Heading into our third week of our Know Your Orbit Grow Your Orbit event series, we hosted an IG Live with founders and Norby crew members Nitika Chopra and Lauren Bille. This honest and thought provoking conversation featured personal anecdotes from Nitika and Lauren surrounding their own personal impact-driven initiatives that are *quite literally* paving the way for change. They opened up about their goals as business owners, how community has driven their initiatives forward, and some personal anecdotes that have put them where they are today. Being passionate about a specific cause often drives like minded people together, opening the door to endless opportunities to form connections. In the midst of the last year and a half, the need for connection and community is stronger than ever. The communities Nitika and Lauren have built are deeply rooted in connection, shared experience, and making an impact. So, how did they do it? How do you successfully build a community that is effective, interactive, and meaningful?
Nitika is the founder of Chronicon, a community-based platform that aims to advocate for and elevate the lives of people living with a chronic illness.
Lauren is an entrepreneur and the founder of Allbodies health, a contemporary wellness company that works to educate and empower people in sexual, mental, physical, and overall wellness.
When building a community, addressing what and who you want to cultivate a community for is vital. While it may not be clear at the very beginning, defining who you are building for and what pain point you want to address for them is at the core of successful community building. For Allbodies founder Lauren Bille, she has found that laying this out explicitly has made all of the difference. She saw a lack in inclusive and accessible wellness resources to educate those in her community, so she made sure to root her community in education. Whether it be workshops, classes, panels, or anything in between--Allbodies exists to empower and educate.
“Knowing what you and your community need to do to solve the problem you are focusing on is key.”
To be a leader in any community confidence is required. It may not be easy at times, but community builders and leaders are ultimately the ones leading the pack. The strength and confidence of a leader will eventually trickle down into an audience, making confidence a building block to successful community building. The fear of the unknown can make this hard--not knowing if you will be successful, or if anyone will actually connect with the work you are doing, or if you have the skillset to achieve your goals … the list goes on. How do community leaders manage this pressure while maintaining confidence in themselves and their ideas? Nitika Chopra, founder of Chronicon, turns to her community to find this confidence. The inherent relatability that comes with community building means that those in your community will always be able to understand you on some level. Leaning into this has really helped Nitika in finding her confidence and strength to keep going.
“If we’ve learned anything in the last four years, it's that systemic change takes a long time. I can't say I ever want to give up, but to keep my confidence, I rely on my audience.I cry almost everyday when I speak to my community. They are the exact people that I would have hoped would gravitate towards this work.”
Lauren Bille also leans on her audience for this support. Truly embracing what it means to be a leader is having the strength to keep going, and Lauren focuses on this in her work at Allbodies.
“Trust that you can make decisions and embody what it means to lead. Sometimes I do want to give up, but it’s only because I think I am ‘doing it wrong.’ I always receive signs from my audience to keep going when they are essentially drooling over the work I am doing.”
As much as we all wish that we could snap our fingers and make meaningful change, that just isn’t the case. Building community doesn’t happen overnight. The challenges, trials, and tribulations of building an impactful business are bound to introduce some blocks in the road. It’s how you maneuver past them that really counts. Sometimes, that roadblock is yourself. Nitika Chopra has experienced this and ultimately learned that getting out of your own way is key.
“My main roadblock is noticing that sometimes I can play small. It’s like I see the vision and I am clear on the vision, but I still know my potential is so much greater. I hold myself back at times, and I think it’s due to my programming. First generation child of immigrant programming, woman programming… it impacts me.”
Overall, building impactful communities isn’t an easy feat. It requires strength, confidence, time, money, and, most importantly, people who believe in the same missions you do. However, founders like Nitika and Lauren have proven that it is most definitely possible and effective. Meaningful connection is something we all ultimately strive for, and those who cultivate that for others are truly embracing what it means to make change.
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