Going back to my junior year of high school, there has always and continuously been parallels between 2 worlds that I seemed to find myself between, corporate retail and community outreach. Earning my paychecks and growing as a leader at one, making a difference in helping another.
I officially made the official leap into the Non-Profit leadership role after 20 years of toeing the line it seemed, and despite growing and volunteering with incredible nationally successful organizations, I felt like a fish out of water, trying to figure out how skills, passions, characteristics that I had found to be successful in the business world was so vastly different in the non-profit world.
It was hard for my brain to shift to fundraising, resource management and community networking, from my comfortable hat of analyzing data, profit & loss reports, career and retention planning, leading teams, and embracing customers. But why? What was so different in this world than the one I just stepped out of? I had been greatly involved in both types of for profit and non-profit roles, but the realization of stepping out of one, and into another; provided a light on just the piece that I believe is missing.
Non-Profits are hesitant to think like businesses and Businesses are scrambling trying to come up with new ways to support non-profits that doesn't affect the bottom line or pull resources out of a workforce that never seems to stabilize fully.
But could it look different?
Could Non-Profits have a self-sustaining source of funding that allowed the organization to be free of fundraisers, silent auctions, and donor management lists, making the thought of a scarcity mindset ever present on every employee's mind? Could we navigate how to stabilize funding to allow organizational leaders to do a stronger job of leading, guiding, and developing their teams to retain top talent? Why is it that the people doing some of the hardest and most taxing work within our communities feel the least seen and the least valued from a financial standpoint?
Could businesses do a better job of not only serving organizations within their community during significant events or critical seasons and more closely working with those organizations to determine their freedom to meet a need or address a concern that is most directly affecting their population?
Why were these two areas of my life that I loved unknowingly rejecting and pushing against the things that would make the most significant difference? And who was being left in the unknown for burnout, lack of purpose, and stress simply for doing what they felt called to do, but knowing they couldn't provide for their family if they left the big business?
The Answer: The People.
The people we lead.
The people we seek to volunteer.
The people are trying to provide for their families while helping thousands of others.
The customers, the leaders, and most of all,
The people needing care.
In this season, I've struggled to "elevator speech" what Styled with Strength does because for as simple as it seems to this battle I've been unpacking for a decade, it often comes out like French to everyone else. While I hope to provide clarity to the mission I'm setting out to do, I know there may be a little bit more "huhs?" than when I started, and I think that's okay. Because that's what changing systems feels like.
Styled with Strength is a community of women (and advocates of women) who are determined not only to educate to build safer communities from domestic violence, but we believe that we can build that community and that network by bringing women of influence and women needing care, in the same conversations.
Shop Styled with Strength:
Carefully curated (by yours truly ;)) to provide tangible ways to care for someone or ourselves in a season of hardship. It will be quirky (as I'm sure you've noticed). It will be within our values of inclusivity, and I hope there's something that everyone gets excited to see what new has come in!
Loungewear/ Cozy Apparel (You will likely not find your Saturday night dancing dress) but something comfy and curated with purpose.
Cards/Books/Stickers/Journals: To care for and love for your community. It doesn't have to be flashy, but whether it's free or a million dollars- your intention to care is present.
Supporting Women-Owned/ Veteran- Owned/ Small Businesses from all over the U.S.
Because our investment in their business means helping their dream come true.
Most of All: Provides Funding for the establishment of the Styled with Strength Foundation
Styled with Strength Foundation:
Kicking off this month! Focused on providing career advancement and care coordination services to women who have experienced any form of abuse or any woman in the Fargo/Moorhead community needing advocacy, mentorship, and job support.
Professional Wardrobing/ Interview Coaching/ Job Advocacy
Community Education to Organizations & Businesses in supporting a woman experiencing abuse and the road to freedom
Support Mentorship and Community Building: in a world of feeling alone- establishing healthy relationships with a community is key!
So where do you come in, my friend? Well, Everywhere! From volunteering at the shop, attending a community event, joining a leadership development group or book club, mentoring a woman in need, you name it; there is a seat for just you at this table! The only way this works is with. your support, and your desire to step into this community alongside me.
Whether its shopping online from California or stopping by the shop with a friend to help pack orders on a day you have free time, please accept this as my official c'mon over to the Shop! Starting this fall, we will have consistent shop hours (and transparently- they might be unique!) as there's essential community work and women to support.
While this "elevator pitch" likely just took 10 minutes, I am honored that you took the time to stop by, to see what we're about, and know that whether it's online, in a virtual book club, or goodness even telling your friend that is experiencing abuse about us, please know that your role is vital, and I honestly couldn't do this without you. I believe that by approaching this work with a completely different hat, we can build the best team, aligned around purpose and thriving individually while also building and bringing other women alongside us each step of the way.
Joy looks good on you, girl. and I'm convinced that it's coming.
The online shop opened up today, and you might just need a quirky card or two!