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Welcome to the Get Together. This is our show about ordinary people building extraordinary communities.


I'm your host today, Kevin. I'm a partner at Boeing Company and coauthor of Get Together How to Build a Community with Your People. And I'm Marjorie Anderson.


Get Together, correspondent, founder of Community by Association and product manager for community at Project Management Institute.


Each episode we interview everyday people who have built extraordinary communities about just how they did it. How do they get the first people to show up? How did they grow to hundreds, thousands more members?


Today we're talking to Sophie Mona Pagès, founder of LVRSNFRNDS, a supportive community that enables authentic conversations about relationships and intimacy. Marjorie, what is one thing you learned from our conversation today with Sophie?


What I really enjoyed about Sophie's interview is how much she stressed the importance of your community having shared values, entering a space where you know that the people who are there value the same things that you do, whether that be authenticity, open mindedness, et cetera, really sets the stage for how comfortable community members feel contributing and participating in that space. Failure to ensure that everyone is there for the same reasons can cause communities to fall apart. And she's been incredibly intentional about ensuring that doesn't happen, which is phenomenal.


Thank you for sharing. I agree. Like her, her level of intention was something that I definitely respected as we listened to her during the conversation and afterwards for sure. Read. Shall we get into it? Let's do it.


Well, thank you so much for joining us today.


Sophie, it is such a joy to have you on the podcast today. I am so happy that you're able to join us and talk a little bit about your community.


Thank you so much, Marjorie. Thank you for having me. It's a great pleasure for me, too. So lovers and friends, let's talk about that.


It's a it's a unique community. And for those who aren't aware of it, tell us a little bit more about its purpose and why it was important to you to start this community.


It's a community whose purpose is for people to lead fulfilling relationships and being say something that we do that is super important at lovers and friends is that we we want to offer a space that is safe for every of our members to be the authentic self because we believe that we know something necessary. She wants to connect in a meaningful way with one another. And it's something that's super important to me because I have quite a complex identity and I have been growing up feeling a bit, I would say weird.


And I've always felt like I needed to find my people and find support with my people. And in a way, I guess that's something that I decided to create with lovers and friends.


Awesome. So tell us a little bit about about the history of lovers and friends. When we were talking, you mentioned that it started out as a face to face event as a mixer that you held. Yes. Tell us what that first meeting was like and who did you invite and why?


Interestingly, when I started lovers and friends, what I had in mind was to connect people that we're into alternative relationship sites because I am myself and I've found it very difficult to find people like me within this specific interests, because the outlets that exist when it comes to this for me fails to six focus. I wanted something that was more about connecting with one another, having conversations. So I had this idea of doing a social mixer because I wanted people to feel like they're going to a friend's party where.


So what I would tell people at the beginning, actually my speech, I would say, imagine you're my friends and I invite you to have drinks in a bar with other friends of mine. So that's that was really the basis of what I did to make people feel comfortable. And he'll be meeting people, trust with people that way here at the first social mixer. So they were twenty. And I remember what I did was I would just go on dating apps, find people that I would be actually happy to spend an evening with.


And this and at the time I had to form an online tool that people had to in because it was very pleasant for me to gather those guests around shared values and also the same intense I would ask them to fit in to form. And based on that, I had a list of of guests. And to validate their attendance, I would I spend like a few minutes with each of them and and that's how we started. So that's how I had those 20 people, those 20 people.


I think looking back now, they're quite representative of my group of friends, meaning that they were like a group of quite diverse people when it comes to gender identity, sexual orientation, race, even age.


So I think we had people from like I think maybe twenty five to fifty or some stand up and say it was it was really a great night. People peaked. I was a bit scared a few hours before because I worked a lot to get the seats of people. And then I know the afternoon of events I realized that maybe be a challenge to get them to talk to one another. So what I did is that's the form that they had to fill in the shed some fun facts about themselves.


And I had the idea of writing to spend five cents on cars. And so when they arise, I would give each of them a card about someone else. And I asked them to find the person behind the card. And that proved to be quite efficient to get into to one another. That's awesome. I was thinking about that as you were talking about who it was that showed up for this event, and you're saying that it was between twenty five and fifty.


