Leslie Bailey has built an incredible community for people who want to uplift women’s voices ….Indy Maven. After launching Indy Maven, she and her team built Maven Space: a coworking space, social club, and event venue in downtown Indianapolis.

Leslie was raised outside of Detroit Michigan where her mother was a hairstylist and her father worked in the auto racing industry for over 60 years.

Throughout her entire childhood and adolescence, both of her parents battled cancer, which has had a big impact on how Leslie approaches life.

She has been a writer throughout her professional career, working at The Saturday Evening Post, Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Monthly, and Triple A Crossroads Magazine, before starting Indy Maven in 2019. 

Be sure to check out these great clips from the show: 

  • [16:48] The art of storytelling and applying that to entrepreneurship
  • [24:03] How to do social media well
  • [27:27] Launching Indy Maven
  • [36:08] How to build a strong community
  • [40:24] Mastering vulnerability

Get IN. is the show focused on the unfolding stories and most extraordinary innovations happening in the heartland today. Get IN. is brought to you by Powderkeg and Elevate Ventures.

In our conversation with Leslie we’ll cover: 

  • Tips for telling a great story
  • The importance of prioritizing your mental health
  • Characteristics of a strong community
  • Listen to the end, where Leslie tells us about an amenity people are going crazy for when they are coworking at Maven Space.

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Episode Transcript

I’m Matt Hunckler, CEO and co-founder of Powderkeg, and on the show today, CEO and co-founder of Indie Maven and Maven Space, Leslie Bailey. 

My column was the Adventuress. So I did the two-seater with Mario Andretti. I did a two-seater on a moto GP bike. Wow. I went swimming with the dolphins at the zoo. I’ve flown three different types of planes. Christmas caroling at the mall. It was, it was Did you sing? I did. . . 

Leslie Bailey has built an incredible community for people who want to uplift women’s voices, indie Maven. And after launching Indie Maven, she and her team built Maven space, a co-working space, social club, and event venue in downtown Indianapolis.

Leslie was raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, where her mother was a hairstylist and her father worked in the auto racing industry for over 60 years. Throughout her entire childhood and adolescence, both of her parents battled cancer, which has had a big impact on how Leslie approaches life. She has been a writer throughout her professional career working the Saturday evening Post Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Monthly, and a AAA Crossroads Magazine before starting at Indie Maven.2019. 

In our conversation with Leslie, we’ll cover tips for telling a great story, the importance of prioritizing your mental health, characteristics of a strong community, and be sure to listen to the end where Leslie tells us about an amenity people are going crazy for when they’re co-working at Maven Space.

That’s all coming up on this episode of Get IN.

 Not to be such a bummer, my most of my childhood was just like marked by my parents being sick. My dad got prostate cancer when I was in kindergarten, and then from that point on up till high school, one or both of my parents had cancer.Something as a residual effect. So that was kind of the big marker. So I think I also, I have a younger brother he works here in Speedway now. He runs a carbon fiber shop. And I think just like I grew up really fast. We didn’t have a huge community around us, so I took on like the bossy older sister role anyway.And then on top of that, like again, just kinda having to grow up really fast. . 

Did you know at the time that that wasn’t like a normal thing to have to go through? 

Yes, but I don’t think I knew just like how extreme it was. Mm-hmm. , I mean, I certainly didn’t have, and my parents were also.

Both older than most of the other parents. So their friends were actually already grandparents. So when I would go over to their houses, it’s like maybe their grandkids around, but there weren’t like other kids to play with a lot our age. So my, that was good cause I had my brother and I definitely knew that like, not everybody else’s, you know, my mom was going through shaving her head, giant scar on her head, chemo, radiation.

I couldn’t like, even just down to. A high school friend couldn’t wear perfume in the house cuz my mom couldn’t br you know, and I, we get kind of, you know, there’s all the different emotions like get resentful and embarrassed cuz you’re a kid, like you don’t have processes. Seems terrified also. I mean there’s just run the gamut on emotions, so.

Sure. I’ve been in therapy since I was 14 years old. I think everyone should do it. I still do it monthly. That’s amazing that you got into therapy that early. Yeah. Yeah. That’s wonderful. And it’s funny, I was always like my own advocate, like that was my, Like I was decided I should probably go to therapy.

Where do you think that came? 

I don’t know. My, my mom, that was kind of like my mom, she’s very determined, get an idea and made it happen. So I think that probably came from her. 

What were some of those things that you learned going to therapy from the age of 14? 

That I don’t mean catch us up on all of your therapy since 14. Well, no. It was kind of timely because I also was a victim of sexual assault by like a family friend who also became my employer. So there was a lot of that. So it was probably, I, oh my gosh, that happened around that same time. So there was just a lot going on. And like, thank goodness that I had that in place.

Yeah, no kidding. Cuz I think that helped me get through a lot of [00:04:00] stuff that I was way too young that I should not have had to face, you know? Yeah. For a number of reasons. And I, I mean, I think that was probably had a huge factor in what saved me, but also like I had really good parents so that, that helped.

What, what do you think helps to overcome those types of things? Is it there, there’s like. Actual terms, I think, but the survival mode or survival instinct kicks in like what some, everybody’s built differently. Right. And so what, what do you think it was that helped you overcome those things to, it’s a very focus on a future versus withdrawing.

I think that’s like a nature versus nurture question. Yeah. Nature. I mean, so my answer to my superpower is resilience. But I don’t know if that was like a result or if that was innate, right. Was that built in or did that just come about, or was it a combination of both? So I don’t know, but I definitely now as an adult, have looked back and having my mom as the role, like the model, I wouldn’t even say role model, but the person [00:05:00] showing me.

you know, this is how you handle these things. I mean, I’m so thankful that, that if I had to go through that with a parent, that I went through it with a parent who was so positive and was like, dying is not an option and we’re gonna go to the comedy club. No, I didn’t. But my parents went to the comedy club every week after her radiation session and like just celebrated and , I think just handled it in such a healthy way.

