Name: Aviva Kamander
Name of Business: Authentic Vida
Profession: Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Psychotherapist, Coach, Speaker
Length of Time in Business: almost 5 years
Office Locations: Rye and White Plains
Number of kids and ages: two kids ages 15 and 12
Pets: No pets
Before starting this business, I worked in several fields, as a counselor, academic advisor, adjunct professor, telecommunications project manager, and realtor. After having my children, I went for post graduate training, and in 2010 started working in the field of social work again.
I started this business because: I wanted to love what I do, earn a good income, and - most importantly - continue to be available for my family.
What I love most about what I do now is: I have the privilege of working with people in a sacred way. Often when someone starts therapy, they are at a time of transition and vulnerability. We collaborate and problem solve together. I share what I know about human behavior from psychology, communication, and brain/body research, while each person brings their skills, values, and interests.
The transformation I am working on now is: participating in the conversation around gender equality. I recently developed a workshop called Navigating the Gray Zone: Dating with Assertiveness and Compassion. In this context the gray zone, is an unwelcome sexual encounter. The talk is about discerning areas of personal control and improving awareness, leading to more satisfying interpersonal connections.
To start this venture, I had to: research different perspectives around current dating norms, active consent, and assertiveness; carve out time to work on this passion project while continuing to juggle other responsibilities, and plan out time wisely, which meant often saying “no” to social/volunteer activities.
The biggest challenge I faced was: taking complex multifaceted dynamics and making them understandable, practical, and relatable, as well as public speaking.
I overcame that challenge by: continuing to edit and discuss this topic with colleagues, friends, and workshop participants, to make sure it is relevant and inclusive. Focusing on the content and reason I developed the workshop helps me combat my discomfort with public speaking. These challenges are something I continue to work on.
The thing that surprised me most about this project was: receiving an overwhelming amount of support when preparing the content for this workshop from other Rye moms. They listened to me talk about my ideas over and over again, they helped me brainstorm, and they believed in me and the concept. Their encouragement helped me persevere when I had my doubts, added momentum, and validated an idea which wasn't fully formed when I started, and continues to evolve.
My best tip for fellow entrepreneurs is: follow the spark, urge, your gut, or whatever signal your body gives you, even when it is only a dim light or something intangible. Turn it over in your mind, journal, talk to your support system about the desire/drive you have and see what happens. It is like mining a diamond, lots of dirt needs to be swept away to get to the sparkle.
My website is: www.authenticvida.com
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