While social impact organizations have been quickly on the rise in popularity, founding one remains anything but an easy feat. Today on the blog three-time founder, Krystin Hargrove, shares her journey with launching her social impact organization, Empowomant, the importance of community in her work, and the first steps to take if you want to start your own company to impact the world for good.
Tell us a bit about the work you do!
I’ll start with what I believe I was created to do, my purpose is deeply rooted in community building. Particularly, in empowering and encouraging people to find and discover their purpose and live life to the fullest. I’ve always jumped into the things I felt passionate about. I live life failing fast, for me that’s proven to be the quickest route to figuring things out. Which lead me to founding Empowomant, a women’s organization empowering women to live with intention.
I also own and am the primary maker of a children’s apparel company, Harp Noelle, named after my daughter, and launched a community called Single Moms Travel, where our goal is to encourage single moms to see the world with their children and eventually provide opportunities.
All of my companies have community building as a primary pillar in their mission.
I love the work I do - everything I’ve created represents a stage in my life where I was in need of the community I’m creating and serving.
What inspired your tagline of “Vision. Work. Follow Through.” and how has that method played out in your work?
My tagline was the process I followed to tackle things in my life. A vision, typically represented a change or pivot I needed to make in my life. With change comes work, figuring out the work to bring a vision to reality. Work is anything from time management, evaluating habits, shifting thought, to investing in yourself. The final piece is the most important, follow through, a.k.a. where I got it wrong for a while.
I spent a lot of time working on my vision, but not enough time tracking progress, analyzing the results of my work, and mistaking being busy as working towards my goal.
Follow through is “less sexy” but represents what allows us to turn the corner. Building real relationships, the hundreds of follow-up emails we send, the stillness to make sure we’re operating in alignment with purpose, figuring out what success and failure is, being told no and moving forward anyway, asking for help, the list goes on and on. This interview is an example of our tagline at work. I registered for your conference, which I’m super excited about! I reached out to offer help and shared the conference with my community. My vision was to build community with like-minded women through conferences, the work is represented by my investment financially, in time, and in preparation. My follow through was offering to serve and sharing with my community. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share on the blog today!
It’s inspiring that you invite women to focus on self, family, and career all together. What are some of the best ways you’ve seen women live intentionally in all three areas?
The most common ah-ha moment is watching women connect the dots and realizing how powerful it is to put yourself first. Many times we as women naturally put others first, or view focusing on self as a selfish thing. The reality is if we can’t keep ourselves together, we’re not really able to keep everything else together - at some point fatigue sets in or we feel unhappy with our lives. At Empowomant, we believe movement in life starts and ends with “you.” Which is why our focus areas move in succession from self, family, to career. Self discovery leads to purpose, and women are able to see movement with clarity. That clarity guides intention forward and brings about the change they’re seeking. It’s believing they can! Women realize they’re the composers of life’s symphony.
What do you turn to when you need time and space to invest in yourself?
I’m an extremely spiritual person. I pray for guidance literally daily. I realize that my purpose is way bigger than me and I am no different than the members of my community. I go to therapy, I lead a small group at my church, I spend time taking care of my mental wellbeing by spending time alone in reflection, I have great friends who I confide in, and I pay close attention to my environment. I take the time to be present in every moment, especially with my kids, and I don’t pursue something unless I feel 100% about it. That’s the formula for me.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to found a social impact organization — but has no idea where to begin?
You’re not alone! I’d say start! No one has it all figured out. Put yourself in rooms that inspire you, then plan how to carve out your niche. Read a lot of books and get comfortable being uncomfortable, there are a lot of people way smarter than you! I’d encourage them to believe in what their organization will stand for.
Social impact is trendy right now, you have to be certain you’re creating change for the right reasons - not because it’s trendy, but because you’re passionate about the work.
Lastly I would say, you will fail, so don’t get discouraged. Every “failure” is simply rerouting you to exactly where you’re supposed to be! So keep working and don’t quit.
We love that you collaborate with men doing good work in your arena! What’s been the most effective way to draw men into the conversations your organization is focused on?
Personally I’ve collaborated with a lot of amazing men who value the ideas of women. So with Empowomant, I was adamant not to exclude men from our community. In all honesty, I don’t have to draw men in. They’re a huge part of it. They represent our husbands, boyfriends, fathers, sons - I mean half of the world’s population is male, fact check me on that! As women, we need communities specifically for us, but that doesn’t mean men aren’t an integral part, they should be. Men are excited and more than willing to contribute and support.
Photos courtesy of Krystin Hargrove