And I was wondering how how you how you got people to feel like they were welcome in the space with such a diverse group of folks who showed up at this gathering. And then sometimes that can be a challenging community. So I'm wondering how you tackled that outside of the icebreaker. How did you how did you help these folks feel? Welcome when they first started, when you had your first mixer?


I think what helps was also the fact that it was a tiny group. So 20, 20 people is nuts is not crazy. You don't feel like you at the trade show. Also, something that is super important is the venue. So it was in the in the tiny bar in East London and we had a space dedicated to us. So I think the way it would happen, I was here to welcome each and every one of them. I would show them around, but like to make such a vessel.


It was very straightforward, was like basically we are here. And I would tell them, feel free to speak to anyone that you want to see, to hear you say these are people who are here like you and I would give them this phone cuts, which was, you know, we had like quite a bunch of interesting fun fact, which was already putting a smile on everybody arriving. And also, I would tell them anything. You can always come back to see me.


I think I'll be quite on my own during the event because I'm hosting. So any moment if you come back to me, I'll be happy that you join and we can have a chat, et cetera. So, yeah, in a way it felt like being Eunuch's, it's all about hospitality and it's something that I that I, I think is like runs in my family. I am half American, half French in Morocco. We really have a sense of like making people feel welcome, them feel people at home.


So I always try whatever I do to find a balance between being professional. So, you know, like you, you just feel that things are taking taking care of in a professional way. But at the same time, I really think about, OK, how can I make people feel this is home? And yeah. So I think that that's the secret sauce here server.


You mentioned that you grew up feeling weird. How tell me a little bit more about that and how that connects to this, this idea of creating a space where more people feel welcome.


OK, and in many ways, first, I was born in Morocco. I moved to France when I was four. So I think that's, you know, having to like like leave my my the country where I was born, where my whole family was, because so my first year I was so in Morocco was my American family. Mostly my dad was French, my mum's Moroccan. So I was really like in this community, made of like my family, my cousins owns his own, etc.


I have friends that are my parents had a very rich social life. They would play bridge, which is a card game. They would socialize a lot. We would always have dinner at home, etc., etc. And we had to move to France because of my my dad's work. He as a teacher and he was given no choice but to get back to France. So you had to move on his own. And then with my mom, we could only join him like maybe a year later.


So I think you've had quite an impact about like feeling like there is something and easy something weird going on. And so he was moving to France. And basically when we moved to France, it was like a total shock to me because we we moved into this tiny village where we knew no one and people would look at us like, OK, these are two Arabs.


So when I was like my first days at school, I experienced racism because I was speaking Arabic and I was speaking French, frankly. So I decided to stop speaking Arabic because I don't know what was going on. And I felt I was threatened in a way. Also, another thing is my mum and dad, they had like a twenty five year age gap. So when people would see my dad with me, they would think he was my granddad.


So there are a lot of things where it was like, OK, you don't fit in here. Also, like the dual heritage, Morocco is from France, all these things that that was quite a lot of things.


And then also, I guess growing up like my family, I wouldn't say I had to I had to have the childhood, like I had a very strong relationship with my dad. But then my mum was having well, she still has quite a lot of. Mental health issues, which we're putting a toll on, on the family and, you know, you feel when you leave those things and you watch TV and you hear people like leading normal working lives, you feel like, OK, what's going on here is not normal.


So maybe I shouldn't talk about it so much. What is going on? And then you kind of isolate yourself, maybe more. So when you look at the friends I had back on those times, I had maybe like one friend and I would always be friends with those, basically the class. So that was basically the same. And I think also I kind of realized that growing up, this thing that made me feel weird, I decided to accept them as a strength.


And so I kept having this feeling of being weird, but I embraced it basically. And I think embracing it does make me make some choices in my life where I was like, oh, whatever, I'll keep doing that because this is me and and that's OK. And so if you look at my curriculum, my professional curriculum, I did like many jobs. When I tell people, they're like, OK, you're crazy.


But like, I like, you know, basically, yeah, there's a nice little tie in with, you know, celebrating even the fun facts about your guess at that first meeting. And that to me, that's that's a small you know, it's a small step to celebrating and embracing the quote unquote, weird among people and saying that sort of tone.


Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And it also it also sounds like. The basis of being authentic and having those authentic types of relationships because of those experiences, really kind of the crux of why you started lovers and friends and why it was important to you that people meet and have these conversations and authentic ways versus putting on a mask and, you know, trying to be someone else in order to in order to cultivate the kinds of relationships that they want.


