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Climbing Kilimanjaro: Mental Training Plan

In October, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I won’t lie to you and tell you that I was doing daily meditations on the mountain and having an Eat, Pray, Love experience. It was, however, one of the most fun, exciting, and challenging experiences of my life. While I did a lot of physical training, I think the most useful training came in the form of another fun, exciting, and challenging experience—starting Gild Collective.

Gild Collective Founder Spotlight: Rachel


Hi, I’m Rachel, and I am SO excited to meet you!

I am the Chief Creative Officer at GILD Collective, which means that I have the best job on earth: designing the projects! It is literally my DUTY to scour Pinterest, home decor and DIY blogs, and online craft supply retailers until I have found the inspiration I need to create an awesome project that you can complete at a GILD party. Then, I actually get to do the projects, usually at least a few times a piece! First I have to test them, and then we have to photograph the step by step photos and take videos (my least favorite part- we all think our voice sounds strange played back, right?!). It’s all a dream come true, really, and I’m pretty thankful!

So, how did I get here? The path was a little twisted, to say the least…

I have spent the last 28 years chasing fulfillment. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, where I was lucky enough to live in several amazing neighborhoods and attend one of the best high schools in the country. No matter where I went or what I did, I never felt like I “fit” anywhere: I wasn’t particularly athletic, I wasn’t the smartest person in class,  and I was too afraid to show my creativity.

Thinking that a change of scenery was my answer, I escaped to college in northeast Ohio. While I grew tremendously in college, I never found a way to fully engage. When I graduated, I realized that I had spent four years studying for a career (fashion merchandising) that I had no real desire to go into. I was frustrated.

I took my “change of scenery” theory to an extreme after graduation when I moved to New Zealand, totally on my own, on a 12 month working holiday visa. Professionally speaking, I did not find my calling on the other side of the world. Personally, I learned what would become the most influential lesson of my life thus far: I don’t have to have everything figured out in order to take huge risks. Those risks often take you closer to where you are meant to go, so embrace them.

For the five years (holy crap!!!) since I returned from New Zealand, I have continued to chase the fulfillment I had been seeking my whole life. Two nephews, two pets, a master’s degree (plus some amazing friends), and a fiancė later, I was back in Cincinnati working for a small college. I advised and coached (mainly) female students on achieving their success, and I loved it. There is nothing better than seeing one of your students achieve something they didn’t think was possible.

Then, everything changed. I started to spend my evenings and weekends hard at work creating things for my wedding: signage, centerpieces, and personalized decor. Other people marveled at my “patience” for doing everything myself, which truly confused me. It was not a burden to be doing these things. In fact, I was happier than I ever had been. I was creating something, and for the first time in my life, I was not afraid of what other people might think. I had finally found my creative confidence, through all of my formative and diverse life experiences.


When the wedding was over, I experienced a bit of a post-wedding sadness that I couldn’t quite shake. It was not over the passing of the day itself. Rather, it was the lack of necessity to keep creating things. I could not go back to a life where I wasn’t creative. I knew I would never be fulfilled without it. So, I made other excuses to exercise the left side of the brain: I opened an Etsy shop and began a DIY event design business.

When it became time to leave my job at the college, the most amazing thing happened: I knew exactly what I wanted to do next. I knew exactly what I needed to find the fulfillment I had been looking for for 28 years. I needed to combine my passion and need to create with the pure joy I found by inspiring women to be their most confident selves. And thanks to my experience in New Zealand, I was not afraid to take a huge risk.

Thus, GILD Collective was born.