How it all started…
On January 11, 2017, the humble beginnings of Embark Women came into existence. I initially founded the group on Meetup.com with zero members and zero expectations. Well, that's not entirely true. I did have one expectation -- for it to fail. I created it, held my breath, and waited for nothing to become of it.
I had moved to East Texas in the summer of 2010 to be near my husband’s family with a plan to get a big chunk of land, have lots of children, and eventually build a family compound. Family was my focus. We would farm, ranch, and live off the land. But infertility, depression, divorce, and self realization (in that order) had other ideas. I found myself searching for something — a meaning, a purpose. While trying to find my way, I was fortunate enough to become acquainted with some wonderfully supportive people who, unbeknownst to them, also became my mentors.
With their support and encouragement, I started to “put myself out there” by volunteering with different organizations and attending various meetings and events. One women in particular took me under her wing. Not only did she support me unconditionally, she believed in my abilities and opened doors for me. She educated me on the ins and outs of things like local business politics and existing groups in East Texas. Eventually, I found myself feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for all she had done for me and I began wondering why I was so lucky. Why should I have this resource, support, and education handed to me when there are probably so many other women out there searching for a similar sort of environment? I realized that I could create and foster that environment for other women, and decided to create Embark.
To my surprise, the Meetup membership slowly began to grow and I met even more incredible local women who felt the same way I did. We all had something we needed, but more importantly we all had something to give. If we all came together, we could create a platform that would give access to any woman seeking to move through uncertain waters of public life and business. By the end of 2017, Ruthie Blair, Sreenidhi Vedartham, and I officially founded and formed Embark Women as a real-deal nonprofit. Our leadership team and membership team continues to grow, and as they say: the rest is history.
Written by: Crystal Bryce