A full circle moment

I’m having a full circle moment today…and ugly crying at my laptop, letting waves of of gratitude and grief wash over me.

Two years ago I shared this photo of our first ever circle at 703 Bloor. And this morning I sent out an invitation to our final “Closing Circle” celebration.

 

In between, we’ve had literally thousands of circles with fierce-hearted souls from near and far. I had no idea how powerful these daily rituals would be and I think I will miss them more than anything.
 

Our circles have many functions:

 

Tuning in to breath and body

 

Giving ourselves permission to slow down and take a break

 

Noticing what we’re showing up with on a whole human level every workday

 

Sharing and connecting with a non-judgemental community

 

Holding space for each other

 

Making networking feel less icky

 

Keeping each other accountable

 

Prioritizing and goal setting

 

Tuning in to messages from the universe

 

Witnessing each other and being seen and heard

 

Noticing cycles, patterns and synchronicity

 

Creating a strong community

 

Thank you to everyone who has held space for and with me. I love you.

XO Emily Rose

 

— Original Post —

The glow of the setting sun streaming through the windows of Shecosystem’s new home could not compare to the blazing love in this circle of Shecosisters who showed up last night to fill this space with positive intentions.

Thank you for helping me become my vision board.

Thank you for redefining August 2.

Thank you for being my tribe.

And always, thank you for dancing with me!

I can only imagine how much more, much much more, we will create in this space with this community of brilliant & soulful people.

MEET ELAINE KAO: Making periods healthier

 

ELAINE KAO

President and owner at Lilli Pads


 

What is at the heart of your business?

 
I make periods healthier one woman at a time.
 

Why did you join a women focussed coworking and wellness community?

 

 

What does thriving look like to you?

 
Working with likeminded individuals who are all dedicated towards their own personal definition of success.

Shecosystem’s core values are openness, community, collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, feminism, and wellness. Which of these resonates most with you and why?

Community is always a key area of development when it comes to business and success. To me, there may be businesses that focus on financial success, but I feel like there is something missing if you cannot give back to the community that has built and developed you.

 

What would you like to give and/or receive from this community?

 

Life is a progressive series of steps: Your future outlook is largely dependent on the consistent habits that you develop today. Often times, social media makes it seem like results and success are instantaneous but that cannot be further from the truth. Real success is rooted in challenges and endeavours that push your mental and intellectual boundaries. There is no success without pain and pain builds character.

 

Tell us one way you integrate self-care into your working life

 
I like going to the spa from time to time. Meditation has been a big theme for me in the past year.

What’s your top piece of advice for other entrepreneurs?

 
Take it one step at a time and don’t give up. Patience pays off in the long run.


 

CONNECT WITH ELAINE

Why I’m Choosing to Close a Successful Coworking Space

I’ve been exploring edges, the overlapping spaces where one thing ends and another begins. Meadow and forest, lake and shoreline. In ecology, an edge, or ecotone, is a zone of incredible biodiversity.

 

It is neither, and both, and something else altogether. Edges are rich with life and potential for novel combinations.

 

This summer is Shecosystem’s edge – not yet closed, but not business as usual. On September 1, I’ll hand back the keys to 703 Bloor and close Shecosystem as a coworking space.

 

Since day one I have been trying to model vulnerability and emotional authenticity in my leadership, and in the same spirit, I want to share what’s behind this transition. This is not an easy lesson in “failing forward” or an announcement of a bold pivot. Simply a story of a very human entrepreneur trying to live her truth.

 

In a business that is all about work-life integration, the decision to close the space is not just about finances. I’ve gathered wisdom from many sources, negotiated, talked to members, and carved out quiet time with nature where I can tune in to myself and to the earth’s lessons.

 

Here are a few of the factors involved in my decision:

 

The rent is going up and my store of energy is running low.

I have things to say that have been drowned out by the noise of daily operations, and values that have been stretched thin by hustling to pay a monthly overhead of nearly $10,000.

