Feminist

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EPISODE 14
Creating Welcoming Spaces with Sesh Coworking

Sesh Coworking provides women and genderqueer people with a workspace that nurtures personal and professional growth, supports their natural lifestyle and working habits, and fosters community through collaboration, learning, and advocacy. It was founded in 2020 by Meredith Wheeler and Maggie Segrich.

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Discussed this episode:

  • How the founders of Sesh Coworking define feminism
  • Why inclusivity is a critical component of Sesh’s ethos
  • The barriers people with marginalized identities face in community spaces
  • Bring your children to your coworking space?
  • Actions, not words, matter most in creating safety
  • Practical tips for protecting community safety
  • Managing threats to community safety
  • The responsibility of allyship as white women
  • Creating opportunities for collective learning
  • The benefits of running a business with a partner
  • The challenges of business partnership
  • Tricky funding issues of a coworking space
  • Having your business concept stolen by a man
  • Surviving COVID and trusting intuition
  • Self-care as founders and community leaders
  • Navigating anti-trans laws that may directly affect Sesh

Resources mentioned:

Learn more about accountability coaching with host Becky Mollenkamp at https://beckymollenkamp.com

Becky Mollenkamp:

Hello, thank you for being here.

 

Maggie Segrich:

Hi, thank you for having us. We’re excited.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Good. Let’s start out by having each of you tell me about your individual relationship with the word feminist.

 

Meredith Wheeler:

I think the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word feminist is power. It’s the power we deserve, the power, like our right to power. I think, you know, feminist is this radical idea that women are humans too. I actually have a t-shirt. from my grandmother, it’s this little white t-shirt and it says those words in red, and it’s all holey and beat up. She wore it so much. And when she passed away and my parents were cleaning out her house and her closet, they found that. And they said of all the grandchildren, this is going to Meredith, and it’s hanging in my closet. So that’s my very nostalgic tie to the word, but also what it makes me feel. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

For me, I think feminist means knowledge. I feel like as I got older, I grew into becoming a feminist. Having grown up in the Midwest, it was always kind of painted as an ugly portrait of an angry woman. And I was like, oh, that’s not me. And then, you know, in college, post-college, becoming an entrepreneur, I kind of learned along the way what it is to be a feminist and how it kind of changes as you change, right? As you grow older or more…

 

Meredith Wheeler: 

Mature

 

Maggie Segrich:

Mature, and have wisdom. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

You know, the other thing that I’d like to add, and I know this is something that Maggie and I have talked so much about, and something we try to bring into Sesh is how intersectional feminism truly is. And I think, like you said, Mags, when I was younger, I thought it was just about women. But we realize now that the idea of feminism goes so much further beyond women, and it really affects us all.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Alright, so let’s talk about work spaces because you have founded Sesh as a place that’s really meant to be very inclusive, and a lot of the words that you’ve used are about safety and creating spaces that feel safety for all sorts of folks. And that brings up the questions immediately for me about what made you think of that? Like what are your experiences perhaps personally or that you have talked with others about? around workspaces, whether it’s shared workspaces like a co-working space, or in a traditional work environment, but that have not felt safe and inclusive.

 

Meredith Wheeler:

So when we initially developed Sesh, we came at it from our perspectives and our experiences as women, as white women. And we felt very empowered at first in that. But after we opened the doors to our first location in February of 2020, epic timing, I think we all remember 2020 for the pandemic and then also the push of we’re all reckoning with something that Black Americans are dealing with everyday, and people of color in America are dealing with everyday. And that I speak of, you know, George Floyd’s murder but also the murder of countless other Black Americans at the hands of police, and on. And, you know, I think Maggie and I kind of sat down once we got back in the space in June, we decided to reopen because she and I needed it for our mental health. And we looked at ourselves and we could say, are we unintentionally creating exclusivity to our space and to what we wanna offer by not broadening our outreach, and not broadening who our space is meant to be for. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Because initially the idea was, you know, female focused, because we wanted to provide women specifically a space where they could show up as themselves, feel seen, feel heard, and be inspired to be in an environment around other women who are appreciative of the same thing. So I think to your point, like we realized in that, that’s not just something women need, it’s something every human needs and deserves. And so that was kind of our pivot, right?

 

Meredith Wheeler:

It was a bit of a reckoning too, and saying like, okay, we want to be there for Houstonians, for all Houstonians. And we want to, number one, acknowledge all the individual experiences that each individual has, which is so unique and so nuanced. And we want them to come into this space and know that we see you, we hear you, we respect you, and you’re safe here. You’re safe here to do your job and be the best human that you want to be.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

What are some of the barriers that people experience that keeps them from that sort of feeling that you guys have heard, either again either that you’ve experienced and obviously that’s through your lens as white women, and then also that you’ve heard now from your clientele. What are the barriers that they’ve experienced in workspaces, in shared workspaces, that have kept them from feeling seen, valued, heard, safe?

 

Maggie Segrich:

I have two off of the top of my head that I would like to share. I think the one is a theme that we hear over and over again. It’s not from one particular client. It’s that when they do walk into other spaces, whether it be a community space, a workspace, a corporate environment, that there’s no one there that looks like them. And then I think that creates a barrier, right? Well, if there’s no one here that’s like me, then do I belong here? And then it becomes, well, maybe I should just not be here, you know? And then I think the second one that I know really, it made me emotional, but also like proud was last year during Pride, our community manager, Dane, made a post on LinkedIn and shared how he felt proud, because it was Pride month, to be able to work in a place that allows him to show up as his whole self. Dane is trans, and the trans community specifically while at home and in their private lives, they can show up as 100% themselves, and talk about their relationships and talk about their healthcare and the things that they’re going through. They cannot do that in a lot of work environments. And for Dane, having his whole life, the work life and the home life, to be able to show up as Dane, he just felt really grateful and appreciative. And it was until he shared that, and I read it on LinkedIn, I hadn’t ever thought about that. And now it’s become even more apparent now as the last year has gone on, that more workplaces, and just spaces in general, need to be open and accepting to the differences. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

I think it’s really about too, being able to show up as a whole person. You know, so this is one small thing that I felt. And then I’ll give an example of how that relates to other people’s experience as well. So as a working mother, there’s always a little bit of feeling how much do I acknowledge motherhood when I’m in the workplace? How much do I talk about my children and the responsibilities I have? When can I step away because I have to run one of my kids to a doctor’s appointment? So there’s that feeling that you have to hide this super big important wonderful part of yourself at work. And an example that one of our members, this came from Tammy Wallace, she’s the CEO, founder, and president of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, whom we are members of, we work very, very closely with them. They actually office here at Sesh with us. She was once speaking about Sesh and said, that in the workplace, in other workplaces, oftentimes there’s that, as a gay person, you have that struggle of, okay, how do I introduce my wife or my husband? Should I say partner? Can I say husband or wife? Is that gonna make the other person feel uncomfortable? Is that gonna be something that’s going to become something bigger than what it is? And she said at Sesh, you just say wife. You just say husband. Because there’s this trust that whoever you’re talking to, like, great, it’s cool. I’m so excited to meet her. I’m so excited to meet him. And I just, nobody should have to walk through life hiding such big, wonderful parts of themselves, hiding the people that they love the most. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

The things that bring them joy. 

