At Gather 2020, our national Threads conference, Shanika (a new Fair Trade Partner from Chicago) asked me a question. “What is going on in this room?” she asked. “This energy, this space of possibility, vulnerability, and authenticity…it doesn’t happen in other places…did you and Angela set out to create this?”
I wasn’t quite sure how to answer so I started sharing things that I know to be true. Angela and I have been best friends since we were 18. We met on the volleyball court at Tufts University in Boston. We were both outside hitters and the nature of the position is to always back the other person up. When Angela would go up to attack the ball, I would run up behind her to be there in case she was blocked (she rarely was). And vice versa, she was always there right behind. This way of being set the stage for our nearly 25-year-long friendship and will be our story for the rest of our lives.
Angela and I are committed to living our best lives and being a contribution in the most powerful ways possible. This commitment takes something. It means pushing boundaries constantly. It means learning hard truths about ourselves and others and having hard conversations to move through blocks. It means living by our morals and values even when it may be more comfortable not to. It means breaking down and breaking through. It means failing, learning and starting again. When I say we have each other’s backs, it means that we are a constant for the other person throughout this lifelong evolution. We remind each other who we are, where we are going and that we will always be going together.
This way of being is at the very foundation of Threads and we partner with people around the globe that are called to work within this environment. Our hope and expectation is that our community continues to grow and that the energy put forth from all of our partners radiates around the globe. At the end of the conference, Paul, the hotel Bell Captain said, “I have no idea what you ladies are doing downstairs but the light and energy is palpable. I’ve been working at this hotel for 14 years and I’ve never been drawn to a group of people like this before. I have no idea what you are doing but I hope you keep doing it.”
We will, Paul.
And you are all invited to join us.