We're Competing for $300,000?!

About a year ago, Elizabeth (our Chief Organizational Officer) applied to business school. Her goal was to throw herself into an MBA program and learn to speak Business™.

She was an art major turned public health director turned special education teacher turned entrepreneur. Going to get her MBA was the next logical step. She had no idea what it would really mean for her, the family, and Sassy Pants. 

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It's eaten all her time and her dog misses her, but Sassy Pants is benefiting greatly. Just this week our very own Sassy Pants has made it to the semi-finals, the top 36 teams competing for $300,000 of cash and prizes! George Washington University New Venture Competition here we come!

How exciting is that?! To think something that only existed in our founders' minds grew up into something so full of potential and excitement!? Can you even believe it?

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While we're definitely excited and fastidiously prepping to present to the team of judges, we're also doing something else. Something more exciting for you, our wonderful community. We are so close to launching our Kickstarter for our first product, THE Sassy Pants!

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Get hyped, get excited, get your PayPal login ready!! 


Re: Why Yoga Pants Are Bad For Women

Last Week, the New York Times published an article entitled “Why Yoga Pants Are Bad For Women.” It described the biggest threat facing women today: yoga pants. 

Already annoyed at the title (probably their creative clickbait goal), I started reading. While Honor took in similar experiences that we here at Sassy Pants have had, we seem to have come to vastly different conclusions.

And while my initial reaction was to rail against this article for all of its false presumptions, I think my biggest message is this: you’re missing the whole point.

We know this not only from our own experiences, but from the research we’ve done and data we’ve collected from hundreds of women.

Clothing has an inescapable effect on our psyche. In fact, there is even a coined psychological term for it: enclothed cognition. Dr. Adam Galinsky from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University studied the effect of clothing on our bodies. They found that it was not enough to just study the clothes and our reactions. The clothes involved in this study had to be loaded with symbology. The study found through 3 different experiments that simply wearing a lab coat led to greater attention and carefulness. And it wasn't just the coat. When they told the subjects it was a painter's coat, they didn't see the same improvements in performance. A symbolic piece of clothing changes human behavior. Amazing.

Those "evil" yoga pants come loaded with symbology, too. They’re symbols of movement, health, and achievement of one's goals. Women put the perfect pants on their body and feel like superheroes. They can do anything.

Telling women that their preferred item of clothing is trashy or not imbued with this symbology, you're not helping women, you're hurting them. Because what is the symbology of wearing something that “is basically just towels with waistbands”?

It’s easy to write off fashion as a frivolous use of material and energy. But if these pants or the best jeans or a lab coat can actually change how we think and what we accomplish, it's very difficult to justify writing them off at all.

Feeling sexy or hot often times isn’t for anyone else besides ourselves. Women dress how they dress because of a multitude of reasons most of which are personal, internal, and empowering. Telling women what to wear and not wear is a dangerous game. And that’s an incredibly slippery slope.

So yes, wear whatever you want. I don’t care. But, wear what YOU want to wear. What makes you feel good. And “good” can mean sexy. It can mean whatever the hell you want it to mean. And if that feel good item is yoga pants - wear the damn yoga pants.


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Nancy Calderone is the CEO of Sassy Pants. She's convinced that powerful change for good happens when you rally your most trusted lady friends and make a few dozen Google Docs. When she's not training for a triathlon or marathon, she enjoys a night at home with the world's largest bowl of popcorn, a bottle of wine, and Season 2 of the West Wing. 


Being Shy™ Was My Brand

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I’m not a confident person. I’m an introvert. I don’t like talking to people. Crowds overwhelm me.

This was my inner monologue for as long as I can remember. Being Shy™ was my brand. I repeated it so often it became a defining characteristic of my personality. As people get to know me I open up and have other characteristics, but I always start off shy. I remember friends from camp in middle school saying, “When I first met you, I thought you were so shy! Now you’re not shy at all!”

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Recently, I heard Claire Shipman speak. She is a journalist for Good Morning America, author, and, wife to Obama’s former Spokesman, Jay Carney. She co-wrote the books “Womanomics” and “The Confidence Code” and is a very dynamic speaker. Through writing these books, she sought to describe confidence in the most concrete way possible and interview confident" women.