 

Meredith Wheeler: 

Yeah, you should be able to show up as a whole person. Another example of this, and you can edit this all out if I’m talking way too long. But we had, at one of our events we had last month, we were speaking, I don’t even remember what the conversation was about. Leaders who lunch? 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Challenges that people face in their community. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Mmm, challenges that people face in their community. And it was a pretty, we keep our events intimate so that we can have great conversations, but it was a still sizable group. It was probably like 25, 26 people. And at one of the tables, someone stood up and shared and started crying about how something that her community was facing, and she is a Black woman, felt triggered when it was being asked because, again of another, sadly, a recent murder of a Black woman in Florida. And she felt safe enough to let those emotions flow. And she stood up actually to share how open and loving and supportive her tablemates were being in that moment, and how grateful she was for that. The whole world, the whole world should feel like that for everybody. And until it does, Sesh will keep fighting.

 

Maggie Segrich:

Floating along.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

You talked about trust and I think safety, and those things go hand in hand, and I want to talk a little bit about the ways that you’re fostering that beyond just the amenities or things that you’re offering. But first, you also mentioned about being a mother and I know that you have like, children are allowed inside of this co-working space and there’s an area. I know obviously you also have people working so you have to think about noise but you are, you know, children can be there. There are toys and books and things and snacks for the kids, the kids need to be in a certain area and supervised, but they’re in, and that is not a common experience for a lot of moms when they’re working, unless they’re at home. Tell me a little bit about that decision, how that goes over inside of the community.

 

Maggie:

I don’t know about Meredith, but for me, when I was a jewelry designer and I lived in New York, my studio was in my home. So my daughter was just always there and clients would come in and she would be there. And then when we kind of started talking about a brick-and-mortar location, it was for us because our kids are actually the same age, it was kind of like, well, yeah, they’re going to be there all the time and they’re going to be playing and being friends. And so, of course, we’re just going to have stuff there. And then the pandemic happened. And then the lines for parents all over the world just got really blurry and messy because all of a sudden now, not only are you working from home, you’re schooling from home and there’s just it was messy, right. And so I think for us, and for our community, having that space to just show up and be like, yep, sometimes life is messy and you don’t have any childcare so your kid just has to come with you. I think they appreciate it. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

I think at the end of the day, Sesh was not gonna become Sesh if our kids weren’t in tow because it wasn’t always possible. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

My daughter is here right now. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Oh, she is? Where is she? 

 

Maggie Segrich:

She’s just watering plants. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Oh, I didn’t know she was here. Yeah, it wouldn’t have happened if our kids couldn’t have been in tow. When we first started Sesh in 2017, my second child was still a baby. She like, I’m sorry, I’m going to have to bring her sometimes when we go look at spaces. And, you know, the rest of the world can just accept that. I mean, for better or for worse. But what we also find is that a lot of our members really like the fact that Sesh is theirs. And so, yeah, you can bring your children when you need to, absolutely. But most of our members are like, I’m gonna try really hard not to have to do that because this is a little piece just for me. And we appreciate that too.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I also heard in your hiring, it sounds that you’re really thinking through in hiring about making sure that the folks that are working at Sesh are people that will help others feel seen and welcomed and that they’re not alone. What are the other ways beyond bringing the kids to work, maybe in hiring, what other things are you doing to try and combat some of those challenges that we’ve talked about around inclusivity in workspaces?

 

Maggie Segrich:

We’re in Texas, right? The things going on in Texas are crazy right now. So one of the ways is that we share knowledge about what state legislators are doing. So what bills that they’re submitting, what they’re voting on. And then once these bills are passed, what does that mean for our community? How does that impact them as individuals? And how does that impact them as business owners? We do things like we show up at the Capitol with groups to speak to these legislatures. We call them. We write letters. We show up at like there’s a mayoral race right now going on in Houston, which is a big deal. And we show up at the forums when they’re talking about our community. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

So Maggie mentioned showing up. I think it’s really, really important and something that we philosophically believe in. If you’re going to say you support a community, you better show up where that community shows up

 

Maggie Segrich:

We don’t, like we can’t say, oh yeah, we support them, but come to our space. Yeah, yeah, you got to come here. No, no, no. That’s not how that works. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

We are active in a lot of nonprofit events. We show up to other people’s events all the time, whether that’s myself and Maggie or our team, or even sometimes doing a little bit more if there’s opportunity to set up a table or something. But you gotta show up, you gotta show up. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

You have to put the work in. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Yeah, you can’t just expect to talk big and then just have people be like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it’s the action that counts. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

For example, there was a business here in Houston recently that changed their logo to a rainbow logo. And I went through all of their social media platforms and outside of changing their logo, I didn’t see anything that represented them doing the work or making an effort to help the community that they’re saying, you know, they’re helping by rainbow-washing their logo. So I made a comment, and I was like, we would love to partner with you on an event for Pride. Like just hit us up and we will collaborate and we will do this. And there was no reply.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

How do you work together and within this community to preserve that inclusive feeling? Because it’s one thing to do, you know, to offer the child having space for children and to hire to have it feel representative and to go out into the community. All these wonderful things you’re doing. And it can be very easy for a community to have one bad experience or, you know, one thing that threatens the safety to sort of destroy a lot of what you’ve worked on in that culture that you’ve been creating. So what are the things that you’re doing? Are there shared agreements, you know, visible values? Like what are the things that you’re doing to preserve that safety that you’re working so hard to create?

