About VenturaVie


  • Guest Bee - Renee Ellis

A favorite thing about when I get to travel from my home in Atlanta to San Francisco is working on VenturaVie’s partnership with Zinc House Farm. I have blogged about how great it is to see the curiosity and fascination in the children while they are picking flowers and tasting different vegetables they learn about and harvest for themselves in the most wonderful organic garden.

So what was different on this occasion? BABY DUCKS AND ROOSTERS!

Watching the wonderment in the children when they could be up close to the ducklings was one of those rare, pure moments of joy. Of course, who am I kidding, I was in love with those baby ducks too!

The children also got to build an actual shelter for the many new roosters on the farm. Helping these kids who didn’t know each other before that day, work together and help each other gave me hope for the future. As they were leaving the farm we heard them saying “I built a rooster house”!

The second part of my trip is usually spent in V Boutique helping with any events at the shop, creating content, and unpacking and getting out new arrivals. The shop is always a special place to visit and volunteer as it not only provides a fun shopping experience for a good cause, it also is a place to step into community with each other. Some customers drop in, and browse, while others come in and stay for a while.

A V Boutique SF Story

My own daughter is away at college now so her and my time together is limited and sacred. It was such fun to provide a true, small boutique experience for a mother and her college-age daughter sharing their sacred time together. They were in the shop for an hour! I know they will never forget the lovely experience of being in a place where there is no negative self-talk and all are welcomed and beautifully accepted. The mom looked at me as they left with shopping bags full, with the most heartfelt “thank-you”. Getting to be a part of someone's special memory is so rewarding!

VenturaVie’s partnerships and programs range from large to small. Sometimes though for me, it’s seeing those small moments within the community that are the most rewarding and where I believe the most important, long-term impact will be seen.

VenturaVie - Placing Positivity in the World!

**** Another way to give is to list VenturaVie as your charity on AmazonSmile. Every time you shop through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates to your charity. Every penny counts and is appreciated!

  • Guest Bee - Madeleine Turskey

We started in front of the White House and made our way down Equality Corridor which, from above, reads BLACK LIVES MATTER, to the grand opening of the Vital Voices Global Headquarters in Washington D.C. I ran ahead to the front of the march to listen to powerful assertions made by mothers, daughters, granddaughters, students, and teachers letting the people know, “THIS IS WHAT A LEADER LOOKS LIKE!” and “I AM A VITAL VOICE!”. It was beautiful and inspiring and haunting and accurate. I had never been to D.C. before, and I hadn’t planned on being there that week, but the universe knew it was where I needed to be.

Vital Voices Global Partnership is a non-profit organization that “invests in women who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges.” The fact is, no idea, organization, movement, or progress can be made and sustained without considering the voices of women vital to the success. As I sat in listening to a panel that included Secretary Hilary Rhodam Clinton, Diane von Furstenberg, and Huma Abedin, I took a moment to look around the room. Including the vendors working the event, the seven-story building’s occupants were 95% women. The last time I had been in a space so overwhelmingly feminine was while attending my all-girls high school.

There is no way to put into words the power that many women together yield. You have to feel it. You have to be there. The air is charged with purpose and focus and collaboration yet there is an absence of competition and one-upping. Conversations flow easily without any one voice truly overpowering. Talking points are received with open ears, expanded upon, explored, and added to, not dismissed or ignored. Every voice in the room is given the time, attention, and respect it deserves.

The first event of the grand opening was a Founder’s Dinner and when I tell you I wasn’t “on the list” of people you’d think should be at this event I couldn’t possibly understate that enough. The guest list for this dinner was 30 people long and the last name on that list was mine. The first, of course, was Hilary Clinton. I sat across the table from Barbara and Dina Zuckerburg and the head of our table was Diane von Furstenberg, inventor of the wrap dress. Every single one of those 29 other people there had contributed to the success of the HQ endeavor, including our very own Victoria who, through VenturaVie and the Arthur & Charlotte Zitrin Foundation sponsored two wellness rooms for the Vital Voices staff to take care of their own wellbeing while at the HQ.

