Announcing the 2018 Raleigh Cohort!

Southern culture is generous. It is inviting and warm and slow. It is historically rooted, designed for inequity, and can be cruel. It is complex and distinct. 

I’m from North Carolina, born and raised. I grew up with many of the stories that folks tell themselves about what it is to be Southern and what it is to be a Southern woman. I know them. I love many of them, and I have let many of them go. 

I left North Carolina in early 2014. I didn’t sense that Raleigh-Durham was a place for a woman like me. I didn’t sense that this city was where I could live a life of purpose, build an aligned community of friends and mentors, have multiple career opportunities, work for a good salary, and thrive. I didn’t see female leadership that was distinctly feminine. 

I moved back in June of 2017. Over the last three years, folks have envisioned Raleigh-Durham in a new light. They have built the space, the ecosystem, and the community. They have literally constructed buildings. The birth of so many coworking spaces and coffee shops and small businesses is stunning. Much of that has happened because of female leadership, women-led teams, and the fact that women own more real estate and more businesses than ever before. Yet, when I came to Raleigh, I felt that there still wasn’t a space for these women to come together — a space for women to both grow their professional community but also to learn and celebrate and uplift one another. I didn’t see us celebrating the women who live at the intersection of work driven by a why, life cultivated with intention, and an embrace of uncertainty. 

Enter Tide Risers. Enter a chance introduction to Lara, our founder. Enter an afternoon conversation at Elsa in Brooklyn and enter the possibility of building that very space for women here, in Raleigh-Durham, in my home. 

Y’all, I am so thrilled to introduce you to Alisa, Gizem, Jennifer, Jillian, Laura, Linda, Lisbeth, Marianne, Meredith, Natalia, Paige, and Sue. These women are incredible, and they make up the first Southeastern cohort of Tide Risers. 

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They are founders, CEOs, executive directors, consultants, care coordinators, donor management supervisors, activists and creatives. They are adventurers, travelers, mothers, yogis, wives and much more. They are insightful, thoughtful and committed to a vision of community for each other and for women like them.

During our first meetup, amidst a noisy coffee shop and as a fun icebreaker, we matched childhood dreams of “what we would be when we grew up” to who we are now. In our first conversation, we explored how much more possibility has opened up for women across the generations. The career options for young girls to dream about have multiplied exponentially. In our first conversation, we opened up about imposter syndrome. In our first conversation, I looked around the table and felt a deep sense of possibility. This group of women are investing in themselves, dedicating valuable resources and time to their careers and on their development, and investing time in building their own community. This is the future of female leadership and this is the future of Southern women. 

I’m excited to see how each woman in this Raleigh-Durham cohort invites us into deeper learning around new paradigms for life and leadership. I’m grateful that these women call Raleigh-Durham home. I’m grateful that we all know one another now, that we have a shared identity as Tide Risers, and that this cohort and community is officially launched. 

In celebration,