I am a biracial Black woman and what I know to be true is that darker skinned black women have a daily existence much harsher than I do. Yes, I am a black woman with a white mother and a black father. As complicated as it may seem, I get to choose how I identify and no, you don’t get to decide for me regardless of whether you are black or white. This excerpt is my own experience of blackness and its shades thereof.

I am light-skinned. Not light enough that I pass for being a white woman but light…

Member Spotlight: I spent a very long time concerned with how I’d explain my life to other people. I created a neat, easy to tell “story” of who I was, based on my career and hobbies. And it would have been an amazing life for the right person, but I wasn’t that person — I was just defining success based on what others would think of me. Eventually, I finally started trusting myself and choosing for myself. And I don’t plan on going back.

Name: Kristin Jamberdino

Age: 41

Lives In: New York, New York

From: Buffalo, NY & Overland Park, KS

Who are you? Answer that in any way that feels appropriate to you.

I am a marshmallow with a steel spine. I was reading Sassy magazine in the 6th grade (shoutout to my dentist’s office for introducing me) and even then, I wanted to talk to everyone around me about “important” issues, because I knew the world was so much bigger than my little corner of it.

I am an advocate to my core, but one that wants to plead her case…

Member Spotlight: I am a really engaged and invested listener and that has allowed me to connect with people and form the most incredible relationships. I also feel like being one of the last remaining people on the planet who enjoys talking on the phone is a skill and I have zero plans of letting that one lapse. Call me. I mean it.

Name: Kelly Cutchin

Age: 36

Lives In: Colorado

Who are you? Answer that in any way that feels appropriate to you.

If you asked my Grandma Juanita, she’d tell you that I’m “a lil’ lump of dough.” I’m malleable but I also see and remember potential in people around me.

But here’s my answer: I’m Kelly, but I should’ve been named YELLY. I tend to exclaim everything because I’m very easily excited, which makes for a super celebratory way of life. I grew up in middle Tennessee. I’m a writer, and the creator and facilitator of the Casual Magic Writing…

Member Spotlight: What other people think about you is really none of your business. I spent so long trying to control what others would say or think of me, until I realized that they are going to say and think what they wanted, and I shouldn’t concern myself with any of it. There is real freedom in living on your own terms.

Name: Samantha Pitre Quillen

Age: 43

Lives In: Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Who are you? Answer that in any way that feels appropriate to you.

I am a strong, daring, resilient wife to Curt, fur-mommy to Shakespeare, bubbling ball of intersectionality, a Career Coach, DEI consultant, and the Founder of Creating Miss Jones. I am deeply committed to helping women claim their seats at the table because they’ve earned them.

Member Spotlight: “I never weigh myself, always candles, open curtains and windows as well when it’s above 40 degrees outside. Book stacks next to my bed, tarot and oracle as a daily practice, plants over almost everything else. Lead through truth and kindness.”

Name: Naomi Hattaway

Age: 44 (45 in June!)

Lives In: Omaha, Nebraska

Who are you? Answer that in any way that feels appropriate to you.

Member Spotlight: I’m a survivor; I come from a messy heritage of colonizers, Indigenous folks and sex workers. I’m an outspoken woman who comes from a long line of tight-lipped women who believed that “a good woman suffers in silence.”

Name: Jamie Fraipont-Daszkiewicz

Age: 43

Lives: Rural Colorado

Who am I?

The ever evolving self question. In this season in my life I am a questioner, a radical, feminist, witch. A mama of 13, 6 butterflies (non-biological) and 7 flowers (biological) children. I’m a matriarch, a woman who is learning abundance after generational trauma and poverty. I am a curator of community. I am a fighter. I am a woman who knows her worth and her voice. I am a child with a messy heritage, a product of broken boot straps, rugged mountains and Kool Aid stained summers. I am…

Member Spotlight: My greatest challenge at the moment is changing my thought pattern away from illness and towards wellness.

Name: Chelsea Dutton

Age: 36

Lives: Illinois

Who are you? Answer that in any way that feels appropriate to you.

I am a positive beam of sparkling light. Nomad. Eternal student (I took over 100 courses last year ranging from Meditation to Shuffle Dancing to House Plants 101). Art Director. Ad Woman. Creative. Mermicorn. Sensitive. Music festival lover. Dance all-nighter. A person who relishes in time alone.

What has been the impact of owning the fact you are a grown ass woman?

Being more at ease and comfortable with who I am.

Member Spotlight: “I just want people, all people to believe in their guts that they can do anything, the easy stuff — the impossible stuff and the stuff no one else wants to do, if it means you are a little closer to internal peace.”

Name: Gabrielle Krake

Age: 50

Lives: Boise, Idaho

Who are you? Answer that in any way that feels appropriate to you.

I come from meadows and mountains where dogs howl late at night to a smiling moon. My life was carved from the forests of the last frontier and doused in the light of the aurora borealis. I’d lived in 55 separate homes growing up. The first time I went to a dentist I was a teenager. The man with a shiny office and handfuls of sharp tools marveled at how it was possible to raise a child in such…

Member Spotlight: “Most decisions can be changed or you can make another decision to alter the course later. But the limbo of not making a call is draining torture. Most of the time you know what you need to do. Just listen to yourself and do it. Just order the pizza. Or buy the house!”

Name: Erin Stein

Age: 43

Lives: West Orange, NJ

Who are you? Answer that in any way that feels appropriate to you.

I have identified myself with my career for most of my life — which was an extension of what I liked as a child. I am a book lover. I am a reader, an editor, a storyteller. I am a mix of the creative and the practical. I’m shy, but love to be on stage. I’m a procrastinator who performs well under pressure.

I recently lost my job — which means losing the business that I built for…

There’s something wildly freeing about knowing that when you put yourself out there, unapologetically — your people show up, the ones who deeply appreciate you in all of your you-ness.

It’s also really scary because there is a possibility that you can do the same thing — put your whole soul on the line — and no one will show up.

So does that mean that we don’t risk it; that we stay half versions of ourselves that might be more palatable for others? Of course not.

Here’s why it’s important that you’re clear on your authentic voice and share…

cyndie spiegel

CYNDIE SPIEGEL is a Brooklyn based bourbon drinking yogi who is also a published author + TEDx speaker elevating the behavioral status quo of women everywhere.

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