16 Jan Welcome To The River Gathering – An Inspired, All-Inclusive Working Vacation for Female Entrepreneurs
Have you ever found yourself wishing you had more time to work on the health of your business? I’m talking about dedicated time to dream, reflect and focus on both short-term and long-term initiatives without all the work, noise, and adulting interruptions? Perhaps you’re an intrapreneur, an artist, or small business owner craving space and needing support to find a voice for the idea, passion project or business you love so much. It could be that you’re currently wearing all the hats and you need some resources, tips, and tools so that you can stay lean while you continue to scale. Or maybe you’re a seasoned business professional needing help creating an intentional, authentic marketing strategy that treats your customers like people, and not just another number. Does any of this sound familiar? If so then I encourage you to keep reading…
Now, do you like mixing business with pleasure? Would you sometimes rather be working on your business than doing anything else? Does crossing items off your to-do-list put an instant smile on your face? Do you get an endorphin dump when you get to ball up those little sticky notes and throw them in the trash? Do you find yourself more inspired when surrounded by beautiful scenery perhaps with an adult beverage nearby? Are you feeling led to do something bold or adventurous in this new year? Do you long for some me time, self-care or a little r&r? If you answered yes to any of these questions, well darling, you’ve found your tribe and are exactly where you’re supposed to be. So we’d like to invite you to join us for a 5-day inspired, all-inclusive working vacation in Buena Vista, Colorado. This is a different kind of vacation. One that I created with fellow boss babe Maggie Gentry out of necessity, specifically for female entrepreneurs, small business owners, creative makers, passionate intrapreneurs, and outdoor enthusiasts. We’ll eat, sleep, dine and work at the Surf, a boutique Colorado hotel nestled on the banks of the Arkansas River surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. We’ll start each day with yoga, (btw- this is optional so if you’d rather start your day with a hike, trail run, reading, journaling, or by staring at the backs of your eyelids for a little while longer, well, this is your choice to make. We want you, to do you and make this experience 100% about what you need most.) we’ll spend the mornings working on our businesses, and then we’ll allow for ample free time in the afternoons to explore, shop, unwind and truly disconnect so that we may reconnect with ourselves, our passions and soul’s work in beautiful Buena Vista, CO. Sounds amazing, right? It’s this dedicated space that I’ve previously described where I’ve found the most rewarding and successful experiences for both my personal and professional growth. Away from real life, clients, and distractions so that I could get real with myself, hear my own thoughts, allow my imagination to wonder and then have the time to execute some of these ideas that I had for my life and my business. You can read more about my thoughts behind the working vacation theory in greater detail in my interview with Ark Magazine. For today, I want to jump up and down and squeal about all the things I’m excited about for The River Gathering 2019. Before I do this however I want to tell you where this idea came from, and why I believe it’s supposed to be a part of my story.
This is the second year for The River Gathering. And I’m over-the-moon, experiencing all the feels, from butterflies to excitement to the pride of a mama bear. I’ve always loved connecting with others and getting to know the story behind the heartbeat. When I was in college I wanted to make a documentary called “Server Stories.” Not the most creative name ever but it was what it was. I worked in a restaurant either hosting, bartending or waiting tables from the age of 16 to 23. If I remember correctly there was actually a stint in the kitchen at one point but it was very short-lived so we’ll skip this. Whenever I met another server, no matter where I was in the world, I thought, I’d like to know their story. This meant something to me because before I went to college I once waited on a large group of guys. There was probably 12 to 15 of them, they had been golfing and I assume drinking most of the day. No one was listening to me. I tried to take their drink order and they just kept talking amongst themselves. I walked from end to end of this long table and I remember feeling absolutely invisible. I finally had it and shouted “OK GREAT! I GUESS NO ONE IS FUCKING THIRSTY AT THIS TABLE!” And began to walk off when this guy, at
The River Gathering is a space for women with different stories – from different walks of life, different cultures, different beliefs, all who hold different decks of cards – to come and learn from one another. The common denominator likely is entrepreneurship or business ownership or creativity, or maybe a love of the outdoors. However, these are the things we’ll likely have in common, but when you begin to peel the onion you learn more about the whole person, how they’re wired, where they came from and why your paths are truly crossing. The experiences are richer, more meaningful and they leave a lasting impression on everyone. I learned something from every single person that came to The River Gathering last year. We all have something to learn and we all have something to teach, and round and round we go. I’ve found that women imparticular are magnificent at this because we generally are more comfortable sharing, venting or opening up. I don’t necessarily put myself in this “comes easy” category, but I have found superhuman strength from being vulnerable so I intentionally put myself in situations where I’m confronted to do so. I have discovered that when women gather together and are able to push aside competition and comparison pure magic unfolds. When women are vulnerable, they become brave, and it’s a ripple effect for the others to follow suit, and then you have a room full of baller women who have nothing to lose and everything to gain. This is not what I expected from The River Gathering, but it is what happened. Women coming together to support one another, to lend expertise, and offer up experience, and give thanks that we are the brave ones that have chosen to follow our dreams, pursue creativity and not settle for the mundane.
