It’s December, 2008 and I’m googling “women’s business groups Atlanta” or something like that. Up comes “Ladies Who Launch.” With a name like that, this had to be good! And it was!
A couple of months earlier I had been completing my last few miles of my 5 ½ month walk on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. I was saying to myself, “Doing this trail convinces me that I really CAN do anything I want to do!” What I wanted to do was keep walking on long trails like this one and the Appalachian Trail I had completed just the previous year. “What I want to do is earn my living hiking.” That was in October, 2008.
In January, 2009, I was enrolled in the Business Incubator Class of Ladies Who Launch. I had no idea what business I was launching, nor how to start one. In the month-long session, though, I got clear that I could combine my love of walking in Nature with the tools of Radical Forgiveness. I figured that this combination was what helped me walk over 4,000 miles in two years. Perhaps I could coach others to do the same.
The workshop leader, Montine Blank, was an entrepreneur herself, using the same exploratory methods to envision her own business. In the company of the other five women in that workshop, we all invented business ideas that came from our hearts. Nothing was denied or shot down, but received with curiousity, wonderment, and….. tools for planning it out as a business. What I came up with from that Incubation Session was Forgiveness Walks, the business I’m still dedicated to growing!
For most of that year, I attended the monthly meetings of the Atlanta Chapter of Ladies Who Launch. At the time, we owned no car, so I would take the public transportation from my home in South Dekalb County to the community building in Cobb County, no small feat! It would take me about three hours to navigate my route on three buses, two trains, and a one-mile walk. I would get there early, and help Angela Stalcup, the director, set up the room. I asked her if I could request a ride back to Decatur from the group. She agreed, and when she introduced me, she said, “And here’s Regina Reiter with a ride request. She’s someone who walks her talk! She came here by public transportation all the way from Decatur!”
This was typical of Angela’s style, highlighting the unique qualities that make each woman’s business worthy of acclaim. With her encouragement, leadership, and expert ability to create training in just what we start-up entrepreneurs needed, I actually started seeing my own potential as a business owner! Angela even met with me personally for a complimentary business strategy session, in exchange for her own Forgiveness Walk. I think I was the benefactor of BOTH sessions!
Today’s thanks goes to Angela, and all the other Ladies Who Launch, in whose company my dream of “earning my living hiking” looks more and more possible every day!
One of those women was the person who had said, “I can take her home!” in response to that first ride request that Angela made on my behalf. That was Wendy Watkins, a long standing member of Ladies Who Launch, who lived less than a mile from my house! That first night, she dropped me off at my door, and we’ve been friends and mutual clients ever since!
Here’s to The Ladies Who Launch!
Resources cited on this post:
Montine Blank: Geneva Montine Blank