The Tribe of Badassery

Perhaps you’ve noticed the world is falling apart.

No, I mean really. Shit. Is. Bad. We’re talking steaming heap of hottest year on record – white supremacist revival – disdain for the rule of law – misogynistapalooza, with a cold slimy side of inept egomaniacal blowhard with his gauche little fingers on the button kind of bad.

And perhaps you’re feeling the weight of it.

The call to resist. The urgency to act. The certainty that if you do not read just one more article, that if you miss one tweet or meme or post, fail to sign that petition or send that postcard, you will not have done your part.

Who could survive under such weight? No one. And that’s the point.

So while we’re resisting, here’s how we win: we thrive.

That idea you’ve been kicking around? Say it out loud to somebody else. Right now. Bring it to life.

That passion project you’ve been dabbling with? The one you’ve been tending to on the margins because it makes you happy? Make it your thing. Own it. Do it. Put it front and center.

The little enterprise you’ve been running? The one that deep down you know could be so much more? Make it so. Take that shit up a quantum notch.

Now is the time to surround yourself with creators. With believers and doers. With the get up – dress up – show up, pavement pounding, ass kicking name takers.

The tribe of badassery is growing stronger every day, and it’s calling your name. You won’t regret answering.

How do I know? I found my tribe, buzzing and electric, early on a cold Friday morning. What I hoped would be more than me sitting alone in the dark eating donuts and scribbling on my white board became the 250-member strong F Bomb Breakfast Club. This merry band of cussing collaborators has compelled me not just to endure the world as we currently know it, but to joyfully and obsessively reimagine it.

The business plan I once thought was too grand? The one I’ve barely mentioned, and apologized for or minimized when I did? It. Is. On. And in the immortal words of Eminem, “Success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not.” I am all in, thanks to my tribe.

So, have you found yours?

5 Women to Watch

Looking for inspiration? Need a little somethin’ somethin’ to nudge you in the direction of your dreams? Check out these local purpose-driven entrepreneur lady bosses putting their passion into action.

Ariel Bangs, the badass, community-building, love-spreading chef behind Healthy Creations. Chef Ariel takes all of the pretenses out of healthy eating and dishes up fun, flavorful, life changing food empowerment and donuts. Really good donuts.

Chef Ariel Pic
Watch her this year: Open Flavorgasms Donut Shop and expand her youth culinary anthropology program, Taste International, to five schools while working to create healthy food connections between local farmers, local entrepreneurs and underserved communities through community partnerships.

Kristina Larry, doyenne of the courtroom, the Sassy Litigator, the Pre-nup Princess, the multi-talented, game changing attorney turning traditional law practice on its head to connect with every day clients as the unique humans that they are. A la carte services. Affordable rates. Free classes to empower clients. All with panache. Kristina is not your grandfather’s lawyer.

Kristina Larry pic
Watch her this year: “Because I’m going to take no prisoners.”

Michele Gomes and Jenny Ting, the dynamic duo of filmmakers behind InterChange Media. Creative and conscientious, their art house produces videos, commercials, PSAs, and documentaries that educate and inspire people to action.

Ting and Gomes pic
Watch them this year: Release a feature-length documentary about the ongoing collaborative partnerships between New Englanders, Southerners and Mexicans who are working together to prevent the extinction of an ancient sea turtle species.

Tara Morgan Mulvenon, the adaptive rowing and fitness coach behind Seize The Oar, which cultivates and celebrates the athlete within people of all abilities. Tara is a firecracker inside a sparkler, a visionary of boundless energy who will make you believe anything is possible, on or off the water.

Tara Morgan Mulvenon pic
Watch her this year: Turn a part-time passion into a full-time thriving business of inclusive fitness and wellness.

Now it’s your turn. What passion will you put into action this year?







A Presumption of Incompetence

Ever walk into a firing squad of questions meant to disabuse you of the notion you’re worthy of where you are standing? Been on the receiving end of an eye roll, shade, wink, or head pat telling you it’s cute you want to sit at the grown ups’ table?

I am not the first, nor the best, person to write about this. Check out Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia.

But I’ve been hearing about it a lot in my discussions with female founders.

The sheer exhaustion women of color feel every time someone is surprised by their success. The wasted energy women expend just to arrive at the same starting place in a conversation as a similarly situated male. The indignity of being made to answer questions said male was not asked, and never would be.

It appears the presumption of incompetence is pervasive across industries and across stages of organizational life cycle. From pitching your idea to planning your exit, the male dominated business world is certain you don’t really know what you’re doing.

Here are a few ways you say you’ve responded:

I just bit my tongue and told them what they wanted to hear.

I took a giant swig of bourbon.

I left the room and burst into tears.

I got in the elevator and burst into tears.

I waited until I got home, then burst into tears.

I told them to fuck off. I didn’t get [the deal].

I mean, these are all perfectly human responses. But lord do they take a toll. What if we did these three things instead, whenever possible?

Presume competence in each other. While women are most often the ones presumed incompetent, men aren’t the only ones doing the presuming. Our own internal bias is often at play, triggering responses we need to check. So, let’s check that, every time.

Shut it down when we see it, especially when we’re in a position of power. When another woman enters our professional space and we recognize the all too familiar doubt about her abilities, speak up. “Obviously Ana is an expert on this matter, so how about we take the condescension down a notch and let her present her findings.”

Name it when we feel it, when we can afford to walk away. We can’t always, of course, but when we can, there’s great power in naming it right there on the spot. “The nature and tone of your questions seem to be driving at a presumed incompetence, and I’d like to understand where that’s coming from. If you have reason to doubt me, let’s pause here address it.”

What strategies have you deployed? What super powers have helped you hurtle over this particular [time wasting, soul sucking, ridiculous, I can’t believe it is 2017 and we have to talk about this] barrier?

Introducing The F Bomb Breakfast Club

All the best words start with “F”. Fabulous. Ferocious. Female. Best day of the week? Friday.

If you’re launching or considering a new venture, there may be some other “F” words frequenting your vocabulary. Like… finally! Funded. For real? Or my personal favorite: Fuckety fuck fuck fuck.

Me? I just founded a little law firm, and on the side, a fledgling little idea for an app. I’m dropping “F” bombs left and right.

During Seattle Startup Week, I’ve been taking comfort in surrounding myself with fellow and future female founders. And I hope to make it a habit. So I’ve set my intention for my first 2017 resolution and you’re invited.

Introducing the F Bomb Breakfast Club:

7am on the First Friday of every month
Level Offices 600 First Avenue, Pioneer Square


A monthly gathering of female founders and friends in various stages of start-up to bitch, brag, cavort, and collaborate. Peer support and sounding board. Knowledge or expertise to share? Bring it. Questions or problems you need help solving? Let’s do that, too.

I’ll provide the space, coffee, and donuts. You just have to get up early.

PS – Kids, babies, dogs, totally ok.

***UPDATE: Find us on Facebook now at