Every morning when I wake her up, I whisper to her, “Did you grow while you were asleep?!” Like, HOW? She’s changing so fast and her growth is obvious in every facet of her little being from the way her little legs run around, the curls of her blonde hair, to the gibberish she yells with confident certainty and beyond. It’s wild to watch a human you love transform...she may not know it now but I’m transforming right before her eyes too.✨
“I am allowing myself to feel joy, because I feel like that’s activism in itself. I’ve said, my success is my activism and the success I help to catalyze in others is my activism.” - Arlan Hamilton @arlanwashere. Arlan Hamilton is a champion for underestimated founders. With her company @backstagecapital, she has invested over $10 million in over 130 companies with underrepresented founders; those who identify as women, People of Color, or LGBTQ. I’m challenging you going forward, be really intentional with your takeaways from the @goaldiggerpodcast interviews, let’s start here. Arlan challenged my thinking on how activism can be woven into every aspect of your business: the way we hire, the way we show up, the way we lead, the expectations we set. My work can be an important part of my activism being lived out, as I integrate what I believe into what I do. I can’t wait to hear what stood out to you. ✨ Tune in with the link in my bio!
To the man who is wrapped around her tiny little finger, the dad who picks out NASA tees for our girl, the father who is never too busy for story time, the guy who mastered the perfect fluffy scrambled eggs, the fella who can sing every word of Moana, the dada who kisses her a million times before bed, and the one who sleeps with the monitor on his side of the bed, Happy Fathers Day. ✨ We love you!
This is my “messy middle” and I don’t want to wait to emerge pretending to have any answers, I want to open up so you know what life really looks like offline. I’m asking a lot of hard questions, I’m diving deep into the corners of my thoughts. There truly is no “message” to be made out of my mess right now and it’s impossible to show up here like anything is normal. Over the years, I’ve been poised as someone that seems to have the answers. I have this tendency to take in life as constant learning moments and I often turn my mistakes into teachable moments that I share with you. Instead of trying to be this perfect example, I am getting comfortable being the student. I’m experiencing growing pains. I’m messing up. I’m in the fire. And frankly, I don’t know exactly what forward looks like. Right now, I am focused on learning and my growth, as a human being, first. I can’t promise I’ll always get it right, but I will keep trying (and failing) as many times as it takes because I believe the greater cause is worthy of the failing and of the fight. Here’s what you can expect from me moving forward: I will show up, in the midst and middle of all of this. The days to come and the work I do moving forward will be my activism and growth being lived out. It’s okay if you don’t believe me or understand, I am moving past trying to get everyone to “understand” me. If I am not for you, I honor that and if it’s time we part ways, I get it. I expect this comment section (and my community) to be a reflection of my words above; I will not tolerate any racist comments that make others feel unsafe or aren’t in alignment with where I, personally, am headed.
This past week, others have bravely and publicly called me out. This was something I didn’t know I needed. Ever since I was little, whenever I was challenged I would defend and protect. You likely have read a previous email exchange that started back in 2017, if you haven’t, all of the emails are linked in my bio. In those emails it is evident that I was defensive and dismissive, my words were clothed in privilege not compassion. I was uncomfortable because I was being challenged. There are other ways that I have hurt, ignored, dismissed, or made people not feel valued, safe, or welcomed in my space. It’s not enough to say that everyone is invited if not everyone has a voice at the table. In my whiteness, I have subconsciously built a brand that contributes to a racist system. The economic scales have been tipped to my advantage since birth. The system has been built to protect those advantages while simultaneously halting the ability for Black people to progress in the same way. The net wealth of a typical white family is generally 10x that of a typical Black family and I recognize my advantage and wealth are anything but typical. I am committed to learning more about the wealth gap and am ready to take financial action that can help tip the scales for those disadvantaged by the same system I gain from. I am also committed to diversifying my team and amplifying more voices on my platform. To those I have hurt on my path, I am deeply sorry. In the sake of transparency, I had written an apology to her owning my mistakes, sharing our exchange publicly, and providing context so that perhaps others could learn from my harm. By the time advisors, a PR team, and a few trusted mentors looked it over, my apology felt like empty words. In reality, this isn’t a PR issue, this is a human issue. I owe gratitude to everyone for teaching me when I was undeserving, it has been a catalyst of change for me at your expense. Thank you for giving me several days to reflect so that my innate response of defending and protecting would be removed and I could continue the deeper work required to be a true ally. I will not always get it right... (Cont in comments.)
