Partner with Purpose: Girls Night Out Fundraiser

This month has been an AMAZING opportunity to not only participate in events with my favorite organization, but also to plan and rollout my own events to further promote the causes I support and spread the word about the Girls Chronically Rock clothing line takeover!

One of those events was the Girls Night Fundraiser I put on in partnership with Jaclyn Zuke of Next on Scene. The event was held at our local fave, Papa Gayo restaurant and served as the first of many Girls Chronically Rock (GCR) pop-up shops I am planning for this summer. At the event, I was able to connect with new faces, share more about my story and the inspiration behind GCR clothing line. It was an opportunity for me to try something new and partner with another Bostonite and womanprenuer to see our dreams come to fruition, and in one night almost everyone walked away with a GCR purchase. This event was a both a success and learning experience for me and I want to share a few nuggets of wisdom for my fellow womanpreneur-in-the-making GCR sisters.

Planning Process:

I knew I wanted to fundraise and bring awareness to GCR so I kept my eyes peeled for possible connections. It was through the Boston Business Women Facebook Group that I met and connected with Jaclyn which later grew into our partnership for the event. I formed a relationship with Jaclyn after emailing her and later being  featured on her podcast. After completing the show (January), we remained connected to eventually partner together. Our relationship wasn’t just business, we both genuinely cared about each other’s goals and dreams wanted to do everything would could to help one another succeed. She encouraged me to develop my brand by starting a podcast and since working together on the Girls Night Out Event, we continue to reach out and invite each other to events that can create opportunities for our businesses and network. I challenge you to do something for your business/brand today. Find a facebook group and be committed to showing up. Look for a local meetup or event where you can network and spread the word about your brand. Get started today!

Big Lessons Learned:

Of course, every new endeavor we take on will have a learning curve. Doing my own event taught me the importance of advertising, advertising and more advertising. Possible customers only know about what they know about. Making more of an intentional and widespread effort is key to making sure your event is getting in front of new eyes. Continue to dig into your resources and exhaust all of the free options like social media, email and word-of-mouth before moving to paid options. I had the benefit of having a lot of family and friends involved, but there were still more people in my circle/community who I could have contacted and asked to help me out in my efforts to spread the word. Don’t be afraid to tell the people around you about what you’re doing. Let them know that they too can be a part of the movement you’re creating and get involved.

Business Lessons:

The exciting thing about my event was that almost everyone bought some GCR gear. The lesson I learned was that I could be more efficient in getting my customers the information they needed by having a pricing sheet on every display to help customers decide what they want to purchase. Give your customer all the information they will need to make a purchase decision. Another piece of advice is to pay attention to what products/items really sell. Whether it was my GCR hats or the tote that I’m working on, knowing what customers like is crucial to creating more products that my community loves. Having a team of creative and innovative volunteers and paid service providers can sometimes be the difference between a seamless experience and the cloud of stress that can come with doing everything yourself. A huge part of my event success was based on the fact that Jaclyn handled everything event coordination and PR related which freed me up to focus on my products and connecting with my attendees. As I think about how to level up from here, I have my sights set on doing more GCR pop-ups (in a city near you), sharing my story with more people through speaking engagements and partnering with some of my favorite organizations to help spread awareness about chronic illnesses like MD and to further promote and build the GCR community of strong, empowered and purpose filled women.

Working on your goals and dreams:

When it comes to pursuing your goals and dreams, just go for it! My journey is still new and I have a lot to learn, but I’ve already tackled the biggest obstacle of starting. If you have a goal or ambition you want to focus on, get started today.

We may not have the time, money, or energy but with the help of our families, friends and local (and virtual) community, you will find yourself living out your dream one milestone at a time.  

Let people know the gist (not everything) about your idea and see what people say.

Before you know it, you’ll have your business. Keep you eyes open.  Expand your network. Go for it.

What’s the last step you made towards your goal?

Comment in the section below.

Walk Into Your Purpose: MDA Walk 2018

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

― Francis of Assisi

For most people signing up for a marathon, 5k, 10k or even popular adventure themed races can seem like a challenge.

Imagine facing that challenge while living with Muscular Dystrophy (MD). Fear, self-doubt and even pain are all reasons to give up. I had so many reasons to gloss over fundraiser invitations, to ignore invites and forget about completing in any type of athletic events all together. That would be too easy. After coming to terms with where I was physically and emotionally I decided enough was enough. No one wins by shrinking back in the face of a challenge and neither would I. It was time for me to not just endure the process of being diagnosed with MD, but to fight back by taking the initiative to learn everything I could about this condition and what resources were out there waiting for someone like me (and you) to find. That resource for me is the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). As I began to dig deeper into the information and organization, I started to receive referrals from my community and my doctors to get connected with MDA and that’s exactly what I did.


Muscle walk 2 2018

Just few weeks ago, I completed my second annual MDA Walk at Boston Commons.

Having completed the first walk as both a speaker and ribbon cutter in the year prior surrounded by my family from near and far, I knew that this year would be even more special. The walk was full of activities for families, booths, vendors, plenty of food and loads of fun. Participating in this walk wasn’t just about bragging rights, it was about bringing awareness, raising funding and connecting with people all over my state and the country who may face the same or similar struggles I face. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met. Friends I’ve made or opportunities I have received because of the support system and resources taking part in the walk and joining this organization have brought me.

I was able to raise 1,500 dollars for the organization but what I have gained over the last two years has far exceeded any dollar amount.

What blew me away the most this year was the overflow of love and support I received from family and friends who showed up and showed out by wearing my Girls Chronically Rock t-shirts (grab yours here) and making my participation in the walk possible by safely transporting my scooter (I couldn’t have completed the walk without it).

muscle walk 1 2018

If I didn’t have the help of my family and the friends I’ve made through my journey with MD, I wouldn’t have made it this far, and I’m here to let you know that you don’t have to travel this road alone.

As the Massachusetts State Ambassador for MDA, if you’re thinking about participating or getting connected with an organization that can possibly help you cope with whatever chronic illness you may face, take the first step! Take a deep breath, look yourself in the mirror and remind that beautiful face staring back at you, “you are not alone. You are worth the effort. There are hundreds of people like me who are looking for answers.”

Don’t let fear get in the way of connecting with new people who are going through the same or similar situation.

There are so many new connections and relationships out there waiting for you on the other side of having a chronic illness. Living a meaningful  and fulfilling life with MD is more than possible. Whether you link up with a local organization, find the courage to finally come to terms with whatever you may be battling or if you just need to know that you’re not alone on this journey, I’m here to tell you again…TAKE THAT FIRST STEP!

I remember what it was like to be diagnosed, to be in denial and to not want to deal with what was happening to my body, but guess what? I didn’t let MD get in the way of living a purpose filled and impact-focused life.  So talk with your doctor and sign up for that walk. Join the local organization that specializes in providing resources for what you need, and don’t be afraid to share your journey along the way. It started with a registration form, but walking into my purpose could only have been done by taking the first step.

What step will you take today?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.