Through the process she spoke with WNBA players, bomb diffusing specialists in the US Army, and top business executives and found in every case that these seemingly confident women felt they’d let people down with their performance, doubted their abilities, and did not feel confident.

She described a conversation she had with a female ambassador to the UN who regularly spoke to Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, about their personal insecurities and how often they are still interrupted in meetings. The leader of a major country gets interrupted?! Hearing that all these incredible, accomplished women also overanalyze conversations and doubt their abilities was so reassuring and, at the same time, kind of sad.

Claire went on to explain that geneticists have discovered a gene that has some impact on confidence but it is not a fixed state. It’s not something you’re born with. It’s something that grows. Not with constant reassurance or faking-it-until-you-make-it. You get confident by doing. You take an action, risk something, fail fast, get up, start over. That’s how you get confident.

 One of my most confident days: Hiking in the Grand Canyon.

One of my most confident days: Hiking in the Grand Canyon.

She also redefined confidence for me. It’s not feeling great about yourself or having high self-esteem (although those things help). It’s taking up space, not shrinking in the face of adversity or intimidation. Stake your claim on the table in front of you and be in the room. That flipped a light switch in my brain. I can’t always feel 100% happy with how I look but I can sit confidently in the meeting and raise my voice.

So I’m not Shy, I’m just not failing enough! This thought was so liberating. I am so excited to fall flat on my face and get back up. I feel like taking up space and speaking up. Maybe I’ll be wrong and fail but then I’ll know where the pitfalls are next time. And there will always be a next time.

So, get out there! Fail! Get back up. Dust off any lingering embarrassment or shyness and jump in again. Have a magnificent time!

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Elizabeth Terry is the COO of Sassy Pants. Her job is to make decisions and take action. She's passionate about helping people and making sure everything goes smoothly. She's excited about Sassy Pant's mission to help women move forward toward whatever goal they have. Follow her on Twitter!


Where Are The Pants?

We are excited to share a pants update with you! All of us here at Sassy Pants have very different backgrounds and none of those include apparel. It has been quite the journey, from conceptual discussions around design to where we are now. So where exactly is that? Since our last pants update, we have made it about halfway through the list of stages!

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We received our very first prototype of Sassy Pants in the mail. We cannot express how exciting it is for us to see our vision realized! Our pants started out as simply fabric. We physically went into stores, searching through huge stacks of fabric to find the one that surpassed our incredibly high standards for “sheer” quality (as in, not being SEE THROUGH) Then we shipped the fabric off to our pattern maker in New York, knowing the next time we saw it, it would be the very first pair of Sassy Pants!

We worked with our designer to incorporate all of the feedback we received from you, our community, to ensure that we were creating something that would cater to what women really want in their athletic apparel.

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We now hold in our hands the very first pair of Sassy Pants! They are definitely not ready for sale quite yet, but it is incredible to see something go from our chicken scratch sketches and fabric into real life pants you can WEAR. Pants that will one day empower and inspire you to truly be the badass woman we know you are.

What's next? Now that we have the prototype, we are currently fitting the pants to our size model and making any adjustments to the pattern. We will get another sample to make sure that everything is juuuuust right. Once we’re satisfied with that, we’ll start the fun project of finding a ethical manufacturer (!!!).

We are thrilled to share our journey of creating Sassy Pants with you and hope to share another milestone update with you soon. In the meantime, follow our social media! We always welcome your feedback.


Being a "Skinny Bitch"

 I'm so happy to have this woman in my life. Me and my cousin Erin at the end of the Star Wars half marathon. 

I'm so happy to have this woman in my life. Me and my cousin Erin at the end of the Star Wars half marathon. 

I know that when it comes to fitness many women look at me and think “this girl doesn’t know what it’s like to deal with [insert specific problem here]”. And those women are right, that is 100% true. I’m 5’0” tall, never weighed more than 115 lbs., and I’ve never worn larger than a B cup. I have never struggled to find fitness apparel, easily finding something for most occasions at places like Fabletics and Lorna Jane.

