Sostane Blog

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Portland September Meeting: Why Women are Green Leaders

TOPIC: Why are women leaders in the environmental movement?


We did introductions and then had lively banter about concepts and ideas from the book Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design by Kira Gould and Lance Hosey. We discussed and shared insights about being women and how that influences our thoughts, problem-solving approach and perspective on the environment.


The main themes we discussed from the book were: Right Brain vs Left Brain, Approaches to Problem Solving, and the Nature of Women. Here are the details:

  • Right Brain vs. Left Brain – Each of us had stories demonstrating how men think in a more linear, logical, left brain way; whereas women approach things more holistically and include emotion, memory, experience and consequences to their thought process. Quotes from the book supported these findings and offered some insights beyond our shared experiences.
  • Approaches to Problem Solving – Similarly, we shared stories about differences among genders and how we get to a solution. We referenced passages from the book as well as real life tales of men not considering the same kinds of criteria in a problem that women often include. We discussed how our self-confidence can hinder or accentuate our problem solving abilities. Specifically sharing tales about having confidence to know you can tackle a problem and needing that to be able to jump in vs. how men sometimes jump in first and try to figure out if they have the tools to solve it as an afterthought.
  • Nature of Women – Again, we discussed sections of the book that highlight how women are caregivers, nurturing people and how that approach is required to heal the damage we have created. We talked about the sphere of the earth and the womb and our curvy, encompassing features. Our chat supported assertions in the book about motherhood and the holistic approach required to raise a child (physical, mental, emotional needs of children all being tended to simultaneously)

We ended with some concluding statements about what we got out of the discussion and meeting each other and the benefits we are building with the SOSTANE network. We talked about leveraging femininity and all of its attributes as an asset/competitive advantage, not just a consideration. Like all the rest of the tools we bring to our careers, we also bring our feminine superpower to think and approach things in our unique way. :)


Keely (facilitator), Carol (meetup member) and Lia (meetup member)

Seattle May Meeting: Finding Your Sustainable Voice

Photos coming soon. (Thanks to Jessica who remembered her camera!)

Topic: How To Speak From Your Inner Sustainable Voice – Finding your green roots can help you speak up, communicate your passion and send out positive no’s.

We had a fairly healthy turnout seeing it was Memorial Day Weekend and many activities were going on around the city and how beautiful the weather was. Thank you everyone for spending a couple hours out of your Saturday to share in our discussions.

Focusing in and around the topic of saying “No” in a positive way, we started out the discussion on the Yes-No-Yes concept by William Ury and the book The Power of a Positive No. While the book itself is not focused on sustainability, we felt it was an appropriate topic for women who have a tendency of agreeing to too many things in their lives. Overcommitting, finding ourselves in situations where our gut was telling us we shouldn’t be there, or not staying on a clear path to what we really need in life – all of these things we can say no to but it ‘s learning how to do it in a positive way. By giving ourselves permission to say no, communicating it well and standing strong in our inner voice, we can show others what is important to us.

The book itself gives an example diagram of a tree (roots-yes, trunk-no, branches-yes). Our interpretation for our discussion was the bottom is rooted in your positive beliefs, the trunk wide with your unwavering policies of what you are unwilling to bend to, and the top branches are the positive outreach you are able extend to others freely and willingly. While the book showed how you can use this for individual issues you need help deciding in your life, we thought it was also a great visual for diagraming all of your sustainable values.

Jocelyn shared how she has deep roots in doing the best for the earth and was having trouble agreeing to spend over-budget trying to buy all organic at her local grocery stores. Her strength (trunk) was solid enough that it lead her to investigate alternatives for her and her family. She found that 21acres and other CSAs allowed her to stay in budget, purchase locally and give her family healthy food. Now she speaks this sustainable voice to others to encourage them to look into these alternatives to see if it can work for them as well.

Karen told us about her experiences as a music teacher . She knew that her roots of music were highly valuable and by insisting on raising her rates to the professional standards, she was able to tell others yes or no more easily because of her new policies. Those who didn’t value her services at the higher rate were not the type of clients that she needed any longer.

Becca related about trying to assist some non-profits who kept asking her for free help but then never heeded her advice. She realized they were overstepping their boundaries and decided to sever the relationship as they had not respected her needs in their relationship.