I think that number one, that was one of the reasons she lived as long as she did. And then I think number two that have probably formed a lot of me now today, but it, you know, it takes getting to your late thirties to to see that. I certainly did not see that at 16. So, going back to that, right. I had a similar story where my mom battled cancer all through high school, ended up passing away in college.

Now when I look back on it, it did seem like that was just our life. Mm-hmm. and like using those experiences, as you look back on those as like motivation and in the moment it’s like a terrible experience, but how have you been able to pull lessons of resilience and, [00:06:00] and when did you officially realize that?

Like though, that it might be, it might be difficult and you look back and it’s very, very. How did you take that in a positive stride and it become formative to your entrepreneurship journey to just your life in general today? I think it first clicked for me, I went to I U P UI and I was in a I was working on a project with my communications professor, professor.

It was a women’s studies project, and we interviewed, I think each of us did seven women and out of this team. And my mom was one of them. And that was the first time that I actually sat down and asked her questions about her life, like before me and, and then after me and during, and what was that like?

And I have it recorded and I’ve, I’ve never gone back and listened to it. Wow. I have it on my computer and I, I. . I kind of mostly just kind of forget about that, that it’s there. I would like, I needed to make sure that I go back and find it. I know I saved it, but that was the first moment where I was like, oh, you were a whole [00:07:00] person that had nothing to do with me , you know?

And then hearing all of those experiences reflected back just as another woman, not as my mom. So I was able to like take it outta context a little bit and then reformulate. It processed through me was the first experience where I recognized that. And then I think later is becoming when I became a parent.

And then now I’m looking at it on the flip side from that perspective too. So it took the, it took time and then different experiences, me playing different roles to look back and then like just process it in a different way. And at the same time, it’s like, it’s awful. My mom passed away when I was a couple months pregnant with my first son.

Right. It was horrible. But. She got to, I got her 25 years longer than she was supposed to be here, and you know, I learned so much. And so it’s, yes, there’s, those were horrible moments, but I also am very well aware that have shaped me to who I am today. [00:08:00] So it can’t, you can’t not be grateful for that.

That’s commendable, right? The fact that you can take that in stride and turn what the average world would look at and see as a negative and a limiting factor and turn that. You know, being able to pull out the positive and be optimistic through that, it’s, it’s very impressive. Thanks. Yeah. We’ll credit the therapy for that.

Yeah. I, I would imagine that therapy was extremely helpful in having that just kind of observation on your life through all of those trials and tribulations were really important. And it sounds like those early experiences all the way from dealing with those traumas to. talking to your mom as a whole person that a lot of those things led you towards a life of journalism.

As you, as you kind of look back how, how do you think those things played a role in you choosing that path in your career? Well, I always liked writing and storytelling. So what do you like about it?

I, [00:09:00] I mean, really going back, I think that that was a way probably to process like journal right before that was a thing we told people. I think I figured that out pretty early that I just enjoyed it. I enjoyed storytelling. I, I liked that part of it. And then later, as an adult. I don’t know that I set, I mean, I know I did not set out to become a journalist.

But I think it was my approach was like, process of elimination and figure out what you don’t wanna do. And I was lucky that it didn’t take me that long to stumble into something I did cuz I, you know, that could’ve taken a while. But What were some of the things you didn’t want to do? I interned at a radio station and that was fun, but I realized I did not wanna be on the radio.

Well, thanks for being on this podcast episode. Despite not liking a bit different. Like the pop culture morning drive time thing was not for me. That’s fair. I worked in racing for a bit and hospitality, and those are really long. You know, days. And I mean, I’m glad, again, thankful for that experience, but I did not [00:10:00] want the life that my dad had in racing, just being gone and being on the road and just that culture.

So, and you said didn’t wanna do that, founded Indie Lights. He did, yeah. Is that correct? Mm-hmm. . . Yeah. In the, in the eighties. What was Indie lights for for those that weren’t around here in the eighties? Yeah, so Indy Lights is a feeder series. Okay. So essentially like a lot of the big guy names that you see now in cool Indie car.

So Tony Canan. Okay. Scott Dixon. Yeah. Yeah. Helio Castronova. They all came up through Indie lights. Yeah, that’s right. Which, Still around. Yeah. Just the evolution. But yeah, so he and man by the name of Pat Patrick who was a team owner among many other things. Founded that together in the eighties.

And my dad, I had a friend that raced in Indie Lights. Oh, did you? Who was it? That’s Mark Olson. He raced around 10 years ago. Okay. Ish, maybe. Yeah. It’s probably around the time my dad retired and I sort of got, The whole scene too. But he actually still, he’s 81 and he’s the commissioner in the EMSA Sport Carve series, [00:11:00] so he still dabbles.

Thanks for filling in the gaps for me as, as these two guys know, sports is my kryptonite, . I know nothing about sports other than how to play a couple of them. Yeah. And not very well. So he’s pretty good at basketball. I’ve seen that. But Well, when you’re six 10 . Not well, I’ll go with six 10 now, now that it’s on the record, people will think that I’m actually six 10.

I’ll, I’ll take it. So you found out what you didn’t want to do mm-hmm. and that kind of led you in that, that path. I had a question for you about your journaling practice. Mm-hmm. has that evolv. over the years. I just got back into it. This January 1st, cuz I bought a one line a day journal, which I had already had once before.

I probably could have gone and found that one in my basement and just used it. But I wanted to fresh start because my, like. Being maybe a little bit of an overachiever too, like the, like, I need to do it every day and I don’t have time and I’ve got this whole busy life. And so I, I, that clicked, like that’s something manageable.