So you might be wondering why I am saying all of this. I am hyper aware that I am a “skinny bitch” in the current fitness space and this is something that I try to consider with any and all communications.

I want to come out and say the things that many of you are thinking and to add that my whole heart is in Sassy Pants. Even though I may not know the daily struggles first hand, I want to be part of the solution. There are so many forces out there that divide women, fracturing communities and making support hard to find. While I could go to many different stores and communities and be catered to and accepted with open arms, none of those communities speak to me the way Sassy Pants does. I don’t want to be part of a community where you need to be a size 2 to fit in. Believe it or not, that shit stresses me out, too.

 Back seat buddies on our turn around trip to New York! Drove 4 hours one way to see a Broadway show!

Back seat buddies on our turn around trip to New York! Drove 4 hours one way to see a Broadway show!

As someone that the current fitness apparel industry caters to, it has taken me a long time to see where I fit into Sassy Pants. I am constantly concerned that women will be put off and not want to join a community if they see me because they’ll think it’s just like the rest of the industry. But we really want this to be a community by women of all sizes for all women. And as a woman, I belong here, too.  

At Sassy Pants, we are creating a community where women can support each other regardless of where we are and where we want to go on our journey. No, I’ve never needed to lose weight or deal with going to specialty stores to buy a sports bra, but I genuinely want to be part of a community that embraces women as they are. Why can’t two women with very different goals support each other? No, I probably don’t understand what you go through every day, but I want to close the chasm that divides women and create a space where we can all be supportive and feel supported.

 Hiking at Great Falls! It's a beautiful place to get outside go for a weekend morning adventure!

Hiking at Great Falls! It's a beautiful place to get outside go for a weekend morning adventure!

Yes, I have it easy in the athletic apparel space, but I know that I will continue to struggle with how I am viewed, and will be vigilant in checking myself. I'm not always going to get it right. And we as a team aren't always going to get it right, either. In fact, we've already gotten it wrong a few times! But the best part about Sassy Pants is that we hear you and we are always striving to be better. I am so excited to create a loving, empowering community and to embrace each and every one of you wherever you are on your journey. I hope that you will accept me where I am on my journey, too.

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With a zeal for all things baked goods and puzzles, Tamara leads our Wellness Team here at Sassy Pants. She's driven to understand and help people right as they are. She's got a big heart for people (and Lego Batman) and a love of all things science. 


We're Political.

I know. It’s exhausting.

We’re waking up to a daily barrage of changes that seem to terrify us more with each passing day. We’ve been wearily waiting to see if our country will still have health care. We are enraged by the direct attacks on our transgender friends. We’re holding our breath to see what’s coming next. It’s hard not to feel hopeless.

Sometimes I slip/take a dramatic swan dive into the deep waters of feeling completely unable to do anything about what’s happening in this beautiful country I love. Everything can seem overwhelming. In those dark moments, I take a deep breath and remember what we set out to do in the fervor of the days long before November.

 The happy happy day that my little brother Captain America graduated from Marine Corps bootcamp. 

The happy happy day that my little brother Captain America graduated from Marine Corps bootcamp. 

In that beautiful time of hope, I gathered my trusted team of lady friends and told them my vision for Sassy Pants. It was an idea baby I had been carrying for a long, long time and didn’t know when/how I could make it happen. But I knew I needed a team. We started moving forward with nothing but enthusiasm, riding the exciting wave of momentum of our first female President.

But then it all went to shit. We started November 8th with such hope and then it all turned so quickly. We were together and terrified and didn’t know what to make of all of it. In the post-election haze we were quiet and scared.

But since that November day we’ve rebounded with a fierce optimism. We realized that acting on our vision was the best way that we could bring about change in a world that wants to tell women what to do with their bodies and the shame we’re supposed to feel walking around in them.

 My handsome English boyfriend and I touristing around DC. If you're ever here, I'm a damn good tour guide. 

My handsome English boyfriend and I touristing around DC. If you're ever here, I'm a damn good tour guide. 