The way that we show up matters, in comments, in inboxes, and in conversation. I have failed Black women in the ways I have showed up, and I have disappointed my community. I am so sorry for the pain I have caused, for the words I have said. I recognize that it doesn’t matter if I was intending to right a long overdue wrong; what matters is that I clearly hurt people. I have learned a lot these past few days, weeks, months and years, and I recognize that my personal learning is a process, but I will work to mightily accelerate that process so I can integrate the real lessons and continually erode what holds me back from becoming a leader who’s a safe harbor and a true ally. This is just part of the work everyone is talking about. I will not always get it right, I will not always say the right thing, but I will listen and do better. I’m taking imperfect action. If you’d like to take action as well, here’s what we can do together: 1.) Listen. Read. Educate ourselves so Black women don’t have to do it for us. 2.) Make donations to charities furthering Black agendas like the @blackfutureslab and the @blackmamasmatter Alliance and continue to seek ways to support the movement. 3.) Commit to hiring a paid diversity, equity, and inclusion strategist to ensure my team and our brand are continually learning and taking steps in the right direction. 4.) Highlight more Black women on my podcast and make a donation on their behalf to a charity or cause of their choice as guided by them. 5.) Continue to invest time and money in minority-led learning opportunities through books, podcasts, and programs. I am not an expert in this arena but I do have the ability and platform to amplify those who are. Going forward, I will tune my ears to listen to and amplify the voices of those most marginalized in our communities. I do ask that if you love me and my brand, please do not confront people on my behalf or defend me online; what we need now are more bridges, not barriers. With love and gratitude, Jenna
This week has been heavy so many and I recognize that my privilege allows me to feel just a gravity of the weight many have carried on their shoulders for too long. As a Minnesotan, George Floyd’s murder outraged me. That this happened and is happening in our backyard. Here is how I am personally taking action and doing the work: 1.) Not holding anyone else responsible for my education. It’s out there, it has been out there, a simple Google search can take you on the path to begin your anti-racism journey and black educators are NOT resources. Support them with your involvement and with your wallet. 2.) Taking tangible action: signing petitions, making donations, calling lawmakers, reading books, listening to podcasts, paying attention to the voices rising up that I may have previously and wrongfully dismissed. 3.) Checking in: now is the time to reach out to those in your community to just check in. The exhaustion and trauma our black sisters and brothers are experiencing is something we can never comprehend but we can simply show up and check in. 4.) Sharing my platform: in the past few years we’ve made great strides to make our brand and the @goaldiggerpodcast a more inclusive space but we, by no means, are done with our work there. My platform is an opportunity to raise up voices, I will continue to expand on that. 5.) Opening my scope of influence. There was a time where I barely followed anyone who didn’t look like me. Follow people who don’t look like you, let their voices and experience infiltrate your life and lean in to the discomfort. In the past, I was so immersed in my privilege, in my little white bubble, that I was blind to my own racism and the injustice happening around me. I am sorry it took me so long. I thought that privilege meant I didn’t work hard or came from something. It doesn’t mean that you’ve had an easy “go” it just means that your skin tone isn’t the one thing that makes it harder to progress. If we refuse to start with the acknowledgement of our privilege then we are a part of the broken system. Let’s start there and let our actions show that we are committed to doing better. Illustration by: @thebloominglightbulb
I swear I literally blinked once and this happened.😭 How? Also, I so can NOT even blame quarantine for my roots, apparently it’s just my thing! I used to roll my eyes at the people who said it went fast. Ugh, turns out they were right. Swipe to see my FAVE girl! 👉🏼Time can slow down whenever, k? 🤪 #kutcherlakehouse Photos by: @angelarosegonzalez
After 500+ days of this, our breastfeeding journey is complete. Before I had you, I nonchalantly told people that I had hopes to make it to the year mark of nursing you. Naive me didn’t fully understand the gravity of such a statement — and I definitely never expected to keep going past that mark. There were many days when I wished I could let go of that goal and “have my body back to myself.” Something tells me I’ll miss those days. The math says just one year nursing equals 1,825 hours. Which is equivalent to a full time, 40 hour a week job— except we didn’t take two weeks of vacation time! I’ve learned to go from CEO to milk source in a matter of seconds, without flinching. I’ve pumped on the road, a reminder of being away from you. I’ve cancelled calls, paused recordings, typed with one hand and crafted my days around you. I’ve nursed you through mastitis, thrush, and exhaustion with tears rolling down my cheeks. I’ve drank the teas, made the cookies, and passed on the second glass of wine. You’ve fed on trains, planes and automobiles, with sideway glances from some and nods of respectful empathy from others. Today as I held your wiggly little girls body and offered you myself, you ran around the house, the fiercely independent girl you are, and you declined. Instead of feeling sad, I felt proud and grateful. You have grown — evidence of this time we spent connected and you don’t need me in that way anymore. It’s been a journey baby girl, it hasn’t been easy, I’ve wanted to quit but I’m so damn proud of us. I wouldn’t trade this juggling act for the world, especially when I’m juggling the two things I love the most. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that breastfeeding is a deeply personal journey for each and every mama and this page of our story has come to a close. Photo by: @angelarosegonzalez
When someone tells you that you’re too driven or too ambitious or you’re dreaming too big, thank them and remember they likely aren’t fighting for MORE in their life. Seeing you set out to achieve is a reminder of their stagnancy. It makes them question if they’ve settled and they likely know the answer. So don’t hold back your gifts because you’re worried what SHE will think. I know, you’re thinking, “How does she know? I’m worried about her.” 🤦🏼♀️ She’s likely not even giving you a second thought so don’t let that fear of judgement hold power over you. Whether it’s your mom, sister, BFF, enemy, the mean girl from high school or your 3rd cousin in Argentina, don’t worry about her. She’s worrying about the judgement of someone else too — and neither of you are winning by playing small. Be bold. Try new things. Step into the woman you were meant to become. Imagine her strength and confidence and take it on right now. And always remember, as my friend @melrobbins said, you will never be criticized by someone doing more than you. Show her what you’re made of and be the inspiration she needs to level up! 🙌🏼 You got this! Comment below with emojis to tell me what dream you’re setting out to unapologetically achieve!