Cause I also wanna just track things, right? Yeah. And so [00:12:00] now I’m doing that. I think. because of like, yeah, I think you have to look at the season of life that you’re in and you know, there was a time where I had all the time in the world to just journal my thoughts and let them flow freely and I didn’t have to be anywhere.

And no one’s gonna interrupt me. Like, that’s not the season I’m in . I would love to get back to that someday. Sure. But with two little kids, like, probably not. So for now it’s the one line a day journal and that has been great. That’s awesome. Yeah. We’ll link it up in the show notes. Yeah. Yeah. I might go check that out too.

Yeah. Cause I’ve always wanted a journal, but it’s too, I. Oh, this is super easy. I, and that sounds great. I was reminded of it by a podcast. I was listening called. Two that I love called The Lazy Genius, and I was sitting out front of Silver in the city and I was like, I forgot about that thing. I bet Silver in the city has it.

And I walked in and they had it. That totally sounds like silver. Silver. Yeah. Did a whole journaling section, but yeah. Well, if Silver in the City has it, that’s the one. We’ll link up the show notes. Support Local, never heard of Silver in the City. Yes. Yeah, yeah. Even I’ve heard of Silver in the City. Oops.

It’s great. They have two locations. One on Mass [00:13:00] Ave and the other one up in Carnell. I’m gonna go check it out. All your gift giving. We gotta get one up in Zionsville for you. Tov. I love it. There we go. Yeah. . Or next time we’re down at Burnside Inn, we can go hop over. Go up the dual, dual shopping. Yeah, exactly.

I love that. And I’m very privileged in, in the sense that I. I am able to devote 10 minutes a day to my journaling practice. And so it’s nice to know that there are solutions for when I’m not in the season of life where I can peel away for 10 minutes yeah. Every day, and do that low less can, less pressure.

I can totally relate to the pressure of type A. Wanting to make sure you get the gold star every day for doing journaling. Yeah. There have been two days that I missed and definitely went back the next morning and was like, I’m not skipping it. I remember what I did yesterday. Oh, that counts. That counts.

That counts. That counts. Definitely counts. Yeah. Well what were your early experiences in journalism? Well like you said, was very accidental. I met these guys on the straight and broader pole and I was going out all the time and one of ’em was working at this. [00:14:00] Free magazine called Metro Mix back in the day.

Yeah, the free stands that you get at the corner, the newspaper. And he was like, would you be interested in writing about this? You should have a blog. And I didn’t know what a blog was, so I looked that up. About what year was this? 20 2006 maybe somewhere in that rain. Do you remember what bar you were coming out of?

All of them. , that’s usually a, yeah. Any of Rob Sabatini’s establishments? Uhhuh probably was my typical hangouts. , but became friends with this guy and, and he joy Fingers and he worked at Metro Mix and yeah. And that, just like that kicked off. I started a blog that led to writing for Metro Mix, which led to a column for Metro Mix, which led to some freelance articles for The Star, which led to my column in The Star.

It just snowballed. And was that all about like local culture? I was officially the things to do reporter once I became a columnist at the Star. And then so I got this hybrid, which was, I was very lucky to [00:15:00] have. , sort of, I, I covered things to do in the city. You know, events, places to go, things to eat right.

Share a couple of those stories because I’ve heard some really good one. From when you were the things to do. So, yes. So then my column was the Adventuress Yes. So that is where I got to go out. And so I did the two-seater with Mario Andretti. I did a two-seater on a moto GP bike. Wow. I went swimming with the dolphins at the zoo.

I’ve flown three different types of planes. Glider World War II plane Christmas caroling at the mall. It was, it was Did you sing? I did. . . It just keeps coming back to that. Did you sing your karaoke song? I did not, no. It was Christmas carols. . So it, it was, I was so lucky. That was such a fun job.

Yeah. I left to take care of my mom. She, when she got sick one of the times, and then I went after she kind of got better ish, I felt good and I. Could, I was driving back and forth right to Michigan. Michigan to here. And so then I thought, well, I’ve been at the Star, like maybe my time there has [00:16:00] ended.

And so I had been freelancing for any monthly, for a long time. And they were looking for a lifestyle editor. So I took that until my mom later got sick again. I got married and I left. And then, you know, well, and I, I want to come back to the decision to, to leave. The, the different jobs that you were at.

But first want to kind of just rewind to those first couple years in journalism, or at least those first, I don’t know, dozen stories or so. Mm-hmm. What is it that clicked with you about storytelling? Why do you think storytelling is important? . I think this is gonna sound cheesy, but I think it gives, like you have this cool opportunity to give people a voice that don’t, may, maybe don’t otherwise have it.

Mm-hmm. And I think specifically I always tried really hard to focus on local businesses, women owned businesses, minority owned businesses. Like that was kind of on my radar before that was the thing to do. Right. Cuz that’s what I was [00:17:00] interested in. So. . I think my maybe a little bit of imposter syndrome that I had.

Not being a an actual, like I did not go to school for journalism. I was a communications major. I think being the person in, you know, one of the few. If only, I don’t know, everyone that I knew in that newsroom had a journalism degree, so I was like, well, I’m not gonna, I can’t beat ’em, join them, you know, kind of thing.

Like I’ll do it a different way. And it took the pressure off like the few times that I had to kind of, kind of do like a harder hit, you know, I just, I was like, this isn’t what I want to do. I’m not, there are so many other people in this room who are better at this than I am. Let me stay in my lane, cuz if, if you’re number one enjoying what you do and it naturally comes easy, then why, why do something else anyway?

Yes. So I guess just, I don’t know, it clicked right away. I, I, I also maybe was naive and just, you know, maybe I didn’t grow up here. So Indianapolis Star was not like a total household name. I [00:18:00] mean, I knew it was the new, I knew I understood what it was. Sure. It just, I don’t know. I think this has been a lot of things for me where I just.