Jessica talked about her recent experience in trying to volunteer with a group that she was very excited about joining. During the training process she was dismayed with the rigidity which put a halt to her energies. Should she stick with it as she had done most of the hard work or was this a sign of things to come, that something that should be fun and artistic wouldn’t end up how she thought it would be. Using the Yes-No-Yes may bring her some answers to what she can offer them and what she can’t bend to due to her own mental and physical sustainability.

In what ways have you become strong and voiced your inner sustainable voice?

Attending sisters: Jocelyn, Becca, Karen, Gayle, Jessica and Kaytlyn

Seattle Meeting: Support Your Sisters


A touching turnout for Earth Day! Less formal than our last Lifeline Activity, our April meeting focused on ways as women we have been able to support one another. Whether it’s appreciating those who have stepped up to believe in our ideas or those we have encouraged along the way, our threads of connecting to each other are strong and unwavering. It’s also about asking for help when we need it. Something many women have trouble with. I know I have!


Jacquie shared that her son is a huge support system not only as a family member, but his background in environmental studies has allowed them to connect and inspire each other. It inspired her to look at her interior design skills and see how she can incorporate sustainability in all areas of sourcing materials, reusing elements and keeping chemicals out of our indoor environments.


Jessica informed us that she has been investigating art therapy as a way to give back. Her BA in arts and passion to make a difference locally has led her to seek out this resource.

Jocelyn has found many ways of being supported by the collaborations she has nurtured through other local business women. Even meeting entrepreneurs who may do very similar work to you usually lead to differences in preferred clientele that you can usually refer to each other. You can also pick each other’s brains for how you solved certain problems for your customers and clients. Together we can achieve more than if we were all separate.

Several of us knew Marlo (a fellow sister) who has helped us in many ways. She is a creative arts consultant and knows the ins and outs of becoming a self-employed woman who makes a living from their crafts. We definitely agreed that she is supportive and we love to support her endeavors.


Tara shared with us about a new cause she has connected with. Because of her passion for kids to have a chance to experience the outdoors, and being thankful that she had the opportunity to go camping when she was young, she found The Fresh Air Fund as a way for her business to give back. You could tell the personal connection and passion behind her commitment to this cause.

From Tara’s Blog:

In honor of Earth day, I would like to share a cause with you that is very close to my heart. The Fresh Air Fund helps give inner city kids the chance to experience nature. Please help spread the word, donate, or even become a host family. Check out my blog post to find out more.

It’s passions like these that we want to help encourage, inspire and promote through Sostane. Some may have found their purpose, some may still be experimenting. But I think we all need to take a look and see what ways we can support each other while fulfilling our own needs of happiness.

Near the end of the meeting we all shared what support we were still looking for. Jessica was looking for a running buddy close to her home, Tara is looking for a sales rep to help assist getting her clothing line in stores beyond Seattle. We also talked about common business supporters can be lawyers, accountants and financial specialists. Jocelyn shared her skills in bookkeeping and the local connections she has with similar business owners. I had personally made a great connection with a lawyer back east who is willing to host a scheduled phone chat to share her knowledge of business entities, liability concerns and business consulting. I would like to open this up to Sostane members soon, so if you are interested in participating please let us know!

Shared links:

The Fresh Air Fund
Get Rich Slowly
Pink Magazine and its article on women-owned partnerships
Wilderness Awareness: Youth Programs
Michelle Bomberger of Small Business Legal Services
Digital Eve Seattle
Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability

Attending sisters: Jessica, Jocelyn, Tara, Jacquie and Kaytlyn. Thanks everyone! See you next month!

Podcast: Lifeline Activity, Happy Earth Day! (Episode 6)

The sixth episode of our Sustainable Sisterhood Podcast. And Keely comes back for another guest appearance!
(also available on iTunes)

What is your sustainable path? Looking at your past can help you identify what commitments you want to make in the future.

Video (50 min, best viewed at full screen):

Lifeline Activity PDF (download)

Audio (50 min):

Podcast: Support Your Sisters! (Episode 5)

The fifth episode of our Sustainable Sisterhood Podcast.
(also available on iTunes)

What women do you have that support you? Who do you support?

Audio (5 min):

Podcast: How Do You Use Technology? (Episode 4)

The fourth episode of our Sustainable Sisterhood Podcast.
(also available on iTunes)

In what ways has technology helped or hindered you on your sustainable path?

Audio (4 min):

Seattle March Meeting: What is Your Sustainable Path?


