Our community is everything to us — and we know you love to learn about our community members in more detail (okay, we do too!). So, once a month, we’re interviewing one of our clients or community members so you can know who they are, learn from them, and help us in celebrating their leadership and impact, in our new series: Community Interview!
First up is Sarah Hartley — Sarah’s story is one of my favorites: when going through a major life transition, she had a moment we’ve all had at some point: WTF?! Her experience was not at all what society or the media conditioned her to expect, and because no one was talking about this, she felt alone. Othered. Like something was wrong. So, she started sharing about it. And soon realized that so many women were struggling with the exact same thing — but no one felt like they could talk about it. Today, she runs a storytelling platform and community that supports women in sharing their raw and real stories, so we can all feel less alone in our journeys.
How do you define leadership?
Leadership to me is all about helping women find what they’re good at and providing them the tools to succeed in it. It’s giving women the space to experiment, learn, and fail, while knowing that they have someone behind them cheering them on. Leadership is showing up, even when it’s hard, and being able to walk the walk.
What does community mean to you?
Community is everything to me. It’s the foundation of my business but more importantly it’s the opportunity to bring women together from all walks of life and show them what it looks like when we take the time to understand one another and be there together. Community is about having a place to go where you’ll always feel safe and understood.
What are you most excited about for this year?
Building our social community membership, The Fireside, into something incredible that allows women the space to show up and be exactly who they are. When the world, in general, and social media in particular, can feel very divisive and overwhelming, I want The Fireside to be a refuge for women to come to and connect with others.
What’s one thing you’re really good at?
I am a great listener – especially to the things that are unsaid. I’ve learned over the years how to pick up on things that women especially want to say but feel nervous to, or are ashamed to say. I’m really good at listening without judgement and sitting in the discomfort with someone.
What 3 words describe your personal style?
Comfort, classic, neutral. I used to be much more into trends — I have a bachelor’s degree in fashion — but after having kids my personal style (clothing, home, jewelry, etc) has all shifted to easier and longer lasting.
What are a few of your favorite brands?
To be honest, I’m not especially loyal to any certain brand. But I shop most often in Madewell, Abercrombie, and Aerie.
How do you recharge?
Reading or taking a nap. Two young kids means I’m basically always tired, so when they have quiet time during the day, I take the opportunity to lay in bed and read, or sometimes take a quick nap. I also love to walk or run outside — being in nature fuels my soul and I get outside as often as possible.
What’s in your 10-year vision for your work and life?
In ten years for work I’d love to have transformed what I do into a full blown publishing company. Though we currently publish the stories of women on our blog, I’d love to expand that into books and help women get their stories into the hands of women around the world.
Personally, my oldest son will be about to graduate high school, and my youngest son will just be becoming a teenager so I hope that we’ve managed to travel consistently with them to show them beautiful parts of our country and world before they are out of the house. I’m very happy in my personal life so if I could continue this while making more time for travel and dates with my husband, I’ll be really happy.
Who do you look up to? Who are some of the leaders you admire?
I love the work of Brené Brown and what she does to acknowledge honest feelings. I admire Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Jameela Jamil because I think they are trying to push women’s rights to the forefront.
What’s your go-to morning beverage?
I don’t drink caffeine so it’s just plain old water for me — I’m very boring in that regard.
How do you like to express your creativity?
I’m a writer and photographer and those are the ways I best express my creativity. I’ve been writing since I was a little girl, but I taught myself photography when my oldest son was born and fell in love with it. I even started taking on family photography projects which has been a lot of fun.
Where do you like to go to find inspiration?
Instagram, Pinterest, and nature. I find my inspiration comes best when I’m taking a walk listening to my favorite music and having the time and space to just think my own thoughts.
What personal boundary do you always make sure gets honored?
I am an introvert through and through and so I get very tired being around people — especially if it’s people I don’t know super well. I’ve gotten very good over the years about telling my family when I need time to myself to recharge. I’ve also started doing quarterly night stays at a hotel in my city by myself so that I can be alone and come back a better wife and mom for having gotten time to recoup. Having the mental space that being alone gives me is incredibly important to me.
Learn more about Sarah at:
Sarah Hartley is a wife, a mom of two boys, and the creator of The Kindred Voice, a community built on the raw, real experiences of women, virtual hugs, and the power of knowing you are not alone. We exist to share the stories of women from around the world to remind you that your story is important and that it’s okay to feel your feelings out loud.