I don’t think, I don’t overthink a lot actually. I, I love it. Like, go off a lot of intuition. Love people, love that authenticity. Yeah. Right. I mean, so you’re, you’re very authentic, true to yourself. And that, and that produces an amazing, something that’s amazingly different. Thanks. Yeah. Yeah. How, how’d that change it?

So you went from opportunity to opportunity and journalism. So how’d that change? So you were doing things to do adventurism, and then as you progressed through that journey, how did that change? Did you cover. topics or things or kind of the same at each? At each stop. Well at the Star again, I was so fortunate.

So I got to write about personal things too. I wrote about mental health just things that I had gone through. I wrote a column about my friend who died cuz he was waiting on a heart and I got to talk to, you know, I got. This amazing response from organ donors and his family and other organ donor families.

So I mean, I was really given a lot of freedom and autonomy [00:19:00] in, in that role, which I’m so thankful for and was kind of like different for them, right? And I applaud them for being open to doing something that wasn’t as traditional. They were just sort of getting into this concept. Journalists as personalities too.

Uh, So I was in this like first test group of, remember when Anne Landers was big? Yeah. back in the day. Yes. Well, so, but I think that’s why that timing allowed for, for a little bit more flexibility and freedom and what I was doing any monthly kind of more like as they had always done things. Still loved it and I always loved the kind of like shopping restaurant, you know, lifestyle scene.

So it wasn’t a stretch for me either. And I had wanted to learn more about the, the process and the publication of the magazine that I had been freelancing for for a long time, cuz it, you know, being in the newsroom, I got to see how the sausage was made and I didn’t know so much there. So I, I’m glad I got to have that experience too.

Going into that, right. Seeing how the [00:20:00] sausage is made, the publication side. What skills outside of writing did you learn over your 10 plus year career in journalism that had helped you as an entrepreneur today? Oh gosh. Well, kind of talking to that point about becoming the personality, so I got put on.

tv and I got put on the radio and I was doing radio commercials. Actually, I forgot to write a guy back, but the other day, one of the salespeople was like, Hey, I found this radio spot you did and I sound like a baby. And at the end I did this little jealous . Like, I remember they had me rehearse these things and it’s all I could hear, but it was basically saying, I have such a cool job.

And I did. But we, we partnered with the Colts, so we did this like hybrid sports show where I. Like go on with some of the players and it was called Ring It on, and like couples would play trivia to win an engagement ring at the end. So it was like me and a bunch of Colts players like doing this game show at one of the pizza, the, the pizza place [00:21:00] from IU with the breadsticks hot box?

No. Oh. The one before that, the. It doesn’t matter, . But anyway so like getting on stage in front of people. And then I got a segment on Fox 59 in that job too. So suddenly I was going on tv, which I now to this day still have a segment on Fox 59, full circle. So when is that? Every other Friday. I have a segment called Inspired Living.

What time is the air? Nine 10. 9:10 AM nine 10. . Mm-hmm. . Well, the morning show, check that out too. Well, your living’s about to get really inspired. It’s . I love it. Yeah, so just funny, like totally unrelated, but full circle back on Fox 59. And so I just developed that and then I don’t know that this is a skill, but thick skin.

Yeah, yeah, for sure. If you’ve ever read the Commons section, of your local newspaper online. Literally any social media or any social media. Yeah. Yeah. So one of these days, we’ll, how can we, how can we convince people to just be less nasty? Is that, is that [00:22:00] Utopia thought? Well, I was a big fan of Engag.

for a while. Mm-hmm. . And I got a couple apologies out of it. Yeah, right. Because I think what it comes down to, especially back then, I think now we’re a little more aware because we’ve seen the effects of bullying and all sorts of things, but. We hadn’t talked about that as much then. And it was this recognition that there is a human on the other end.

Yeah. And typically when, when suddenly now I’m like, yeah, let’s talk, we should have a conversation about your thoughts. Right? It was like, oh, well , I didn’t want that. Said, I didn’t know you were gonna, you were gonna see it. Didn’t you respond to it? And then after a while I was like, I. You know, but there was a quite a period of time where I was like, yeah, I’m willing to set aside some time for this because you, you need to not do this to other people.

And I’ve always looked at this, and this is probably a coping mechanism, but that there have been, that things happen to me because they have the resilience. And so not to be like I’m a superhero, but I think there. , there are things [00:23:00] that would possibly break other people or damage ’em more in the way and that I feel better prepared to handle them.

Mm-hmm. , it really didn’t bother me as much as I know that it probably did other people and I’d rather me be the one to speak up and like fight that small battle. Yeah. If that means that person’s not gonna go on and do it again, get somebody else. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, I , I’ll go ahead and say that you’re a superhero in the way that you handled that.

And for us newbies in the room here, which is literally everyone but you. Hmm. What are, what are your tips or tricks for doing media? Well, well, I don’t know that I always follow them. I think I, I, well, I’ll tell you what I do forget still. I forget to breathe. Mm-hmm. cuz I’m a fast talker.

Anyway, I fumble over my words. Excited where I’m not breathing. . I think I have a tendency, and I’m just gonna say the things I do wrong, but sometimes I have a tendency I wanna like overshare and it’s about the other person. And I’m like, but I wanna share my experience with you and make it a two-way conversation.

And sometimes, you know, it’s one thing in an interview where you can edit that out. Mm-hmm. . But if it’s like live [00:24:00] and you can’t edit it, that, that you’re there to be the moderator or the host or just recognizing what am I in this situation? Yeah. Yep. Am Is this a conversation or. Am I the moderator or it is my job?