I have a sensitive temperament, deep emotions, and high anxiety.

I have a radical vision that is not lining up with the reality of running a brick & mortar business in Toronto.

And I have 36-year-old ovaries a longing to make room in my life to focus on relationships and start a family.

 

There have been offers of help from fierce-hearted people who believe that we can all benefit from this shared vision. I want so badly to lean in to the power of community, but as the sole shareholder, I know that the risks and the responsibilities ultimately fall on my shoulders, and that feels really heavy. So does the thought of radically restructuring Shecosystem’s ownership and governance before this deadline imposed by the lease is up.

 

I have learned to listen to my body’s wisdom, and have noticed how my chest and throat tighten when I feel into what it would take to keep the space open. I felt it even as I typed the last paragraph.

 

One of the core ideas behind Shecosystem is that entrepreneurship is a soul journey. Creating a business is one of the channels through which our culture enables us to deliver our soul’s gifts to the world, in service of the world. It’s a space of inspired creation, mystery, and intuition. It’s also a space where we have to enter the underworld to do battle both with our own shadows and with the cultural constructs that undermine and rob us of joy and wholeness.

In this moment I have been forced to ask myself: will continuing to run a coworking space help me walk further down my soul’s path?

 

Over the last three years, this business has compelled me to work on my inner critic, as well as on my issues with money, privilege and deservedness.

 

It has forced me to grapple more deeply with messily ingrained patriarchal capitalist values like competition, relentless growth, and individual achievement, all the while learning to ask for help and surrender control.

 

It has allowed me to honour my full range of emotions, accept enoughness and imperfection, and value rest and flow.  

 

It has taught me to trust the unknown, work with cycles, and listen to the wisdom that doesn’t come from my head, but from my body, my intuition, and my dreams.

 

But these lessons have been hard won. My identity is getting lost and my energy is stagnating. I do hear notes of my soul’s song in this coworking space, but they’re getting more and more faint.

 

At this pivotal moment, letting go is a test of my ability to untangle my self-worth from the roles and the status that Shecosystem has afforded me. It’s a test of measuring success not just by scale or profit, but by impact and inspiration. It’s a step toward heeding the subtle but persistent call to a quieter, slower, and more embodied life lived in closer relationship with and in deeper service of the natural world.

 

I’ve given the process of shutting down Shecosystem’s coworking space a very glamorous title: Shecompost.

This summer is the breakdown period of the birth-death-rebirth cycle.

 

I’m starting to think that in the metaphor of business as an ecosystem, I care less about the flowers than I do about the soil. Shecosystem as a coworking space at 703 Bloor is a flower  – bright, alluring, and ephemeral. It’s been growing in thin soil, demanding heavy inputs and constant attention.

 

Composting is a transformative act of turning decaying matter into nutrients that are readily available to feed new life. Whatever iteration of Shecosystem sprouts next – if anything – it will grow in richer soil. I have no idea what that will look like yet: breakdown takes time and happens unseen.

 

Shecosystem is an unsustainable business model, but it is not a failure. This is an important distinction.

Nearly every day, someone tells me wholeheartedly that they are grateful this place exists, that it has changed their life, that there is nothing like Shecosystem out there. Member surveys show that we’ve had an impact and have served a unique need in a population that has been marginalized, underrepresented, and not taken seriously by mainstream entrepreneurial culture. We’ve won awards, been recognized by the media and by thought leaders in our field, brought thousands of people together, and helped launch businesses, friendships, and collaborations. It has been a success, and I feel proud.

 

Shecosystem stands for things people believe in and want to rally around:

 

Self-care as part of business strategy.

Showing up with your whole self at work.

Bringing feminine balance and feminist values to the working world.

Building meaningful communities in the workplace.

I can rest in the knowledge that there is no undoing the connections that have been made, the projects that have been initiated, the waves that continue to ripple outward from Shecosystem.

