A few months ago, I had a coffee date.
It was nothing too out of the ordinary, just catching up with someone without any real agenda. I was sitting with Mallory McMorrow, a friend, creative director, activist, and long-time Citizen, when our conversation drifted over to our professional lives. Slowly, we began to notice a trend, and then we couldn’t escape the similarities: despite working in completely different industries in cities across the country from each other, we had faced many of the same challenges as professionals – more specifically, as professional women. Our stories aligned in so many ways, we knew it was more than a coincidence, and we likely weren’t alone. We started to discuss and then started to fume and finally to create: why are we as women compelled to put up a wall in order to be seen as strong and independent, instead of reaching out, sharing resources and finding allies?
That’s where the idea of The Platform began. We decided to build a collaborative movement, working towards bringing women together from all over Metro Detroit to break down barriers, get inspired, and learn how to actively make our community one that works for us. We wanted to create a space that felt necessary and obvious, yet as hard as we looked remained impossible to find.
At the first Platform event, the level of curiosity, engagement, passion, and drive blew us away. Nearly 100 women came together to create a space of warmth, growth, and support. The Platform opened with the guests having an open discussion on everything from confidence and double standards to the election and activism. We spent some serious time thinking about the barriers that keep us separate and isolated, rather than embracing each other and ourselves. I spoke about my experience as a female business owner (which my last blog post also discussed) and the unique position that Citizen Yoga holds as both a business and a community; the challenges and opportunities that come with being a female business owner; and the constant navigation required to keep relationships not only strong but magnetic and essential.
Building community is critical to not only our business development but it also serves our basic human needs. The reality of human connection can often fall by the wayside, especially in our increasingly savvy, hyper-connected and super-automated world. Social media is a minefield of insecurities, idealized pretenses and contrived perfection. The Platform aims to reintroduce the strength of small efforts, and in particular, the power of a hello.
Here at Citizen, we are more than passionate about saying hello. We want to constantly remind ourselves and our students that rather than looking at our screens all the time, there is beauty in the immediate reality all around us, the humanity of our neighbors and the magic in creating and strengthening relationships. The Platform event was just the first step in re-imagining and reinventing what our community looks like. We as women and we as a community have so much to offer and so many ways to connect. I can’t wait to see what the Platform yields in the future.