Cause I see that I, you know, I’ve seen people who are supposed to be there to simply moderate and then they center themselves at the discussion. Yeah. I think that’s a really important voice. Just like recognize. Well, lemme tell you what I think about that . I was actually chime actually, Matt, you do a great job.

Brooke. I a lot to say he asked really thought provoking questions. I will give you a little kudos for that one. Yeah, yeah. You have well and. . I, I, I like what you had to say about, you know, live television, you know, sound bites. You know, are you there to give sound bites? Are you there to have a discussion?

Are you there to ask questions? Yes. And, and, and asking that of whoever you’re there for, like, what is my role at this event or in this. Interview. I mean, sometimes it’s a very clear understanding. You’re a podcast guest. Okay, I understand how that works. But sometimes it’s not always clear [00:25:00] like, wh what it is you want me to do.

And it just doesn’t hurt to ask a lot of questions beforehand so you can go un prepared. Having interviewed a lot of people what do the best guests or people that you’re interviewing do with that interview? How do they show up or what kinds of things do they say that really help you craft a good story?

It’s kind of tough to your point about just being authentic, like when someone has scripted responses, you know it. Mm-hmm. , and that’s boring. Mm-hmm. , and nobody wants that. . I think if, and that’s also your job as an interviewer to get people comfortable to want to share. Some, you know, the worst thing you can do as a guest is a one word answer, right?

Yep. , yes. Mm-hmm. , no. Yes. Mm-hmm. . And sometimes you have to dig a little. than other times with people. But that’s also just like, you know, looking at I’m, it’s not like I sat and studied, but I admired. Right. Like Barbara Walters and Oprah for like, I’m [00:26:00] not gonna let that go, actually. Mm-hmm. , like, I’m not, I don’t, I don’t accept that answer.

Yeah. So let’s try that again. And now I want you to give me the real answer. Howard Stern’s really good at that too. Yeah, right? Like, ? No, actually or the like, I mean, he’s, you know, very in your face about it. Like, that’s not true. But I, I think that as the guest, the best thing you can do is just be authentic and honest.

So you go through all these experiences growing up, going to journalism, like self, self-start or self-taught, right? Mm-hmm. different, different majoring communications. So, so how did all of that culminate together, that you woke up one day or was it over a series of days or months or years that you decided to start Indie Maven?

It was the, the year after my first son. He’s gonna be five at the end of this month, the end of January. and the year after he was born, which I’ve actually heard women say that this can be [00:27:00] a very creative time. I partly think it’s because you’re sitting there and you get trapped a lot. , especially if you’re nursing.

I mean, but what actually, if, even if you’re not, if you’re just feeding a, you’re stuck holding a sleeping baby. Feeding a baby a lot of it gives you a lot of time to think. Yeah. And also maybe your sleep deprived and it’s coming up with crazy ideas. I don’t know. I think there’s something to be said about.

That period of time. And then so what do you wanna do? Right? You keep them alive for a year. And then I was like, okay, if you’re gonna go back to work, then what do you want that to look like? And I had, I, I couldn’t picture myself going back to any of the places that I. Had already been not cause they didn’t enjoy it.

It just like, I wanted a new experience and so I talked to my friend and mentor and Andy Maven, co-founder Amanda Kingsbury a lot. And she, I don’t know if somehow she had suggested her, I suggested, but what about all these ideas that we had that we were never able to bring to fruition for [00:28:00] whatever reason?

During our time that we worked together at the. and then we just started mapping out what that could look like because during that time when I was at the Star, newsletters were really kicking off and I was like an early adopter of the Skim, if you’re familiar with that daily newsletter. And so wouldn’t it be cool if we had something like that here or Daily Candy?

There’s so there these newsletters very early on and thought. . Well, that would be cool to have here. We already had thought that a couple years ago, but now we had the capacity to maybe try it on our own. So that was the very early kind of version of Indie Maven. Oh, so originally Indie Maven, you weren’t thinking co-working?

No, the co-working just really came about in the last year. So indie Maven was designed, well, actually, first and foremost, it was like a. What a directory. So it was Lifestyle Directory. I found it so funny that I was sitting home covered in spit up and I was still getting texts like, where should I go for my anniversary dinner?

Where do I get my eyebrows done? And I’m just like, well, why are you asking me? [00:29:00] Where do you get where ? It depends which part. Micro relating, shaping. I have different people for different things. Okay, I’m gonna backpedal on that question. . But I, it was like I had this Rolodex of information in my brain because of what I had done professionally, and it felt like a waste rate.

Your brain with a baby at home already feels like a little bit mush, and I’m like, I need to keep this sharp and I’m getting rusty and I don’t wanna lose touch of what’s going on in my city and what I’ve worked hard to sort of become an expert at. And so was gonna be directory. And it was a kicked off like that.

And then I realized directories. A lot of work and also not my area, like not my best like skillset. Like the skillset is storytelling. So I can, yes, I can put a listing of where you could go get your eyebrows done or I could tell you about my experience and here’s how it happened and this is what it felt like.

And here’s what you can expect cuz that’s what storytelling to go off of. Right? Storytelling and also like personal recommendation [00:30:00] cuz you don’t necessarily know on a directory listing. , right? This is why we have Yelp and things where people can have their personal reviews, and so very quickly it was like, no, no, no.

It’s about the story behind whatever the, the place, the thing, the, the, the topic is so, that became just content website. Free weekly newsletter comes out every Thursday. We’ve never missed an issue. And then from there, what happened was it very quickly just evolved to a community, which we knew the community.

We had a backwards like that the content was the driver, and then the community would come. Except now it’s sort of flipped on its head where the community is the focus and the content and the storytelling just supports the community We have some experience with that. Yep. , I’ll love it. Our content’s not as awesome as yours, but we, I, I can totally understand how that would’ve shifted and but that means you’re onto something, right?

