Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Alternative Title: Why I'm Obsessed with Rebelle.
You know how the last few years there’s been the “One Word” trend each new year? Well, in 2018, I jumped on board and my word for the year was Community. At the time, I didn’t have one. It had been years since I’d truly felt connected to a community. Back when I was working in an office full-time, I had enough “work friends” that I didn’t worry too much about it, but once my husband and I started our business and were basically one-on-one with each other 24/7, the gaping hole where I’d been missing true community really become apparent.
In college, it’s pretty easy to find. I was blessed to have an amazing community at George Mason University for four years, and I still keep in touch with my closest girlfriends, but they still live in DC or even farther away, so that community consists of group texts, Facetime calls every few weeks, Facebook comments and usually, when we’re lucky, a bi-annual face-to-face meet up. I adore them, and consider them my sisters and best friends, and know they are my greatest allies, but I had to accept that that version of community wasn’t enough as a long-distance setting.
On top of the general woes of finding friends as an adult, add in that I worked from home and would go days without actually putting on real clothes, and veer on the introverted side to begin with, and you may understand how I ended up so isolated. I adore my husband, he is truly a partner in every sense of the word, but being with ANYONE 24/7 is so tough. For the sake of my marriage, my business, and my sanity, I prayed hard for community for a very long time.
In search of this “community”, I joined the National Association of Women Business Owners in March 2018. I met some great people there, but my best connection came from someone there referring our AV business to Shannon Siriano Greenwood. Little did they know, I’d had a total social media girl crush on Shannon for about six months at this point. When she emailed me after getting that referral, I may have freaked out a little.
Shannon is the founder of Rebelle Con, a boutique conference that had hosted its inaugural event in Richmond in November 2017. I’d wanted to go to the conference SO bad, but we were already double-booked that weekend, and I just couldn’t swing it. I knew they were having a Summer Pop-Up Conference in June 2018, and was planning to register for it even before I got her email. We ended up coincidentally meeting face-to-face at another event about a week later, and she hired us to provide the AV for the Rebelle Con Pop-Up the following month!
The Pop-Up was life-changing. The women were amazing. It wasn’t your typical women’s conference, and the atmosphere was just different. Even my dear husband, who was running the sound and the only man in the room, noticed the difference. Everyone was humble but confident, so kind, excited to support one another, and instantly opening their arms to everyone around them. We were all there for the community. No agendas, no passing out business cards, no competitive attitudes, no “insiders” or mean girls. Just community. It was amazing.
Fast forward a week or two, I get another email from Shannon. This time, she invited me to be a part of the Rebelle Con Fall 2018 planning team, and to be a part of an idea she had, to launch the first membership chapter - The Rebelle Community, with actual members, monthly meetups, and genuine, intentional, face-to-face relationships.
Praise Jesus, this was the answer to my prayers!
After discussing the logistics with Shannon and the time commitment with Ian, I hopped on board with SO much energy and excitement. That level of energy and excitement has not died down even a little bit, and I’ve been a part of this team for a year now.
We started hosting “teaser” mixers and panels in August 2018, and in December, we officially opened up memberships to the Richmond Chapter of the Rebelle Community. Our goal was 50 Founding Members before January 31st. Come February 1st, when we counted our members, we had 112. We.were.floored!
The need for community wasn’t just a hole in my world, it is clearly an unmet need in the lives of MANY. This community fills that hole so well, and I am so grateful every day for the relationships I’ve built this year.
My word for 2019 has been “Intentional”. I want my time to be used intentionally. I want to deepen relationships with people and ensure I’m spending my time with people who are beneficial to my life, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. I’m not going to put time into negative relationships just because they’re the only ones I have, or ones I’ve had for so long that I feel obligated to keep them up. I’m focused on what counts, putting my phone down more (okay, okay, still trying on that one), and being face-to-face with people (even scheduling more trips to DC to see my amazing college girlfriends more).
I am so blessed to have these women in my life, and I cannot wait for what the future holds.
(This was originally written in early 2019, the following has been added as of August 2019)
The Rebelle Team, Shannon in particular, was a huge reason I finally jumped into Seagram Events. Their encouragement and confidence in me truly allowed me to see past my fear and embrace my God-given gifts and talents, and purse what sets my heart on fire. I love planning events, and they know that from their time they've invested in our friendships, and they encouraged to to go for it!
Also, for those not in Richmond, VA, we've launched our second Rebelle chapter, in Lancaster, PA! We will be launching more in early 2020, so if you'd like your city to have this amazing community, reach out to us!
Currently stuck in my head:
Currently Reading (Usually On Audible):
"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" byTaylor Jenkins Reid
Verse of the Moment... "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” - Hebrews 10:24-25