Looking at your past can help you identify what commitments you want to make in the future

The Past

This meeting was a little different in that we started out with an activity. We had a lifeline from birth to today and we were to write down pivotal, influential and meaningful times/people/events that we contribute to our sustainable beliefs. Whether it’s from your parents, family, friends, teachers, books, travel, life changes, moves, career changes or more, we have all either found the passion within ourselves or been inspired by it from outside sources.

Kaytlyn started with her experiences as a child and remembering how her father taught her how to start tomato plants, and how to create a garden that the family ate their meals from. To then recycling in her teens, remaining the northwest to be around the natural beauty and attending the event 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save The Earth a few years back that really opened her eyes to what power designers have on product creation.


Gay related to her biggest change in her life was moving out from Chicago. From literally seeing the trees from the plane to implementing her own sustainability with recycling, canning, growing their own food and teaching her children those values. Her story shows how you may not have found your sustainable side until much later. Kaytlyn agreed that there were parts of her life where there were definite gaps.

Iraz told us that she had realized a true connect to nature in her life from some of the earliest times she could remember, one vidid memory being a time where she was mesmerized watching ants and their behaviors. That they were animals to be aware of and are just important as we are.


Deborah said she had a huge impact by a book called Raising Your Child Toxic Free that completely changed her career in marketing to a life as a naturopath. Just reading the novel drove her to seek out organic foods and create a sustainable life for her family and son.

Amy had a great connection to her past as her parents were contractors, builders and constructed their home out of repurposed materials from an old school. Gym flooring, toilets, wood panels–all reused to form their home. At the time during the 70’s and where she was living (no hippie commune here), it wasn’t cool to be wearing used clothes, use cloth napkins (and reuse them), or even make all of your food from scratch. Kaytlyn could definitely agree. As a kid you don’t know why you feel a little unusual, but look at us now! That’s what everyone is striving for.

Colleen related that when she become exposed and active in PETA, did she find many other resources that resonated with her in terms of environmental information and ethical passion.

The Present

Jacquie communicated her attempts in keeping her interior design business materials as local as possible and a current project left her dissappointed but on a mission to find a better solution or collective that could help in her efforts. Perhaps purchasing materials as a group could lower the costs. Amy could definitely relate to that point as sustainable fabrics sourced locally could cost five to ten times as a client would want to spend. This creates an image of sustainability being out of reach and impossible to incorporate into our lives and provide for our clients. More research and demand could lead to lower prices and products being more plentiful.


Kristin talked about her current work being a bit unsatisfying due to higher management in her workplace unwilling to be open to education outreach. Instead of only fielding questions from their customers, she would rather inform and education. Iraz, Kaytlyn and Deborah all chipped in ideas of newsletters, emails, seminars or gatherings to monetizing the situation so her managers could realize the impact these outlets could influence and reduce costs.

Some resources mentioned during the meeting:

Raising Your Child Toxic Free, Herbert L Needleman
Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver
Maria Rodale’s Organic Gardening

• NPR: Reducing Carbon Footprint of New Gadgets (Omar Gallaga)
CurbWaste & Conserve, Ask Evelyn for Seattle Public Utilitities (example Q&A)
Chinook Book at Eco Metro
Killawatt and Smart Strip


Attending Sisters: Iraz, Colleen, Kristin, Ellen, Deborah, Jacquie, Gay, Amy and Kaytlyn. Thanks for coming everyone! What an enjoyable meeting. If you want to find a SOSTANE ME SISTER, contact us and we will help you find someone.

Podcast: Preparing for the Journey (Episode 3)

The third episode of our Sustainable Sisterhood Podcast.
(also available on iTunes)

Before we can start on this journey, our hearts and minds need to be open to change. How can you prepare?

Audio (4 min):

• Set a positive attitude
• Clear space in your schedule that’s just for you
• Connect with a SOSTANE ME SISTER

Podcast: Companies are Listening (Episode 2)

The second episode of our Sustainable Sisterhood Podcast.
(also available on iTunes)

USA Today article on retailers listening to the consumers needs, especially young women, for more modest clothing. What other ways could companies be listing to our needs?

Audio (4 min):

Article: Retailers widen options, including more modest clothes

Podcast: International Women’s Day and the Sustainable Sisterhood Awakening Series (Episode 1)

This year, fellow Sostane sisters Kaytlyn and Keely teamed up to bring you a celebration of International Women’s Day and the launch of the new Sostane Podcast and Sisterhood Awakening Series. Time to partner up and find your SOSTANE ME SISTER!

Audio (33 min):

Video (33 min):

Read more →

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