That’s right. Because if people are willing to build a community around something a hundred percent Yeah, then that means they’re, they’re interested. Like, especially [00:31:00] the organic nature. Yeah. Right. It sounds like how it came about. Yes. So then have that parlay into the physical space space. So the, so launched 2019.

Covid five months later first summer asking the audience, this community, right, that already existed. What do you want this to be? Because we were supposed to do a lot of events and we couldn’t. And so what would you like instead? Or, you know, we were, so, we were super quick to jump on the virtual event thing but also knew that was.

only last so long, so just trying to think ahead. And even though we were doing those, I was still thinking, okay, but when the time comes, what’s gonna be the event that we do? What’s gonna be the in-person thing? And the answer just from the women was always like, I wanna be with other women and support other women.

Connect with other women. And I mean, ultimately we’re a social species and that is, we gather, right? And so knowing that gathering, and we were, we’d already planned to have these monthly meetups, but it’s hard to find a new place every month. So like, wouldn’t it be nice if we just had [00:32:00] one place and then during that time, because.

I was always paying attention to media, but specifically like women’s media. Seeing all the other spaces like this for women that were popping up around the country and just thinking, well, we’re like a good size city. We should probably have one of these too. And then it was one of those things where I thought, would it bother me if somebody else did this?

Mm-hmm. . And the answer was definitely yes. And so I kind of wanted to jump on it before someone else. Did and it, and then it happened really quickly after that. So is, is it powered by individual memberships or company memberships or both? All of the above. All of the above. Yeah. So we have everything from day passes so you can just pop in for the day.

Monthly memberships, there’s corporate memberships. We have corporate sponsors. Our members are everything from solopreneurs, small. Their company pays for it, their nonprofits. So it’s a lot of different people in there, but all sort of with that same mission of uplifting [00:33:00] women. You don’t have to be a woman, but you need to have you know, That mission at heart, first and foremost.

And so we have about 40 members now. The goal, like I say, sort of comfortable goal is about a hundred, but I, I want to also see how that feels. We have a big space and I have yet to really find how. people will behave. And it’s funny, you can talk, I, I’m in a co-working community and one place in one city will say, oh my gosh, Mondays are so dead for us.

And then the next space, like that’s our busiest days. Mm-hmm. . So still seeing how people behave from an attendance standpoint, I guess. Still figuring that out and then kind of decide there where we cap it. Can you tell us about your space? Kind of give us the, give us the, the pitch on why, why did a listener want to come and, and become.

Yeah, so it’s we have 15,000 square feet and we are downtown Indianapolis. We’ve got really easy surface parking. It’s easy to get to. It’s at the corner of Michigan and capital, so we sublease from Salesforce. So it was a very well done space [00:34:00] to begin with, and it was designed as an amenity space. So that’s really our, our strength.

Our strength is our amenities in our community. The, the people who are there on a regular basis, like. . Again, it sounds so cheesy because see, magic happen all the time. Collaborations, friendships. Business interactions like it, it’s really, really cool to see, which I had already seen, right. But anecdotally or like through hearing things or seeing things at our events, but now I get to see it at a daily basis.

So definitely that community element is the strength. And then just from the amenity standpoint we have an onsite cafe for our members. Fork and function. As another local woman owned business, they operate that we’ve got a, an event space so we can rent out the whole space. We can fit 300 people, but then we also have a specific event room that can be up to, you know, 1 50, 1 8, depending on what you wanna do with it that has all the av, the projectors, the mics.

So it’s a great multi-use room. We have a full gym on site. [00:35:00] We have sparkling water. That’s always a big hit. But you know, the number one thing that we get The comment is just the natural light. The biggest thing people comment on is just the amount of natural light that we have. It’s super open and airy.

We’ve got a lot of plants. It just feels really good in there. I love that. So you, you keep talking about this word community, right? You’ve used it a few times about this great community and this aspect there. Can you tell me the characteristics of, of a good community and kind of define that for the listeners of what makes a strong c.

Well, I’m glad you asked, cuz I have researched that over the last, not purposefully, but I, I like nerd out on topics, right? So if I get into something and I want to know more about it. So I’ve listened to like three books recently on that very subject because I got annoyed hearing people use that word a lot and not really understanding what it meant.

And there are very there is a book called The Art of Gathering, I believe is the [00:36:00] one. Right. And Okay, you know, , I loved the definitions that they use. Right? And so you can have a group of people that still gather, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a community. Right. So to me, and for what our community is, it’s a group of people who will, and this might be different from the book, but for, for us, it’s a group of people who want to.

be together, right? Whether that is virtually or in person and they share common goals and they are gathering for a purpose. And that can be a very broad purpose. So for us, it’s just uplifting women. And then from there, they might have their own reasons, while I’m also here to network for my business, or I want ’em to make more friends, right?

But when I say community, it’s this group that formed. , these women who said, and it wasn’t just women. We certainly had all types of people, but [00:37:00] majority of female identifying people coming forward and saying like, I think that there is a need for something like this to exist and therefore I want to show up in whatever way is asked, or I feel comfortable so that I can make this happen and support this and keep it going, get bigger, include more people, and have an impact, have this desired.

As someone who’s hosted a lot of events now, or at least led a company that has hosted a lot of events what kind of tips do you have for people on how to host a great gathering, whether that’s corporate function, board meeting, or a dinner at home, or a big conference, you know, anywhere in between.

What are those things that you’ve kind of seen both as a connoisseur of events? Mm-hmm. , I’m sure you attended a lot of events while covering lots of different events, but then now hosting your own events. , I think we hear in the, certainly in the marketing world, about surprise and delighting people. And I think that often does not translate over to events [00:38:00] or meetings or reasons why we gather.

