I can imagine that when you first saw the title of this post you assumed the worst. So often, the word “boss” can be defined negatively. But that is not the case here; neither of my “bosses” have a single reason to be defined that way. So, as we close out Women’s History Month, a month that is focused on “Providing Healing and Promoting Hope” it only feels right to share this open letter about the two women, Leanne and Kim, behind the scenes of our little yet mighty business, with our amazing SkinCatering community.
Before I do that, I am going to tell you just a little bit about myself. My name is Heather, I hope you have taken some time to read what I have been sharing over the last couple of months and if not, start now! I promise you there is more to come as I continue to find my way. I began as the Chief Impact Officer at SkinCatering at the end of 2021. It was not a place I ever anticipated I would be, it was not a job that I thought could be a reality but here I am (thanks so much to the two women mentioned above). My background is in non-profit development and events. I am a community builder, a do-gooder that is always looking for ways to improve the causes I think are either overlooked or so vital to the place I am raising my family. For the last ten years I have poured blood, sweat, and tears into higher education, public media, arts, and culture in Springfield. Nonprofit development isn’t a 9-5, it is draining, often thankless and always difficult in a city that is overcrowded with needs and nonprofits, but it is a passion. One that I haven’t fully let go of, I am still there behind the scenes, pushing for things that I think will truly make a difference in Western MA… but enough about that. When Leanne and Kim approached me about joining the team at SkinCatering, I was overwhelmed with excitement, flattery, and fear. I was also drained, mentally and physically from my last job. I wasn’t healthy or focused on the right things; I was pushing too hard and so many things in my life were suffering, my relationship (he deserves a very serious shout out too, but it isn’t his month), my ability to focus on my girls while being the role model they need and just my overall well-being. Work was running every moment of every day and not because I was in love with it and accomplishing things. I am not sure if they knew that, I always tried to be strong and present as indestructible or maybe it was just meant to be? Either way, I have forever looked at these two women as role models, my “maybe someday” and just true boss babe goals. They saw in me that I was not only ready for but needed this change, that I was more than qualified to make this change and that together we could become a serious dream team. Crushing boundaries, always surprising those who didn’t believe in us and proving those wrong that had often overlooked what SkinCatering is capable of. In this opportunity, Leanne and Kim provided me healing and I witness them promote hope daily. It may not look to you like it does when a doctor provides hope to a patient, or a teacher pushes that student who may not receive motivation at home, but it is in their own way. They give each member of this team the hope to be better daily, to provide relaxation and well-being for our clients and confidence in our customers.
Smart, brave, strategic, funny, generous, creative, empathetic, hard-working, take no-sh*t – are characteristics that both Leanne and Kim embody and showcase daily. You both, with all your remarkable layers (and trust me, I am still getting to know all of them), have been my glowing examples. Even before December 2021, you were both women that I have learned from and looked up to in business, AND in life. In case you have never realized what kind of impact you’d have on my life, I’m here to tell you now: your lessons, determination, creativity, and ingenuity will stay with me forever. The guidance I’m most grateful for receiving though is this: by consistently challenging yourself and the status quo in small ways every day, you make room for big changes over time. This is something that I consider daily in choosing to challenge certain things that would otherwise hold me back. For example, this leap into a new position with new responsibilities. I will be honest the imposter syndrome at times is real! But I refuse to let it be crippling.
You allowed me to challenge a “fixed mind-set”, which allowed me only “fixed potential”. You made me step into a “growth mind-set” and with that came freedom. I now thrive on challenge, and not the corporate boundary challenge but actual let’s figure this sh*t out kind of challenges. How do we as a small business overcome the adversity we face daily? The challenge of learning an entirely new industry that changes so often, maybe even daily. But by leveraging and learning from each other’s strengths we can all level up together. The change in my mindset and what we will do together, that’s a credit to you, ladies. Thank you for sharing your gifts with me as I keep developing my own.
I have always been so proud to just know you both, as you strive to build an amazing empire. I am sure there were days that you doubted your capability, but you have never given up. You have always known your worth. You exude that daily in this business, you push each and every one of us to be better, to grow, to try harder and you hold expectations that are obtainable but also so important as we continue to grow as a place to be and a place to work. You know when to throw punches, but you also know when to duck and roll with it. You have never given up, and I am sure there are days when both or one of you have wanted to. I mean I have seen it firsthand, but you didn’t. Even when there is struggle, you put on your big girl (or in the case of today, shiny metallic pink) pants, and you push on. When you make a mistake, you don’t just fix it, you own it. Which is a quality to be admired in both of you. Not many people can honestly say that is something that they possess. It is not something to be taken for granted.
Cheers to you and all the other bad a** women that came before you and will come after you. Thank you for all you have done and all you will do. And for all of you reading, don’t forget to CATER TO YOUR SPIRIT – however that may look. Trust in yourself and trust in those that trust in you.
Happy National Women’s History Month. We appreciate you.