Compost demands a mix of elements, water, oxygen, heat, insects, fungi, plants, and time. I invite the community to join the heap and help release these nutrients!

 

If you love what Shecosystem is, what it has meant to you and to the world, please reach out and let’s talk about how this richness can live on in a different form.I’d love to hear your reflections and stories. Or come spend these last couple of months with us soaking up all the good vibes before we close – there are more memories, connections, and discoveries to be made! Scroll down to learn more about our $100 Unlimited Monthly Membership for July and August.

 

There is a lot to be grateful for, and the chord Shecosystem has struck will continue to resonate with our community’s heartbeat. I invite you to explore the edges with me.

 

With love and tears of gratitude,

Emily Rose 

 

The Summer of Shecompost

We’re closing in September but in the meantime, We have a few months of long and dreamy summer days and I want to make the most of them together. My intention (and I always frame them as questions) is: how can we collaboratively celebrate and evolve Shecosystem as we prepare to close the coworking space?

To honour our core value of accessibility and openness, we’re offering a $100 Unlimited Monthly Membership for July and August – let us know if you’re in!  

 

In addition to regular coworking, this membership includes more programming…we want to seriously raise the vibration before the space is gone! Join us to fill Shecosystem with joy, important conversations, unlikely cross-pollinations, all of life’s realness, and things that you can’t imagine happening anywhere else.

 

We’ll be offering:

 

  • Monday motivation meetups
  • Family Friendly afternoons every Tuesday
  • Wellness breaks and a pot-luck Salad Salon on Wednesdays
  • Member happy hours every Thursday
  • More damn dance parties!

You’ll still be able to focus and get work done, but we also want to create more opportunities to socialize, move, and welcome in our whole selves. After all, most of you have told us repeatedly that you’re here for community first.

 

If there is something you want to offer, let us know!

 

There are lots of places to get quiet work done, but there’s only one Shecosystem and we want to make the most of everything that it is above and beyond being a coworking space.

 

See you this summer!

 


Emily Rose Antflick is Shecosystem’s founder and Chief Community Cultivator. With an MA in Education, Emily spent a decade teaching and creating transformative educational journeys in Canada and internationally before opening Shecosystem. Emily proves that having a singular passion is not the only way to succeed: in addition to being an entrepreneur, she is a Rite of Passage guide, Permaculture Designer and dance facilitator. Emily was a winner of the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund and has been profiled as a Woman of Influence and a local feminist to watch. Contact her at emily@shecosystem.ca.


First Generation Feminist

By Marla Raymundo

 

Growing up as first generation Canadian, I was always encouraged to pursue a professional career as either a nurse, doctor, lawyer or accountant. I had this linear perception of “success” and thought that it only came from careers related to science, law or business. These jobs provided financial stability, which I was under the impression was the key to happiness and satisfaction. Despite my lack of interest in anything related to math or science, I came into University assuming I would spend four years pursuing my undergraduate degree in Psychology.

University granted me the freedom to choose my courses and create my own timetable without the usual bias or guidance from my parents. I would have never predicted that I would switch majors entirely from science to a major in Women and Gender studies after taking the intro course as an elective in my first year. To my surprise, “feminism transformed the way I viewed the world and the systems which existed to oppress myself and the others around me.” I had been desensitized to the inequities that occured on a daily basis and despite being socialized to comply, I became intrigued with the idea of questioning the institutions which drove society. This new awareness allowed me to critique and analyze my actions in a new way.

I’m now in my final year at U of T which has led me to Shecosystem as part of a 6 month co-op program, embedding myself in a feminist organization to have a hands-on experience with a business that values inclusiveness, visibility and empowerment in the local community.  

My time at Shecosystem has allowed me to observe and bask in an environment where feminism thrives and is put into practice daily. Shecosystem stays true to their values and my Fridays consist of being surrounded by motivating, inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs who genuinely enjoy the work they do.