Though the attendees of the Founder’s Dinner were unquestionably their own powerhouses, the experience of being in that room was surprisingly unintimidating (as long as I didn’t think about who they were). Maybe that’s because my time in the room started with Secretary Clinton suggesting we take a selfie together? Either way, the goal of the dinner was to facilitate a conversation about the best, most effective way to utilize this physical space to further the mission of Vital Voices as well as re-establishing the goals and purpose of the organization and the space it will hold for facing the world’s challenges.

When I was growing up, my brother, Morgan, and I were always playing together. Most of the time we agreed on what to play but sometimes he wanted to play Hotwheels and I wasn’t so into it; I liked building cities out of blocks and legos. Sure, sometimes we fought and ended up not playing together at all, but most of the time we compromised by building a city for the cars out of blocks and I made up reasons the cars had to “drive around the block”. That is what the conversation at the Founders’ Dinner was like. Everyone participated, everyone’s ideas were heard, and, like Morgan and I as kids, everyone agreed on a course of action in the end that satisfied and inspired all parties. The goal of Vital Voices is and always has been to be a non-partisan catalyst for change in its objective of amplifying the women’s voices in leadership.

I write this in the days immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Before taking that selfie with Secretary Clinton, we touched upon how scary it was that the U.S. was sliding backward when it came to women’s rights because, as Hilary Clinton famously said, “women’s rights are human rights”. In a building full of women celebrating empowerment and leadership it was hard to reconcile the juxtaposition of the looming court decision with what I felt in that moment. Surely the men in power didn’t think they could overtake this. Surely they know it is only a matter of time. How could anyone deny the raw force and power of women, especially when collaborating? Don’t they know?

I’ve been sitting with this experience in D.C. and that conversation before the selfie for almost two months at this point. I’ve finally had time to process what an incredible experience I was gifted. What did I learn? What will I bring forward with me?

I’ve learned that if there isn’t a seat for you at the table, you bring your own chair. I’ve learned to fully understand the impact a single voice can have in the midst of chaos as well as the strength in numbers we have when we support each other. I will bring forward with me the knowledge that I am a Vital Voice.

Most importantly, I’ve committed myself to use my voice and my power and privilege to fight for all the women and uterus-havers in the world because I believe Madeleine Albright’s words more now than ever before; “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

Updated: Jun 21

June wrapped up our Spring Sunday Salon Series and what beautiful time was spent for all who attended! For this series, being our first, we had the vision of creating a place where we could create community for just 45 minutes on a monthly Sunday to listen, learn and share with each other. We learned how color can actually make us feel physically better and we created some expressive art together. We talked about resilience and how to receive from others, sharing thoughts and personal experiences. Lastly, we had smiles and fun all the way around with Joanna making "honey tonics for wellness" even including a honey cocktail!

Enjoy recordings of these previous Sunday Salons below as we look forward to the Fall Sunday Salon Series. If you have a good idea for a salon, feel free to contact us at Info@venturavie.org More info to follow.

Sunday Salon Recordings

The Artist's Way: Color to Express, Reveal and Heal

with Victoria Zitrin

Resilience: Strength After Crisis

with Cheryl Musacchia

Joanna's Kitchen: Why is honey so delicious?

Because it is the nectar of the HiVe, a thriving community

with Joanna Bressel-Wilder

In The HiVe Vol. 1 - Out of our first collection of HiVe gatherings now salons, supporting community during quarantine, all gathered shared a little of ourselves and discovered our different artistic and poetic talents culminating with “In the HiVe Vol. 1. Proceeds from this program went to Dolls Clan, a women's collective in South America that uses graffiti art to creatively focus on issues of domestic violence and sex trafficking.

In The HiVe Vol. 2 (coming soon) - We will continue growing together with this message; that everyone has something to offer, something to share, or something to learn as we create Vol 2. Inspiration for the upcoming book stems from our HiVe’s Sunday Salons, Zinc House Farm Summer Series, and Seasonal Events focussing on Wellness and Nature.

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**** Don't forget to list VenturaVie as your charity on AmazonSmile. Every time you shop through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates to your charity. Every penny counts and is appreciated!