For the past three years, DC-based BEHOLD.HER has been creating spaces for women to come together at their events, challenging them to put away their phones and cut the typical DC small talk to really focus on making genuine connections. On November 16 and 17, the project series held its first Self-Worth Conference, focusing on four themes: self love and body image, sex and consent, money and guilt, and community and relationship building.
The team responsible for BEHOLD.HER consists of a two woman powerhouse duo, founder and CEO Leah Judson and project manager Shayna McCready, while Femme Fatale DC founder Adriana Mendoza lead the Saturday evening conference marketplace. For Judson, it was important to delve into the talented pool of women in the DC area when it came to selecting workshop leaders and vendors.
The care taken by the BEHOLD.HER team was evident throughout the two day conference. On Saturday morning, after getting checked in at the beautiful K St. Mindspace location where the Self Worth conference was held, attendees had breakfast (lunch was provided by local catering company Farm to Feast, while Judson and volunteers organized breakfast and snacks) and beverages by Jrink before heading into sessions.
Day one’s themes were self love and body image and sex and consent. Prior to the conference, attendees were able to choose from an array of workshops, such as breathwork facilitator and Reiki master Stacey Sexton’s session on reclaiming pleasure and Nicolette Bernardes’ workshop on the spiritual exploration of self. All workshops aimed to create a safe space for women to explore themselves, and support one another via meditation, art therapy, dance/movement therapy and journaling. As the workshops wrapped for the day, the fun didn’t end there.
After hours programming on Saturday evening was the vendor marketplace, featuring local female owned businesses, as well as music and snacks.The marketplace, which was open to the public, offered art, clothing, fragrances and more. It provided a really wonderful way to decompress after a long day.
Day two’s themes were money and guilt and community and relationships. Breakfast and lunch were again provided by Farm to Feast, who took great care to accommodate all diet and allergy concerns. After breakfast, attendees settled in to the first of three money and guilt sessions of the day. Topics ranged from surviving infertility, tackling emotions and money, and learning to forgive yourself.
A bonus of having the conference at the DC Mindspace location was that in addition to the many conference rooms and the common areas, they also had small and comfy private phone booths that served as a great place to take a moment to decompress and enjoy some quiet time whenever needed.
As day two was winding down, it was time for the last two sessions focused on community and relationships. Therapist Erin Nes led a large group of women in her session “Reclaiming Boundaries Like A Badass,” which invited participants to explore what boundaries meant to them. After some mindful breathing and meditation exercises, the group was invited to get up and dance, and practice the joys of saying “no.”
It was a fun way to approach such a complex subject, and at the end, everyone was invited to take a crystal and a tarot card as a reminder of the boundary work that was done during the session.After the second day’s sessions were over, session leaders and conference attendees were treated to live music, via Cathy DiToro, founder of ProjectHERA, a nonprofit that supports women and girls in music, as well as individual portraits done by Judson herself.
It is truly impressive to be in a room full of brilliant, powerful and vulnerable women, all coming together to create a community of compassion and healing. This weekend was filled to the brim of just that.