The story began on a cold December morning in 2016.
“I was heavily pregnant and decided I had to create a collective for women, who like me, had ventured out on their own or were dreaming of creating something that one day, might lead to being able to quit the 9-5.
I haven’t always worked for myself.
My entrepreneurial journey started back in 2014.
In 2014, I had one of those life defining moments, and it just so happened to be on the underground in London. I was working as a Senior Strategist at the time in the NHS, juggling family, children, career, health issues, and it felt like the universe was shaking me by the shoulders to make a change and to pursue my life long ambition of being a Psychotherapist.
On paper I had a great career, which I’d worked hard to get. But I wasn’t happy, and I felt lost in where I was going and what I was doing. My sparkle was fading and I knew I had to make some big life changes.
2014 was my defining year of being Fiercely Brave.
I set out on a 5 year plan to quit the 9-5. I set my heart and soul on qualifying as a Psychotherapist and working in my own private practice, focusing entirely on women, and transforming them to disco ball sparkle. I studied on weekends, read more books than I have in my lifetime, undertook 60 hours of supervised practice on evenings, and finally got my licence to practice 12 months later and proudly launched my psychotherapy practice www.bringingsparkleback.co.uk in October 2015. This was my side hustle, my alternate world, which sat alongside my 9-5, until I went on maternity leave in the autumn of 2016.
I had a lonely and pretty isolating first year in business as a psychotherapist.
I had no real network (apart from the one I was building on instagram) and no christmas party to look forward to. I lacked basic skills and I had to self teach myself those business skills. I’d tried the conventional ‘networking’ – but when you are still working the 9-5 and have a family and a side hustle, breakfast and lunch meetings aren’t accessible. The ones that I did find, well, they didn’t fit with me or what I was about. I was trying to escape the corporate world and had no intention of going back to that world. I didn’t want to sell, or be ‘sold to’.
What I wanted and needed was evening meet-ups, over a cocktail, in a stylish venue, in my local community, full of women who totally got what it was like to be me. I wanted and needed expertise from a whole range of people, who could help me drive my vision forward and equip me with the skills and knowledge to do that myself. I wanted the opportunity to meet and listen to women who inspire me and empower me to up my game.
I wanted, and so desperately needed to find my Tribe.
To collaborate with other women who were in synergy with my brand and most of all, I wanted to try and reduce that isolation and loneliness I was feeling, and bring some fun and friendships into this new world of mine – a world that nobody else really understood.
I couldn’t find what I’ve just described, so I created it.
From scratch, with my own imagination and my own passion. I invested £200 from my maternity leave pay, built a website, wrote the content, had my baby, (little Kristina) and with the help and support of my husband, and co-director Darren (A.K.A Mr Girl Tribe Gang) Girl Tribe Gang was born. We launched our first Tribe meet up in Ilkley, Yorkshire in May 2017. By September 2017 I had quit the 9-5 world for good. It took me 3 years from that first seed of an idea to quit the 9-5 to making it happen.
Life is ALL about connection.
As a talking therapist, I’m a passionate believer in real life, human connection. We spend our lives online. The power of our Tribe, is in the real life connections, collaborations and friendships that happen organically. I thought that if Girl Tribe Gang could help to reduce even a tiny bit of that isolation other women have got to be feeling, well then that’s going to have a positive effect on their overall health, emotional well-being and success too.
We have already spread our Girl Tribe Gang wings right across the country.
We are on a mission to spread the Girl Tribe Gang Love globally (yep, we are dreaming BIG!). The support for Girl Tribe Gang has been phenomenal. It has blown me away and I had no idea that it would capture the hearts and minds of so many.
We’ve created some incredible collaborations and partnerships too, with people and organisations and brands who speak our DNA, and we will continue to grow those partnerships.
We are NOT networking.
We are a community.
We are a movement of a hidden workforce of women.
All at different life stages, who are spinning side hustles, working from kitchen tables and feeling isolated, lonely and unsupported.
We are on a mission to change that.
We are also on a mission to start a conversation about stress and mental health amongst this huge hidden workforce of women, who are contributing massively to the Global Economy from their kitchen tables. Because there is NO occupational health department. There is no stress policy, or line manager, or guidelines, or charters. This is a conversation we’ll be starting at our first GTGLIVE18 happening on 3rd November and we are going to continue championing and campaigning.