But counter to this and in a fashion extraordinarily uncharacteristic of my personality, I’ve been exceedingly shy about the political nature of Sassy Pants. I think my gut reaction has been to shield us from any potential backlash in a great maternal instinct to protect this long held vision. But we couldn’t standby while our current administration is furthering the oppression of the already oppressed, stirring up violence and prejudice. I realized that what we were doing was inherently political and I couldn’t shy away from it anymore.

The most political thing a woman can do is to take control of her body. To love and embrace it just right as it is. Curating environments of shame, “wrongness”, and inferiority have been the name of the control game for as long as we can remember. These tactics have easily pushed and pulled women in conflicting directions, pitting us against each other to ensure more destruction. This, more than anything else, has been making us all sick. In our bodies, in our minds, in our spirits. This is not how we should be living.

So yes, we’re political. But our politics is simple and our mission is clear. We believe that women of any shape, size, skin color, race, gender, sexuality, ability, age, status, and religion are good and worthy. Shame and hate have no place in what we do.

 Elizabeth, Tamara, and (one of our favorite cheerleaders) Sharon at the Women's March.

Elizabeth, Tamara, and (one of our favorite cheerleaders) Sharon at the Women's March.

We’re a company and community of and for women. We are innately feminist. Our feminism is about celebrating all that we, as women, are. Intersectional identities are central to that celebration and we aim to never exclude anyone from this community. Identifying as a woman is all you need to do to be celebrated here. We are all connected by that but diverge rapidly into our many affinities, identities, and preferences. That’s a good thing! We want to celebrate ANY woman for who and what she is and strives to be. We here at Sassy Pants are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Lesbian and straight. We face chronic illness and push ourselves to be better friends every day. We love running and watching TV. We disagree daily.

We want to be a force for positive change in the world. Our shared vision and mission, our relentless hard work, and our differences will get us there. We want you to be a part of that. Won’t you join us?


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Nancy Calderone is the CEO of Sassy Pants. She's convinced that powerful change for good happens when you rally your most trusted lady friends and make a few dozen Google Docs. When she's not training for a triathlon or marathon, she enjoys a night at home with the world's largest bowl of popcorn, a bottle of wine, and Season 2 of the West Wing. 


All Paths Are Good Paths

The grass was a shade of green I’d never seen before. Somewhere between mint and turquoise. The sun was just peaking through the Irish cloud cover and the soft dew was beginning to dry up. I didn’t know what time it was but it also didn’t matter. My family was vacationing at a friend's house on a tiny tidal island off the west coast of Ireland. Think the scenery from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince near that cave filled with weird zombie things.

Luckily for me, on this early morning hike, I encountered no zombies. Just endless rabbits. I walked out into the middle of the island where a small freshwater lake gleamed. Around me were hundreds of rabbits digging holes and jumping to and fro. I sat in the grass and picked a few wildflowers. I was just finishing my time studying abroad in London, had just come to terms with my lesbian-ness, and felt very lost.

I was about to graduate college with an art degree from a state school. No real idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help people but how? And through what job? I got up and started to walk but quickly stopped. I didn’t know which way to go. Paralyzed, I looked down the two paths before me: one toward the ocean, then other further inland. As an angsty teen coming to terms with my impending adulthood, I couldn’t make a choice. What if there was something inland that I would miss by heading toward the water? What if I got a job that wasn’t right for me? What if I came out to my family and they didn’t like it? Or what if they really liked it and became super embarrassingly involved in PFLAG or something?

Right at that moment of over thinking, a black and white dog ran perpendicular to both paths. As I found out later, his name was Rex and he belonged to the only year round island inhabitant. He ran all around in front of me clearly chasing a rabbit. This surprising appearance broke me out of whatever funk I was in. I realized that of course I’d miss something if I choose either path. But why choose a path at all?

I confidently set out through the grass between the two paths. Rex and I followed rabbits and dug holes for the whole day. I found ruins and crabs by the ocean. Befriended a donkey and waded out into the lake.