I feel proud to say we received some really wonderful attendee feedback from 2018. It was this positive feedback that told us we were on to something and needed to continue. This feedback also led to our decision to add an extra day this year, which will allow for even more adventure and downtime. This makes me so happy because this place I get to call home is so very enchanting and I want to share as much of it with you all as possible. We also decided to move the dates up a few weeks into August so that we could take full advantage of the Arkansas River and the plethora of outdoor activities Buena Vista is known for. Which brings me to the next thing I am SO very stoked for. This year we have partnered with the masters of adventure Bold Betties. (I’m literally grinning ear to ear as I type this.) This Denver-based adventure travel company is redefining what it means for women to explore the outdoors. Bold Betties specializes in women’s outdoor gear and providing women the opportunities to step outside of their comfort zones and into their boldness. Their founder Niki Koubourlis is an absolute badass. Her career spans from Seattle to Dhabi but I met her back in 2013 while sitting at the bar at a Galvanize in Denver. Our meeting was brief, but I’ve wanted to work with her ever since. So last year I invited her to be our special guest of honor, and this year we get to have her super rad company Bold Betties plan the epic adventure experiences for The River Gathering’s 2019 attendees. Niki has grown her Colorado-based company into 37 cities and 19 states with no end in sight. There are currently over 40,000 women getting together online and IRL and over 200 events happening across the US each month! I cannot wait to experience a Bold Betties adventure!!!
This year will also bring a new special guest of honor, Stephanie Judd (another badass), CoFounder of Wolf & Heron, a company that transforms people into inspirational leaders, no matter who they are or what they’re trying to achieve. They work with organizations and individuals alike and are looking forward to helping our attendees become more effective influencers. I actually met Stephanie here in Buena Vista. She saw one of my posters hanging somewhere in town last year and hit me up. We had a whiskey at the Wesley & Rose, we swapped stories, and then quickly decided we should figure how to work together. She and her husband moved to BV via Fort Collins, by way of Michigan and I can’t believe she lives less than a mile from me. Stephanie has over 10 years of professional experience working with Fortune 100 businesses, grassroots non-profits, multinational NGOs and small businesses, spanning industries from retail to tech to manufacturing to healthcare and everything in between. She holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from Cornell University, an MBA from the Ross School of Business, and an M.S. in Natural Resources and the Environment from the University of Michigan. She is also certified as a Coactive Coach by the Coaches Training Institute. She specializes in leadership development and high performing team dynamics and spends most of her time coaching and advising executive teams. Some clients she has worked with include Indiegogo, Belk, Solo Cup, Environmental Defense Fund, Western Union, the government of Rwanda, and Dell. (Casual.) Stephanie recently invited me to come to listen to her speak at Google Boulder and I can’t tell you how elated I am that this August she’ll be collaborating with the other half of The River Gathering (Maggie Gentry) on workshops and curriculum and other super cool things for 2019 attendees. (Side note: Stephanie is also a rock climber and Ariel artist in her spare time. I don’t know if these activities will make their way into RG, but if these subjects interest you in any way you might have some questions ready for her:))
To sum up my ramblings, it is an absolute honor and privilege to announce that The River Gathering 2019 Early Birdie Registration is officially open. If you feel led to join us, please don’t wait. To keep the integrity of our working vacay experience we have limited space so hop on over to Early Bird Registration here!
Photo Credit: Creating Light Studio