MOXIEmaker Monday: Julie Burton


This week, meet Julie Burton. Founder of the first women’s only co-working space in Minneapolis, ModernWell . After the election, she knew women needed a safe space. She asked her writing group, if I built this space, would you come? They not only came, they conquered.

What is the MOXIEST thing you’ve done so far? Starting ModernWell. “I was scared sh$tless and it felt brave and empowering for women in general.”

What do you want the reader to understand about starting your own business? It is like walking through a dark jungle with a flashlight that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Know that you will have dark and uncertain moments. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And stay connected to your mission and your vision.

What’s a MOXIEmoment in your life? Motherhood: it healed me. It empowered me. It made me grow in ways I never thought possible.

A quote Julie lives by. “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brene Brown

Her favorite book. Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown because, “I’m in the wilderness.”

Julie’s next MOXIEmove. Explore expanding ModernWell.

And her advice to you. “Have regular staredowns with your fear. Acknowledge it. Look at it. Wrestle with it.”

Meet Julie at ModernWell. Schedule a tour at or AND sign up for her yoga class on Fridays AND join one of her writing groups.

Connect with Julie: @Julie Silverman Burton IG: @modernwellco Twitter: @modernwellco Facebook: @ModernWell



MOXIEmaker Monday: Mimi Aurélien


MOXIEmaker Monday is back. Meet Mimi Aurélien. She lives in Minneapolis and because she believes that “Everybody has a story” she listens to Seniors as a night nurse, teaches Buti Yoga by day, and is starting a business Synegyoga to provide an accessible form of yoga to everyone regardless of financial and geographic contrast.

What is the MOXIEST thing you’ve done so far? She moved to the United States from Haiti when I was 17. “It was good but sad.” She left everything she knew behind. She didn’t speak the language; arrived on a Tuesday and started school on a Wednesday.

What do you want the reader to understand about immigrating?  “Everybody has a story. Don’t assume because Haiti is a poor country, I am poor. Or that because I don’t speak the language or have an accent, I can’t read or am not educated.” Mimi wants you to ask.

What do you do when you’re not feeling MOXIE? She gets reassurance from her sister K. “She constantly reminds me how brave I am by doing the things that I do.”

A quote Mimi lives by. "When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time." -Maya Angelou

Her favorite book. The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho

Mimi’s next MOXIEmove. Getting her organization/business (Synergyoga) up and running. She’s going to Haiti in May to start building her retreat.

And her advice to you. “Don't be afraid to reach out to people. Be brave enough to do it.”

Meet Mimi on Sunday February 25, 2018 at our One Billion Rising event. She will be leading us in dance and Buti Yoga and will fill the room with Mimi Synergy.

Mimi is building retreats to Haiti for yoga, empowerment, cultural learning, and beyond.

Connect with Mimi: Facebook @synergyoga - Instagram: @synergyoga - Twitter: @synergyoga1 - Email



POWERshotJune2017: Brave NOT Perfect

 Want a BraveNOTPerfect tee like the one I'm wearing?!  Visit our MoxieShop to purchase one !

Want a BraveNOTPerfect tee like the one I'm wearing?! Visit our MoxieShop to purchase one!

Hello! My name is Lucy Dornbach, I’m a college student at the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, and I have been interning with AWEinc. for just over a month now…and what a month it has been! In just a short time with Kristi, I have been able to see first-hand what it takes to not only create your own business and put your dreams into action, but also what it takes to sustain that dream, grow that dream, and use that dream to change the lives of women and girls all over the world. 

As a gender studies major and peace studies minor, AWEinc.’s work is something I am passionate about it; it is something I see as not only world-changing, but absolutely crucial in today’s society if we’re striving for an innovative and powerful future (hint hint...women are the answer!:) )From small workshops, to large conferences; from POWERcamps with young girls, to a room full of C-Suite businesswomen, to meetings with past and present Changemakers (aka the boss lady leaders of tomorrow)—because of AWEinc, I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from all walks of women who came together with a common goal (whether knowingly or not).

That goal being the practice of Brave NOT Perfect. While that may look different for everyone, here’s what I’ve learned since joining this movement—  PERFECT is impossible, and BRAVE is possible. Brave is freedom, vulnerability, giving out your business card even if you’re shy. Brave is the power of pause, it is agency, it is responding to doubt confidently. Brave is having fears, and taking that leap anyway. BRAVE is AWEsome! 

5 Ways I’ve Become More Brave (And You Can Too): 

  1. It only takes talking through my fears and hesitations to realize just how small or irrational they are! 
  2. Just because I am young (or old) does not mean my voice is not powerful, valuable, or appreciated amongst “professionals.” 
  3. I’ve become more brave by asking questions or asking for help unapologetically. 
  4. I’m learning that Perfect is an illusion that wastes time and energy. Focussing more on unique, creative, “me” ideas makes me Brave.
  5. Brave is taking initiative or taking the first step, accepting feedback, and working from there! Rather than trying to plan everything out or wait until all the details are “perfect” before acting on them, I’ve learned that sometimes just taking that first step will open doors you’d never have thought of! 