Did I miss things on the journey? Of course. Did that mean I didn’t enjoy it? No! I had an amazing time. Through this experience I learned for the first time that every life decision I was going to make would be right for me and therefore the best decision. Thinking that there was an overarching CORRECT CHOICE had paralyzed me into indecision. Freeing myself to choose based on that moment and what felt right was the best life change I could have ever made.

Do I make mistakes? Oh yes. But do I see and learn amazing things after each decision? Oh yes. I hope you can shake the paralysis of indecision and move forward on whatever path/non-path you choose.

 Me the day after this realization. That's a hawk. I feel pretty cool in this picture...

Me the day after this realization. That's a hawk. I feel pretty cool in this picture...


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Elizabeth Terry is the COO of Sassy Pants. Her job is to make decisions and take action. She's passionate about helping people and making sure everything goes smoothly. She's excited about Sassy Pant's mission to help women move forward toward whatever goal they have. Follow her on Twitter!


Sanctuary of Differences

The people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our wellbeing. These communities can build us up or make us feel terrible about ourselves or anywhere in-between. I have found myself part of a variety of communities, some more positive than others and the effects of these interactions can be profound and lasting.

 Sandy was my best friend in my first show, Annie. We were inseparable! (I made some great people friends too).

Sandy was my best friend in my first show, Annie. We were inseparable! (I made some great people friends too).

The community that has most shaped my life wasn’t a homogenous group of people just like me. It was a community of people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and personalities that taught me just how beautiful it is that so much diversity exists and that each person is unique and has something all their own to offer. I grew up doing community theatre. I was in my first show when I was nine and I quickly knew that I found a community for me. There was even a dog!

After that first show, I continued to gravitate toward this community throughout junior high and by high school it was more like a family. As part of that community, I felt supported and valued. It was a community unlike any other I experienced as an adolescent in school, where the “goal” was to be just like each other. I looked all around my adolescent teenage girl world and just saw all of the same: Girls desperately trying to be like each other with little to no regard for celebrating what made us each different. I was lucky. I found a place where each person’s unique art was appreciated and celebrated. A sanctuary of differences that encouraged a curiosity of self, to reach further into who I was without a care in the world for what other people thought.

 You can't tell in this picture, but in the second half of this show, we all ended up green-faced zombies.  

You can't tell in this picture, but in the second half of this show, we all ended up green-faced zombies.  

Beyond this lack of pressure to conform, this community was a place where often others believed in me before I believed in myself. Having that external validation when I was so insecure internally made me realize my potential. On multiple occasions I didn’t think I was good enough for a show or a dance or whatever the challenge was at the time. It was other people believing in me when I couldn’t believe in myself that kept me from throwing up my hands and not even trying. Even in the face of failure, this community celebrated the effort and empowered me to keep trying.

Sure, it’s great to not need external validation, but sometimes we are in a place where we need someone else to bet on us and see our beauty because we are so blinded with what we see as glaring flaws. Being surrounded by people who see the beauty in you even when you can’t see it yourself is powerful and allows us to catch a glimpse of what other people see in us.

What happened within the arms of that seemingly misfit community continues to shape who I am and what I stand for in the world. Not only am I interested in evolving my own self with complete disregard for what other people think, but I embrace and support people who look, think, and act nothing like me.

 I've never been a tall person. I remember being SO excited that I was tall enough to be an elf in this production of The Hobbit. (If you can't  find me in the photo, just look for the shortest elf)

I've never been a tall person. I remember being SO excited that I was tall enough to be an elf in this production of The Hobbit. (If you can't  find me in the photo, just look for the shortest elf)

I’m not saying you need to go out and join a theatre group or even that all are as positive an experience as I had. I got lucky and found a supportive community. I have been changed deeply by the people I surround myself with and that has driven me to want to create that space for other women. Sassy Pants is a community for women of all walks of life to interact with and support each other through our journeys. In a world where there is so much pressure to conform to what other people tell us is beautiful we need communities that looks at each person and sees the raw, unaltered beauty that already exists.

With a zeal for all things baked goods and puzzles, Tamara leads our Wellness Team here at Sassy Pants. She's driven to understand and help people right as they are. She's got a big heart for people (and Lego Batman) and a love of all things science. 