It wasn’t until Emily asked me to take part in the Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum where I came to the realization of how feminism can truly pilot social change. In the classroom we are taught that the concept of feminism is not fixed and is constantly evolving to current issues, and this was certainly true at the EFF.

The conference introduced a new concept of feminism I was unfamiliar with. Crafted and defined by Dr. Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliot, the authors of Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs, the term Entrepreneurial Feminism can be described as enacting feminist values within venture creation and entrepreneurship policy. Prior to the conference, I was unaware of the power differentials embedded within the heteronormative system of entrepreneurship. I had always assumed that gender equality through ethical capitalism was the norm.

Entrepreneurial Feminism is a new movement, a new way to do business, and ensures equity-based outcomes for females, trans, queer, women and women-identified entrepreneurs alike.

The workshops and performances held throughout the day by entrepreneurs from across North America demonstrated how entrepreneurial feminism can produce “success” through passion and wellness. One of the speakers, Rania Younes, co-founder of WelcomeHomeTo, held a workshop on how the current settlement system fails newcomers, with many having difficulty adjusting and seeking employment upon arrival to Canada. Those frustrations have since resulted in the creation of The Newcomer Kitchen in Toronto, which is a non-profit organization that invites Syrian refugee women into a space where they mingle, cook and sell cultural foods. The kitchen encourages integration through socialization and interactions with customers and members of the community. Despite the barriers that the Syrian refugee women face, the kitchen became a way for the women to cope with homesickness while generating an income to support their families.

Success can be achieved through feminist business models, self-regulation, non-hierarchical leadership roles, collaboration and operational practices deterring from the heteronormative model.

Entrepreneurial Feminism and feminist capital contribute to a new movement which changes the way entrepreneurs run their businesses. My experience at the Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum has since shaped and altered my personal definition of success. It was inspiring being surrounded by such a diverse groups of entrepreneurs who despite challenging the patriarchal system are able to thrive, making themselves visible and paving their own way in the competitive market!

Now I spend my days dreaming away and cultivating entrepreneurial ideas as I approach graduation and the dreaded “real world.” I’ve come to the realization that I can no longer hide behind my student status and the safety of the routine I became too comfortable and familiar with.

Shecosystem and Entrepreneurial feminism give me the hope that I can thrive creating my own path!

 

READ MORE

Top Picks for International Women’s Day 2018 in Toronto

Global women’s activism is taking centre stage this year, fuelled by women’s anger, passion, and vision. Women are speaking up in unprecedented numbers against issues ranging from gender violence to missing and murdered indigenous women to the wage gap and inequity in childcare support. We are joining in community online and in person to support, witness and heal each other, our planet, and the wounds of our ancestors.

 

Here in Toronto you can literally spend every day and evening over the next couple of weeks learning, celebrating, and supporting an array of women’s causes.

 

We’re hosting our own event on the afternoon of IWD inspired by Shecosystem’s commitment to honouring our inner work and gathering in sisterhood. We believe that self-care is a form of resistance to the patriarchal culture that we live and work in. On this day of international action and awareness, we’ll look to each other for solidarity, nurture, inspiration and support.

 

Gloria Steinem said, “Gather in circles. Instead of looking up, look at each other,” and that is exactly what we’re doing on March 8 from 2-6PM.

 

We believe that self-care is a form of resistance to the patriarchal culture that we live and work in. Join our circle for an afternoon of collective healing in support of SISTERING featuring:

The Magic of Menstruation with Amanda Laird

Tarot Readings with Kayla Subica of Uplitfiting Tarot

Reiki with Tasha Jade Banate of Daily Magic  

Decorate a Pussy Cupcake!

Write a letter of action or gratitude to someone who is making a change to improve outcomes for women and girls

Join a safe and supportive talking circle

 

Here are some of our other picks for IWD2018 in Toronto….