Yes. Yeah. Because I think, you know, when I when I look at it from someone who will not share their weirdness because they think they will be looked at in the way that like they will be excluded or whatever, I feel like society is losing something that if you have someone at your table and they don't share what they what's, maybe then different, you're losing on something. So I think one of the purpose I have in life is to create those spaces where people will share what what is interesting about them, why they are different.


That's that's really something super important to me. That's really amazing. You know, I'm all for the weird people, you know, I mean, what's weird, folks, tonight, I'm right there with you. Yes. Thank you.


Absolutely. Absolutely. So after after this first meeting, you have this first meet up. People came. They participated. How did you know that you were on to something after that first meet up? Was it something that the attendees said or did that let you know that you really had something here and that you were you're going to be able to to to create a community out of this gathering?


Well, we were in a bar, as I said earlier, and when the bar asked us to leave because they were closing, they were still, I think, maybe 15 of us out of the 20 being like, OK, what do we do now? And we just went to like next door there was a nightclub and we just went dancing until, I don't know, maybe 4:00 a.m. in the morning or something like that. So I thought, OK, there is something going on this year.


And then hearing the feedback from people telling me, wow, I felt like people like me that was so nice to actually speak to people in a way that's judgment free. I'm not alone anymore. It's all these like this relationship that flourished and those amazing feedback that made me understand that we got something right in the sense that I really manage and we really manage because everyone was thought of that we really managed to create the space which was safe and where people really connected in the beautiful ways and everybody wants more people.


Whereas, Kaniuk, when's the next one? And I want to more as well. So that's how I felt. We were on to something. It sounds like there you know, there were definitely others out there, and I think that that's probably true in a lot of situations where people are looking for a safe space to have conversations about relationships and identity without having there be some sort of expectation of, quote unquote, something more coming out of it.


Just a conversation like you're having a conversation with a friend about who you're dating or how you identify or, you know, things that you're thinking about or feeling. So, you know, I can definitely say as someone who is a part of the LGBT community, that finding those spaces is hard. So tell me how tell us how people find your community. What's what's usually the thing that helps get them involved or helps them find lovers and friends and start participating at the moment is pretty word of mouth.


So we have a lot of members joining because they're lovers and friends who are members. Tell them about us. And also Instagram works quite well because we would like to put first content sharing members quotes, members question. We try to have conversations on Instagram as well with our like the community here. So that's that's how people find us.


We also we are also super lucky to have members who are also our guests like Instagram influencers and who share about the experience of being a member of US and friends, which is great because in a way that helps people see what is best interest through their eyes, which is interesting because I guess you can have so many experience of being a member of your and friends depending on on your own identity.


You started this community back in twenty eighteen, I think you said. And you know, there is this beautiful way that you bring people together in this Face-To-Face setting that really lets them get to know one another, have authentic conversations, be themselves and then wouldn't you know it 20 20 brings us a global pandemic.


And you know there will be someone say that to me, like I was like it. It's nice to meet you. Exactly. And, you know, it took it took that safe space that you created in a face to face environment where you're able to quickly create that that feeling of safety for people. And you now had to move this online where you you it's sometimes hard to tell what the intent of people, of a person is in an online space.


So talk to us a little bit about how you kind of navigated, creating that safe and welcoming environment for members in an online space where a lot of times those types of conversations in online spaces is not is not supported in ways that that that help people feel like they they have some safety. Are we talking about Twitter right now?


Not naming any. Okay, okay.


I think just to just to clarify, one thing that's quite interesting is at the time of hosting those social mixers, I think we had quite a part of the people attending who were attending with major intent, which was to connect people and maybe a minor intent of having those conversations. And I feel what happened. And that's how we've been successful and in a way, having to go online, help this on that. And I feel grateful for this, is that moving online there has been a switch where now people join us because this community supportive community aspect is really enhanced.


And in terms of how did this happen? It's quite interesting because it all happened like they there's been this trigger where we had an event planned March, which was like a social mixer. And at the time I was thinking that as a community leader, I was not confortable at all about having people join an event like a meet each other and potentially be a cluster for the virus. So I decided to cancel this event. And at the same time, we had one of the members who was locked down in Milan for like two weeks.


