This is MentHerShip Vii

It’s hard to believe 3 months have passed since we first launched our MentHerShip sessions. So much has happened in the past quarter. Business has been won and lost, continents have been traversed with our video cameras, and Trump has boarded Air Force One with toilet paper stuck on his shoe.

When we thought about what our inaugural event had meant to us personally and professionally and took into consideration the sage feedback we received from the great group of women who had attended, we were confronted with the idea of growing our sessions, making them bigger, and making them stronger.

Would MentHership be worth its salt if we challenged it with growth? Would we endure a lessening of intimacy and a stiffness inherent in opening our doors to that confusing and layered word, “networking?”

Our gut feeling told us yes.

We vowed to hold the natural intimacy and vulnerability that is the core drive behind the concept as our principle priority in spite of, and more importantly, because of the need for expansion in support streams for female professionals. We stayed true to being champions of MentHerShip’s soul because we think our community would benefit from a little more caring and a lot more encouragement to grow up and show up in our complicated lives.

On the surface a casual mentorship event may not shake the ground of what’s “hip and happening” in the Vancouver social scene, but it certainly nourishes a need to connect that goes deeper than appearances and lasts longer than cocktails and canapes. MentHerShip isn’t a short play. It’s a long term, adaptable response to the challenging political landscape, professional and otherwise that governs our lives.

MentHerShip was founded around the belief that we need strong women to grow strong women. And as much as we’d like to take credit for that belief, this is a fact that’s proven right down to the biological core of who we are and where we came from. The key is recognizing that strength doesn’t just flourish in the sunshine.

Enter our topic for our second session: resilience.

When we think about the word “resilience” many things might rise up in our throats. An attendee who had actually studied the psychology of resilience brought up the point that the word means, in technical terms, having the emotional elasticity to return to who we were before a tragedy, trauma, or grief occured. She then wisely suggested that she believes true resilience is actually growing past that point, that person we embodied in the past, and pushing through into a new sense of self.

Whether that sense of self is stronger is really beside the point. The point is where we are all faced with tragedies, big and small, and we’re all forced to face the choice of when to let go, when to give up, when to fight, and when to change.

Our guest speaker was an amazing example of embracing the human condition on its whole. Jill has built a business (Eastwood X), mothered and raised a beautiful baby, broken her neck, and suffered incredible personal grief all within a short timespan of her very busy and accomplished life. Jill, luckily, is also a human who is brave enough to share her story and connect with other women who might resonate with just one or a million things within it.

What’s most obvious to anyone who was in the room last Thursday is that Jill’s story is just beginning.

I’ve always been a believer in dichotomy, which means that two opposing things or ideas can exist at once. We are all, in a sense, walking dichotomies. We say one thing truly believing it and act the opposite way because it comes equally naturally in the same stroke. We beat ourselves up for all of these half-truths and we do our best to project the prettier side on our social media channels because it feels good for a moment to share the easier story.

MentHerShip Vii was about telling the harder story.

We are not afraid of the whole picture of what it means to be a women today. We won’t stop hosting sessions because life becomes more and more complicated. Our arms and our community are open to your own kind of wacky, complex, beautiful growth.

I grew up reading men’s magazine like Esquire. They always seemed more to-the-point than than Allure’s Best of Beauty Edition, though there is huge value in a great moisturizer. On the plane ride home for thanksgiving I read a great piece in Esquire’s anniversary edition by an internationally successful physician-genetist who came armed with advice for finding meaning in your professional and personal life.

He shared the three questions he had been asked by a classmate’s father during his high school’s commencement speech. I know, what a mouthful. The questions stuck with me and I knew I wanted to and needed to share them with our MentHerShip community for personal pondering with hopes they will someday share their answers with us. My personal thoughts are in asterisks.

  1. What will be your life’s work, and how will it make the world a better place? *This doesn’t have to be a stock answer like, “Saving the world one soul at a time."*

  2. What role will love play in your life? *This doesn’t have to include but can definitely can save room for romantic love.*

  3. What place will faith take in your life’s journey? *Oh boy, what a can of worms. This doesn’t need to imply religious faith, but rather a larger belief in something beyond our understanding or knowledge at present. Interestingly, the author said he cared about this question the least as a young person, and cares about it the most now.*

I thought about these questions in relation to R+A at present and the answers came surprisingly swiftly. Maybe it was the restocked Air Canada red wine selection.

  1. Finding ways to connect women digitally and personally and encouraging them to find purpose, solace, and inspiration in themselves and those around them.

  2. Love for freedom, intelligence, ambition, character, and kindness are the fundamental drives behind everything we do.

  3. We have renewed faith in the future because we filled a room with women who were so obviously at the helm of their own.

Think about these questions. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know the answers yet, they will appear when least expected soon enough.

See you in January ladies.

Thanks to your attendance and donations we are officially sending a girl, Anne, through high school in Nairobi through One Girl Can!