 

March 3 | IWD March + Justice for Tina Fontaine

 

This year’s theme is LIBERATION – Honouring our sisters, Celebrating Our Victories, Strengthening Our Resistance…On Indigenous Land. Speakers include Lee Maracle. Rally at 11AM at OISE and march to City Hall, to meet with the Justice for Tina Fontaine march.

 

March 6 | Menstruation’s Moment: Why period politics matter now more than ever

 

Grab a Bloody Caesar and bask in the energy and expertise of women at the forefront of the menstrual movement. Jennifer Weiss-Wolf – author of Periods Gone Public, the book Gloria Steinem says is “the beginning of liberation for us all” – is joined by entrepreneurs, activists and international development leaders. These vibrant, vocal visionaries are coming together in challenging and real dialogue about smashing shame, period policy, values-based business, shedding taboos, and bringing down barriers that prevent people with periods from accessing menstrual supplies.

Come explore the role that the menstrual movement must play at this turning point for intersectional feminism. Proceeds support Mother Nature Partnership.

 

March 8 | Women Entrepreneurs and Innovation: Breakfast with BMO and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce

 

At this breakfast event, panelists will speak to the implications for business and the Canadian economy resulting from gender differences in approaches to innovation. They will also deliberate the different roles that industry and various levels of government can play to create a robust ecosystem for women business owners.

 

March 8 | “A Better Man” Screening and Panel in support of The Redwood

 

This film documents a personal experiment for Attiya Khan and her abusive ex-partner – a step towards understanding and accountability. By getting closer to the truth of what survivors experience, and why men choose to use violence, we can help to stop the abuse.

 

March 9 | Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum

 

Presented by SheEO and the City of Toronto, this event is aimed at early stage women-led ventures in Toronto who have an idea, have started a venture, are growing a venture or are contemplating starting a venture. Featuring panel discussions, breakout sessions, and SheEO’s signature Radical Generosity experience.

 

See you on March 8! Sign up for WombSpace: Collective Healing on IWD here!

 

Taking time for All-oneness

It’s Monday and I’m home with cramps, watching the rain fall, listening to my body, and working with ease and flow. I just got off the phone with Lindsay, one of the members of our Coven, whose sunshine is lighting up the space on this grey day, and I’m feeling grateful and happy to be able to settle in here for a quiet, solo workday with no meetings or events.

That’s how I’m feeling now, at noon.

Rewind a few hours to me lying in bed at 7AM and it’s an entirely different picture: there’s the desire to surrender to the physical pain and crankiness and spend the day alone, but I’m fighting it. The deeply internalized patriarchal world of work forces my energy outward. I’ve dressed myself in an identity as the cultivator of a communal space that undermines my need for solitude and I’m resisting.

I’m telling myself: you’re weak, you’re not cut out for running a business! You’re letting people down and taking advantage!  It’s Monday – take an advil, get your ass in gear and start the week strong!

But then, scrolling in bed, procrastinating, spiralling into this inner conflict, I read an excerpt by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes that our Shecosister Clare Kenty shared:

“Long ago the word alone was treated as two words, all one. To be all one, meant to be wholly one, to be in oneness, either essentially or temporarily. That is precisely the goal of solitude, to be all one. It is the cure for the frazzled state so common to modern women…Much of modern woman’s premenstrual crankiness is not just a physical syndrome but it equally attributable to her being thwarted in her need to take enough time away to revivify and renew herself. (read more on Mystic Mama)

 
I know that I need a lot of aloneness in order to access the all-oneness but still I resist it. On Saturday night I gave a Pecha Kucha talk at a Toronto Design Offsite festival event featuring coworking spaces from across the city. The format, 20 slides x 20 seconds each, meant that I had to zero in on something. I chose to talk about why we need to bring a feminine balance into the world of entrepreneurship and how Shecosystem is doing it. And today, I’m trying to practise what I preach.

