[reprinted from Mighty Community]

[photo Alli Maas-Parfenov]

Athena Village is a Paid Mighty Network that brings together a collective of creative women to inspire and educate each other through collaboration, meaningful connection and conversations. 

We sat down with Athena Village Host, Kelly Pratt, to learn about how she uses the metaphor of a village for her Mighty Network, how she envisions her Mighty Network evolving, and how she uses All Member Chat for fun social events. 

Kelly is pictured on the right in the image above. 

Name: Kelly Pratt

Mighty Network: Athena Village 

Launched: April 2020

Location: United States 

What is Athena Village?

It actually started as So Do It! Society, which was an online meeting place for people I served in my own business to help women take action in their lives. But I became burned out, and what I realized was I wanted to have more of an impact than just on my business. I wanted to elevate and impact more women’s businesses than just my own. That’s when I started helping other people with their businesses and communities and created a space for them to flourish as a collective of women in Athena Village.

Athena Village is a women-led collective of artists, authors, coaches, healers, makers, teachers, and collaborative-minded entrepreneurs who want to gather in community, build heartfelt connection and contribute to meaningful conversation.

The overall concept of Athena Village is that we’re about the who before the do. We’re a place for the whole woman. Our niche is women who have multiple plates spinning, who want a community where they feel seen as the whole woman. It’s also a safe space off of social media where our members don’t have to worry about prying eyes or distractions.

Who is your Ideal Member? 

We serve women who have multi potentialities; women who are cultural creatives, who have a creative mind but who are not necessarily artists. They are people who are always learning, and most of our members have a business of some kind. They are looking for a community of like-valued people, not like-minded, but like-valued—it’s a very different thing. They love to support one another and believe there’s enough in the universe for everyone. They love a little competition, but they believe in cooperative competition.

Our members value curiosity. We value the idea of “beginners’ mind.” We value the fact that there are no experts in our village. There are people who have been on the journey for a long time, like myself, who have a lot of insight to offer. I’ve been doing a lot of things for a really long time, but I don’t claim to be an expert in everything or in anything actually. We value experience, and we value open minds. A beginner’s mind, as it’s said in the Buddhist tradition, is an open mind, while an expert’s mind is closed because the expert already knows. We’re all on different journeys and that’s valuable for us. The journey is the value.

You use a village as a metaphor for your Mighty Network. How do you envision your Mighty Network as a village?

At heart I’m an artist, and I think visually. I use mind maps. I use all sorts of things to put my thoughts on paper, and it helps me to explain our Mighty Network to people as well. I might tell them to imagine themselves as Jane Jetson in a little car. They’re surfing the internet, and they’re on an internet road trip. They are heading somewhere, but they come upon a little village and they think, “oh my gosh, I want to experience that person, and look, that person has classes in marketing, and that person has classes in imagination.” And then they want to change their whole trip on the internet so that they can stay in this village. They learn they can stay and become a resident, or they leave and come back to visit like a tourist.

How does that metaphor translate to the structure of your Mighty Network? 

Right now we use Groups and Courses as areas of the village such as “Biz Talk,” which is group for discussions related to business, and another one called “Soul Sparks” to ignite creativity. We also have an Internal Paid Plan, the Collective Membership, which is an annual paid membership where members have the choice to create a space and then charge for their spaces if they want.

We also have a directory, which is housed in a Course, for our moderators where they can create an about page and an information page. Inside the directory, the moderators can post their offerings. We use the lessons as offerings, which we have renamed to “offerings” in this directory Course. Each moderator can add their offerings within the lessons. Anyone who joins the paid membership level gets access to the directory of all these resources from the collective.

Soon, we’re also experimenting with creating a market that consists of collective members. Using the structure of a Mighty Network, paired with the village metaphor, we’re able to create districts (Groups or Courses.) One, for example, will be a wisdom district. That’s where the lifelong learning members can join to meet other lifelong learners, such as a person who teaches someone how to write a book. We’re also planning to have a wealth district. That’s where all the business collective members can meet others interested in business. We’ll have a wonder district, which is where the arts members will join for something like learning how to knit. Members currently fit into the bigger ecosystem of the village and that will expand even more in the future.

When people come into Athena Village, they might come because they’re looking for a community of like-valued women and they stay because they find someone who’s teaching them how to market their solopreneur business, and then they stay even longer because the community is fulfilling something that their soul needs such as a creative outlet. Once they make friends and see other members making friends, and gain value from those friendships, they want to stay.

You have taken the Community Design Masterclass. How do you implement Community Design in your Mighty Network?

We use themes to guide our content and structure our themes around trimesters. For example, we group months such as September through December, January through May and then June through August. Examples of some of our monthly themes are: act and move, authenticity in alignment, and belonging in culture. A huge value of ours is directly related to community, so one theme is collaborate and cooperate. For each theme, we use Topics to organize the theme content. We have one topic and value that goes all year long and that’s give first be curious.

As for our weekly content, on Mondays we do a “what’s coming up” post where we talk about who is doing what and thank members for posting, which we see as an acknowledgement piece to the post.

On Wednesdays we do a check-in where we ask, “what are you grateful for?” or “how was your week?” or “how’s your week going?” We use our All Member Chat to host those check-ins.

On Tuesdays we also use All Member Chat for a coffee and co-working day where create a chat event, people RSVP to it, and on that day we pay attention to anybody who’s working solo from home. We ask them to post three goals they have for working from home. We’ve also started doing a “join me for lunch, wherever you are in the world” (lunch or cocktail break.) We jump on Zoom and there’s no agenda–it’s just, “hey, let’s connect!”

I’m a fan of salons, which are the first kinds of events that women were ever allowed to have a voice back in the 17th century. We have a monthly salon series, and any of our collective members are welcome to create a salon.
The most popular events are our author events. We’ve brought on several authors that we know and they’ve had book launches within Athena Village.

What impact do you hope to have on your members?

The impact I want to make is I want to help other women be successful, and I want to continue to create a space that inspires and supports each other. As solo-preneurs we’re in our little silos, but together we can create a lot of progress and impact in each others lives. I love hearing things like, “you guys rock. If I hadn’t joined Athena Village, I wouldn’t have the job of my dreams now.”  I look forward to hearing things like that even more!