FEATURE: BIG SISTERS CLUB FOUNDER TASHONTA FAIRMAN ON CREATING A SPACE TO EMPOWER WOMEN OF COLOR
BIG SISTERS CLUB FOUNDER TASHONTA FAIRMAN DISCUSSES ESTABLISHING NEEDED SPACE TO EMPOWER WOMEN OF COLOR.
Credit: Tashonta Fairman | IG: @bigsistersclub_ | Tashonta Fairman of Big Sisters Club
Affirm Noire| May 14, 2021
In this feature, we interview Tashonta Fairman, founder and CEO of Big Sisters Club. Tash is an event planner, Creator, marketer, and community builder who launched Big Sisters Club with the intention of empowering women of color to hold needed space for themselves. Big Sisters Club is a blog and platform dedicated to empowering women of color by providing them space to develop personally, focusing on self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-expression. Big Sisters Club is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada but is operating mainly online during the pandemic.
"I believe that it’s through storytelling and exchange of experiences, where we learn that many of our struggles are commonplace. I want women to feel comfortable speaking their truth in a world that tries so hard to rewrite or even erase their stories."
So Tash, what inspired you to launch Big Sisters Club?
TF: My biggest driver for starting Big Sisters Club was my desire to fill a need I found amongst women and getting over my fear of failure to provide a solution. So often we limit our abilities to achieve greatness because we fear failure. Think about the various people that made a positive impact on the world. Without their courage to overcome their fear of failure or defeat, they wouldn’t have been able to create the change we know today.
For months I was pondering on the idea of starting a blog that’s dedicated to self-awareness because this is a concept I’ve struggled with in the past. “What if no one likes my writing or even cares to read it?” is a big question I kept in the back of my mind. My fear of failure prevented me from writing and sharing my thoughts. Now that I’ve started, I realize that my fear stemmed from a fake reality I created in my head. Who’s to say no one will like my content? Why wouldn’t someone benefit from what I had to share? Since I didn’t actually start, I wasn’t getting any real feedback. Given this, I had to make the decision to just take what you might call a leap of faith.
Constantly thinking about where you might go wrong will put you in the mindset to not succeed and can lead to unhappiness. I truly believe that being fully aware of your fear to fail, you can start to work on thinking more positively about your goals, skills, abilities and overall self.
We're so proud of you for overcoming your fears to launch this platform! How has this experience impacted you so far?
TF: What started as just a blog, has grown to become a community space that empowers and inspires young women through the upliftment of self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-expression. My mission for Big Sisters Club is to uplift the next generation of women through empowerment by creating a space for young women to thrive, build, connect, and support each other. Behind my pretty smile and bubbly personality, I used to struggle with being confident and accepting myself for who I was. Honestly, sometimes I still struggle because I’ve realized that as I grow and learn more about myself and the world around me, being authentic and remaining empowered becomes more and more difficult. As the eldest of 4 children, I’ve always had to play a ‘big sister role’ by being a leader, supporting my siblings, acting as a role model, and being responsible. I struggled to love myself as a teenager and into early adulthood - especially when it came to being bold enough to express my true self. I wanted to create a space where young women can show up as their whole selves without judgment or need to conform to some idea of what society says they should be.
Such a powerful last statement there...So, what is your role as the founder of Big Sisters Club?
TF: As the Founder and CEO of Big Sisters Club, I am building a community of young women that are actively seeking personal development and want to connect with other like-minded women. We aim to close the gap between loving who we are now and improving to be the best versions of ourselves, as we navigate this idea of womanhood. We're about creating safe spaces and discussing real experiences that are often overlooked or considered 'taboo' topics. We look to work together as women to provide support and advice to each other in hopes of developing into the women we are destined to become.
Using my knowledge and experience in planning and organizing events, I create enriched virtual experiences in the form of workshops, panel discussions, and hangout events. Based on my own experience, I also share my thoughts and advice through blog posts and Instagram content while speaking on common issues many women face and offering encouragement and solutions to alleviate them. Most of my day-by-day work consists of brainstorming ideas, researching, planning events, marketing, creating content, managing administrative tasks, and most importantly connecting with BSC subscribers and followers.
The start-up phase is definitely where we have so many roles to fill! Have there been any accomplishments regarding Big Sisters Club that you want to share with us?
TF: One of the biggest accomplishments of BSC was the launch of The HerStory Collective. Launched in October 2020, this initiative serves to amplify the voices of women striving to live in their truth and giving them the power to tell their own stories. Due to the recent overwhelming recognition of racial injustice faced by the black community, I wanted to create a space where black women and other women of colour can share their lived experiences. So far, more than fifteen women have shared their stories with us; and though the stories don't have to be race-related, it’s important to recognize the intersectionality of race and gender because together each plays a bigger role in discrimination as a result of facing both racism and sexism. I believe that it’s through storytelling and exchange of experiences, where we learn that many of our struggles are commonplace. I want women to feel comfortable speaking their truth in a world that tries so hard to rewrite or even erase their stories. The goal of the HerStory Collective is to encourage women to be their most authentic selves in every space that they occupy. By sharing our stories, know that another young woman or girl will realize they are not alone. We aren’t alone - it’s just about finding the right community. That’s where Big Sisters Club comes in.
Such valid points...Do you have any visions and plans for Big Sisters Club moving forward?
TF: My visions for Big Sisters Club include growing a solid, purpose-driven team of young women that are passionate about personal development and women empowerment, and want to build their skills and bring their unique experience and expertise to grow BSC. I’m already in the planning phase of establishing an official membership community where women can have a specific space to connect, enroll in workshops and masterclasses, attend panels and live discussions, have access to an ongoing repository of resources, and more. I’d also love to host weekend retreats where various women can enjoy a few days of positivity, community, and sisterhood by way of mini-workshops, spa days, yoga sessions, brunch, hiking, rest, and everything one could desire out of a retreat.
That sounds so refreshing and needed! Finally, if you could leave us with one message, what would that be?
TF: To anyone reading this that feels this way, just create. Don’t overthink it. I’ve already received great remarks from the few that have read my content, loved the opportunity to share their story through the HerStory Collective, and attended our events and workshops. You really won’t know until you try–even if you do fail, you can use this as a lesson and learn from it. You won’t learn where to improve by just pondering your idea, so go for it!
I’m so grateful for the women that have been supporting and engaged with this BSC so far. Whether it’s attending events, submitting their herstory, following on socials, and connecting and working with other women they’ve met, BSC wouldn’t be where it is today without them all. They are integral to the growth of this community and deserve to be recognized for their contributions.
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