Our story begins...
We bonded while sitting around a conference table in Manhattan in 2016 with a group of 15 other women from around the US. (The photo on the left is on day one!) Our days as Directors of Business Development for W by Worth, a women’s clothing manufacturer, were long. We were the ones asking all the questions. We were the ones shaking our heads thinking, “this doesn’t add up.” But we were also the scrappy ones, who wouldn’t give up.
We had lots of great ideas that we were not afraid to voice, but we had little response or follow-through from corporate, which, to put it lightly, was frustrating.
And that’s how our friendship started.
Even after we left Worth, we continued to chat pretty much daily and learned that our lives, although separated by many miles, were similar.
We are both Italian. We both have husbands who work a lot. We both have kids who do things that we could not have predicted--good and bad. Our conversations often start with, “you can’t make this shit up.”
Our kids are grown and out (well, that could be debated) and we have the time and brain space to paint the town red. We are free to make those great ideas come alive and create the world we want to live in. We rely on each other to help trigger that inner genius.
We were in Chicago, talking about taking a trip, and the conversation expanded to the amazing things that can be accomplished when friends are together. Women always want to do more to nurture friendships, but rarely make the time, which was what we were doing—strengthening a friendship. Spending time together. Coming up with ideas. Enjoying ourselves. We started wondering, “How can we collaborate and start our own business? How can we turn the energy and excitement that happens when two good friends are together, supporting one another, into something that helps other women to reconnect with their friends and emboldens them to do things they haven’t been able to do alone?”
Sitting on a bench near the Chicago River, we spotted Santiago Calatrava’s “Constellation'' sculpture. Its bright red spiky swirl looked like a giant spark. And that was it. Spark. Your friends are your sparks. All of our ideas coalesced and came into sharp focus: “Let’s do this! Let’s create weekends for women to experience the vitality of friendship and the extraordinary things that happen when you are with your spark.”
URSPARK 2021 is their first collaboration and it is remarkable.
Michelle is my “spark”—she ignites the fire within me. She is the person who I can pretty much talk with about anything. Who will cheer me on, but also tell me the hard truth that maybe no one else will. She’s the one who fuels my drive to keep doing better, who sparks more “great ideas.”
Andrea is the phone call I never pass up, the trip I find a way to make happen, and the conversation that just flows easily. She is the one who keeps me in check and reminds me there is always a solution. Andrea fuels my drive to keep doing better, and sparks more great ideas.