We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Roberts and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It came down to freedom. I didn’t want to be in spaces where I’d have to silence myself, run away from my values, or conform to anyone else’s idea of “professionalism.” I never really made sense in a 9-5 job, and when I finally embraced being an entrepreneur, opportunities started showing up pretty quickly. It was also clear that there were needs that other organizations and businesses either weren’t meeting or didn’t know how to meet with the tools they had. Namely, activists, politicians, and people who basically give a shit about social justice needed coaching, training, and long-term support for showing up for their work, and I knew that my collaborators and I could help them.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m an anti-oppression coach and facilitator, which means that I help people like politicians, small business owners, and anyone committed to social justice actually *live* (and not just talk about) those values. People can work with me through private coaching, group programs, courses, and even a new podcast (ALL THE F*CK IN). As a white, cisgender, straight person in this work, I’m in a constant practice of interrogating where my own privilege shows up and staying accountable through the deep relationships I have with my Radically Awaken collaborators, Charlie Redd (she/her) and Tristan Katz (they/them). Above all else, I’ve learned that this work is messy, and the key is to learn how to repair harm when we mess up — then keep going, no matter what. The support I offer has been in higher demand since last summer, as more folks have woken up to the reality that we’re living under oppressive systems like white supremacy that are literally killing people. However, I’m far from the only professional in this space. I’ve learned from a long lineage of movement leaders, activists, and social change-makers, and my own education around social justice is certainly never going to be “finished.” What’s different about the work Charlie, Tristan, and I do is that we prioritize relationships first. We learned this from our mentor, Michelle Cassandra Johnson (a longtime anti-racism trainer), who teaches that it’s those strong connections we build with one another — whether our collaborators, clients, friends, families — that create the necessary space for growth and transformation to happen. Building deep relationships is one important way that my collaborators and I push back on the toxic, dominant culture that conditions all of us to believe that we are separate from each other, that we don’t need each other for survival, and that because resources are scarce, we’d better fight for what we feel entitled to. One of the assumptions we carry into every client session is that “This work isn’t easy, and we have to do it anyway.” By doing it together, we’re able to find joy and lightness, even when the work feels heavy (because it IS heavy much of the time). I want people to know that they don’t have to be a social justice expert to be powerful forces for change. They just have to do the work and find a like-minded community to support them along the way. It’s not about being perfect; it’s about showing up, over and over again.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve moved to Denver during COVID, so there is still so much I want to explore. However… My go-to spot has been Hudson Hill for daytime and evening hangs when I want to get out of the house with my friends in my bubble. I’m 2.5 years sober, so I can’t speak for the cocktail menu, but I’m obsessed with the espresso options and snacks. I love walking around Cheesman Park on a sunny day. As a Midwesterner, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of those mountain views from the top of the hill. Food-wise, you can’t go wrong with Bang Up to the Elephant. I’m a big fan of their vegan cubano. I’m also excited to go back to the RedLine Contemporary Art Center soon. My super talented friend Kelley Schei recently showed some of her pieces there, and it was fun to check out all of the different artists’ work in that space. I hope I have more to suggest soon! I have a feeling that post-COVID, I’ll do a lot more exploring. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I continue to learn so much from my mentor, Michelle Cassandra Johnson. She’s a badass activist, anti-racism trainer, author, yoga teacher, and intuitive healer.
Miki Jourdan (black & white) #VOTEPROCHOICE (group image)