What if someone told you that true inspiration and change come out of a meaningful conversation, a glass (or two) of wine and some damn good food. Would you agree? Because let's be real, I know that I sure would. I’m getting bubbly inside just thinking about it -- and you should too.
Introducing Metta Society, the female-led company reimagining how we “mingle” and make a difference. Metta Society brings together women of different backgrounds, mindsets, and passions [stylists, editors, marketers, entrepreneurs, content creators, Insta fiends... you name it] to make meaningful connections — all while giving back to nonprofit, female-empowering charities. Yes, you’re hearing this right! It’s a community where women [I’m looking at you] can have a few cocktails, meet new people and feel inspired -- all while giving back to a great cause. Now that’s what I like to call a glass-half-full approach!
This is networking like never before, and the co-founders and total boss babes -- who are super cool, creative and chic btw - Claire Fontanetta and Erin Eastburn - are giving us an exclusive look into Metta Society, what inspired them to birth this genius brainchild, how they prioritize work, life, and charity — all while they’re preparing for total world domination -- tips for networking, oh, and how you can get involved, of course.
So if you’re new to a city, want to advance your career or side-hustle, or just want to meet some super cool boss babes, this girl gang is for you. Can I get a “who run the world…”
Can you tell us a bit about both of your backgrounds?
C: Full time, I'm the senior beauty editor of branded content at Refinery29, and prior to that I was on the print beauty team at Marie Claire magazine. Metta Society is very much my side hustle, but it's something I'm super passionate about. IMO, everyone should have one!
E: My experience is primarily in digital branding, merchandising, marketing, and social media. For the past three years, I've been managing the direct business (website, branded partnerships, digital marketing) and social media at the skin-care company, Erno Laszlo. Prior to that, I was at Saks Fifth Avenue corporate working in analytics on the menswear digital merchandising team.
What was your "gold lining" that lead you to launch the uber cool and inspiring Metta Society?
C: When I first moved to NYC six years ago, I found it was so hard to meet new people outside of work. Over the years, I've attended way more networking events that I want to admit and they were all so boring and incredibly stale. The name tags and icebreakers were so impersonal and awkward, and it was hard to find an event that I actually had a good time at. That's why Erin and I decided to create Metta Society. We wanted to create a community where women could have a few cocktails, meet new people, and feel inspired — all while giving back to female empowering charities, and knowing that your time is going to a great cause.
E: My first "gold lining" moment was when I realized that we could create a business, while also giving back to nonprofits at the same time. Our main goal is to generate revenue for causes we believed in – starting with female empowerment. Once we connected the dots of community, philanthropy, and business, the idea of Metta Society blossomed.
Who should attend one of these events?
C+E: Anyone who identifies as a woman or is gender non-conforming, and who wants to give back to female-empowering organizations — all while chatting up uber-cool people and eating delish food.
What non-profits have you partnered with and what do you look for in a collab?
C+E: In the past, we've donated to organizations like Planned Parenthood, Step Up, and She Should Run. All of our non-profit partners support or empower women — that's our main criteria. For branded partnerships, we love to partner with brands who want to make a difference and give back.
Where do you seek inspiration for your Metta Society mingle locations?
E: We're so lucky to be based in NYC and have access to endless inspiration! We always want to support local female-owned businesses — whether it's a small boutique or restaurant. Also, we just recently discovered Peer Space, which rents party spaces by the hour — yes, please!
C: As a self-proclaimed foodie, I'm always looking for locations that have bomb food and I'm constantly searching Instagram for up-and-coming female chefs who can create a unique menu for us. Each and every one of our events has a fun activity tied to it — whether it's a panel discussion or a cocktail making class — so we're always on the lookout for female-run spaces that can facilitate that.
There's no doubt that you're both inspiring women but, I'm curious, how have you been inspired by the women you've met at your Metta Society Mingles?
E: I've been known to get emotional when talking about all the amazing women we've connected with over the past several months. It's an amazing time to be a woman because the walls of competitive rivalries are finally dissolving. Especially during our panel discussions, it's so inspiring to hear how these super successful women have helped other women succeed. They inspire me to always do the same.
What has been the most exciting moment in your careers to date?
C: With regard to Metta Society, selling out our first official event was a pretty incredible feeling. We had expected the event to be much smaller, but we just kept getting notifications that women were buying up tickets and it ended up selling out within a week of going live. That, and getting hired by our first brand partner to plan and moderate their panel discussion! It was such a validating feeling and it confirmed that we're on the right path.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
E: All I have to say is thank God I have a co-founder! Owning a business will always have its ups and downs, and it's so nice to have someone who can lift you up in moments of anxiety or exhaustion. When I'm feeling self-doubt, I just have to remind myself that it takes time to build a brand and that all you can do is move forward.
What quote or saying inspires you and motivates you both to be yourself and do what you love?
E: There are SO many quotes I love and live by. The two that first came to mind are: "Be yourself, everyone else is taken" and "You miss out on every opportunity you don't take." It's scary starting your own thing because you're literally doing everything. When we first started, we started slow but soon realized we just needed to dive right in.
What’s advice would you give to those aspiring to follow in your footsteps and stand up for something they believe in?
C: My advice is borrowed by one of my fave athletic wear brands: Nike. Just do it! If you don't know where to start, find a friend (you're way more likely to give back if you have a friend to keep you accountable) and look up non-profits in your area. There are so many ways to give back, it's just about seeking them out. And if you live in NYC or Denver — come to one of our Metta Society events! (shameless self-promotion)
Anything new down the pipeline for Metta Mingles that we should be on the lookout for?
C+E: SO many! This year, look out for fun events like cocktail-making classes hosted by female bartenders, VIP private culinary experiences, and bigger events in NYC, Denver, and LA!
How can we get in on one of your Metta Mingles?
C+E: Sign up for our newsletter at Mettasociety.com to get first dibs on all of our upcoming events, exclusive swag giveaways and offerings, and access to our co-branded events with really fun partners!
What are your zodiac signs?
E: The Wing — I just became a member and now have my most productive work sessions there. It's also so inspiring to see so many badass women working out of the space.
C: The podcast: "Stuff To Blow Your Mind". It will actually blow your mind! I love love love podcasts. Another one of my all-time favorites is "How I Built This" — a goal of mine is to be on it one day.
What is your philosophy on self-care? What would you say is your number one self-care tip?
E: My philosophy is that it's okay to do nothing, but do regular check-in's on yourself and treat yourself to something special every single day. This could be as little as going to bed at 10 pm or as big as buying yourself something you've been eyeing for weeks.
C: I'm a big fan of meditation and try to do it every day — even if it's a super quick 10-minute session. There's also something so soothing about running yourself a hot bubble bath and just zoning out to some good music (Alt-J is a current fave).
Number one networking tip?
E: Be curious about other people — even if they don't work in your dream industry, show them respect and genuine interest.
C: Actually listen during the conversation and don't be afraid to ask for help or advice on something. You'd be surprised who's willing to help if you just ask in a thoughtful way.
Favorite places in NYC?
E: The Wing, Enchantments in the East Village when you need some witchy support, Supper for delicious food (it's one of the best restaurants in NYC imo), and Chillhouse for matcha, nails, and good vibes.
C: I usually try to eat 90% plant-based, but I can't resist the best steak au poivre from Raoul's every now and again. Chillhouse is always a fave for when I need to just *chill*, and Tiny's & The Bar Upstairs for a fun spot to grab drinks. Oh, and the flower district on west 28th street is always fun to peruse!
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