In 2004, when I ran for student body president I made a deal with myself that if I won the election I’d intern in Washington, DC and if I lost I’d study abroad in South Africa (either way that’d be a sweet deal right?). I won by just 32 votes and became the first black woman elected SGA president in the school’s 100 year history. To say that spending that summer in DC altered the trajectory of my life would be an understatement. I landed my dream job after college there and fell even more in love with the city and politics. But I always regretted not studying abroad and having the ability to see the world 1) on someone else’s dime and 2) before the baggage of bills and adulthood.
I dreamed of doing the Peace Corps but talked myself out of it, every year I’d look at the application for Fulbright and convince myself that I wasn’t qualified, and knowing what I know now, I should have gone into the foreign service and become a diplomat but it wasn’t until I’d already graduated that I even knew this was an option.
As someone who has ALWAYS been in love with politics and travel I used to think I had to choose between the two.
Since leaving for Remote Year, virtually every day I’ve thought about how I can share the experiences I’m having with other black women. Last month I posed a question to Facebook asking if I hosted an international retreat if anyone would be interested in joining me and the response was overwhelming:
In addition to the likes and comments on the post, I got dozens of emails, calls and texts from women offering to help. So I got to work researching beautiful villas on tropical islands and sketching out what the retreat could look like. But something was missing. I’ve been to countless retreats and trainings and it just never felt like enough time. it wasn’t until I actually ran for office that I realized what I really needed:
- I wanted to be a part of a community of other black women who had made the decision to run (not spending time trying to convince women to run – although this is important work too)
- It was one thing to learn a ton during the trainings but what about when I went home? Who would help hold me accountable or call me out on my shit when I was playing small?
- And most importantly, when I was having a meltdown (or a rough day after canvassing or call time) who could I text in the middle of the night who would get it?
It became clear that a 3 day retreat just wasn’t gonna cut it.
I’ve spent years dreaming about (and months designing) the program that I needed when I was running for office:
- I wanted to create something impactful yet long enough for women to get real and life changing results
- I wanted to focus on the outer and the inner work (which is where so many women get stuck)
- And I imagined having “Waiting to Exhale” moments with other black women as we poured into each other over wine on the beach (BTW, I’m totally listening to the soundtrack right now and just rented it on iTunes so I can re-watch it tonight!)
I finally realized that I didn’t have to choose between all of those experiences and what would make this experience different was that it combined ALL the things I loved and wanted to see in the world.
I wanted you to be one of the first people to hear about my new program “Passport to Politics”, a 6 month intensive mastermind that combines training, coaching, mentorship, accountability and peer support with sisterhood and self-care. Launching this July, the inaugural cohort will include just 10 women and we’ll spend an amazing 3 days together during a retreat in Aruba (one of my favorite places on the planet!).
My team and I are hard at work finalizing the details now but if you’re interested (or know someone who might be) sign up here to be the first to know when Passport to Politics launches. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to be bringing this dream to fruition and to be combing my biggest passions.
P.S. If there’s anything you learn from watching my journey I hope it’s this: you don’t have to choose between the things you love. Now that I have the language for what it means to be “multi-passionate” I’ve been able to combine my love of politics, travel, reading, writing, building community (and so much more) into a thriving business that allows me to serve others. It’s time for you to give yourself permission to do the same.