MOXIEmaker Monday: Aprile Denise

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So what does MOXIE mean? I get that question all the time (from those with enough MOXIE to ask that is). According to Webster, it is “energy, pep, courage, determination.” It also means guts, pluck, initiative, bold, sass, and spunk. 

What is a MOXIEmaker? It’s a word I made up to mean somebody who has the guts and determination to inspire others to take initiative, be bold, and show their inner sass. A woman with the guts to be herself.

Each month, I will honor a MOXIEmaker in my neighborhood. Which after traveling 60 countries and all 7 continents over the past 20+ years means the world. So, pack your bag and come away with me. Meet MOXIEmakers around the world who have the guts to make good happen and hopefully will inspire you to MOXIEon too!

Selemat Datang. Welcome from Indonesia. My happy place. MOXIEmaker Aprile Denise not only contributes to my happy place when I’m in Bali but also to thousands of children and teachers in Indonesia. A native of New Zealand, she knows literacy. After teaching 30+ years at international schools in Indonesia, she wanted to “reach out in a small way.” 

The reading program she developed five years ago with her team of Indonesian writers, illustrators, and educators is in 13,000 schools around 9 provinces. Her small grew BIG fast. Room to Read and USAID have turned to Aprile and her team to transform literacy in Indonesia. She is turning hundreds of thousands of children into readers and leaders and their teachers into learners. She has now spent 3 years with the foundation Yayasan Literasi Anak Indonesia and 30 years in Indonesia. 

Aprile’s motto. A reading child becomes a learning adult. The love of reading as a child opens up worlds. 

Her MOXIEST thing so far.“Going into one of our new libraries and seeing kids with so much delight who can’t wait to get inside. Seeing the joy in their faces is enough to keep going the rest of my life.”

Her favorite TEDx. “Ken Robinson’s on creativity because it speaks to my heart. He inspires me to look inside myself, tap my own creativity and forge a path that is new in this country. There is no guide-it’s the first time being done.”

Who does Aprile look up to? Sir Francis of Assisi, Thomas Merton and Thich Naht anh. These are some of her favorite Mystics and Wisdom Teachers.

Her favorite book. The Little Prince. “It’s a children’s story and not. It is full of wisdom. The essential comes from the heart.” 

Aprile’s next MOXIEmove. She is making key decisions about what she’s going to do next with her hotel in Ubud, Alam Sari. She wants Alam Sari to be known as THE place of learning, a place to be creative and a place to find wellness. 

Her advice to you. “Really believe that what you see in front of you is not necessarily all there is. We tend to think in our small worlds; trust your bigger mind. It is not the total of your life; we are connected to a much bigger wisdom.”

Support Aprile.  1.  Like Alam Sari’s facebook page.   2. Plan a retreat, attend a retreat or connect her with somebody interested in running a retreat in Bali.

 Connect with Aprile. Instagram: @alamsaribali  Facebook: 




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.