 

Meredith Wheeler:

So I think one thing we do is we really focus on treating each of our members as an individual. No assumptions, no, of course, no stereotypes, but just treating that, making that rapport with that individual, building that individual relationship. Our community manager, Dane, and our marketing manager, Brittany, they’re really good at interacting with all of our members. And Maggie and I do as well. There are some members that we’ve known for four or five, probably five years. So that’s step one, seeing the individual, recognizing the individual. We also have a list of community rules. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

We call them house rules. 

Meredith Wheeler:

Because some people come into the space and they’re like, oh, I’ve never been in a co-working space. Can you tell me what I’m allowed to do and what I’m not allowed to do? Because I really want to be a good member. That’s usually where a lot of new folks will come in and we’re like, here, start with the community rules. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

And the community rules, they’re simple sometimes, and sometimes they’re very blatant. One of them is that we don’t tolerate any form of harassment. So whether that’s verbal, in person, or via social media. And we make sure that If that does occur, we speak to those individuals and let them know, not okay. Other ways that we protect the community is that we actually use technology to do that. So we have a very high-tech lock system on our space and in a lot of our spaces that can only read, it reads your phone, but like we have to grant you access. And so you can’t get in or out unless you have it on your phone. We make everybody sign in and we, you know, have pictures of everyone and people are like, ‘but why do you need my picture? I’m just here for a meeting.’ That’s like, well, because one time we had a gas leak and we had to evacuate the building. And yeah, we had people’s names, but we were like, oh my gosh, that’s a day-pass person. We don’t actually remember what they look like. So, now we need your picture. So we can be like, check, that person left the building. They are safe. You know, and that’s a very simple way of keeping people safe, but it’s an important way, especially when we are very vocal and public about having the LGBT Chamber here and working with nonprofits, specifically supporting Black and brown trans folks. We’re in Texas, y’all. People are loud and proud about everything here. Take it or leave it.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Have you had issues from outside of the community with the fact that you have been so vocal, and have, how have you if so have you how have you dealt with those?

 

Maggie Segrich:

The Chamber’s gotten threats, right? And so that just kind of puts us on alert. And then for a while last year, we were the national campaign headquarters for Beto O’Rourke, who’s running for governor against Greg Abbott. Um, and they had a few people and they were just like, ‘hey, here’s this individual’s picture, if he happens to stumble in or you see him on the cameras, let us know.’ And we were, actually he did walk in, we were like, ‘ah, guys, he’s here.’ They had security on site, so they were able to escort the individual off the property. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

On a different note, we’ve also, our members have experienced issues before, whether with abusive partners, or we’ve had issues with stalkers before. And so in those scenarios, we have, as much as our member was comfortable filling us in, we’ve taken the information on the person, the photos, we’ve shared that internally with our team to keep an eye out for those individuals. And in one case, we even helped our member contact the police and the police came and spoke with her here at the building and took care of that issue for her. We remained vigilant on our end as well, keeping an eye out for that individual. Because we have to take into account that we are serving, as much as I don’t wanna admit we’re all a part of a vulnerable population, at the end of the day we are. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

You know, and I think something that’s also, with our move from our previous location in Montrose to now in Midtown here in Houston, we are in the middle of all of the services that help the unhoused population. So a lot of times we have clients who are like, there’s someone sleeping by the front door. Or yesterday, for example, a woman came in looking for painkillers. And, you know, my work with the Midtown Board has provided us the resources that we can then share with those people as we have experiences with them, right? Because like, we all have to live in this community together, as business owners, as residents, and the unhoused population, right? Because like those services are here for them, and so of course they’re gonna stay in the neighborhood and as close to where those services are because they don’t have transportation.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I hear a lot around allyship, or maybe even accomplice, accomplice-ship. I don’t know what it would be to be an accomplice, but being an ally, being an accomplice, right? How do you view that responsibility, and specifically as white women?

 

Meredith Wheeler:

You have a big responsibility, but I don’t really look at that as Maggie and I being in a unique position. Um, maybe we are, but I kind of just look at it as our human responsibility, right? Like we have a responsibility to our children to teach them what love is and what love looks like so that they can grow up and experience that for themselves. We have a responsibility to anyone who has a different experience from our own to listen and let them know that our ears are open whenever you need to talk. Yeah, I think it’s just human, right? Like just being a good human. I’m sure there’s a lot more to elaborate on that, but at the core, that’s what it feels like to me. I would agree with that.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I’m curious about the work internally that you both might need to do to be able to hold space, right? Because there is a lot that as white women we can’t experience, that we can’t, we’ll never fully understand. And to be, you know, wanting to be that kind of person, that kind of ally who’s able to say, we are creating an inclusive space and we’ve done enough learning and enough work to be able to say we know what that can look like. We also can know where we don’t know, right? And where we need to be called in and where we need to grow. So is that education, that self-growth, has that been part of your journey for this?

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Huge. And I think you hit the nail on the head when you said admitting what you don’t know. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

I think that’s like our biggest advice to people is like know what you don’t know and then either learn it or delegate it. 

 

Meredith Wheeler.

And it does, it takes constant, like we are constantly finding new books, new articles, podcasts.

 

Maggie Segrich:

Newsletters. I mean and I think I think It’s not something that we just do internally. It’s like an internal, and then it flows right into Sesh, and then it goes right out to our community. Like I think it’s just, I don’t know. I always joke that if I wasn’t an entrepreneur, I would probably be a student for life, and I would just be in college or university nonstop getting one degree after another because learning is just ingrained in who I am. And I think learning the experiences of others and being able to hope that I can make a change, I think it’s just an innate part. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

I think it takes a certain amount of openness to be able to listen to someone sharing an experience and not just shut it down. There’s so many folks who do that over small things. Even if you feel like what they’re saying doesn’t make sense to you? Having that openness to say, I’m gonna be open to what they’re talking about. Even if it goes against your values, your beliefs. I’m gonna be open, I’m gonna listen. That’s how, that’s truly how you open up your experiences to other people’s experiences and other people’s perspectives. You gotta listen, you gotta be open. I know I talked about listening earlier, but it’s the only way. Listening and reading, lots of reading. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Fundamental.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Are there ways that you’re doing that with the collective of your community? Like I know you said the stuff that you said, what we learned kind of goes in and then is out back into Sesh. Are you doing collective learning opportunities, discussions? I heard you mentioned in a discussion earlier that sounded like it might’ve tapped into some of these bigger issues. How are you guys doing that as a collective?