Here’s one of my slides (which had way too much text for 20 seconds but whatever – it’s a  quick snapshot of a big idea and I’ll be writing more about it!). Please note that these qualities can be decoupled from gender and we’re going for balance, not binaries. This is for everyone, not just women:

 

 

We are living in an entrepreneurial culture that elevates and institutionalizes masculine qualities and devalues the feminine. Shecosystem is creating a space where we can reframe our relationship with our work to include healing and wholing alongside income and output. It’s time to value tending to our inner gardens as much as we value being outwardly active in our businesses.

For me, it’s time to end the inner battle and surrender to today’s aloneness so that when I face the world, I am more ‘all-one’ than I was when I retreated.

Have a wonderful week, and know that even when you are alone, we are all-one in this community. I know it.

xo

Emily Rose


Emily Rose Antflick is Shecosystem’s founder and Chief Community Cultivator. Her work stems from a feminine paradigm that values collaboration, emotional authenticity, and work-life integration.

With an M.A. in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Emily spent a decade teaching and creating transformative educational journeys for youth before turning her attention to helping women like herself get unstuck and cultivate heart-centred communities that empower them to heal and whole themselves and the world. She founded Shecosystem to hold space for a feminine entrepreneurial paradigm to emerge.

Emily is the Community Leader of G Day for Girls Toronto. She is a certified Permaculture Designer, Dance Our Way Home facilitator, and Rite of Passage Guide.

I’m a feminist, you’re a feminist, the Wing is feminist…let’s get to work.

This weekend Shecosystem was mentioned in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times – a brief mention but a cause for celebration nonetheless!

Unlike The Wing, the main subject of this feature, we may not have (or want) a primping room or a partnership with Chanel, but our members are just as thrilled as Wing member Tavi Gevinson, who is quoted in the article saying, “It’s crazy that this place exists in real life.”

I spent the day on Saturday as a committee member at the first ever Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum, and that experience in combination with our mention in the Times article was powerful validation that feminist businesses like Shecosystem are gaining momentum.

Because to me, women focussed coworking spaces are part of a movement, not a trend.

There is a need for spaces where women and feminists of all genders can gather to do business their way. We are forging new models, experiences, strategies and definitions, and we are doing so in the spirit of collaboration and with values embedded in the creation of ventures that drive positive outcomes for women and girls.

We are innovating in ways that, as OCAD Dean Dori Tunstall said, succeed when we can show that we have “created more compassion and harmony with each other and with the environment”

Shecosystem is not The Wing, but we respect what they’re doing to raise the profile of women’s spaces, and we are equally proud of sister spaces like Make Lemonade here in Toronto, Hera Hub, The Riveter, Working Ensemble, Rise Collaborative Workspace and so many more worldwide, each with their own vibe and values to serve the needs of their unique communities.

As Feminists at Work’s CV Harquail said yesterday in her opening remarks, “I’m a feminist. You’re a feminist. We have 100 different feminisms in the room and we are working together.” 

Let’s hope one day the Times runs a feature on this emergent movement: Entrepreneurial Feminism.

In the meantime, here are a few resources to check out:

Feminists at Work

Liisbeth Magazine

Feminine Capital

Feminist Business Model Canvas

 

 

Mother F#@ing Business: The Start of a Big Conversation

A few months ago, one of our community members shared a blog post called Motherhood and the Feminist Dream in our closed Facebook group. In her post,Snjezana Pruginic shared that she was having a hard time reconciling her desire to have a child with her identity as a feminist and entrepreneur:

“I feel like I am standing at the  floodgates of mixed messaging that we are given as women throughout our lives. The need to fight for being extraordinary leaders, change makers, the desire to live our life doing what we love, having the kind of social life we want, the pull to have (biologically or otherwise) a child and raise a human being, etc. All these different aspects of ourselves come into play at the same time and due to the social constructs of the time we are living in, often times feel like they are pulling against each other.” 

