I presented at the first Be Well event with my team at www.forusnation.comback in May. It was mental health awareness month. We we’re asked to create a workshop that can help empower community growth through the curation of safe spaces online for people of color. Safe doesn’t mean we can’t speak our minds or our truths. It means we are building engaging communities for those who feel marginalized outside of the mainstream. Be Well is back with their second virtual event being held on Saturday December 12th. Tickets can be purchased here: https://be-well-be-present.heysummit.com/schedule/#
I caught up with the founders Danielle & Nadine, read our interview below:
Tahyira: How has 2020 helped your Be Well brand stay afloat?
Danielle: Be Well wasn’t a fleshed out idea until the beginning of 2020, but with COVID, it focused us to rethink our strategy. We originally wanted Be Well to launch as an in-person event, but made the pivot to virtual as things started to progress with the pandemic. In hindsight, it has been a great learning experience on how to make instrumental changes to a business plan in times of transition, while keeping the intentionality of our mission which is to provide wellness resources and experiences for people of color.
Nadine: I don’t know if 2020 helped us stay afloat. As with most small businesses, we had to pivot from our original goals. However, I would say that 2020 confirmed that wellness spaces are needed in our community. So often black and brown bodies, minds, and hearts are the last on the agenda in the mainstream. Our communities were hardest hit by the Pandemic and oftentimes had the least resources. Be Well is a place where we can go and get a sense of peace and healing. It is a space for us to commune and fellowship and know we are not alone. It is a space to lean into healing practices being taught by people who look like us and understand our lived experiences. 2020 has taught us all that life is fragile, so everyday we have matters and it is important to be well.
Tahyira: Was it difficult putting together this event? What did you learn by overcoming that situation?
D: I wouldn’t say it was difficult, but more of a learning experience. We are both very creativity so seeing our visions come to life during the planning and execution phase was very exciting. By launching virtually, we’ve been able to see our strengths and identity what areas of the business we need support.
N: The hardest part for me has been the technology. I love face to face events and event planning. That comes naturally. Researching summit platforms, learning coding, making it interactive and meaningful digitally, that was a learning curve and often times very stressful. Things that should have been easy in my mind, where really hard. Having a partner definitely helped this process. Being able to bounce ideas off of one another and vent about the stupidity of smart technology definitely kept me motivated. The first virtual summit was a headache, but the 2nd time ariund, though still annoying, honestly was way easier.
Tahyira: How has social media helped you manage being at home more than you were in 2019?
D: I work in digital marketing so social media has always be a part of my 9 -5 and daily routine.
N: Truthfully, I don’t use social media more. I have found that I really crave the attention of my loved ones during this pandemic. They are my safe place. I do know that in general social media has helped to keep others connected which is the blessing of these platforms.
Tahyira: Wellness isn’t something we normally see in the Black community as far as events and awareness. How is Be Well changing that?
D: Be Well is taking a holistic approach to how we see and talk about our wellness. This is where our eight pillars come in: physical wellness, mental wellness, professional wellness, financial wellness, relational wellness, nutritional wellness, community wellness, and spiritual wellness. We believe that by understanding how wellness connects to all areas of your life practices, you eventually can learn how to sustain healthy ways of living that work for you.
N: I think the problem is not that wellness doesn’t exist, but that we don’t see it and we don’t see it from people who look like us. Our platform is shining light on all the wonderful wellness providers in our community and giving them a space to share their gifts. We are also defining wellness for ourselves from a holistic approach so every person can find what they need and see themselves here.
Tahyira: What are your go-to wellness tools after a really bad week? Will there be mental health tools available during the event?
D: There will certainly be mental health tools available during the event. We curate our presenters based on specific skillsets and mental health is a the center of it all. What makes The Be Well Experience different from other conferences we’ve attended is the intention to have every workshop be interactive. All of our presenters must provide tangible takeaways for attendees whether that a resource guide or guiding participants through mindfulness-focused practices like meditation, journaling, etc. My go-to wellness tools are therapy, excerise (4–5x a week), intentional eating (allowing myself to eat the foods I want but with balance).
N: My favorite thing to do is shut my laptop. I actually find joy in closing in. I sit in silence for a bit and breathe in me. Then I connect with people I love. I’m a connection person. I love to sit on a two hour phone call talking about life. We call these marathon calls.
Tahyira: What can our readers learn from attending the event on Dec 12th? What will they take away from the activations?
Be Well Team: As for the event, there are tools provided at every activation. The sessions are designed to be interactive, engaging, and teach a variety of wellness tools. Whether it’s how to plant seeds, practicing various forms of meditation, combining affirmations with beautiful outfits, learning how to create an abundant budget, everyone will leave with a plethora of wellness tools they can incorporate into their everyday lives.
N: My mother was very sick during our first summit and while creating this beautiful event, I was on the brink of a breakdown. I realized on that day, that we created everything I needed in that moment. The world was raging and everything felt mad, but our space felt safe and peaceful and fun and joyous. That’s wellness.