 

Meredith Wheeler:

We facilitate a lot of conversations and hold space for those conversations to happen through a lot of our events. The one I mentioned before is called Leaders Who Lunch. And on top of that, we make a point to invite our allies into those conversations because otherwise you’re just preaching to the choir. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Yeah, I think a great example of an event we had several years ago, it was called Female Founders Roundtable. And we invited female speakers from kind of different corporate backgrounds to talk about their experiences in the corporate environment. And then our audience, we asked specifically male allies to come and sit and listen. Because if we are in the same room with the same people all the time talking about our problems they’re not gonna leave the room. And we need to share those problems and talk about them with the other people. The men need to hear it because if they don’t hear it they’re not gonna know what we’re experiencing, and then they’re not gonna be able to be at the table with you one day I’d be like, hey wait, ‘you interrupted her, can you say that again?’ And so that’s, I think, why holding the space and sharing the stories and inviting the right people to be in the room makes a difference. And I think that that’s something we’re very intentional about in our events and sharing space.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Well, now I have to know how did that go with those men? I’m assuming they were asked to just sit silently listening, which obviously can be a challenge in the power structures that exist. So how did that go?

 

Maggie Segrich:

Yeah, so we asked them to listen, but then at the end, there was opportunity to ask questions because they don’t have to be silent, right, to understand. And they did ask questions. And it’s funny, the people, the men who did show up to that event are still some of our strongest allies and cheerleaders in the Houston community.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I love that time to have another one of those since it’s been a while, that sounds amazing. All right, let’s talk about your business. I wanted to start with sort of front loading this with all of the things that you’re doing that I think can inspire the people who are listening to this, who are running businesses to start thinking about space, about the work environment that they’re creating. Talked a lot about other issues around finance and the way you’re viewing your money and the way you view visibility, but I think it’s really important to think about, as a leader in a business, even if you only have a team of one or two, or if you have a large team, but what’s the environment you’re creating, that culture you’re creating? So I really wanted to start there, but now I really wanna hear a little more about Sesh as a business on the back end of it, sort of your experiences with running a business as two women. And I know that actually, Meredith, you started this journey kind of on your own and then brought Maggie in, or Maggie asked to be brought in as a partner with you. What appealed to you? First, I wanna hear from Meredith since you were starting this. What appealed to you about bringing someone on? And then Maggie, what do you love about working in partnership?

 

Meredith Wheeler:

I guess I should start by saying that you don’t bring Maggie on. No one brings Maggie anywhere. Maggie shows up. So I knew that, Maggie mentioned earlier, you know, knowing what you don’t know. I knew that as I was, I knew I had this vision and I had this drive and this ambition, but I was starting to see all, see all the blind spots, kind of. Recognize the blind spots. And I knew, just in my gut, that I did not want to do this alone. And so when Maggie and I went to lunch that one day where she was like, hey, I wanna help you, I wanna be your business partner. It was like the clouds opened up, the angels sang. And I told her, I was like, ‘oh my God, I literally was running late to this meeting because I spent 45 minutes crying on my couch before coming because I was so stressed and so overwhelmed and so unsure if I was making the right decisions for me and for my family and for Sesh.’ And so when she said that, I just had this feeling like, I gotta do this, this is what I wanted. I wanted someone to walk beside me and do this together and collaboratively. And I mean, if you Google, like, ‘should I bring on a business partner?’ The articles are so harsh. They’re like, no. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

They’re super negative. Yeah. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Very negative. And I was like, this is not, my body isn’t telling me any of that. My body’s telling me, ‘breathe, this is what you’re meant to do, this is how Sesh is meant to grow.’ And so being open to her willingness to come on board was one of the best decisions that I could have ever made, because there’s no way this business would be what it is without the two of us and our personalities and our skill sets. Yeah, so it’s been the best decision that I’ve ever made. We got business married. We did always say that. We got business married.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And what do you like about being in that marriage, Maggie?

 

Maggie Segrich:

I had started several other businesses prior to Sesh, and one of them being a Chamber of Commerce. And it took so much heavy lifting because I was doing it simultaneously while running my jewelry business. And it got to the point when I was doing both of them that I would have to set a timer for when I was working on Chamber of Commerce stuff. So I wouldn’t. use up too much of my time. So I had enough time to like actually work on my paying clients. And it in doing that and feeling like the physical ramifications of how much stress I was under, I realized like, okay, if there is a next thing that I’m going to do, I don’t want to do it by myself. Because it can be really lonely to have those feelings and then to not be able to share those feelings with someone. And it can also just, you burn out so much faster. And I can tell you, I mean, we, at the end of this year, I think we’ll be business partners for five years, which is crazy. It feels like way longer than that. But in the moments where I feel burned out, for whatever reason, she’s not there. She’s not at the burnt-out level. She’s on the higher end of energy, right? And then vice versa, the moments where she’s feeling weighed down. I’m like, we can do it. And so just being able to kind of like be the yin and the yang to each other’s energies and know like, okay, Maggie’s feeling really high right now. Meredith’s not, okay. Well, the tables are gonna turn eventually. And so it’s just it’s nice to share that with someone and run your business.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

When I talk to all the way back on Episode 1, whenever this airs, but Episode 1 with CV Harquail, who’s a feminist economist, and she talked about for something to be feminist, it needs to be transformational, it needs to be intersectional, and it needs to be collective. And what I’m hearing inside that is this collective piece and how important that is. And I love that you mentioned, Meredith, all the articles that are out there and they’re so negative. And ultimately you listened to your body, to your knowing, to your intuition, which again is sort of pulling from that feminine energy, that divine feminine energy, whatever that, however you wanna experience that or talk about that. And that is that difference, isn’t it, between so much of the traditional business advice and what I think it can look like to talk about feminist business, which is about like collective experiences. It’s about intuition. It’s about trusting yourself and your body. And so I love that that’s what guided you. And it sounds like you have no regrets from what I can tell, but are there challenges in working together?

