A big warm hug to Devron Enarson for sharing her beautiful studio space with us for our Forth Chicago Autumn Salon. And another big hug for opening up and sharing her experience with us. "Hello! I am a woman. I am a business owner. I have a studio space." Strange words for me to see put bluntly in print, but they are truth, and those three truths are also what brought Forth Chicago into my studio this autumn for their quarterly salon.
I met the lovely Kelly Allison earlier when she had rented my studio for a photo shoot. She approached me about letting Forth use my space for the autumn event, and also to see if I would like to attend. I knew scarcely more about Forth Chicago than what I have so far shared with you about myself, but I certainly liked Kelly and try to live life in a carpe diem sort of way so I said yes. Why not? At the very least I would get some Prosecco out of the deal and, ya know, we are always supposed to network, right?
So, the day arrives, the “Three Forths” show up (shout out to Kelly, Julie and Lisa!) and the event is underway. At this point I’m simply enjoying the wondrous world that has been created in my studio. The beautiful photos from the evening speak for themselves. This is certainly something close to these ladies hearts. The food, décor, their genuine attentiveness and excitement as people begin to arrive to fill the room they have created with its final ingredient, women. Really great women. From all of whom at this point I am learning names, occupations, all very similar to my “woman, business owner, studio space” truths.
Ok, Forth Chicago is certainly impressive so far. I’m definitely past the point of any regrets of saying yes to this as I realize that I am surrounded by some exceptional people and I am having a great time (The Moroccan soup shooters didn’t hurt either). But there’s more to this, right?
Oh yes, there is more. As we sit down for the evening to share with each other around the theme “owning your awesome” something truly crazy and magical begins to happen. Very impressive blunt truths about each of us women begin to unfold into complex and meaningful stories. We start to go beyond the blunt and peek into the ever more complex, wonderful, scary and under charted world of who we are as people. We all get vulnerable.
Wow! It’s one thing to plan something like this and a completely other thing to have it work, particularly in a room where most of us know each other very little or not at all. I can’t believe that this many professional women exist who crave a business environment that is all about nourishing and supporting each other!
I’m sitting in the circle and am one of the last to share, (which I’m excited about since I now realize that I will be able to really share). I look down at the light bulb bracelet I have wrapped around my wrist from the goodie bag given out at the beginning and realize that it is the perfect symbol for what I’ve experienced. Something has clicked. Because I DO believe it. I DO believe that there are women who crave an environment where they can both be challenged professionally but also be free to be known. I DO believe that as women we are charting our own future where we have less pressure to conform to a business mold and more freedom to do business how we want, integrating all of ourselves into what we do and making our businesses and our lives better because if it. I also believe that Forth Chicago has found a way to make space to encourage that to happen and I’m a very lucky girl to have been a part of that magic this autumn.
Devron Enarson, Dev Photography. Chicago, IL.
A million thanks to Dev for sharing with us, and thank you for opening your heart and space to the Three Forths and all the Fall participants.