Taking Up Space
This month at Changemaker Chats, we’ve been exploring what strength means to women around the globe. In New York, we sat down with the inimitable Holly Whitaker, Founder & CEO of Tempest. Holly used her strength to get sober after struggling for years with eating disorders and alcohol addiction. She went on to develop a unique addiction recovery program, Tempest, which offers affordable, accessible, and self-directed recovery programs. During the chat, we learned how Holly tapped into her power and purpose for creating positive change.
Here are our favorite moments from the evening. And don’t miss out on special perks and invites at the end of the email.
Strength Comes from Surrendering
Holly shared that early on in her career, she fell into the trap of chasing money, titles, and status, which fueled negative feelings and addictive behaviors. “We live in a society that disconnects us from what we care about and each other. We’re on our phones, we’re at work, we’re all attached to success, we’re all addicted to something. And so it’s my refusal to give into that world anymore and not let that dominate [me].” Holly found her strength when she surrendered herself from fitting into society’s mold and permitted herself to be who she defined.
Find the Gaps
When working to get sober, Holly faced cookie cutter recovery programs that didn’t speak to her. She used this as an opportunity to create an approach that was right for her — defining her own way and taking up the space that she needed. Since creating this custom approach, she opened it up to others like her, through the Tempest Sobriety School, a digital recovery platform that provides a sobriety road map personalized to each individual’s needs.
Own Your Story
When Holly went to raise money as a first-time entrepreneur, she made the conscious decision to be open about her addiction and her recovery, because that was her power. She explained that she wasn’t ashamed of it, she owned it: “This is one of those things where we think that our messy parts or our bad parts are the things that might hold us back — but those are the things that make us strong, that will leave people chasing us.”
Rapid Fire with Holly:
Short term goal: Learn to speak Italian
Power piece: Her favorite black blazer
TV show: Fleabag on Amazon Prime Video
Favorite book: Venture Deals by Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson