring to partner with not only a strong female-owned business, but also the first female-owned distillery in DC! I was all about the dope warehouse vibes and their talented bartenders. It was great to see people who were so dedicated to their craft, and it was even greater to finally taste one of their cocktails at the end of the night.
Okay, now time to get real…
Having a camera around my neck created a convenient way for me to break into conversations and meet some of the ladies who showed up that night. The conversations I overheard as I walked around shooting were inspiring. Women were greeting each other like old friends, even if they’d only met once or for the first time that night!
Gigi, a dedicated attendee of Behold events, mentioned to me, “The women that are here, we all end up being family...We are learning to meet each other as women, and not as what we do.” Since it was my first time, I felt a little nervous approaching people and introducing myself. But this series is all about building real connections with other women and I was happy to understand that Gigi was right. Everybody was on the same page and those barriers I had perceived between me and someone I was trying to approach were just that - a perception. They didn’t exist, and the fact that so many people came up to me to introduce themselves and welcome me to Behold proved that.
I later spoke to Susan, who was coming in from Baltimore. She was telling me about all the positive take-aways she had from this series.She said, “Everybody has a positive attitude and it is totally multicultural. That itself is a very positive thing for me because we can learn a lot from different cultures all the time because each culture has its own contribution to enrich our lives. So long as we respect each other and be non-judgmental, that’s the key. Then we help each other to grow and support.”
The vibes were all positive and synced, unified in understanding that this space was intended to create a supportive environment. I have heard that other events can get pretty heavy, so it was fun watching women losing their shit while playing beer pong or laughing about some hilarious shared experience over drinks. Knowing that vulnerability is such an important part of Behold events, I was stoked to see how it was incorporated into this casual happy hour in a big way. Women were telling stories about themselves that they would never share in a workplace happy hour. It takes a lot of trust to open up like that at such a casual event and it was so refreshing to really see first hand what Behold is all about.
HEAR FROM OUR SPONSORS!
Words from Alice of CheeseMonster:
"I think that there are a few important ways to show support for other women. The first thing that springs to mind is recognizing the importance of taking time to connect with other women and really listen to what they have to say. When you have your own business, it's way too easy to become totally focused on yourself and your end goals. It's important to put those aside every now and then and connect with other women and their journeys. Whether it's reaching out to someone you admire to say how awesome you think they are, taking the time to grab coffee with a lady who is looking for advice, or sitting down with other women entrepreneurs and hearing their stories, it's important to put yourself in the passenger seat sometimes and just listen.
I would also love to see women celebrate other women's successes more often and more genuinely. I think that unfortunately women have been somewhat conditioned to feel jealousy towards, instead of pride in, other women's accomplishments. This is something that I have definitely struggled with, as have a lot of my women friends - entrepreneurs or not. Maybe it's because we've been told that there aren't many women at the top, so we feel that another lady's success mean's our imminent failure; maybe it's because instead of seeing the hard work and missteps in someone else's journey, most of what we see are the pretty pretty pictures and celebration of accomplishments as they are splashed across social media, and it makes us feel less-than. Whatever the cause of these envious feelings, I think that it is important to 1) acknowledge them and realize that they are normal, and then 2) throw them out the damn window. Celebrating someone else doesn't make you any less accomplished, important, or successful. Use the awe that you feel to get inspired, not be deterred."
Originally published for Behold.Her on September 26, 2017 at beholdher.co. Does not include audio interviews contained in the original post.