 

Maggie Segrich:

Well, one thing you have to share everything with each other. Like, they’re like full-on transparency, you know? Like, how much money you both make. You gotta share your tax returns. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

What kind of debt you might be under. You got a criminal record? We better talk about this. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Are there things in your past that could come up if you guys blow up, you know? Or like even just very simply sharing your calendars. Sure, if you’re an individual business owner and you wanna go on vacation, you can go on vacation whenever you want because it’s all on you, right? But when you have a business partner and they have a family and it’s gonna impact their childcare situation, and then it’s gonna impact your team, you kinda gotta like talk to one another and figure it out and is this the best time or should I wait? So it’s a lot of communication. 

 

Meredith Wheeler.

A lot of communication, yeah. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Like almost over communication. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

I like our level of communication. I don’t think it’s over. Drew would think it was over. My husband would think it was over. He’s like, you talk to Maggie all the time. Like, yes, we’re attached at the hip, we have to be. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

We probably see each other more than we see our husbands sometimes. That’s why I was saying over communication. Some people would be like, I don’t wanna share that much. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Yeah, yeah, it’s true. I think too, one of the best things about Mags and I is that we are opposites in a lot of ways. Our skill sets and our, some parts of our personalities are opposite of one another. And I think that I was actually thinking about this on the drive up today. I think that’s one of the best things you can do in business because it really rounds, together we round out the business nicely. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not disagreements and there’s not sometimes tension on decision-making. And we both come at it from different perspectives. And I think that’s good because it reminds me of the checks and balances, the idea of checks and balances, you know? Like, I would, being the person who does a lot of the, a lot of the consumer-facing sales side, I would give away the world. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

We always joke that we should have like two GIFs on Instagram or Meredith is like the yes. She’s like, yeah. And Maggie’s like, no, like it’s just our heads. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Maggie being the CFO, you know, she looks at the numbers and she looks at the accounting side that I don’t see. I just see the sales. Like I’ll do what it takes to get the sale. And she’s like, yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re not going to give away our business though. That doesn’t solve anything. But we need that because it just wouldn’t, like I said, it wouldn’t be Sesh without the both of us. So there’s a lot, you know, we gotta talk through things a lot. And you also have to know when it’s time to compromise. And when it’s, I can be a stubborn mule. And I’ve had to learn like, okay, are you putting your foot down because you really believe this is best? Or are you just putting your foot down to put your foot down? Like, just let it go. Let it go. It’s not worth it. 

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

You mentioned finances, so Maggie, our CFO. I want to talk to you too about funding because from what I understand, I believe, and you can tell me if I’m wrong here, but what I think I heard was that you started this with your own capital versus going through some traditional sort of funding routes, either loans or VC funding or whatever else that might look like. So what was involved in that decision? Why did you decide to go that private funding route? And what were the challenges of that? Which I know there were plenty because of COVID.

 

Maggie Segrich:

We really didn’t have a choice, to be honest. Traditional lending from banks, they like you to be in business for three years so they can see your tax returns, see your growth, see your revenue. And when you’re a brand-new business, that doesn’t exist, right? And then the other thing was because coworking is, I’m gonna use air quotes here, a new business, even though it’s technically been around for about 30 years, thanks to Regis and IWG, our NAICS code with the federal government puts us in a real-estate category. So we cannot get funding from the SBA. I have tried, I’ve gone rounds with them on multiple occasions. Even said to, like I’ve gone all the way up the hierarchy in the local SBA here in Houston. And I’ve gone, you know, we’re like a hotel. We rent rooms for a specific amount of time. We’re like a hair salon. We, you know, a salon rents a chair to a stylist. We’re like a gym where people have memberships, like a country club. They give all of those people funding. They will not give coworking funding because they believe us to be real estate. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Commercial real estate. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Yeah, for whatever reason. So we didn’t have that as an option. And then the other thing in terms of like VC funding, again, our epic timing, we started in the shadow of WeWork. And we started looking for spaces just as Adam Neumann was kind of crashing and burning with WeWork in a very, very public manner. So our ability to tell a story that was different when it was in the headlines every day was very difficult. And then to have that same thing happen to The Riveter, which was female-focused, The Wing, which was female-focused, both of which also received extensive, like over $100 million in VC funding, it didn’t become an option for us. So it was our own money that we kind of had to use.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Well, this really speaks even more so than I might have expected, but definitely in ways that I did expect to problems with inclusivity and co-working. Because what I’m hearing inside of all of that ultimately is the people who are getting the money, or the people who are able to start co-working spaces, are the people who have the money, people who have that privilege already or are part of some sort of corporate arm that have that money. We know that typically that means it’s going to often be white people, often mostly be men, white men primarily, and then in your case white women who had that privilege to be able to have that funding, which I’m sure was not easy, but to even be able to have that involves so much privilege. And what what that does to co-working. And so the fact that you are creating an inclusive co-working space feels even more important because my guess is that co-working spaces have historically not been very inclusive for those reasons. So you opened up in February of 2020. What timing that is. And I know right before that, actually, before we get to that, you looked at an initial space. And the story that you told Maggie about that on another podcast that I heard, that you were working with basically a real estate person, a landlord or someone and telling them you’re going to open this coworking space. It was a really big 20,000 square foot space or something. And then basically from what I can tell they kind of stole your idea, they were like, well, we’re going to open a coworking space, you can have a piece of this. And you guys had the audacity to say no. And I love the word audacity. And it’s coming up in multiple of these episodes of people who are, who are audacious enough to think that they get to do something right? Like I can do this thing that historically has been excluded, or to say no in the face of like, where else will we go? What will we do? So tell me a little bit about experience of that having someone do that to you, and then what gave you guys that wherewithal to say no, we’re not going to just accept this little bit and change what we’re doing.