Thanks, Lucy for sharing your Brave NOT Perfect moments and working SO hard this summer. Now here are some of my (Kristi's) favorite Brave Resources:

  1. Grit by Angela Duckworth.
  2. Brene Brown’s TEDtalk.
  3. We’re all about bringing other women along—check out my friend Neda Kellogg’s fearless business Project Diva
  4. And we’re partnering with Ellevate for a Brave NOT Perfect POWERshop in MSP on July 20th. 
  5. Lastly, the AWEsome shirt Lucy is wearing is for sale. Proceeds go to our Mother/Daughter POWERcamps in MSP. 

Our MOXIEchallenge this month is Feel the FEAR and do it anyway! Report back to be entered in a drawing for a FREE MOXIEbag.

Until next time, MOXIEon. Kristi and Lucy



Copyright © |Kristi Hemmer|



Courageous Conversations.

  Photo: Jill and I at the Special Olympics Polar Plunge 5k.

Photo: Jill and I at the Special Olympics Polar Plunge 5k.

“Kristi, thanks for providing a safe space for my daughter and I to talk about tough topics. I wasn’t ready, but she was. So I had to be.” This was my favorite comment from a mom at our International Day of the Girl conference in October 2016.

I get that. When my niece was in elementary school, I bought her American Girl’s The Body Book for Younger Girls. I felt she was ready; her mom didn’t. It’s awkward right? And who has practice with that? And then Jill found the book on my bookshelf, took it out, and read it page to page. She was ready.

I flashback to my teen years; my mom and I never had a Courageous Conversation about confidence or peer pressure or sex or violence against women or dating or anything.

And it hasn’t changed. I was talking to a young woman I’ve known for years, and she said it wasn’t until she attended our One Billion Rising event that she and her mom had a Courageous Conversation. She found out her mom had been sexually abused by somebody she knew and a stranger in her young adult life. This conversation inspired the following.

Ready or not. The time is now. But don’t fret. We have created a POWERcamp based on worries, research, and real life Moms and Daughters that focuses on Confidence and starting Courageous Conversations. It will not only be lots of fun but will also create a safe space for Courageous Conversations and a pathway for future Courageous Conversations.

And best yet? You can say, “Remember when Kristi said…” and take the pressure off of you as The Mom. You have enough to worry about as a Mom. Let us help you!

And Jill? Every time I see her and talk to her on the phone, we have Courageous Conversations. She expects them, and I believe looks forward to the safe space to be her powerful, vulnerable teen self. And even if she doesn’t look forward to them, she expects them.

If you’re in the MSP area, join us April 30th. If not, let’s figure out a way to bring a POWERcamp to your town. You know I love to travel (as I write this in transit to Bali).

And until next time, MOXIEon!

Resources I used as a middle school counselor and Auntie:

  1. The Body Book for Younger Girls by Valoire Schaefer.
  2. The Body Book for Older Girls by Cara Natterson.



MOXIEmaker Monday: Mirette Bahgat


You've been complaining of living in a pit, 
Yet never tried to climb out of it.

You're sick and tired of potentials unfulfilled,
And a heart burdened by doubts and guilt.

So why, why don't you try to step out,
and cry out loud to call back your dreams,
and the passions that once filled your young heart.

Why don't you fight back the sweeping stream,
and take the unbeaten path towards a fresh start.

Just take heart, throw your darts, and believe,
that all realities were once upon a time a dream.

Meet poet, refugee advocate, and Humphrey Fellow Mirette Bahgat.

MOXIEmoment. “I’ve been always writing,” said Mirette, “but I stopped for 7-8 years because I couldn’t get in touch with my creative side.” Then in 2015, she turned to her creative outlet to reconnect with herself and her creative side and decided to take a year off. “It was what I was dreaming to do my whole life. I got in touch with my creative side-I published a couple of short stories, won a literary award, finished a novella, published an ebook on Amazon, traveled, started meditating, and became mindful.”

Mirette’s role model. Her grandmother. She was the first woman in Egypt who studied environmental science. “I remember her always being very present. She had lots of energy and was an influential and strong woman. She symbolizes strong women to me.” Her grandmother showed her that being a strong woman didn’t mean you were independent and tough all the time-it also means you have grace in your weakness.

Her challenge into an opportunity. One of her biggest was when she graduated from college and worked in a bank because “everybody was doing it and telling me to do it.”  It was her worst time ever: “I did not belong.” It felt like a prison and she hated it. However, everyone around was saying, “This is real life. Quit dreaming. Accept it.” Not Mirette-she didn’t accept it. She switched careers and received scholarships for graduate school and is now studying for a year in Minneapolis.  

Mirette’s favorite author. Toni Morrison. “She’s very powerful.” Mirette is rereading Beloved and it reminds her of what black girls go through. Toni’s description of the pain is so poetic, she feels like she’s reading poetry.

And the future? Mirette wants to collect ideas for her first novel. “It’s scary to write a novel, but I have to do it. It’s inside of me. It’s time for me to see myself as a writer.”

Her advice to the reader? “Go for your dreams even they scare or too unrealistic. Respect them. This is the only thing allow you to be who you are.”

Want to know more about MOXIEmirette?  This is the link to her ebook and this is one of the flash fiction that was published a year ago  which was awarded the Madalyn Lamont literary award from the American University in Cairo. 

And, Mirette will be one of the panelists at the International Day of the Girl conference on October 9th. Come by and ask her a question.

Mirette is definitely one to be heard and seen! MOXIEit Mirette!