And I had a conversation with him about how difficult it was to be isolated like that, where, you know, it's interesting looking back now. He told me a new future was going to happen to you, and he also asked me about the difficulty that it was encountering because his father, who was in Berlin at the time, he didn't know basically how to keep things essential when they meet each other again. And that was putting a toll on their relationship.


And so he was canceling these events and thinking about him and realizing that that's the that's why the committee should step in helping one of its member, basically. And so on that day, I suggested to him that we all jumped on the Google meet at the time to just like give him some support and see how we can help and agree to the idea. So I told the people who are supposed to go to the social media that night that I was suggesting this instead, everybody was super supportive, really interested to join.


And that's how we had our first online efforts that really gave us the direction. That was the impulse that was fundamental to what lovers and friends is now.


And I guess after that's what we do, is that we just get listening to our members, to their needs to where they wanted to do the experiment based on what they wanted to do, what they were expecting from the community and the and that's how we managed to to keep things flourishing. And I feel actually now, looking back, that before we had a community that was more ephemeral, I would feel the community when we have when we had those mixers, but then in between, there wasn't really anything like you would have like members meeting and telling you about it.


But we didn't really have, like, the space where you could show that the community was here. Twenty four, seven on call to help and which was existing. And it's like this before we had like the committee was like a flower would bloom and then fade and like now we have like this solid bush of like flower is solidly rooted because the community is here. And I know that if a member needs help from the community, we have what we have the features that they need to like, say, hey, I want to talk about this.


I want to talk about that. And the committee will be here, will be present to help.


And that's really like the meaning of community, right?


It's it's evergreen. And it will always be there to to assist its community members. But there was one thing that you said that I thought was really, really interesting. And I'd like you to talk a little bit more about if if there's something there. But you you talked about how, you know, the community members had one focus and one primary intent for gathering when you were face to face. And that flipped to making sure that they were able to have conversations around identity and relationships and things in the safe space.


When you went to the online community and when you saw that happen or when you noticed that that happened, did you happen to notice if there was any sort of dynamic change in the way and who came to those gatherings now that they were online and that the nature of those online gatherings seemed to evolve as the community really understood what their needs were in this online space, going from that face to face meeting?


Yes, of course. Of course. I think what happened is that when you look at the design of an online event, you always have this possibility for immediate gratification because people are here. So if you want to, I don't know, like leave the venue and go to the hotel room with someone, you have the possibility if you want to go and put your mind to someone, you have the possibility. But now that we are online, it's more something in the way.


It's something that requires more effort to develop this relationship that you will have with one another. So naturally, we had seen members leaving for those reasons because I think they are more into, you know, the immediate gratification of meeting someone offline, the immediate results of that. And also, I guess we had some members leaving just because that's confortable with the online setup, which I totally understand. And then university, we had people joining and or even like people being like members being more active than they used to be because they love the online setup where you get to you get to talk and everything is really like conversation, focus, and we can answer questions, dig deeper, connect to that over over the questions we have to helping each other out like that.


And interestingly, I think it's still I was thinking about this recently. I feel like it has an and even better impact in the way in terms of creating relationship, because if you go to our events and you see someone on a regular basis and you hear them sharing their opinion on some topics and you see how they behave to something, it's like discovering this person in this context and getting to the person and you build a certain intimacy part of the group then then that you can take one on one if you want, which is super interesting.


And it's a bit counterintuitive, but I feel like the outcome is beautiful.


So what have you learned about, you know, starting and facilitating conversations online? I think when we talk to other leaders who may have done a lot of in-person gatherings in person get togethers and are thinking about starting an online watering hole and online space, there's a lot of there's nerves around putting people into space and nothing happening, putting people into space and and hoping conversation will flourish. But crickets. What? Have you learned about, you know, facilitating starting prompting conversations with your community online?


The first thing that comes to my mind is that when I was a kid, at some points, I wanted to be a TV show host. And like now I'm like, oh, my God, this is exhausting because sometimes, like, I found myself in this situation where I'm like, oh, my God, you feel like I'm a TV show host.


I wanted to be, but why did I want to do this story?


