The tough (and…fun? Interesting?) thing about building a company without many other similar companies in the world is that there are few to follow. Usually this is great. It sucks when things like public orders come down with vague closure guidelines for businesses like mine. Here’s what I sent out to current members of The Workaround after the province let everyone know on Friday afternoon that Toronto is going back into lockdown:
Author: Lily Herman (page 1 of 53)
Last week a virus—not the virus—but a little tiny cold entered our protective bubble of 2020 lockdown. It started in third grade, and Eli—as always—brought it home to me without actually getting it. (Eli is nine years old and has not been sick since preschool. I am not exaggerating.)
It’s amazing how 2020 can reframe getting a minor cold. It reminds me of the overreaction on Monsters Inc. when a kid touches that big orange fuzzy monster. Alarms, decontamination, hazmat suits. The poor monster gets shaved. I have spent three days in bed for a cough that can only be described as minor. I am staying even more out of public, lest I cough and panic everyone all around me.
Newsletter editor Lily here.
I’d mentioned in previous intros that I was starting a new writing gig the Monday after the election, and sure enough, last week marked the beginning of my time as Bustle’s new culture writer and commentator. Quite the month to get started! This week, I interviewed Isabel Wilkerson, journalist and author of the universally acclaimed book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, for an ongoing book series for the site. All I can say is WHOA.
I already knew Wilkerson was brilliant from inhaling both of her books and reading plenty of her other work over the years, but do you ever just talk to certain people and think, “Wow, this person is much smarter than I’ll ever be in my entire life”? That’s how I felt about her in the best way. She was so thoughtful and intentional and thorough with everything she told me, and she’d actually gone ahead and read previous features within this series so that she could come prepared with answers ready to most of my questions. Ever the journalist, she did her research.
If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s how good I’d be in an apocalypse. I can be sweet and nurturing to my kids no matter what my current existential dread is. I can run 30 miles or more per week in the dead of summer in the desert. I can make two million delicious recipes out of little more than a can of chickpeas. I can find happiness and balance without the external things I used to rely on for happiness and balance.
I can even pivot my way to a growth company in a pandemic when my core audience is under full assault from the world as well.
I’ve been having this crisis of confidence lately. (Who, me?) But I talked myself out of it and that alone is worth acknowledging the journey.
On one hand, my company is in a precarious situation. Rates are increasing in Toronto (in Peel region, with residents who are disproportionately people of color, we’re talking 11.5% positivity rate). Our premier said on Friday that we are “staring down the barrel of another lockdown.” I run an in-person business and I hate the word pivot.
Chairman Mom is easily the best job I’ve ever had. Granted, I was an investigative journalist before, which is fun in a sick way, but mostly a pretty horrible way to live. But even without such a comp, CM would come out on top.
It is absolutely as inspiring and fun as you’d expect to spend all of your time building things to delight and help badass women become more of their true amazing unfettered selves.
But among all the things I’ve gotten to be part of in the Chairman Mom community, the thing that makes me the most happy is when I see a Needhop booking come in. Lindsay Piper Shaw got three after her brilliant event on podcasting this week and you should have seen me. It was like I’d won the lottery.
“I think you two would hit it off…”
That’s what a former business partner told me about Jennifer Justice just before he intro’d us. He said it in this weird way. The hesitation wasn’t so much about whether we would hit it off. It was more about…What will these two women getting together unleash on the world, and as a man, am I ready for that terrifying alliance?
He wasn’t wrong.
Jennifer Justice—as the name suggests—is just a terrifying force of total badassery and one of my favorite women I’ve gotten to know in the last few years of dismantling the patriarchy.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was in an emotional free-fall where I wondered how I’d get through the weekend let alone 2020. Kids—at home all day??? Zoom calls constantly??? Waiting in line to go inside a grocery store?? No one ever leaving our house??? SO MANY F***ING MEALS TO COOK???
It was clear I needed a major mindshift in how to survive this if it was going to be a marathon, because I was in sprint mode.
I started to LIVE by to-do lists and I put everything essential for me to thrive on that list. Work out. Meditate. Read 50 pages of a book. Tidy for 30 minutes. Organize this room. Order all groceries for the week. Meal plan. And, you know, do all of the actual work that pays my bills. All I had to do was focus on that list. And if it was on the list, it was a non-negotiable.
Major international news organizations wrote volumes about one thing in the vice presidential debate last month. (Was that just last month!?) It wasn’t the fly; it was Kamala Harris repeatedly, firmly and politely saying “I’m speaking” every time she was interrupted.
I recognized it, and it made me feel the importance of having someone like me in that role, because I say that…a lot. But in the aftermath of the debate, I spoke to several women who said such a simple and effective and clear way of dealing with being talked over had never occurred to them or they’d never had the strength to pull it off (let alone multiple times on live TV with gender and racial bias running rampant all around her).
Today’s intro comes from CM contributor Adimika Arthur, a public health expert, hospital executive, and founder of Health Tech for Medicaid (HT4M). She fiercely advocates for vulnerable populations and loves to help people better understand health equity, healthcare, and health technology through storytelling, connection, and sisterhood.
Third time’s the charm. That’s how the saying goes, right? In this case, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) seems likely to withstand its third challenge at the Supreme Court. The backdrop of this critical decision has been the polarization of the presidential election, the rushed appointment of conservative Amy Coney Barrett, and the obvious fact that COVID-19 has left many millions who have lost their jobs uninsured or underinsured and—therefore—at heightened health risk. Here is the math: Coronavirus pandemic + economic downturn = Affordable Care Act is the only safety net for the millions of Americans who’ve lost their job (over 11 million in October 2020). That’s because loss of job = zero health insurance as a benefit of being employed.