As I started working for Beth this summer I was really excited because she is a amazing woman that I have looked up to in my life, as a role model, a successful business woman and mother to two young girls. I have always loved the vivacious and passionate way she describes her work and I kept hearing about these “Salons” which she began hosting for women in the community, but I wasn’t fully sure what they entailed.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Beth’s mother, Sandy Rives, the woman Beth describes as the perfect mentor. Sandy started her own business before women even thought to go into business, Beth told me. She added that when she was growing up her mother gave her advice and encouragement to focus on her career, whereas other mothers (especially in that day in age) may have been more focussed on her daughter’s wedding plans. Beth appreciates her mother for being such a strong role model and an encouraging force in her life.
As I talked with Sandy, she fondly described how friends from her childhood would meet, years later, to talk about everything, from politics to the meaning of life. She started calling these gatherings “Salons,” as a nod to the important women around the world, such as Gertrude Stein, who would invite famous artists, painters and writers, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, to her salon in Paris to discuss things which interested them. Sandy noticed that her friends brought a different energy to these deeper conversations — listening intently, open-minded and exploring — so it was a natural, to her, that the gatherings be called Salons. And, so began the tradition in her family.
Beth recently started to host her own Salons at RISE Collaborative. Beth invites women whom she believes do interesting work and who would be intrigued by the work and the conversation of others. As she met dynamic women in the St. Louis community, Beth wanted to both engage these women and give them a space to connect and build relationships with each other. At her Salons, Beth makes it a point to provide more interesting food and drinks for her guests, creating an engaging environment for all of the senses, both the mind and body.
The structure of the Salons is relaxed but lightly structured, with a few conversation starters and possibly a brief presentation from a guest such as a friend and client of Beth’s, Theresa Carrington, owner and creator of The Blessing Basket Project. In these presentations a woman will share what she is currently working on; Beth says, in response, the entire room becomes so compelled that they hang on the speaker’s every word. At the end of the Salon, the group will sometimes gather to have a larger conversation. And the incredible thing, Beth shares, is that when these meet-ups end, often not a single woman leaves. In the Salons, the women help each other with projects and continue to connect beyond the space that Beth provides. Beth’s Salons are creating a community of inspired women, who are uplifting one another and making their passions into realities.