When we first launched OwnTrail, we started with sharing. We created the ability for women to share the trails they had blazed through life as micro acts of mentorship, in order to provide solidarity and inspiration to other women.
And share they did — we have seen the most authentic, vulnerable, universally REAL trails being shared so far! As one woman told us, “Sometimes I feel like my baby steps have amounted to very little, but building my trail reiterated that I’ve done some major things and felt more proud of myself! I appreciate this platform showing me I am doing the thing!” Another woman told us that “Putting my mental health issues out in public, alongside my accomplishments, felt raw, real and liberating.”
We love that the act of creating and sharing our trails can both be a way to give back to those coming up behind us and a powerful way of reflecting on and owning our stories.
While the trails being shared are powerful and inspiring, we’ve been excited to build out the next step, going from sharing our stories to interacting on them. We know that there are conversations to be had around these life milestones, as evidenced by women reaching out to each other on different platforms to ask questions about the trail they have shared on OwnTrail. We want to make it easy and meaningful to have these conversations right alongside women’s trails.
In answer to this need, we just launched Conversations on OwnTrail!
Women can comment and ask questions on other women’s trails to find out more about how they navigated milestones, how they got where they are, and to discuss shared experiences.
Just like sharing our trails is a way to reach countless more women than 1:1 sharing ever could, having conversations about our lived experiences on OwnTrail can be another micro act of mentorship. The questions that one woman might have about a trail or milestone are likely ones that another woman will have down the road. By engaging in a conversation on OwnTrail, your responses can impact countless women. Our experiences are shared, and our insights are evergreen.
Using Conversations is simple: when you are viewing someone’s trail, just click the Conversation icon below their trail, and you’ll see the text box to start a Conversation topic. You’ll need to be signed into your OwnTrail account, which you’ll be prompted to do if you’re not already. You can reply to Conversation threads, start new Conversations, and appreciate comments. We’ve also added a Notification Center, so that you know when there are new Conversations on your trail, new replies to your Conversations, and new appreciations for what you’ve shared. And because safety is one of our driving values, you can flag any contributions that violate our community agreement.
The ability for women to both share and discuss their stories enables a new way of lifting each other up that can be both impactful and scalable. As we work to reimagine mentorship to reach all women, we can’t wait to see the ways in which these discussions help strengthen and inspire the supportive community of women on OwnTrail. I’m looking forward to the Conversations ahead… and feel free to ask me any questions about the trail I’ve blazed!