The post sparked an active thread of comments from business owners thinking of having kids, people who delayed having a family while they started a business, moms who launched or closed down their businesses while raising kids, and everyone in between.

In typical Shecosystem style, we decided we needed to take the conversation offline. One of the reasons we exist is to serve as a purpose built container for women to come together in a safe space and have open conversations about issues like this.

And so Mother F#@ing Business was born.

Around 15 women gathered on an autumn night at Shecosystem to meditate, reflect, and discuss the tensions between motherhood, feminism and entrepreneurship. We mapped women’s identities and explored what it means to be a woman if it’s uncoupled from motherhood, and we explored how women who don’t have kids can still have creative, nurturing, generative roles. We looked at our external and internal narratives around motherhood. We shared personal stories about setting boundaries as a working parent, suffering from gendered roles in home-life, facing the judgements of colleagues and relatives, and contemplating alternative family arrangements. 

The conversation was fiercely honest, non-judgemental, and productive. Women left feeling seen, supported, and less alone. One thing was for certain: we need more of this.

We will be hosting another conversation on January 17 (save the date!).

In the meantime, here is a Resource List sourced by the women who participated in our first Mother F#@ing Business Circle.

If you have something you’d like to see added to this list, please send a short description and link to admin@shecosystem.ca.


Resources for Motherhood, Entrepreneurship & Feminism

Amy McCready- “If I have to tell you more time…” : A Fantastic parenting book for various types of challenges

Working Ensemble: A Toronto coworking space with onsite childcare 

TellentAn online community and resource for professional women to pursue flexible careers. 

Canadian Government: Information about Special Benefits for Self-Employed people – including maternity leave.

Today’s Parent: An article about planning for parental leave when you’re self-employed Mat leave for self-employed.

Snjezana’s original blog postMotherhood And The Feminist Dream

Ann Davidman.  “Is motherhood for me?”:  Online course + book for people unsure if they want kids.

Womb Wellness 101: Clare Kenty’s workshop “The Power of Sound” (November 4th) Connecting to the power of our voice for  womb healing 

The Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum: More conversations about feminism and business (November 11)

Vania Sukola:  Feminist Therapist and with a focus on perinatal and postpartum themes like thinking about becoming a parent, birth trauma, the transition to parenthood, grief and loss, and supporting couples. 

One Part Podcast: Episode #84- Not having children by chance or by choice with Jody Day, the founder of the Gateway Foundation.

 

If you have something you’d like to see added to this list, please send a description and link to admin@shecosystem.ca.

If loneliness is an epidemic, Shecosystem is good medicine.

The table was set with salads and sweets, the lighting in the studio was low and the last rays of the setting sun filtered through the windows. More women arrived and we squeezed in two, three, four more chairs. Our first monthly Potluck + Perspectives began with a question:

 

What is community to you?

Community is ubuntu, interbeing, coming to know ourselves in relationship with all that surrounds us.

 

Community is where souls gather to be seen.

Community is hard to find when your friends move into different life stages

 

As we stuffed ourselves with vegan chilli and homemade truffles, we moved through topics from community building tips for online entrepreneurs to the challenge of honouring your boundaries as a community leader. We wrapped up with everyone lending a hand washing dishes, lingering in the kitchen chatting before going out into the autumn night.

 

Western society is starting to feel the impact of our fragmented, digital age in very real ways. Vivek Murthy, a former US Surgeon General has called loneliness an epidemic. Loneliness is associated with health risks from cardiovascular disease to anxiety, and this month’s Harvard Business Review cover story explores how it impairs our performance at work, limiting creativity, reasoning, and decision making.

 

Connected workplaces can be part of the antidote to this epidemic.

 

“Designing and modeling a culture that supports connection is more important than any single program” says Murthy, adding that “real connection requires creating an environment that embraces the unique identities and experiences of employees inside and outside the workplace” and citing kindness, compassion and generosity as the foundations of these relationships.