 

Maggie Segrich:

For us, we had spent several months talking to this person, like five or six. And it was basically to the point of like, okay, there needs to be a lease on the table this next meeting. And that person came to the meeting with, ‘well, I’m going to do my own coworking space on the first floor, y’all can have the second and third floor, and I’m gonna bring in these partners from this other coworking space, and they’re gonna do that with me.’ And we were like, ‘screech, uh can we get back to you?’ 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

And that came because I’m, and tell me if I’m misremembering, but that came because we, he wanted us to take the whole building and we were like, you know, we feel a little more confident taking two and three or whatever it was at that time. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Cause we really wanted, um, retail on the first floor. We wanted like a coffee shop or a bar or something on the first floor. And then to have.. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Right, and we were willing to help him. Like we will introduce you to community partners, you know. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

We’ll help you fill the first floor. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Yeah. Um, and that just wasn’t what he wanted. And I guess he wasn’t willing to trust us and trust our judgment on what we knew was right for our business. But man, I’ll never forget the call when we were, that we were on you and me, Mags, when I remember you said at first, you were like, ‘we got to pull the plug, we can’t do this.’ And I remember we both…

 

Maggie Segrich:

Wwe loved the building. It was like, it fit our vision perfectly. Like it was just like, we wouldn’t have had to do any construction. We just had to get furniture. Chef’s kiss, you know? 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

The location was great. There was parking, parking in Houston. I mean like, oh. But I remember feeling so down. I think we spent at least a week just sort of, not stewing in it, but feeling it because it was like, well, what do we do now? We’ve invested 

 

Maggie Segrich:

So much time…

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Six months into this. What do we do now? I think it was you that got me back on the horse because you’re like, let’s go, let’s go look some more. There’s something else out there. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Well, yeah, and I would like to finish the end of that story and say what it lit a fire under me. And it really pissed me off because here was another man stealing our idea and thinking that he could do it better than us. And I was like, uh-uh, bucko, stay in your lane. You’re a real-estate developer, we’re coworking. And so he happened to name drop the people that he was gonna partner with. And lo and behold, that person DM’d me on LinkedIn and we had a meeting with them and we told them what the landlord had told us. And they were like, we never said that. We’re not doing that. And they showed up with us to the next meeting and sat on our side of the table.

 

Becky Mollenkamp (she/her):

That had to feel good.

 

Maggie:

And you know what feels good too? That building still sits empty. So we just, we knew we made the right decision and to your point, we did sit and stew in it and it made us make a decision that, okay, that took too long. We felt a little uncomfortable in the size. So let’s just go for small. Prove our concept. We’ll get like a two- or three-year lease. And we’ll, that’s just like, those are the types of spaces we’re going to start looking at. Like, forget the 20,000 square feet, right? Um, and thank God we did. Because COVID happened.

 

Becky Mollenkamp (she/her):

I was going to say, you ended up in a space that was basically one-tenth of the size, right? About 2,000 versus 20,000 and did that right at the beginning of the pandemic. And I would imagine if you hadn’t, you might not be here today because I can’t imagine the price difference of what you would have been talking about because you then went months with no revenue. Months of having to sit with empty spaces, right? How did you weather those storms from February through June when you were able to reopen and then even the months after that of waiting for people to actually show up and use the space, how did you guys weather that financially and the stress of that?

 

Meredith Wheeler:

So we reopened because we needed it, right? 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Well, we needed it and we basically had two options, right? Stay closed, make no money, bleed out all of our capital that we had, and die. Like, gone. Or reopen. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Give it a shot. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

See what happens. And that’s what we did. And it was month by month. I mean, it was like by the skin, if we can just get three more members, if we can just get to October. I mean, we tried everything. Like everything. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

So if there’s anything you can pick out from our conversations, Maggie and I are not two individuals who like to sit idly by. We don’t like to watch things happen. We like to make things happen, for better or worse. But when we reopened in June, we were like, look, what can we do? Even if we go under,we know we got the space for X amount of months. I think October was our date for a really long time. We were like, if we can make it to October, maybe we’ll survive, but that’s when things run out. And so at that time, that was also when we were really thinking hard about what kind of space we wanted to be. And we really started to focus on, no, we are an inclusive space for everybody. So we opened up our doors to nonprofits. And we said, look, you don’t have to pay us anything. You can come in and use the space. And at that time we were really focusing on nonprofits who were fighting for social justice. And so they did. They came in. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

They used the space. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

And it was glorious just to have people there. I mean, we were all masked up. We were all, you know, furniture spread to the outskirts of the walls, you know, and. giving proper space. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Air purifiers running, hand sanitizer, Lysol, like all the things. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

We did it all. We cleaned. Oh my God. Remember how much we cleaned? We didn’t have money to pay a cleaner. 

 

Maggie SegrichL

Every time someone sat down and used space and then they would get up and leave, we would disinfect everything. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

We were practically following people with Lysol. I can’t believe that they didn’t like- Find us annoying. Yeah. But I think at that time, you know, Maggie talked before about us balancing each other’s burnout. There were two very specific conversations about a month apart that we had. One of them where we each questioned, can we do this? Should we keep doing this? I don’t have the answer. And at that time, thank God, the other one was there to be like, ‘look, I don’t know, I don’t have those answers either, but I feel like I got this much more energy. So what if we just try until this date and reevaluate?’ And that’s what it kept being. It was, okay, three more members are, okay, we just need, we just need a thousand more dollars to break even. Okay, well, what if we tried this? What if we tried that? 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Let’s do a flash sale. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

I mean, like, we tried it. all. We pitched every idea. If someone told us we could have turned our, like if we turned our space into a children’s playground, we would have made money, we would have pivoted our whole business and been like, we’ll figure out what Sesh later. We’re a children’s playground today. I mean, we would have sold hamburgers if we thought that would have like kept us afloat. Like we tried it all and I’m glad we did. because it worked. Something worked.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

You eventually actually outgrew that space. How long did that take? 

 

Maggie Segrich:

We were talking about October. That would have been October of 2020. And then by May of 2021, we were outgrowing our existing space. So we started looking for new spaces. Circled back around to a landlord who had been very open and liked what we were doing. And we had actually looked at this space and considered it so much so to the point that we had like a floor plan kind of drawn out, just a messy sketch, right? And it was still empty. So we struck a deal with him and come December of 2021, we closed down our previous location and spent the entire holiday season, like the last two weeks of December, basically moving and doing construction in the new location. We both got COVID and then we reopened in January. So we’ve been in this space since January of 2022. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

And the way we designed this space set it up, we did it so that this would act as our headquarters now. It was set up for growth.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Is there any part of you in March of 2020 when you were sitting in your empty offices thinking, we don’t know if we can even do this? Like, is there any part of you that could have imagined where you are now in a place that would get you back to that 20,000 square foot sort of space, right? Like that you had originally thought about being in. So you’re at 10 times the space you were in a few years ago. Is there any part of you that thought that this could happen? I mean, and maybe the answer is yes. Maybe you guys were able to hold that belief.

