When we think of media, it’s common for us to associate it with negativity - the stories and events of divisiveness, pain, and how much there is to improve on a global scale. But some platforms do an incredible job of highlighting truth in a way that empowers and inspires us to see how much hope there is for changing the world for good. Rachael Baxter, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Conscious Magazine, chatted with us to share how she creates media that does just this. Check out our interview with her below to hear about their platform that celebrates and learns from global initiatives, non-profits, social entrepreneurs, and so much more.
The mission Conscious Magazine declares is, “Empowering people everywhere to change the conversation.” What all has influenced you to create a publication with this core purpose?
The mission of Conscious started with a desire become an alternative media source to lower the volume of sensational media and raise the volume of inspirational media.
Through Conscious, we set out to be a source of truth and encouragement to all people.
What ultimately influenced this media direction were the incredible people with incredible ideas that are changing the world. We are inspired by their stories, their courage, and their determination to create change where change is needed, which is why we dedicated our platform to featuring global initiatives and nonprofit work. The more engaged we are with this conversation, the more we are connected with an audience of leaders and social entrepreneurs.
Tell us a bit about your journey toward founding Conscious. Have you always been involved in work that aligns with your personal values?
We launched Conscious with a simple, yet powerful mission: to tell real stories with real impact and inspire a community to change the conversation. And so for us, it’s important to be connected to communities with powerful stories. Before we launched Conscious Magazine, and even during, we always had a passion for social justice, and so there are many causes we support from the orphan crisis, to the fight against sex trafficking, and lack of education. Also, personally, I’ve been a Crisis Textline Counselor created by DoSomething.org, and a teen social entrepreneurship coach as part of the Whatever It Takes program.
Conscious features so many meaningful stories both online and in your annual print magazine, from global culture to health; from leading entrepreneurs to ethical fashion. How have you seen storytelling on these subjects, and many others, affect change in the world?
We’ve seen an enormous impact, growth, change, burdens lifted, and communities improved. We’re honored to be a platform to share those wins. We also have grown to learn the importance of community. For many of the stories and the individuals we feature, we see that the foundation of their ideas and impact is community, collaboration, and partnership. There really is something special about coming alongside people that share a passion for change with you.
Are there any tools, resources, or books that have helped you grow as an entrepreneur that you would recommend to others?
Tons! Everything from social good conferences, watching TEDx talks, to podcasts. Some of our favorite authors have been Brené Brown, Dale Partridge, and even our esteemed writers who provide smart how-to’s for the social entrepreneur. And, yes there are tools that help us work more efficiently. For example, Co-Schedule, is an online marketing calendar for scheduling social media, and Submittable is an online portal for collecting submissions.
This month at Yellow, we’re focusing on Voice; looking at how by uncovering and embracing our unique character, we can use our individual voice to impact others for good. This is something you have done brilliantly by founding a publication that does just that. What was key for you in discovering how to use your individual voice?
Be yourself first and know your foundation.
Know your boundaries, what makes you come alive, your passions, and be clear on your intention with who you are and how that is reflective in your communication. All of this took some time to figure out and for me, I’m still figuring it out. But I believe what was key in finding my voice was both having a solid group of supporters who spoke into my life, and being proactive in personal and professional development.
Your last issue was dedicated to mental health, where you powerfully had many voices sharing the encouraging message that, “the most beautiful people are those who have known defeat and suffering and have found their way out of the depths.” What was the response from readers like to this issue? Were conversations opened up for others as a result of these writers using their voices?
We chose to discuss mental health awareness because we know everyone in some way is affected by it. Whether it be a loved one, a friend, a coworker, or even yourself may struggle with some form of mental health issue. Yet, with it being so prevalent, there still seems to be a negative stigma associated with it. For that reason, we wanted to start a conversation surrounding not only the importance of recognizing how fragile humanity is, but that it is okay and even good to talk about it. In fact, we need to talk about it, and we need to support one another in it.
When we started opening up about this idea, and when people read a few articles, yes, other people started sharing their own stories with us - from sharing about how their mom has schizophrenia, to a teen dealing with depression and anxiety, to someone sharing about a dark moment in their past. We truly started to accomplish the purpose of this edition - to create a safe space to talk about mental illnesses and mental health.
What is your hope for the future of Conscious Magazine, and for the conscious conversation around the world?
From where we are now, watching Conscious Magazine grow from a vision into a global destination for curated conscious culture has been what we call both a thrilling and fulfilling experience. We are excited to see what comes next. We foresee more partnerships, perhaps a podcast, and more distribution. This kind of access and expansion will only help further the opportunity to have more empowering conversations.
Images courtesy of Conscious Magazine