This article originally appeared in Neighborhood SEEN
By Pam Houghton
Photography by Jerry Zolynsky
“Life is so much better on the other side of the ‘shoulds,’ and leads to a more authentic and satisfying life,” says Ursula Adams, who co-founded SheHive with Andrea Clegg Corp.
Given the responsibilities of daily life, how exactly do you get there?
Corp offers many alternatives: “Self-awareness, discovery, reading books, surrounding yourself with the right people, personal and professional development … and joining forces with other women to fight guilt and live outside the typical roles and identities that society places on women.”
Turns out, that’s the gist of their programming at SheHive, which opened in September 2016.
From a three-room office in Ferndale, the dynamic duo offer workshops, training, coaching and opportunities for women to “connect and learn from each other,” says Adams, who has a certificate in executive coaching.
Key goals include “living your best life, knowing what lights you up, using your voice and finding your power,” adds Corp, a certified trainer and facilitator.
What inspired Adams and Corp to create such an intimate space?
For Adams, it was pursuing a master’s degree in positive organization development and change from Case Western University with a cohort of 36 women a few years back. “I had never been part of a sorority in college; this was my first time in a [large but close-knit] group of smart, witty and brave women, and I didn’t want to lose this circle of female friends.” After completing her degree, she started a women’s leadership group in Detroit, where she lives with her husband and daughter.
Corp, who resides in Royal Oak, was motivated by a “very painful” divorce. As part of her recovery, she started a “women’s circle,” an endeavor that led her to lead other groups that supported women going through difficult times, including a Divorce with Dignity class. She has since remarried.
Both wanted to take their experiences further. Adams, whose career in nonprofits and philanthropy includes a 16-year stint with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, documented her vision in a “$1.69 drugstore sketchbook.” A mutual friend introduced her to Corp, who had similar aspirations even though she worked fulltime in real estate operations management for Keller Williams. (She still does.) After meeting in a coffee shop, Adams shared her notebook and vision with Corp. To their surprise, it was a meeting of the minds, and it wasn’t long before the two decided to join forces.
“Sixty days after that decision, we opened the doors to our business,” says Adams, who is currently self-employed as an organizational development consultant.
Though they are still tweaking their programs, they offer all types of classes, including survival skills for the small business owner. They also hold a “Weekly Waggle” where “no topic is off limits,” a monthly supper club where women work on bucket lists and another monthly gathering to “celebrate personal victories and set new intentions,” according to their website. All classes are held in the evening, Tuesday through Friday from 7-9 p.m., and Saturday morning and afternoon.
They decided early in their business planning to make classes “very, very accessible” to everyone, no matter the income level, says Adams, citing walk-ins who are often “newly single moms struggling to make ends meet” and millennials just starting out.
That’s why some classes are $20, $25 a pop. The two-month survival skills workshop for entrepreneurs is $250 and includes five in-person meetings with a cohort and one-on-one coaching. Other classes are free or require a small donation.
Women of all ages and occupations attend. “We have had younger women, older women, students, stay-at-home moms and C-level executives walk through this door,” Adams says. “It’s spectacular just to see the diversity and the similarities of all the different women. They don’t generally share a demographic other than they just crave more information and encouragement.”
Corp, who has always been interested in “discovering who I really am on the inside rather than having life take me wherever it’s going to lead,” facilitates that same process in other women, helping them discover who they are and how to follow that path.
“Women are so good at committing to things outside of themselves, like their careers, their families and their kids. This space is really for women to commit to themselves.”
Adams testifies to the pleasures of living an authentic life. “I love the way life feels when I’m doing what I’m meant to do. There’s a spark in my eye; I’m nicer to other people … and everything feels a whole lot better.”
While both agree that SheHive’s programs sound like cost-effective therapy, Adams says, “Therapy is digging into your past. We are digging into your future.”
It seems to be working. “Every woman who walks in this door says, ‘This is just what I needed,’” she adds.