And I think, you know, I, I’ll see brands like, well, we wanna surprise and delight our customer. , but then their team is sitting in this room and has this terribly boring meeting. Right? And like you can get into culture and all that, but it’s like it doesn’t, it has to be across the board. So for us, we have in the past, once or twice, once or twice tried a meetup.

Where there was just like a, let’s just hang out, let’s just get to know each other and let’s eat, leave it open-ended. And those fall flat. It’s, there’s has to be some sort of an interaction or an engagement initiative. Like I need to show up and know what it is that I am doing. And that could be, we’ve done food and wine tastings this last month or just like, I guess that was this month.

You know we had a panel of women and the media just sitting and listening to discussion and that women came up to, I mean, attendees came up to me after and just were like, that was one of the best [00:39:00] ever. And it’s because back to your earlier point, that they were so honest and so vulnerable and shared things that you just don’t get to.

Evening news anchor talk about on their personal life. And it was really well received. Now, in that case, people showed up, they mingled that they had their social time, they had a drink, they had a bite to eat, and then they went in and they spent a full hour and 20 minutes just glued to this conversation.

So I don’t. You know, it can vary what it is, but I think you have to kind of back to the art of gathering. Like, why are we meeting, what can I expect? What’s my right? We’re all children, we’re all kindergartners, and we just wanna know what is expected of us and like, and then also have room for creativity.

Yeah. I love that. Yeah. I, I love what you just said about the, the reaction of people the word vulnerable, like being vulnerable. in discussions. Right. And then the flip side of listening to people who are vulnerable, I mean, just a whole different level of connection. [00:40:00] Right. It’s just amazing. I think it’s one of the few things you can’t fake, right?

Mm-hmm. Because you can fake authenticity. Yeah. Like that’s the whole internet. Right. That’s majority of influencers out there. Yeah. It’s really hard to fake vulnerability. Yeah. And when you do people see through it a lot easier. Yeah, I agree with that. I think that especially over the last couple years, my mindset on like vulnerability has like, has totally shifted, right?

Because now when I see people that are willing to be vulnerable and talk about their story and the hard. I now associate it to strength. Yes. Whereas maybe five years ago I was like, oh, vulnerable, synonym to weak. But it’s just like totally like, especially just like hearing people like go out there and talk about the things that are hard and the things that they’ve struggled with.

It’s like now I’m like, wow, you’re so strong for doing that. And like, I really believe that. And it’s an awesome way to connect with people. Well, it creates a bond, right? Because we all have experiences that, that are good experiences, that are bad, but the power of , , the [00:41:00] bonding, like the human to human bond.

I know we’re getting to the end, but I, , I almost get too deep in a hole here and then I get a little emotional. Cause like, all these, like when I listen to your story, I thought about a hundred things that I haven’t thought about in a while. Right? It, that’s the power is like there’s almost like a healing, a built-in healing mechanism.

You know, when you listen to other stories. Well, it was a perfect segue for the last question I want to ask before the lightning round, which is sharing your challenges is what I think makes a story interesting. But I, I’m not a professional storyteller, and so one question I wanted to make sure I asked you, Leslie, is how do you tell a good story?

I’m gonna be annoyed at my own answer here, but it is well, two things. It’s one, it’s. We grew up being taught, sometimes we overthink things like there’s the beginning in the middle and the end right. And you have to have all of those things. I was very guilty very early on and I still am like burying the lead, as we say.

Right. So [00:42:00] moving, you know, I will very often in my writing practice start and then about three paragraphs. delete everything before that. And that’s, that’s what you actually wanna start with. And then my annoyed part, just because it’s so Donald Mild Miller in the building, building a story brand like the Hero’s Journey there’s a reason that that is as popular as it is, right?

I mean, it works. There’s, there’s a formula, there’s solution. So it’s kind of not overthinking. We can apply the hero’s journey and we can apply the beginning and the middle of the end, and. Apply these things and, and that is what makes a good story. But then I think it’s also the the human part of it and the nuance part of it, because you can report all the facts and I think that’s where I got a little bit, I don’t want to be that kind of journalist and not that, not that facts aren’t important.

They are, but I also wanted to include the human part of it. Right. In which, which again, you can read like a really. Crime reporter, that’s what they’re [00:43:00] gonna get into. Or even like Dana Benbo at, you know, she’s a sports reporter, sports writer, but her stories have more humanity than half the things you’ll read.

You know, it’s, it’s what is appealing to the human nature in, in the story. , there are so many good, good insights there that I could probably ask 10 more questions each on. But I wanna save time for the lightning round because I’m very curious to hear what your answers are. We’re pumped about that.

I do want to, I do want to close out with could, speaking of sharing these stories, could you share a quick story or two about what’s going on with Indie Maven and some of the success stories that has been, that has come out of this community that you’ve built. . Yeah. I’m trying to think what I can actually hero try to officially say on top of the mountain at the end of the journey.

Yeah. So this week honestly, has been really crucial in bringing some conversations, right, that were, that happened at the end of last year. , but number one is that I started these as two [00:44:00] separate companies. Like from a liability standpoint. I thought, okay, on paper these should be different. I think I got in my head that they had to be so different that I presented them in the market as so separate, and then realizing, well, now I know how strong the Maven brand is in the Maven brand in general because, Fight that I thought I could just make it very clear, these are different.

Here’s what you get over in this one and here’s what you get over in this one. And I can tell somebody that and they’re like, yes, but how do, how? How can we make them the same? Right? And so it’s having to listen to your customer and go, okay, I’m gonna be done fighting this. I can send out as many explainer emails till I’m blue in the face and in the end they’re like, but could we combine them?

And so I’ve heard that. And so this year is all about. Putting the experience together, that you’re not just the Indie Maven member, you’re not just the Maven space member. Right. That you’re, you’re gonna enter at different points in that journey, but, but it is all one thing as far as. You know, the, the public is concerned.

