If you drive east on Dean Keaton, you’ll eventually hit a little road that leads you to Austin’s School of Film on Tillery Street. At the December Meet-up, BossBabes decorated this modern space with Christmas lights, local vendor booths and a DJ set-up with the BossBabes mission statement projected onto a pink wall.
Story by Ingrid Garcia
Photos by Casey Tang
The meet-up serves as a networking opportunity to mingle with local entrepreneurs, creatives, civic organizers and others whose seek to connect with like-minded individuals. Per this month’s theme, attendees wrote anonymous definitions of “resilience” on post-it notes that are taped onto the wall for everyone to see.
BossBabes program committee member Alexandra Perez-Puellez moved to Austin from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida two years ago. After much of her BossBabes involvement, Perez-Puellez explains why resilience is this quarter’s theme. “The organization has endured so much, like there’s always been a lot of pushback as there always are with feminist organizations, and so this truly was a year of wild growth and resilience,” Perez-Puellez says. “I feel like we’ve really gotten over this big speed bump, and not that we’re in the clear, but we’ve really transformed into like a really strong group, I would say.”
Meet-ups like these are what got Perez-Puellez out of her shell when she first arrived to Austin, where she says she always leaves with at least one new friend.
Instead of having attendees stand in the corner as they sip their wine and push themselves to network, activities like Babe Bingo are available to allow people to step out of their comfort zones. Each square says something like “find someone who moved to Austin within the last six months” or “find someone who has 10 years’ experience in their field,” and the first three people who fill in all of the squares get a free t-shirt.
Speakers present at the Boss Babes meetup.
In the corner of this town-hall style meet-up, there is also a collection of magazines, books, prints and vinyl through BossBabes’ collaborative library with Chulita Vinyl Club at Texas State University. Attendees were encouraged to bring their own items to exchange with the unique and powerful writings. Bookworms and creatives huddled the stack of items hoping to leave with the best available.
BossBabes intern Shelby Mitchell was initially attracted to BossBabes because of the buzz around town. After attending their political discussions and community networking events, Mitchell was inspired to become more involved with the organization. “[These meet-ups] are very necessary, especially for a woman living in Austin, to see yourself in such a white male dominated city in whatever industry you’re in,” Mitchell says. “It’s refreshing to see you or different people that are like you because representation is important.”
Boss Babes of the year receive awards and give speeches.
Throughout the night, BossBabes founder Jane Hervey continuously chimed in on the microphone reminding attendees to accept the awkwardness of social events, that is the purpose of them–to grow and learn. Her contagious positive energy and passion for women unity spread through the meet-up and through those who were possibly first-timers getting out of the comfort zone.
As 2019 draws closer,, there is no doubt that the BossBabes team will continue to exponentially grow as they spread their mission. “I would love to see hubs in different cities,” Perez-Puellez says. “I think of places like Ft. Lauderdale, where I wasn’t involved in the community at all, and there wasn’t anything like this. I feel like it just would’ve been so much more fun and way more cool and a great way to be involved in your city had we have had something like this.”