The Divine Secrets of the Verily Sisterhood

Post by Ashley Crouch for the Kindness in Business series.

The Divine Secrets of the Verily Sisterhood

“We want to create a magazine that builds women up, and values their worth,” Janet Sahm, the Style Editor at Verily Magazine, said. As we sat around in Editor-in-Chief Kara Eschbach’s living room and wrote out the core values that Verily would emulate – integrity, joy, service, authenticity – we grew giddy with excitement. This would be a new kind of women’s magazine: one that offers meaningful media through fashion that is worthy of the woman, relationship coverage that goes beyond sex tips, and strong journalism; a magazine that speaks to women like a best friend and leaves them feeling uplifted, not degraded and depressed.

Fast forward two years and my close friends have become my co-workers and roommates. There are challenges to being roommates with colleagues in a cozy (read: cramped) Manhattan walk-up that often is the halfway house for a little homeless mouse that we name Stewy. How do three girls navigate bathroom rules, cleanliness peeves, dietary restrictions, work stresses, family drama, engagements, and friendships when we spend more waking hours together than with our significant others? Here’s the inside scoop of how best friends, surrogate sisters, and career colleagues make it work:

Boundaries Are Our Friend: Being intentional about work time and friend time helps maintain balance. Women are so multi-dimensional that it can be hard to compartmentalize. But that spells disaster when one roommate has a huge personal drama that bleeds over into work drama. To keep the balance, we even go so far as to e-mail each other from different e-mail accounts depending on the topic we’re writing about.

Leave Work at Work: Verily’s mission is extremely inspiring and uplifting to all of us, and we share the vision together. But sometimes that work e-mail doesn’t need to be discussed over dinner. There will always be a steady stream of work flowing in, but we stem the tide to preserve our friendship; besides, there are so many more topics to discuss with Manhattan as our playground. (Did you hear about the recent deal on dumplings in Chinatown?)

Take Care of Yourself: As the sage words go, you can’t give what you don’t have. If we’re trying to create positive and uplifting media for women, we can’t generate that content if we’re drinking from the dregs of our emotional energy reserves. Even though the gravitational pull to the couch or bed is strongest right after a long work day, we try to get out and hit the gym, or take a new route home from work to keep life interesting. We’ve learned that it’s important to take time for ourselves and understand that time spent away from each other isn’t insulting. It’s necessary.

Don’t Gossip: In such a tight-knit circle, and with such high-stress jobs, there is more than enough fodder for speculation and gossip. But with friendship, roommates, and co-worker relationships on the line, stirring the pot with speculation and backbiting will weaken the threads of the relationship. If one has a problem with the other, we approach that person directly and keep it just between us. Or, we channel it into more constructive outlets – working out, cooking, or calling our mom. This helps the tension smooth over without any residual ruffled feelings from the others.

The Biggest Shocker: I had to learn that my friend’s “friend mode” and “work mode” can be vastly different. I was caught off guard when I learned that sometimes a friend’s “game face” does not involve the light hearted teasing and laughter that is an expected part of our friendship. Never has it been so easy to misinterpret e-mails or phone calls because of varying work styles! But once we learned the different communication styles, things ran more smoothly.

Starting a new magazine with my close friends, who happen to know what I look like when I crawl out of bed in the morning, bleary-eyed and making a beeline for the coffee machine, is an experience unlike any other. There have been joys, tears, hugs, and moments when we can only glue our eyes to the computer screen and focus on the task at hand. But ultimately, we’ve forged a sisterhood that not only inspires, but challenges. That realness and accountability that we’re required to have with each other is a living manifestation of what Verily is about: inspiring women to become the best of who they are.

Ashley Crouch is the PR Manager and Contributing Editor at Verily Magazine. Verily is a brand new fashion and lifestyle magazine for women that is less of who you should be, more of who you are. She lives in the East Village, Manhattan, and enjoys fruit smoothies.

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