We'd like to take a moment to reflect and share some thoughts as we celebrate our first year in business. Below is a message from each of the co-founders. Thank you for your continued support and interest in our agency!
One of our speakers, Brian Bordainick, met with Caitie and I (Tara was in Halifax) before we officially launched a year ago and asked if we were sure we wanted to do this. If we were sure we were ready to go through the stress, the heartache, the isolation, the commitment to take the reins and the responsibility involved with owning and running your own business. Admittedly, I second guessed myself, not my team, in this moment. Not because I didn’t believe we could do it—I'd helped with a startup before. But because I knew how successful he had been and how passionate he was about his own business and how hard it was when that business had recently failed. I didn’t want to ever experience that failure and emotion.
But rather than stopping before we started, I took a deep breath and embraced that pressure and decided I couldn’t let the risk stop me from the reward. We had made the promise to be committed to each other, and I was going to help see that through. Not only because we wanted to be successful, but also because we wanted to ensure the success of our speakers—our friends and our inspirations for being in this industry (Brian included).
I would say this first year of business has flown by and I can’t believe it, but retrospectively, I absolutely can remember the seconds, minutes, hours of daily focus put into making this first year count. I couldn’t imagine what it would’ve been like 21 months ago when I left the last agency or 12 months ago when we started this one if I had decided to leave this industry. It’s molded me as an individual and I can’t thank everyone enough for pushing me and my co-founders to our limits and allowing me to be a part of this experience. I’ve been so lucky to have met some of the smartest, most impassioned, inspiring people—both before and after this agency began. And the two at the top of that list are my co-founders.
So to my co-founders, even if I don’t say it everyday, I love you. To our dear partner and friend, Dave, you’re the Bosley to our Angels and the best pain in the ass to have around. Thank you for being our biggest cheerleader. To our speakers, keep being the best version of you—you are our inspiration. And to everyone who has supported us, worked with us, and believed in us, we couldn’t have gotten through the first year without you. Thank you isn’t enough, but it’ll have to do for now.
In January 2015, I packed up my (rather large) apartment in Halifax, Nova Scotia and stuffed my belongings into a tiny studio on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I had visited New York City for the first time back in the Fall of 2014. I took a meeting, which turned into a job offer, and as with most of my major life decisions - I impulsively accepted. Luckily, I had some nudging from our speaker, Dev Aujla, earlier that week. We were discussing the idea of my moving to New York prior to any job offer, and I asked him “but what do I do with all of my stuff in Halifax?”. His response was, “You get rid of it. It’s just stuff. Who cares? Just move here!.” So that’s what I did. I got my TN Visa, and just moved there.
Even from my very first day at that job, working with Tori and Caitie just felt right. Apart from us all having similar senses of humor, our work styles and sensibilities just seemed to click. Over time, we all realized that our personal and professional moral codes truly aligned - but, we weren’t able to adequately exercise our values within our present jobs. And that’s how the idea of Outspoken was born. Three best friends who wanted better for themselves, the industry and the world.
This past year has only solidified the unshakeable bond that we share. We fight, we talk, we laugh, we cry (I cry the most), and we have so much fun working together. Our speakers and clients sense that we can truly be ourselves and do our best work. We are punching above our weight class, but we are mighty and up for the challenge. Having the legendary speaker’s agent, Dave Twombly, join our team has only made us that much stronger. I could not be prouder of all that we’ve accomplished this past year, and of the exceptional roster of speakers that we get to represent. I consider myself a very lucky person to work with such gifted event planners who want to boldly educate and make a difference. And I’m most grateful that I get to wake up every morning, and work with my two best friends.
Thank you to everyone who has been an ally, a friend, and a supporter in Outspoken’s first year. We cherish you.
Starting a business is hard. Everyone says it, and everyone who has done it, knows it’s true. Starting a business knowing you have a mountainous challenge to overcome before you can serve your first client, may to some seem downright reckless. And finally, starting a business that involves taking on huge challenges right out of the gate, with two of your closest friends as partners, might be seen by some as the biggest risk of all. And the truth is, in many cases it is. Our relationships are the most important things we have in life, and you put those on the line when you charter into the unknown territory of starting a company.
But as we learned, and as I knew in my gut when we first started on this journey, the “trifecta” that is the co-founders of Outspoken were, are, and always will be a force to be reckoned with. When the finish line was out of view, and the challenges seemed insurmountable, our loyalty to each other and our shared dream fossilized. When one of us needed support, the others were there to give it. The individual talents and abilities that we each bring to the table are diverse and strikingly complimentary. My weaknesses are covered by my partners' strengths. But above all, it is our shared passion for what we are building, the messages we are helping to spread, and our unwavering belief in each other that makes me so proud every single day to call these two women my co-founders.
Although today marks the official first birthday of Outspoken, the path that led us to our launch date began much earlier and was, in retrospect, the best possible journey we could ask for. It enabled us to build trusted relationships in our industry and garner countless advocates for Outspoken along the way. Most importantly, it brought us together and also led us to our dear friend, Dave “Proff” Twombly, who was Outspoken’s first champion, and is now our partner and colleague.
Through the support and loyalty from our talented speakers, industry comrades, friends and, of course, our families, we found outside affirmation that we were doing the right thing. And for that we are eternally grateful. Through the support of my co-founders, Tori and Tara, and our partner, Dave, I have daily affirmation that I am doing the right thing. And for that, I am eternally grateful.