No, We're Not Starting With A Medium

“We’re thinking the best way to do this is to start with a size medium, see how that does, and then make sizes a little bigger and smaller from there”

 And THAT is when we’re done with the conversation.

This is a direct quote from one of the dozen phone calls that we had with potential designers and manufacturers regarding our vision of what Sassy Pants will be. They were referring to our plan of providing a huge spectrum of sizes and shying away from the idea that women on both ends of the spectrum needed athletic apparel to fit their bodies right now. They were barely interested in dipping their toes into the waters of inclusivity.

While some might ask why this phrase was particularly off-putting to us, you first have to understand what it’s like to be forgotten and/or purposely left out.

We all wear clothes. As a society, it’s a basic thing we’ve decided is a must-have. And for quite a long time, we’ve been pushed as women to do whatever it takes to move closer to the “ideal” body type. We’ve struggled, dieted, and cruelly restricted our bodies to finally get where we’re “supposed” to be. We know the feeling of walking around a store filled with beautiful things and being told (sometimes out loud by the staff) that we’re too big for anything in the store, that our body is not worth companies making anything pretty. All of those experiences tell us our body is bad and that we are physically wrong for existing.

I don’t blame fashion retailers of the past. I know that you’ve got to make money and catering to S/M/L sizes is a simpler, easier road to travel. In the world of clothing it’s easy to just make clothes that you know will fit an overserved portion of the population.

But what about those who are underserved or even completely unserved by the current offerings of the fashion industry? It’s not easy and it’s not simple. In fact, for athletic apparel, there are specific boundaries that have been set for the size of bodies allowed to shop. Retailers and designers have a hard time wrapping their head around offering athletic apparel for women who don’t already “look” athletic. Most places that offer athletic apparel only go up to a 2XL or 3XL, with a small few going up to a 5XL. This is not acceptable.

Our vision is a road less never traveled. Our concept of changing clothes and radical sizing inclusivity just doesn’t exist. Yet. We’re committed to doing something that the rest of the industry just won’t do - making athletic apparel for a size XXS through a 7XL. 

Turning this vision into reality isn’t easy.. In fact, it comes with a lot of hard work and very specific attention to detail for each size. We’re committed to learning about the shape of the body and the challenges of each size. We care about the woman wearing our clothing more than the number we sold this month.  

So while our first product will exclusively be pants, we’re not going to stop there. We’ve got a queue of ideas and products ready to be created with you in mind, no matter your size. We know that you might be struggling to find all the pieces of an athletic wardrobe for wherever you are and we want to help you with that.  

And to be clear, our vision is not to be the next Lane Bryant or Lululemon. We have no desire to widen the chasm that already exists between us as sisters who exist in this world with different shapes, sizes, and weights. In fact, it’s our goal as a company to empower women and to eliminate the negativity we might see when we are drawn into comparing ourselves to other people. Sure, some of us are a size 00, while some of us are a size 34. But we can and should exist together in a friendly, encouraging space.

So we’re not dipping our toes into inclusivity. We’ve jumped all in - excited to serve and celebrate you and your body just as you are.

Nancy's convinced that powerful change for good happens when you rally your most trusted lady friends and make a few dozen Google Docs. When she's not training for a triathlon or marathon, she enjoys a night at home with the world's largest bowl of popcorn, a bottle of wine, and Season 2 of the West Wing.


White Water Rafting

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Everyone in the boat braced for impact. The rapid was small but mighty. The water splashed up over the sides and knocked the wind out of everyone at once, chilling us to the bone. The summer in Montana was warm so at a quiet part of the river we all jumped in and swam around, shivering amidst the glacial runoff of the Yellowstone River. Teeth chattering, we smiled at each other. Rafting quickly became one of my favorite activities.

As you may know, I recently decided to start a business with my best friends. It was half on a whim and half the culmination of a great deal of strategic thought and rumination. Starting a business is a little bit like agreeing to go white water rafting. You imagine it to be nothing but exhilaration and excitement. But as you suit up, grab your paddle (that feels way too small for the task at hand), and meet your first rapid, the real risks begin to crystalize.