 

At Shecosystem, we are creating a workplace that is centred in a sense of belonging and supportive of genuine connections.  In a recent survey, 55% of our members reported feeling less lonely and 67% said they felt an increased sense of belonging.

 

Here are five ways we do this:

 

      1. We gather daily for Opening and Closing Circles where community members and guests reflect on what is going on in their lives and how it impacts their work

     

      1. We model vulnerability, even at the leadership level. Members know that they can ask for help with their businesses and are open to receiving it.

     

      1. Our events are not about passively learning new skills but about coming together to actively exchange information and perspectives. Events like Potluck & Perspectives let members and guests step up, share wisdom and ask each other questions about business. Our monthly Red Tents are co-created circles where we can be emotionally open, spiritually connected, and present for each other in a compassionate and generous way.

     

      1. The small size of our space creates a safe and intimate environment, while shared tables and open spaces allow for spontaneous connections to happen.

     

    1. Touch is important for connection, and you’re likely to get a hug – or five – every time you come in.

 

As we approach one year since the doors opened at Shecosystem, these genuine connections continue to deepen. And I know that they will sustain me as I prepare for a long, cold winter.

 

If loneliness is an epidemic, Shecosystem is good medicine.


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Emily Rose Antflick is Shecosystem’s founder and Chief Community Cultivator. With an M.A. in Education, Emily spent a decade teaching and creating transformative educational journeys in Canada and internationally. After experiencing a pervasive sense of depletion in her personal and professional life, Emily turned her attention to helping women like herself get unstuck and cultivate heart-centred communities that empower them to be their best selves. Emily proves that having a singular passion is not the only way to succeed: in addition to being an entrepreneur, she is a Rite of Passage facilitator, Permaculture Designer and dancer. Emily was a winner of the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund and has been profiled as a Woman of Influence and a local feminist to watch.

Lisa Simone Richards (PR & Visibility Coaching)

Lisa Simone Richards

Business:  PR & Visibility Coaching


What is at the heart of your business?

I help health, fitness & wellness entrepreneurs go from unknown and underpaid to standing out and selling out.

Why did you join a women’s coworking and wellness community?

I wanted to find a space of like-minded people on a mission to help others live their best lives full of health & vitality. Finding a women’s-specific community wasn’t on purpose, but it’s an inadvertent natural fit. Somehow there’s always been a female-only area of my life, whether that was Girl Guides, an all-girls high school, or being in a sorority during undergrad. So I’m definitely not surprised I stumbled into a women’s coworking facility!

What does thriving look like to you?

To me, thriving is living in a space of full abundance and possibility – financially, professionally & personally. And of course, having the freedom to enjoy all of those things.

Shecosystem’s core values are openness, community, collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, feminism, and wellness. Which of these resonates most with you and why?

Collaboration definitely resonates with me the most. I’m a big believer in collaboration over competition, and as a natural connector, I love to partner with others on certain types of projects.

What do you wish to give and/or receive from this community?

I know that a lot of women in the space are entrepreneurs and it’s totally my passion to work with health, fitness, and wellness entrepreneurs – the kind that really wants to make a big difference in the world. However, a lot of the time entrepreneurs can’t afford traditional PR agencies or publicists, so I hope to help the women in the Shecosystem community learn how to stand out in their industries, get known as the experts that they are, and magnetically attract their ideal clients right to them.

Tell us one way you integrate self-care into your working life: 

Middle of the day naps. Lots of ’em 🙂

What’s your top piece of advice for other women entrepreneurs?

Don’t wait for permission or perfection. Also, persistence without being a pest is *key* – everything I’ve ever wanted and gotten is because I haven’t been afraid to be persistent, go after, and claim the things I want.


 

CONNECT WITH  LISA!

Website: lisasimonerichards

Twitter: @ellerich

Facebook: Get Seen Get Clients Get Paid

YouTube: Lisa S. Richards