And also because, again, nobody will believe that. But I'm quite a shy person. So the situation the first thing is that it's scary because when I was hosting these offline events, I would welcome people. I would send them in the room full of strength, and I would be like a good trebeck to me. And I would just observe to make sure that everything was fine. But like now coming online here, I was in this like a tide view of people's faces or looking at me.


And that's totally different from what I would say about that is I think it's it's great to encourage people to be themselves. So welcome extroverts, introverts and like everything in between everybody in between in the spectrum giving like to to really make people feel comfortable. That's not to speak. Showing off is great. If you if you if you're quite vocal, pay attention off your airtime. Why don't you invite someone to speak if you see that someone wants to speak.


But there is it said so in a way you like empowering people to make them understand that everybody's a host in a way. Also, I would say another thing that's that that I very regularly remind to people when we have those online conversation is awkward, silences are great, we love them. And there is no fear about those, because sometimes I think that's and people to be confortable even when there is a silence, because it's a great opportunity for them to reflect, for them to look at each other, appreciate what's going on, deep rooted in the moments.


So I think it's about reassuring people, empowering them, and then after like some stuff I've noticed. But to be honest, we are still trying to work out what works. And I don't think we we have we are happy with the way we we host conversations yet, but the element of the size of the room. So, for instance, our conversation we we have between I think like six and forty people, it can be very sweet to the same dynamic members.


One of our members recently suggested that we use a visual technique. I don't know if you know about it, but we've we've implemented that's basically what we do, is that we will tell people, OK, there is a fishbowl that's six to 12 screens. If you don't want to if you're going to be on the fishbowl, you just activate your camera and you're part of the audience. And if you want to be on the visual, you activate your camera.


So people that are the fishbowl with that camera are the people that can join the conversation and speak. And if you want to speak, you just activate your camera to join the people. And then if you want to get some rest which activate and you go back to the audience, that it's a bit complicated because then you have you end up in a situation where people will be like, oh, I don't see everybody. So I don't feel that's safe anymore.


Other people will tell you, oh, it's amazing to be here only because I can just see the conversation. So we are still trying to to find words. What works here? Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you said everybody's a host, and part of prompting conversation online is an exercise in empowering them to be a host and perhaps bring more attention to what they do, because some of that stuff that, like, easily happens when we're in person, when someone can interject or someone could notice that someone else is quiet, is harder to make sense.


And it sounds like you're testing different ways to better empower people to kind of speak up or not speak up what they want to and also call out the things that may or may not happen.


It's kind of almost being more explicit because we don't get all of those nonverbal cues with everything that we do get with in person conversation.


Yes. Yes, exactly. For me, it's super important. And that's something that has happened since we had to switch online, is that the members of lovers and friends are really given the opportunity to have an impact in everything that we do. And it's something that's being online had helped us orchestrate better and that I'm super enthusiastic about because we make sure we make this joke within the community where we say, oh, we're not a cult because we had like it featured a conversation.


We'll see. We have like a just like we had a sign to say that we like something.


So we had lots of like some sort of, like, private joke and and that can make us look like a cult. So we like to say we're not a cult, by the way. And then you have like some members. Yes, of course. Supreme leader. That's that's the joke side of it. But that's really says that I want to like for me something that we are building together and that's super important. And that's why I want this country to be diverse, because I think that having a diverse community will enrich the conversation.


It will enrich what we do is coming to psychic's. It's really like a virtuous circle that I'm trying to that we are trying to build. And then we really want everything that we do to be amplified by the members and amplified within the community, but also within the whole society. That's really what we want to achieve with what we do. You mentioned when you and I were talking that you work with your members on a member playbook so that members can feel like they're making the most out of their lovers and friends experience.


Tell us why building this resource with your community members is important to you and how has including them in that process helped them?


At the beginning, we wanted to have community guidelines shared with everybody, but then we realized that coming up with community guidelines was actually something way more complex. Because you have to think about, OK, what's your mission? What are the principles? What do you what do you require from your members? What do they expect from being a member, thinking about all these? We felt like it's not something that we can do on our own. We had to go through so many things together that we really wanted to understand what brought people together rather than come up with guidelines.


That would be OK. You should do this. You shouldn't do that. And that it was important for us to give the tools to our members to succeed. So that's why the way we articulated this playbook, we have the the guidelines like, well, the requirements when you are a member, we have a process when it comes to come and check on disability. So how do you replace someone, for instance, if they act in a way that's welcoming to community?