But through [00:45:00] that, I am able to elevate our partnership. So we had a great partnership last year with Indie Chamber, and now this year we’ve put together a package that is even bigger and better, and it involves in-person, events and the storytelling. And so we. The rest, I won’t say cuz like Inca drying, but, but this week specifically four really large partnerships with brands that I really respect in the community.

I’m excited cuz I think they could also use some shaking up that we can also benefit from what they know. But that’s one example of how we’re gonna bring. the parts of this business together to then be able to serve our greater community by partnering with some of these other organizations and brands.

So that’s, that’s my big focus. I love it. How can someone get involved? So the lowest entry, easiest point is signing up for our newsletter. Like you said, it’s free, comes out every Thursday. , it was 8:00 AM but [00:46:00] I had this epiphany the other day. When do I check my email? Not 8:00 AM at 6:00 AM So , last week was our first week being at six 6:00 AM.

I’ve had two kids under five. But generally speaking, right, if you’re, if most people check their email as soon as they wake up in the morning, which is typically between six and eight eights, right? Not starting at eight. So that was like a little tweak, you know, we made. So I’m gonna watch and see how that performs.

But Yep. So Freeway Newsletter, you can join as an Indie Maven member starting at $10 a month all the way up to Maven Space membership that we have for teams, which is up to five people for 2 95 a month. And then there are all the different kind of the things in between if you’re corporate sponsor.

We’re also doing sponsored memberships this year, which I, I’m really excited about. That’s cool because wanting. Provide access. Like in the past a lot of spaces like this have been really exclusive and, and like around the country have been really exclusive and not accessible. And so through the sponsored memberships we’re able to keep our lights on, but also invite other [00:47:00] people from the community to join who might not otherwise be there.

So that’s another thing I’m really excited about. So yeah, there’s a lot of different ways to get involved. Very cool. And we’ll link it all up in the show notes. Yeah. For those that want, want links to that. All right. Ready for the lightning round? It’s time, Leslie, the lightning round. Now, authentic, quick, off the top of your head answers.

All right. Okay, here we go. Outside of the amazing entrepreneurs, what is Indiana known for? Sports.

Remember that time you said not, not to have your guests give one word answers. Let’s go deeper than that. Well, so my, this could also be influence. Knowledge of Indiana before I lived here was indie, was racing the Indy 500. Cuz that’s what I knew. So, and I found that when you travel, people go, oh, like the Indy 500, like Mario and Ready

There you go. That’s right. Ties to racing. I love it. All right. What is a hidden gem In Indiana, I have two Asia Coffee Cakes and [00:48:00] Filigree Bakery. , I don’t know why. Maybe February my son’s birthday Asia coffee cakes has made two or three of my son’s birthday cakes and they are amazing. A Paddington Bear last year and a minion before that.

So we’ve linked to her, her cakes are incredible and delicious. And Philly Greek Bakery we just recently con connected. She does cakes as well, but also, Beautiful macarons, and I saw those on her Instagram right before I came here. And I don’t think a lot of people know about them, but for this season, I didn’t know about either of us.

I mean year round. But both women owned and really talented. Cool bakers. I love that. Okay, final question. Yes. Who is someone that we need to keep on our radar? Someone who’s doing big things. Stacia Murphy at Indie Chamber. Not to keep talking about them, but also topic of mind. But she and I got to know each other during COVID, and I just think we are so lucky to have her.

And what’s her magic?

She is like, , [00:49:00] she is in it. Right? She knows what, she has a perspective that she brings to the table that I don’t think, and she is an example, right, of people who are going into establishments that already exist and sort of saying like, okay, but also. Right. And I think there are, there are so many peop women doing this and we’ll have we do an annual like women to watch story, so you can look at that coming out and we’ll have a whole list of them.

Nice. But she’s somebody who, you know, top of mind I recently communicated with that. I think she has just gotten a promotion and I won’t even attempt to say what the title is cuz I’m sure I’ll get it wrong. But she’s doing really big things as far as like d ei and in the their, their business initiatives.

And I think. Really make an impact and have a, an impact on a lot of people through her job. I love it. Through her role, maybe we can get her on the show. Maybe we can, yep. I do have one final question. I did that. I know we’re done at the lightning round, but final question. You had a lot of, throughout your career, a lot of your life, a [00:50:00] lot of strings pulling you back to Michigan, pulling you back to family.

I’d love to know, as we close out, what kept you coming back to Indiana and Indianapolis? specifically Well, it was free to . My dad had a condo here and he was like, Hey, you can live here. Cuz he would go back to Michigan on the weekends and I would have this sick condo right on Mass Ave to myself all week. So that really played a big role in it.

But at what, what kept me here and not leaving was every. , year like I would see how mass Ave was changing and I’d see different businesses and I, I was, I just every year was like, I gotta stick around and see what happens. I feel like I need to see where this is going. And I’m glad I did because using Mass as an Mass Ave as an example, like you don’t even recognize it, you know, better or worse.

But I got to see what came of that. Cuz when I moved there, it was me and the Mass Ave video guy, Rick and his cats, but they were my only friends, and you know, now, look at it Well, we’re glad you’re here too. [00:51:00] Thank you for everything that you do to make Indianapolis awesome and everything that you have done to make Indianapolis.

And thanks for being on the show. Thank you. Thanks for having me. These are fun. Thank you so much. Thanks. This has been Get in a Powderkeg production in partnership with Elevate Ventures, and we wanna hear from you. If you have suggestions for a guest or a segment, reach out to Matt or Nate on LinkedIn or on email.

To discover top tier tech companies outside of Silicon Valley in hubs like Indiana, check out our newsletter@powderkeg.com slash newsletter and to apply for membership to the Powderkeg executive community, check out powderkeg.com/premium. We’ll catch you next time and next week as we continue to help the world get in.

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