I’m not an adrenaline junkie. I don’t do anything that’s too extreme in the pursuit of fun. In fact, most of my entertainment occurs within the walls of my apartment. But I LOVE river rafting. I get so excited in the moments leading up to a new challenging rapid. Paddling as fast as we can as a team to get in the exact right position to tackle the next obstacle. I’m sure you can see the metaphor here.

The paddle is our toolkit to approach each new challenge and position ourselves to be successful. The raft is our baby of a company and everyone in the boat is our immediate team, board of directors, advisors, mentors, and broader community. The river is the unpredictable world of Business.

Last November when we formally met as a team for the first time, we felt the power of our idea. We knew we needed to make it happen. That raft was hitting the water. I remember feeling the electric buzz in my brain at all the amazing potential upon which we were perched.

Then came the rapids. So many rapids. This was a river none of us had ever forged before. So we met with more experienced people, had endless meetings, and read everything we could get our hands on. In early December, it was clear we needed a much bigger and better paddle. Our instincts were good but we needed specific knowledge and skills to get our positioning right. As the member of the team who compulsively goes back to school (already have a Masters in Education), I applied to Business School.

Again, it was on a whim but also exactly what I needed to do. I got into the only school I applied to (thankfully, with a hefty scholarship offer) and we were off to the races!

One of the scholarships I received for my MBA is from The Forte Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women in business. This past weekend was the 2017 Forté Foundation Conference in Seattle, Washington. If you ever can attend this conference, do it. Do not hesitate. It was amazing. Yes, I met countless amazing women and learned so much about the experience of women in Fortune 500, investment banking, operations, supply chain management, marketing, and startups; but it also fundamentally changed my entire outlook on who I am.

I’ve always identified as an introvert. It was almost a badge of honor. I’M AN INTROVERT. I would announce it in social settings to somehow absolve me of any responsibility to fully engage in conversation. I didn’t have to bring my whole self to the room because I was an Introvert™. Then I read The End of Average by Todd Rose (read it, it’s amazing). It convinced me that Myers-Briggs was a load of crap and we’re all situational in our reactions to life. I’m closed off in some situations and gregarious in others. Just like...everyone. For the past year or so, this realization just floated in my mind without any real purpose until this week.

I was convinced I was terrified of networking events, crippled by the idea of meeting a lot of people at once, pained to my very core. All because I tell myself that I’m shy: “I was born an introvert and my brain isn’t wired to like people.” What? That’s Crazy Town. If you ask my friends, I’m a confident, driven, smart person who partakes in passionate discourse. But I never saw that until now. What’s stopping me from being that person with everyone? Nothing! I must get out of my own way.

So many experiences at this conference showed me exactly that. From meeting my future classmates and having genuine, productive conversations that are foundations for incredible collaborative relationships to pitching myself and this start up to recruiters and potential funders from companies like Amazon, Whirlpool, Accenture, and Deloitte. People’s faces lit up as I spoke. And more than their receptivity to it, I enjoyed myself. I liked it. By the end the leader of my program said, “You’re so comfortable doing this.” Who? Me? What? No… but yeah, it didn’t feel difficult anymore.

For the past eight months of working formally with Sassy Pants CEO Nancy, I’ve admired her ability to just walk up to someone and start a conversation. She’s best friends with the whole room in a matter of minutes. I’ve even been envious of it.

At the 2017 Forté conference, Susan Erchler gave a keynote presentation. She’s amazing. She was a sales executive in corporate America who also climbed the tallest mountain on every continent. Yeah.

She told a story about her second attempt to summit Mount Everest. She met the only other American woman to do it that year at basecamp. That woman was conveniently named Nancy. As Susan got to the last resting point before ascending the last 1400 feet to the top of Mount Everest, she was so bone tired and she wanted to quit. So she told herself after each step, “If Nancy can do it, I can do it.”

So, if Nancy can do it, I can do it. I’ve got my paddle, my raft, and my team. Let’s go.