But we also have those two like Cheat's, where we want to give resources for members. So we working on inclusive language.


For instance, we have one on how to hustle for improvizations, because I think what we do at lovers and friends is that we will create people. So there is a form to fit in, to become a member and you can be accepted or not. But once you are accepted, once you are a part of this community, we believe in you. And we also believe that no one is perfect. So it's OK to fuck up. Someone is nice.


Nice. They see a recipe and it's all about, OK, what's what happens next? Because everybody can fuck up. But what do you do when it happens? Do you have a growth mindset or not? And how us as a community, we we are accountable to tell you that you acted in a way that's that wasn't the one seed and how us as a community, we give you the tools to actually do better and make something positive out of something negative, basically.


Sophie, what does this mean to your members to be included so deeply and how the community takes shape? I mean, that's something that you don't always see to have community members pretty much involved in every aspect and how it comes together, how it's governed, how it's moderated, those types of things. So I can only imagine that this really helps them feel some sort of, you know, some sense of ownership and some sense of of of responsibility for ensuring that this stays a safe place for people to have conversations and come together.


What have they told you about how this helps them feel and what it does for them and their participation within the online community?


So we try to have events where we focus on site work to make the comments better. So basically we have a weekly workshop where we work for 90 minutes on a specific topic. So, for instance, if we were to workshop the last three sessions, we were working on committee guidelines and it's something that is open to every member. So everybody is welcome to join. And then on the quarterly basis, we have an event which is we call it all town hall, where we share everything like finances, the strategy, everything.


And we ask questions to the members and we we make decisions together that we can workshop. For instance, the last time we had one of them, one of our members actually shared how they felt empowered by the work that we do together, but also like how grateful they are because they learn a lot about how to build the community, how to interact better in society even. And so that it makes sense to me because I am so grateful to be in to have created this community.


I am so in love with each and every one of the members. It's like they are so talented. And I can understand that when we have conversation, everybody brings their skills. It's so enriching. It's amazing.


How has this community helped you and what does this community mean for you? I mean, we've talked a little bit about how, you know, the community members feel about it. And you said something that I really kind of want to double click on when you said that you are so in love with this community and the members. Tell us more about how this community and seeing these folks come together in that way. What that what does that mean to you?


It means that I'm quite emotional. So I quite often end up being, like, looking at the screen outside. Like, I look at the screen and I see everybody. And sometimes I just I work with my husband sometimes. So when we produce the event, sometimes I'll be like, I'm aware of some of analytical tools and sometimes I will look at him and be like, oh my God, this is so beautiful. I'm so grateful. This is amazing.


Just like seeing how people help each other and knowing that we make this possible inside the most amazing thing ever, how the guys like it. Like my whole life, what I wanted to do was have a positive impact on society and this is happening. So this is like amazing. I had those jobs where I had, like, good salary, but I was working for, like, basically like shareholders. And now, like, I'm working for myself and I'm actually helping people.


I'm seeing the impact. I'm creating relationship, improving people's lives. It's just like the most amazing thing, really. And then on the personal side also, it has helped me a lot because my relationship is helped me be better at communicating my needs, understanding the needs of the of my partner and partners and friends.


And and also it has helped me to feel stronger about my own identity. And yeah, it's like, you know, even like in terms of like self-love and accepting who I am. When I think about me as a kid, I'm like, wow, can you be proud of that? That's cool. I feel like this is aligned with the with what who I am. And and that's that's great. That's awesome. Aside from an obvious global pandemic right now, what's what's the biggest challenge that you faced with building this community?


I think the biggest challenge, it comes back to growing the right, the right way, which for me means growing in the way that you maintain it is like a shared, intense and diverse community. So I think one of the challenges that we we have is to gain the trust of the less privileged in society so that they can trust us when we say the space is safe. And you're welcome here and. You have an amazing time with us, this is home, join us.


I think that's that's one of the of the challenges that we have, because I feel like if you're a privileged person in society, it's easier for you to take risks. So it's easier for you to join a community like that without really knowing what's what happens behind the closed doors. And we have to preserve our member privacy so we cannot shed that much. So it's finding a way to still make sure that we can attract the less privileged, because for me, it's so important because it will bring us a different outlook, different experiences that will enrich the conversation.


