Getting out of my comfort zone hasn’t always been easy. One of my goals since moving to Austin has been to get involved with the community and meet like-minded people. So, when I saw an event on Facebook from a group called BossBabes ATX, it caught my attention.
Women supporting women in a fun, laidback atmosphere sounded like the perfect way to get to know the Austin community and put myself out there in my new hometown. BossBabes ATX is a community-driven organization that brings together women-identifying and non-binary creatives, entrepreneurs, and organizers who are looking to promote their projects and aspirations while supporting each other and making new friends. Sounds amazing. Sign me up!
I decided to go for it and bought my ticket for the February community meet-up, which was the first one of the new year. I paid eight dollars and change for my ticket to attend the event at the Historic Scoot Inn. Networking events have never been my thing, mostly because I don’t like the awkwardness of going alone and walking up to strangers to strike up conversation, but the BBATX team makes it really approachable and welcoming. One of their main tips for the event is to “embrace the awkwardness” and put yourself out there just like everyone else. So far, I really liked how welcoming and encouraging everything seemed.
The night of the event was freezing cold and wet in Austin, so I wasn’t sure how the attendance would be. I showed up at the venue and made my way into the bar area where everyone was hanging out and trying to stay warm. I got in line at the bar figuring it was a good way to kill some time and have a look around at everyone without standing alone in a corner. It ended up working out great because that was when I made my first connection. I met a local artist, Kristin Moore, who creates beautiful oil paintings inspired by ever-changing cityscapes. From that point on, we buddied up and set off to explore and meet people together.
Here’s a list of activities and memorable moments from the night:
- Attendees have the opportunity to sign up for “announcements” which are basically one minute promos for anyone who wants to share and talk about projects, events, goals, asks, and anything you want to let the group know about. The announcements were ASL-interpreted by Monica Garcia who has been interpreting for BossBabes since they first started out.
- There was an ice-breaker game – Babe Bingo – where attendees were given a bingo card with random personal facts like “find someone who is born and raised in Austin” or “someone who prefers tea over coffee” to get people meeting and connecting. They gave out t-shirts to the first few people who filled out their cards.
- The event is held at different locations, and this time it was at the Historic Scoot Inn in East Austin. The venue was really cool and had indoor and outdoor space. It was extremely cold that night and the ground was muddy from the rain, but the turnout was still great. It was nice to see everyone braving the frigid weather and supporting the ladies who came out to give their announcements. Luckily, there were heat lamps which turned out to be a great way to meet people while standing around trying to warm up!
- There were local vendors set up outside showcasing their products and businesses. These women-owned businesses were out there freezing their butts off in support of the BBATX group, and working hard at promoting their businesses. Here’s a rough list of some of the vendors: Shavanthe (colorful clothing and accessories inspired by the founder’s Tanzanian roots); Rejuvenate Bath & Body (natural bath and beauty products); Luv Fats Ice Cream (vegan ice cream made from avocados); The Audacity (a local publication by artists, activists and storytellers).
- They had a local DJ playing inside the venue. Her name was DJ Lolo and she played some fun music from what I can remember. It was upbeat and sounded good the little bit that I did get to hear. She has been DJing since 2010 and plays local and national shows. She has opened for Mark Farina and some other known artists.
- The founder of BossBabes ATX, Jane Claire Hervey, was the MC for the night and she was really fun to watch in action. She had high energy, good personality, sense of humor, and you could tell she is very passionate about what she does. It was nice to see her interact with the crowd and everyone who made announcements.
- The final highlight of the evening was none other than local activist, community organizer and dental hygienist extraordinaire, Kym Whitehead. If you don’t know who Kym is, you have got to look her up. She is a force to be reckoned with, and let me tell you, this woman does it all. Each person who stood up to give an announcement had one minute on the clock to share something with the crowd. When Kym got on stage, she immediately captivated the audience with her one-of-a-kind personality and humor. Everyone was laughing and cheering her on as she listed out the 5 different projects she’s currently working on. It was inspiring to see someone so dedicated to the causes they care about while having fun at the same time. Check out the hashtag #BeLikeKym on IG or take a look at photographer Tess Cagle’s Facebook page to see her recent post about Kym and all the amazing work she’s doing!
I went to this event with an open mind not knowing what to expect. I was hoping to meet some people and get to know women my age who are working on their hobbies and careers. I ended up connecting with four ladies and exchanging business cards with a handful of people throughout the evening. Overall, it was well worth going and I can’t wait to see what it’s like at one of the upcoming events when the weather is warmer. I have a feeling even more Austinites will show up when it’s back to the usual 70+ degree weather. Check out upcoming BossBabes ATX events like the highly anticipated CraftHER Market Spring ’18 on April 15 at Fair Market. Hopefully I’ll see you at one of the #BBATX events this year!