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Looking back, my immediate answer is no, I would have never thought I was here. But that’s not true because if there wasn’t some part of me that kept visualizing it and dreaming it, if there wasn’t that belief, there’s no way we would have gotten here because without belief, you’ve got nothing. You’ve got no path. You’ve got no drive. And so yeah, I think there is this part of me in March of 2020 that sat there that was like, I know we can do this. I know we can, even if the voice was super, super tiny and small. It was there. Yeah. I mean, I was on a mission.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Again, I feel like I hear that intuition piece. And I just think it’s so important, because for me, that is ultimately what I want this show to be about. At the core of it is, most of the business advice that you hear out there is so rooted in all of this traditional, patriarchal, capitalist, racist ideology. And it can feel very lonely in those moments. In those moments when you are alone in this space and you don’t have customers and you think, what am I doing? Or trying to create this inclusive space in a world around you that’s telling you that that’s horrible or whatever the thing is that you’re trying to do differently. It is so easy to say, they’re right. They know better than I know. And I hear again and again from you, especially Meredith, I think you’re very in touch with that intuitive piece, but both of you. I hear this like, ‘no, we know what’s right for ourselves.’ 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

There’s definitely a balance. You know, I don’t, I don’t think Maggie can use intuition when she’s balancing the numbers at the end of the month. But you know, you have to, you got to listen to yourself.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Yeah, I don’t know if intuitive bookkeeping is maybe the best approach, but I want to ask about self-care because also throughout this journey, there’s been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of challenges. We’re going to talk in a minute about some of the laws that are happening in Texas, and how that’s potentially affecting you. And just all of these things that you’ve been through can really weigh heavily on you and maybe also on your community, as a whole. How do you approach self care as founders? And then if it’s applicable, how are you approaching that with your community?

 

Maggie Segrich:

I think the one thing I learned when I was a solopreneur was I have to take care of myself otherwise the machine doesn’t keep going, you know? So I learned, I think pre-Sesh, okay, Maggie needs her workouts, Maggie needs a full night’s sleep. I need time away. I need time with my family. And so, I feel like coming with that and having that ingrained in me because I hit a wall and it had physical ramifications. And I think I shared that with Meredith. I think along the way you’ve learned that and picked up on it. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Yeah, you really threw me for a loop when she was sitting there. I was like, what are you working on? She’s like, I’m writing my workouts out for the next six weeks. I was like, my God. I’m not that organized. She got me organized. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

But I think in doing that, it’s part of that like acknowledging that people are multifaceted, right, and whole humans. And that like, okay, well, if there’s things that we’re doing that are stressing us out, well, then that’s gonna apply to not just our community members, but also our team members, right? And the people who are on our team, and if they’re going through something, we want to make sure that they have the same open communication that she and I have, that they have that with us so they can come to us and be like, you know what, I have got something going on at home and I just need to take the afternoon off because my head’s not here and my heart’s not here. And so acknowledging that is half the battle, I think. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

And for me with self-care, I came to, after a long journey of waffling back and forth, realizing last year that I really needed to stop drinking alcohol. For me, I relied on it so much to cope with stress. And once I stopped, I’ve been able to find my own boundaries again and find my own routine. So I also rely on workouts. Maggie and I take walks almost every afternoon, despite it being 102 outside, we don’t care because normalize sweating. It’s Houston. We do that. And then also I rely a lot on meditation. But for me, the biggest thing is listening to the balance that I need. I don’t have an exact ratio of I need this much Sesh, this much challenge, and this much family time, and this many hugs. I don’t know what that number is. I just know what I feel like when I go one way or the other. And I think following that, following that, and making sure that I am getting enough hugs from my kids because that does actually help. But then it also helps when I can be like, okay, go away now, go play. I wanna do grown-up things. Oh, I’ve also started painting recently, which has been really fun. It’s good to lean into the creative side.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Well, speaking of stressors, and I don’t want to end on such a stressful note, but the reason that we had scheduled this interview later in my process was because we were waiting to hear about some changes that are coming in Texas that may affect you. And tell me if I’m wrong, but I think I found it was at the end of May that the Texas legislature gave the approval to a bill that will criminalize performers that put on sexually explicit shows in front of children and then any businesses that host them. They’ve taken out specifically the words ‘drag,’ but ultimately the way the law is written, it still is very clearly targeting drag performances. And I believe this is something that can affect you all because from what I understand from what Maggie had told me, you guys have hosted or want to host drag performances. And obviously, as you said, children can be there because they’re with their parents as they’re working. So what has all this meant for you and where are you guys at this point? How are you showing up around this new law and dealing with your commitment around inclusivity in the most diverse city in the country, inside of a state that doesn’t really, um, doesn’t align with your value system.

 

Maggie Segrich:

It’s a lot of talking to people within the community, um, trying to be organized with our voices, you know. Speaking in unison, um, together with other organizations, whether that be, you know, the LGBT Chamber or the LGBT Caucus, or whomever. Um, but I also think it means walking a fine line, you know? I think for us, where we get concerned is we have hosted variety shows before, and it’s specifically trans folks reading poetry, singing, playing an instrument, and the law is just, just vague enough that, should the right person want to make a big deal out of it, our business could be labeled sexually explicit. And while that is a private event held in an event space, and is generally not held during our normal business operating hours, to your point, we are kid-friendly and children are still in the space periodically, right? It’s not that children are there attending those events, but it’s that the two things are happening in the same space. So I think we just have to take one day at a time, one event at a time and see where it goes. I know recently, I believe Tennessee’s law was overturned. So there is hope, right? That set a precedent. But to your point, we are in Texas and a lot of the legislation is on the other side, right? And so how do we work with them, or make them understand, like, you’re blanketing something that doesn’t need to be categorized the way you’re categorizing it. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

And it’s really an attack on, it’s really an attack on the gay and lesbian culture as well. You know, this is a huge part of a lot of folks coming out and embracing themselves and their journeys. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

Self-expression. And then a lot of times drag is used as a fundraiser for within the community. So, and it’s impacting businesses. For example, there’s, it’s called the Pearl Bar here in Houston. It’s one of the oldest lesbian bars in the nation. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