And that's that's key here. So that's that's a challenge that I see.


Yeah, I think that's a especially a challenge when you're looking at creating that type of environment and space for people to come together and authentic ways.


So in all that you've you've learned over these these years with building this community, if there's someone out there who's really looking to create an inclusive space that's welcoming that safe, that makes people feel like they can be who they are. What advice would you offer to them if this is something that they're looking for so looking to do?


I would say first that selecting the members of this community based on their value is super important for me, super important to be like reliant on these and the intent of the community so that there is like a common intent then I guess I would to keep it inclusive, try to avoid using labels to identify who those members are so that it's more something that is welcoming. And people won't be deterred because you've used such a label. But I know it's complicated to do this, but I would advise that then I those things to be important.


It's like sharing those guidelines. Those like you meant your mission so that everybody understand that and that whenever your members join the field, they're up to speed with each other. For instance, we do an ongoing session with your members, and I think it's something that's super important to avoid. Like you members feel like enjoying something that's cliquey or they don't understand the code and they don't really feel welcome or or they feel like the newbies, basically. So I think it's it's important.


Like the which the way you knew you new people in your community and then creating this community accountability and also empowerment. So making people understand that the community is everyone's and that everyone is responsible of what's going on here. And this is your community as well. It's something super important that everybody own these projects. Check power dynamics. That's something I kind of brushed with the side of the onboarding. But be careful with dynamics and also check privileges. It's interesting to see like how the the privileges that have an impact on society, how you can make sure that in your community you can make things right and have something fair, basically taking this into account that we like to close your eyes on those.


So if you can if you could wave a magic wand and wish anything you wanted for the lovers and friends community, what would you wish for?


That's the basic question, I think. I think a lot of the members would say face to face meeting. And now that we have members like all around the world, well, technically from L.A. to Tel Aviv, I guess I would ask for teleportation so I could call a meeting anytime, anywhere with each other.


And I took a look of it. I'm quite super myself, so I think I would reach for that.


But then if I am not granted superpowers something more down to earth, I guess I would wish for our community to to find its people wherever they are and have as many local communities as needed so that no no one feels left alone and they know that they can find support and yes, be them selves. Does themselves have fulfilling relationships? That's the idea. This has been such a awesome conversation and I have enjoyed talking to you and hopefully we can make teleportation happen for you.


We're going to work on it. Everything possible. So exactly.


If people want to get involved with lovers and friends, with the lovers and friends community, how should they go about it? Where can they find you guys?


Oh, so you can find us on our website. So lovers and friends that come where you can sign up, you'll see that it's quite counterintuitive because when you signed up, you basically have to fill in a 20 minute form to send your application and then we get back to you within, I would say, a week or two Max. Meanwhile, I highly, highly recommend to check us out on Instagram.


Same so we had I troubles in France. It's it's quite a good spot for us because we share members quotes, member questions. We chat about stuff also here. So you can already like engage in conversation with us on our Instagram and feel free also to reach out to send a message. I love to to hear from from from you. So I'll be very happy to get some message about the recordings. But guests will be amazing. Well, again, this has been such a great conversation with you, so I can talk to you all day, but we don't have that kind of time.


So I just want to thank you for being a part of the podcast.


It was amazing chatting with you. And I hope more people find their way to you. Thank you so much, Marjorie.


Thank you so much, Kevin. If you want to connect with something in Winnipeg, you can reach her at Lovers and friends Dotcom. That's Elvie R. S N. S R and D. S dot com or on Instagram lovers and friends. Thank you to our team. Thank you, Rossana Cabonne, for engineering and editing Greg David for his design work and Katie O'Connell for marketing this episode.


You can find out more about the work we do as people and company helping organizations get clear on who their most important communities are and how to build with those people by heading to our website people and dot company. And also, if you want to start your own community or supercharges one, you're already a part of our handbook is here for you. You can visit, get together both dotcom to grab a copy. It's full of stories and learnings from conversations with community leaders like this one.


Finally, please consider reviewing the podcast hit subscribe hit review. Those reviews, those ratings make a big difference and help more people find out about it. Cool. Thank you for hosting this convo, Marjorie. Thank you. This is fine. It is a pleasure. Thanks for having me by.