I decided to host a Bad Ass Babe Dinner with the release of Ann Shoket’s Book, The Big Life (highly recommend and more on that below), and I simply can’t believe I didn’t start doing this sooner. A Bad Ass Babe Dinner takes place with your most bad ass, powerful friends and is an evening spent mulling over your highest goals and cheap wine.
This post will explain what exactly a Bad Ass Babe Dinner is, why you need to be hosting one, how to do so, and a sneak peak into mine! Let’s get crackin’.
What is a “Bad Ass Babe” Dinner
Bad Ass Babe Dinners are a campaign started by Ann Shoket (former Editor-In-Cheif of 17 Magazine and one of the most incredible power women you’ll ever meet).
These dinners were how she conducted her research for her new book, The Big Life.
“The Big Life is packed with actionable guidance combined with personal advice from high-profile millennial women who have already achieved tremendous success, plus intimate conversations with a cast of compelling characters and Shoket’s own stories on her quest for The Big Life.”
Ann spent two years hosting Bad Ass Babe dinners around her dining room table in her Manhattan apartment. They evenings were spent with ambitious millennial women pouring your hearts out over their wildest goals with a side of pizza and wine. Out of these dinners came stories, struggles, and solutions, and of course, The Big Life, which is all about how millennial women have redefined dreams and goals for women and what it means to have “The Big Life.”
The Big Life is “that delicious cocktail of passion, career, work, ambition, respect, money, and a monumental relationship.”
You can hear her speak all about what the Big Life is and the amazing transformation taking place for young women today:
Why I began hosting monthly dinners
I was fortunate enough to meet Ann at the Soho House in the fall and was blown away by her inspiration and connection with young women. Instantly, I offered to help support the book in any way I could, and hosting a Bad Ass Babe Dinner was one of the best ways to do so.
For me, it was about connecting with my close girlfriends in a way that doesn’t usually come up in over happy hour, but is oh so necessary. The night was amazing (Ann even Skyped in!) and we now have one planned monthly.
My amazing and diverse babes! We have:
Why you should host one
You don’t need to be writing a book to host one of these babies! I truly believe that they are valuable for all young women. Here’s why:
It might seem weird to think that you’re “networking” with your friends, but sometimes you don’t realize what you and your friends can offer each other unless you have intentional conversations about your career and goals. I especially found that a lot of my friends knew each other through mutual friends and had never even realized how much they had in common.
As we become older, those friends from college become managers, supervisors, and influencers. Your peer connections are just as important as those high-level connections you dream of.
We now have our meetings once a month and they’re a great way to hold each other accountable for the goals we stated at the prior meeting. Saying your goals out loud and to your friends is much different than promising yourself you’ll one day do something.
To say that a night of wine, girlfriends, and goal discussion is encouraging should be a no-brainer. Yet in general, I find we don’t encourage each other as much as we should.
This doesn’t mean we’re selfish or bad friends, but it’s really easy to get caught up in your own life. And, sometimes we’re too afraid to let our guard down and even open up to our friends about our big goals because we don’t want to be embarrassed if we fail. But if you don’t share your goals, your friends don’t know what to be cheering you on for! This dinner definitely supports us all opening up about our goals, even when it’s scary.
These dinners are fun! Hosting them makes me realize I do not spend nearly as much time with my girlfriends as I should, and I always feel refreshed afterward.
How to prepare
Let’s look at what makes up the night.
The conversations at these dinners are the life of the party. For Ann, all her dinners start with the same question:
“If I could solve any problem for you, what would it be?”
And from there, the conversation flows into thoughts about your career, your goals, your love life, your health, and so on. To make sure that you stay on track, Ann put together this amazing guide with tons of questions to ask your fellow Bad Ass Babes, which you can get here.
Food (well, wine)
The next most important thing is food and a plethora of wine. For this, I create a google doc the week before each dinner. I list the things we need:
- 4 bottles of wine
- 3 entrees
- 1 veggie dish
- 1 dessert
Google docs are an easy way for people to see what each other has signed up for so there’s no overlap. Then, BAM. Your dinner is catered.
For my dinners, I also use that Google doc to create an “agenda” of sorts. When my friends fill up their potluck contribution, they also add questions or topics they might want to make sure bring up this time around. This way, everyone feels like their questions and struggles have a chance to be heard.
Establish some ground rules
Before our first dinner, we all took some time to go around and pinpoint what would make us feel the most comfortable in this setting. We set simple but important “ground rules” about what we were about to discuss. For instance:
1- you can share the ideas we discuss outside of this dinner, but don’t share whose ideas they are.
2- let’s not bring up some of the more personal topics discussed tonight when we’re out socializing, even if just out at happy hour with each other. There is a time and a place for certain topics.
3- don’t feel like you need to discuss anything you’re uncomfortable with sharing, but know this is a judgement-free zone.
4- most importantly, this is a safe space and we are here with the mission of supporting each other. No matter what, that’s first.
Plan your next one
The chances are you and your friends are busy bees! Before you leave the evening, go through your calendars and find a date that works for all of you and make it an unbreakable date. Waiting to find a date later is so much more difficult.
This is the most important part! Enjoy the night with your girlfriends. Help them and let them help you. You’ll probably realize, as we all did, we don’t spend enough quality time with our girlfriends.
Let me (and Ann Shoket!) know if you do host a Bad Ass Babe Dinner!