And there aren’t that many. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

No. And recently they made an Instagram post that they may potentially go out of business because their insurance company revoked their insurance because they occasionally have drag performances, and did not want to insure them because of the drag performances. And if you know anything about a bar, they have to have insurance to have a liquor license. And if you don’t have a liquor license, then you can’t sell alcohol and you don’t have any money. So it’s gonna become a slippery slope if it doesn’t get reversed.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Yeah, I just think it’s interesting to, even though you’re still very much in it and navigating it and probably don’t have all the answers yet, no one does, but I think it’s just interesting to bring these things, you know, talk about them, how these laws affect businesses too, right? And affect how you begin to think about walking your values and what does that look like? And this can be really complicated. And I don’t think it’s gonna get easier anytime soon. And there are all sorts of laws, not just this one and ones like this, but there are so many things that are happening across the country that, you know, there’s a lot of people I think who will be listening, who are running businesses, and often like myself are in a state that doesn’t, that as a whole, the laws don’t reflect my value system and you’re having that too. And then how do you navigate within that? Because the answer isn’t always just pack up and leave. That’s not the answer. You want to serve Houston, you know, you want to serve the people in that city. And it is, again, a very diverse city. And so yeah, these are the challenges of like, what does it look like to walk your talk? And I know you don’t probably have the answers yet, but it sounds like you’re trying to figure it out.

 

Maggie Segrich:

Yeah, and I think that that’s the important part of, you know, making sure that we’re active in our own community, right? Like, because if we don’t have the relationships with the people who have the relationships with the lobbyists, then we can’t use our voices and our business and our community to kind of like help. And I think for us, you know, some of these laws, hopefully they don’t pass, you know, a total ban on healthcare for trans folks that will directly impact our team, and make it really hard for Dane to receive the healthcare that he needs. So it’s serious, you know.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Thank you for speaking to it in the moment and knowing that, you know, there are no perfect answers yet, but that these are things that people are navigating, and that for anyone else who is, you’re not alone. Lots of people are stuck in the trenches of this and trying to figure out what does it look like. So. All right, let’s finish up by sharing resources because I’m a huge fan. When I listen to podcasts, I love to learn about either new podcasts I could go listen to, or a book I can go read, or someone I can follow on TikTok or wherever. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

This book I read maybe two years ago, it’s by Priya Parker called “The Art of Gathering,” and she talks about creating boundaries within your, you know, event, indoor space, creating intention, and kind of giving people jobs within the event so they have ownership, and then kind of giving people rules for the event. Okay, this is our goal for this event. Here’s what we’re doing, you know, whether that’s a bat mitzvah, or a birthday, or a networking event. And it’s been a book, and I think she had a podcast for a hot minute, and a newsletter that I think we constantly go back to, and reread and use as a resource just to kind of help us and guide us with our gatherings.

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Yeah. So I’ll go a little away from the business side and go more to my own personal journey. So there’s this book, and I don’t remember the two authors’ names, so you’ll have to forgive me, maybe you can find it and put it in the notes. But the book is called The Sober Lush” and it was written by two women out of Austin who were on their own drinking and then their sobriety journey. The reason why I love it, and the reason why I feel like it is feminist, I’m sure they have some specific things in there which would speak to the very fundamental values of feminism, but what I see is inherently feminist is this idea that women should seek joy and pleasure. And so many times in society we are taught that no, no, no, we’re supposed to be martyrs, we’re supposed to give it all, we’re not supposed to like feel that happiness and seek that happiness. And for me, reading that book was so enlightening because the reason they wrote the book is saying like, hey, you can still have this lush, full, beautiful, luxurious life if you choose not to drink, and here are all the ways you can do it. But I just read that book and thought, oh, my God, look at all these moments of joy you can build into your day and you can experience. And some of them are big, and some of them are really, really small, like bringing out the fancy china for a dinner with the family. just because. And I just, I love that. And ever since I read that book, like probably a long time ago, like a couple of years ago, way before I even decided that I was gonna be on my own sobriety journey, I thought, wow, yeah, that’s true independence right there is taking ahold of your joy, and not feeling guilty for experiencing it and really leaning in. So the sober lush highly recommend it.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

It’s by Amanda Eyer Ward and Jardine Libaire. Just looked it up. And I’m a huge fan. I love talking about pleasure. And I would just throw in “Pleasure Activism” by Adrienne Marie Brown. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. But it’s a similar, not around alcohol, though. So I know that’s different journey. But yes, pleasure is liberation. And I love that. All right. Finally, an organization that you all support that we can highlight to bring attention to.

 

Maggie:

So I’m the board chair for Magpies and Peacocks, which is the nation’s only nonprofit fashion house. They upcycle all sorts of material into one-of-a-kind pieces. My favorite one that they’re working on right now is they received three planes’ worth of blue leather from JetBlue that they are going to be working into their next runway show. And I can’t wait to see what they come up with

 

Becky Mollenkamp (she/her):

Because feminism needs to include the most important woman in all of our lives, which is Mother Earth. So I love that. And I’ve never heard of them, so I’m going to check it out. And Meredith?

 

Maggie:

I was going to at least be like, well, I might mention the greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce because we love them. We work so closely with them. They do so much for the LGBT and ally community. But then there’s also the Houston chapter of the League of Women Voters offices here with us in Houston. And they are doing so much good by bringing, informing voters so that they can get to the polls and make the right decisions for them. But the one I’m going to land on is another one of our members called Birthday Bash Box. It is run by Seante Johnson. She started this organization in order to provide a day of joy for kiddos on their birthdays, kiddos who might be living in a scenario where they’re not able to celebrate the way that another child might be able to. And the reason I wanna highlight Seante is because we started sponsoring space for them way back over a year ago, and we have just watched her commit so much time. 

 

Maggie Segrich:

She has a full-time job. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

She has another full-time job. And she does so much. We’ve watched it grow. She needs more space now. And I just, we want her to thrive. 

 

Becky Mollenkamp (she/her):

I will be making a donation to both of them. I will go with the final two that you chose, but I will link to all four that you gave me and encourage people who got something from this episode to go and show their thanks as well by making donations to these awesome organizations doing great work. Cause I think that’s the way that we again, make that collective change is that we all put our, use our privilege where that we have it, where we have privilege if it’s financial to be able to redistribute some of that wealth into these organizations that are making a difference. Thank you so much for sharing those, for telling us about your story. I’m also going to link the resources that you mentioned in the show notes for anybody who wants to check out those books. And I just really thank you for your time.

 

Maggie Segrich:

Thank you. 

 

Meredith Wheeler:

Thank you for having us. It was a lot of fun.

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