Tell us about WE and how it came to life.
B: WE is based on over ten years of working with women to create effective, meaningful support. Ten years ago, I was in a situation where I knew I wanted a greater level of female support in my own life. I was a new mom. I was broke. I was trying to figure out how to run my own business, and be an artist. I wanted more than a coffee date, or even a single mentor. I saw a lot of women around me who I could glean so much insight and wisdom from. But they also needed it as well. I started facilitating circles of support through creative and artistic practices, for women to come together, see each other, and learn from one another in new ways.
Three years ago, I again discovered this incredible entrepreneurial, creative community of women across industries. So myself and my co-founder, launched WE through a 12-week curriculum, where we help women connect and incorporate relationships with themselves, other women, and their community in downtown L.A. What we are seeing is the power of going through transformational experiences together, and the bond that creates.
C: What we have seen be most effective is process-oriented transformational experiences over time. Our programs happen over multiple parts, so we access the power of neuroplasticity, rewiring our neural pathways, and changing our emotional responses to things like stress, anxiety or relationship.
What is relational mindfulness and why is it important?
C: Isolation is an epidemic right now. Societal structures are changing, especially in the workplace, so we are seeing people feel less and less connected.
B: From working with women for a long time, we have learned that relationships are really the crux. It gives our lives meaning in work, and in home. If we want to support women to create lasting wellbeing, the place to start is relationships. The reason we call it relational mindfulness is because mindfulness is just awareness and attention.
C: We might be creating lasting wellbeing in other ways, but we're not facilitating intentional awareness around our relationships. Relational mindfulness is an integrated methodology of tools and practices where we intentionally cultivate a higher level of effective relationships. Through emotional intelligence, communication skills and conscious leadership, we are bringing to light how these things can be transformative. The relational component of our lives gives us a sense of meaning and belonging.
How are women rewriting the rules today to establish inclusive workplaces?
B: Corporate culture is based on masculine energy. It is often compartmentalized, linear and hierarchical. Women are bringing communal energy and empathy. They have a multi-dimensional, interactive style of leadership, based on relationship, communication and information sharing. We recognize it is not necessarily determined by gender specifically, but as more women come into leadership, there is a balance happening. I think the idea of people first and humanizing the workplace is being led by women.
C: A practical example is how women affinity groups are rapidly evolving. Women are starting to invite men into the conversation. It’s evidence of the matriarchal ability that women have to create inclusive and nurturing environments.
What is the importance of developing quality relationships in the workplace?
C: Work relationships are many times our primary relationships, simply because we are spending so much time at work. Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, is one of our favorite voices in the mindfulness movement. She talks about how the concept of work-life balance is basically mindless, because people have basic needs in both environments. We have the same needs at work as we do at play. Often, the emphasis on quality relationships is put on those outside of the workplace, but we are trying to bring it back because it affects the quality of our lives.
B: Research is coming out showing that when people feel a sense of belonging and that they are supported and represented in their work environment, they are more engaged and productive. For work cultures that want to continue to progress, especially if they want to attract Millennial and Gen Zs, they are going to have to value relationships.
What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
C: Splash cold water on my face, open the curtains to let as much light in as possible, and light my favorite incense.
B: Honestly, I check my phone. And then I make coffee and breakfast with my kids.
Who is your business idol?
C: Angela Ahrendts. She has held her own in the various industries that she's been in, and stayed true to her leadership style despite being told by men over and over that she's not CEO or executive material. She prioritizes emotional intelligence and value-based leadership and creates environments of trust for her team.
B: Bozoma Saint John. I admire her level of transparency, freedom and authenticity being herself and breaking the mold.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
C: The shift that happens when people cross this threshold of vulnerability. They feel seen and welcomed by their co-workers. There’s a glow that comes over people.
B: I have so personally benefited from this level of support. It's amazing to me that this is my job. I can point to moment after moment where I was supported and helped, and my life was changed by other women around me.
What’s your guilty pleasure at the end of a long day?
C: Having a Negroni and watching Golden Hour with my husband.
B: I love a good bath. Having an epsom salt and aromatherapy bath is great after I tuck my kids in.
What advice would you give your daughter, or a young girl, starting her first job?
C: Learn what your own individual style of leadership is and create opportunities to test what you're capable of. Stepping into those uncomfortable and scary positions is the best and fastest way to learn.
B: I have a daughter and I would tell her she could truly succeed, depending on what that means to you, and at the same time, continue to value rest and play.