Persistent Reverie: A Reflection of 2023Dec 29, 2023
Every creative journey has its own unique beginning. Sometimes our creative spark is the only ignition we need to get started, and sometimes we stoke the fire for a time to warm up before taking the first step. As we focus on nourishment through the holiday season and into the new year, let us invite reflection to become a loving part of our growth.
While the concept for Virtuosa Society was ignited in our founder Katie Harman in 2017, it formally came to fruition less than a year ago. 2023 was a landmark year for VS! Our members truly make this society what it is: a safe and empowering space for creative women to cultivate virtuosity. We all know that any creative project is never truly finished, and we have been embracing that truth as we continue to grow. We are never truly alone in our journeys after all, no matter how personal or professional the focus may be.
Monica Hammond came as an open book to her Elevation Conversation a couple of weeks ago - our final EC of 2023, sharing the struggles of her own journey with grace, honesty, and a smile that is simply contagious even over video chat. This conversation marked a big "full circle" milestone for Virtuosa Society, since she was a driving force in fanning the flame of our founder Katie's creative spark to help Virtuosa Society catch fire...
In January of 2023, our founder Katie Harman joined Monica Hammond’s Big Leap Entrepreneur Accelerator Business Incubator to shape the new membership platform for Virtuosa Society. Katie was well-versed in both creativity and entrepreneurship, as an active touring professional singer for 22 years following her tenure as Miss America 2002, as well as owning and operating Härman(ē) Vocal Studio in Klamath Falls, OR for 15 years.
In February, Virtuosa Society received two grants from Klamath Community Foundation for the implementation of a new membership website as well as the Virtuosa Society Podcast. Katie hit the ground running, aiming to release new episodes every month. Colson Horton, owner of ADR Creative, took the helm of branding strategy to design the beautiful vintage floral branding and logos.
March came with a drum and beat of its own: the dichotomy of unresolved burnout from a slough of challenges in 2022 and her unwavering passion for launching Virtuosa Society. But passion alone couldn't keep a nervous system breakdown from occuring. As she sought help and healing, Katie glaringly recognized a shared struggle in that of the women she continued to research for the VS Podcast.
This further clarified both her mission and her workload. Still, she persisted, and Episode 1 of the Podcast, The Women’s Court, was released.
In April, Katie appeared in an interview on the Health Interrupted Podcast, openly sharing her struggles and strategies to maintain health while creating Virtuosa Society. This gave birth to the idea of gathering women to share the "spaces between highlights" as they navigated nonlinear creative life, inspiring the first Elevation Conversation at Katie’s vocal studio.
She also began sessions with Sofi von Trapp, dear friend, fellow performer, and life coach for entertainment professionals. Sofi guided Katie through a "Values Ladder" assessment to further address the root of her burnout. In tandem, Katie began weekly therapy through Better Help to address the underlying issues of nervous system overload.
A tsunami of changes swept into Katie’s personal life as she made the decision to take a sabbatical from her vocal studio to focus on Virtuosa Society in May and June. Her son Tyler graduated high school, daughter Victoria graduated middle school, and perimenopause presented its own challenges in the midst of her concurrent quest to heal her nervous system physically, spiritually and mentally.
Katie continued to persist as her research for Episode 4: Sally Sallies Forth uncovered the previously unknown burial place of filmmaker Frances Lascot. This further validated the purpose of the Virtuosa Society Podcast and the importance of bringing forgotten women and their acts of creativity and bravery to the forefront. Episode 5: Visions Of A Woman’s Eye soon followed with a live recording in a siginifcant location to the episode's featured story, in partnership with In A Landscape.
Katie then scaled "Mt. Kajabi" in July, building the new website on the Kajabi platform, while brand designer Colson Horton prepared to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro! (Which she did in August!) A connection with Chelsey and Malva - a pair of powerhouse website building experts from On It Virtual Services in Canada - helped complete the coding and finishing touches. As Katie says, “Everything is figure-out-able!” This quartet of fearless femmes built the new Virtuosa Society website from the ground up, and Katie's tech skills to manage and operate the site also grew exponentially!
Between the Bio - a new companion series within the podcast - was launched in August with a group interview featuring The Von Trapp sisters. Just in time for the website to open and membership to officially launch on August 18th - a fabulous gift for Katie’s 43rd birthday! Membership rolled out to Founding Members, and weekly LIVE Elevation Conversations each Tuesday kicked off with the incomparable Edna Vazquez on August 22nd, 2023.
September ushered even more growth with member-exclusive resources, including Katie’s MicroCourse to help women "Find Your Voice" and the continuation of dynamic weekly Elevation Conversations. This momentum inspired the idea of a unique and distinct IRL event, in the form of our Maestra Masterclass Series (kicking off on Jan 27 & 28, 2024 - reserve your seat HERE). Katie also cried - a lot - when she waved her daughter off on her first day of high school and then dropped her son off to college. Seismic shifts in her non-linear journey! And still, she persisted.
As Virtuosa Society continued to bloom through October, it became clear that a team was needed to keep the momentum. And collaboration is one of our mission pillars! Kelly Armijo stepped into the role of official Graphic Design Maven, and a divine connection with Emily Ulibarri of The Melonlight Ballroom - fellow business incubator member - ushered an introduction to Caia Claire, who excitedly hopped on board with Digital Media Management. We also formed an affiliate partnership with delightful Emily & Nicole at CocoGlow Herbal to holistically nourish women together!
The Virtuosa Society Podcast continued in November with Episode 7: The Ghosts of Tin Pan Alley and companion Between the Bio episode featuring powerhouse performer Natalie Douglas. Seat reservations for our first Maestra Masterclass publicly opened, and media duo Kelly and Caia stepped up with their skills in photography, graphic design, media management, and copywriting in preparation for a new marketing strategy under Katie's creative leadership.
December’s 12 Days Giveaway was truly a highlight of the season - we were honored to share amazing gifts by and for fellow fabulous female creatives. (Congratulations to our winner, Nicole!) Katie, Kelly, and Caia established a beautiful synchronicity across two U.S. time zones and with a continuing theme of nourishment, especially for the creative branding spirit of Virtuosa Society during the holiday season.
The collective momentum from the past year has been building up to the official release of the Virtuosa Society App. Stay tuned… it’s rolling out in January, and will help members engage with MORE services, resources, and collaborative opportunities.
Our individual journeys are most often nonlinear. There is no complete guide for motherhood, entrepreneurship, finding inspiration, or making your dreams reality. That fact makes our very existence as creative women precious and priceless. And though our journeys are unique, we can always come together for collaboration and support.
We dream. We plan. We take action. We burn out, and we recover. We persist.
Where women gather, creativity flourishes.
Where women gather, our stories cultivate growth.
Where women gather, we generate the power to elevate the whole of society.
Thank you for being part of our first year of growth at Virtuosa Society. May we continue to nourish, collaborate, and thrive in the new year, sharing our stories and collecting all of the tools we need to bring our dreams to life and make the world a brighter place for creative women everywhere.
Within YOU, fellow female creative, is a VIRTUOSA.
Join us in the new year to cultivate your virtuosity.