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A Personal Story of SheSustains Event

Hosts, Veena & Christy with a snapshot of the audience

Having the chance to participate in the SheSustains Stories That Matter event, which was held on the 15th of June, 2019, is an experience that I will truly cherish! The event was co-created by Christy Aikhorin and Veena Raju; a safe space for women to connect, support, and nourish one another with stories that matter along with a clothing swop and market of amazing handmade items!

Lucie sharing her story

Beginning the event was Lucie Cunningham, a woman whose story and work are deeply impactful on the community in Delft.

She is the founder of Stitching Delft Maternity and Motherhood Assistance (Delft Mama), which aims to support international families who are settling down in the Netherlands. Her volunteering work helps people to integrate into a new community and find work without an existing network, a feeling that is familiar to Lucie herself. Lucie’s platform gives people an opportunity to learn the Dutch language as well as take workshops to learn more about a country or culture. After so many years of building such a vibrant community in Delft, it is time for Lucie and her family to move and she sees this as an opportunity to reinvent herself, build new network and reshape her story.

Listening to Stories, because they Matter!

After the first keynote speaker we all split up and moved into smaller groups for workshops. I visited with Dr. Margriet Krijtenburg, a Spanish teacher who couldn’t have been a more positive role model. She taught us the importance of our perception and how easier it is to be positive rather than negative. In the beginning, everyone in the room introduced each other and said which country we came from. Unbelievably, the every single woman was from a different country and to my realization, we found ourselves together for a common purpose that we will carry into the rest of our lives.

"Personal Leadership is about being happy"... Margiet

"Form the a positive mindset"...Beatrice

Next keynote speaker, Dr. Beatrice Lukose shared truly inspirational words that will stick with me every morning I wake up: “Get Set, Go!” This phrase chanted through the room, and we all felt the power behind it.

Dr. Beatrice embodies dedication, hard work, mindfulness, and love. Thank you for sharing your powerful story of having a dream and making it a reality. Your perseverance through the difficult times to where you are today is a true testament that we control the outcome of our lives. I will take your words with me every day!

Making my way into the second workshop, I met the remarkable Lana Jelenjev. Overcoming breast cancer, Lana reinvented herself and shared how her 90-Day Sprints allowed her to pursue work that matters.

"Picture yourself in 20 years - What do you see?"...Lana

Lana challenged the group to picture ourselves in 20 years, where would we be? What would we be doing? It was tough to think about this question, but important. We were shown the value of imagining yourself in the next 30 days, and making that visionary self a reality.

Lana receiving a 'thank you' gift handmade by one of the women from the market

The SheSustains' event was more than sharing and listening in on stories. It also featured a mini-market for women made by women. It comprised of beautiful clothing, jewelry, hats, art, soaps, and makeup were for sale. It was inspiring getting the opportunity to meet the designers, on a personal level.

Some with her amazing collection

Kudos to Soma of Sreez Concepts,

for the statement jewelry that I will be rocking every single day;

Deepti and Veena of Naturally U, with their handmade soaps I cannot get enough of, particularly the tea tree and charcoal!

Alice of Alice V Designs, a truly beautiful soul, thank you for making me realize that hats are the most important accessories

Alice, lady in the middle, with excited customers

Sambita with a collection of her amazing work

To Sambita, whose work wowed the crowed, your artwork and creativity are bold and beautiful just like you.

Siben and Jenny - Marykay consultants, thank you for the make up and facial tips, you both are so fun and made everyone feel beautiful! Siben was responsible for the make up of all the hosts, Christy and Veena as well as the Master of ceremony and she did such an amazing job putting it all together.

The exceptional makeup ladies: Siben & Jenny

Lastly, there were Christy and Jilly of UnikBlends and Swopster respectively, with their sustainable clothing collection. Both of you have such unique side hustles. Thank you for teaching me creative ways to repurpose my wardrobe as well as the fun in swoping clothes, while protecting the environment.

Christy and Jilly, sustainable style ladies

Mackenzie, author and storyteller of this piece

My final thanks goes to Christy & Veena for bringing together such a diverse and powerful group of women to engage with one another and dedicate our time towards lifting each other up. It was great to meet a lot of people outside of my school, which left me with feelings of comfort and motivation

I wrote this piece as part of my summer internship program with Webster University. I introduced myself here.

SheSustains: Women supporting each other

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