The power of networking in the new normal.
Communities rise to replace the social benefits of the workplace. Upskilling, career progression, and exposure to new ways of thinking are nurtured through networks and communities of people with various crafts and interests. Caring for independent and distributed talent is taken on by the community curators. At We Are Rosie, there’s nothing that lights us up more than tending to our ever growing garden of Rosies who make up our remote community.
As the final episode of season 1 of the Rosie Report podcast, Steph sits down with Tiffany Dufu, author of the bestselling book Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less and Founder & CEO of The Cru, a peer coaching service and community for women looking to accelerate their professional and personal growth. The Cru’s algorithm matches circles of women who collaborate to meet their personal and professional goals. The organization is also the most recently funded venture in the Bumble Fund, Bumble’s seed and early-stage corporate venture investing vehicle focusing primarily on businesses founded and led by women of color and those from underrepresented groups. Bumble Fund is open to all women entrepreneurs, prioritizing those with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Check out Bumble’s most recent blog post for more information on their new investment in The Cru.
Tiffany Dufu’s life’s work in building communities and the advancement of women and girls is evident in every opportunity she is involved in. Tiffany has raised more than $20 million for the cause of women and girls and has been named to Entrepreneur’s 100 Powerful Women as well as Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women. She was a launch team member to Lean In and was Chief Leadership Officer to Levo, one of the fastest growing millennial professional networks. Prior to that, Tiffany served as President of The White House Project, as a Major Gifts Officer at Simmons University, and as Associate Director of Development at Seattle Girls’ School. Tiffany is a member of Women’s Forum New York, Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. and is a Lifetime Girl Scout.
Steph Olson: Hello and welcome to the Rosie Report podcast, where I chat with change makers about re-imagining a more equitable future of work. I’m your host Steph, founder of We Are Rosie. And today, I have the pleasure of welcoming our guest, Tiffany Dufu, founder and CEO of The Cru, a peer coaching service for women looking to accelerate their professional and personal growth.
Steph Olson: The Cru is the most recently funded venture in the Bumble Fund, Bumble’s seed and early-stage corporate venture investing vehicle focusing primarily on businesses founded and led by women of color and those from underrepresented groups. Bumble Fund is open to all women entrepreneurs, prioritizing those with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
Steph Olson: Welcome, Tiffany. We’re so excited to have you on today.
Tiffany Dufu: Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.
Steph Olson: Yes, and I love… You know, as I’ve done a deep dive on The Cru, we started our businesses around the same time, about two and a half, a little bit more years ago. I think the mission is incredible. We’ll dig in on that, but I just want to hear a little bit about what led you to start The Cru. Tell me a little bit about your background. What got you to this place?
Tiffany Dufu: Of course. Well, the first thing that you should know, and that I always start with is that my life’s work is advancing women and girls. That’s pretty much why I’m on the planet. My life is fairly simple in that I know what’s on my tombstone and I’m just kind of project managing my life backwards. I feel really lucky that I get to execute my purpose as founder and CEO of The Cru.
Tiffany Dufu: Before that, I had the pleasure of executing that purpose at a technology startup called Levo that was very focused on millennial women and helping them to elevate their careers. Before that, I did a stint on the launch team in Lean In and was a big advocate of Lean In Circles, as you can imagine, Before that, I ran a national women’s leadership organization called The White House Project. We trained women to run for political office across the country, and I’m very proud to see some of the fruits of that labor coming to fruition as so many women are running for political office. Before that, I was a nonprofit fundraiser. I raised money for Simmons College, which is a university in Boston and for a really special place in my hometown called the Seattle Girls’ School, that’s really focused on math, science, and technology.
Tiffany Dufu: So basically, every job I’ve had, every dollar I’ve donated, every board I’ve sat on, now I’m on the board of Simmons University and I’m also on the board of Girls Who Code, has been focused on how do we harness women’s talent and women’s ingenuity for the benefit of all of us. That’s all I’ve ever done or really cared about. So The Cru is just an outgrowth of that. We match circles of women who collaborate to meet their life goals together. And I started The Cru because I’m someone who’s the cumulative investment of a lot of people. I have a crew, I wouldn’t be here without them. So I understand the value of it. But I had what I call a Tiffany’s epiphany in January of 2018. Some people call them aha moments.
Tiffany Dufu: I was actually meeting with a woman at another female focused collaborative community and space called The Wing, which unfortunately is really struggling right now. But I was the first member that walked into that Flatiron location. I used to meet women there all the time. And I was having a conversation with a woman who I was giving my pep talk to about how she needed to find her crew, and she really pushed back. She basically said to me, “Tiffany, I understand theoretically, the idea of having a group of people who hold you accountable and support you in achieving your goals. But I don’t think you appreciate the amount of work that goes into finding your crew.”
Tiffany Dufu: And then she proceeded to explain the workflow to me, everything from, “I’d have to get access to the cocktail party or the conference or the event. Then I would have to show up, awkwardly introduce myself to strangers, collect all of the business cards. Then you want me to reach out to all of these people, have the coffees, the teas, and the lunches. By the way, I had to take time out of my job to meet you here at 10:00 AM on a Tuesday, right? Then you want me to find out who I’m compatible with and then coordinate regular gatherings where we’re going to put forth our ambitions together. I’m exhausted. And did I mention I have a full time job and three kids and a mom with a diagnosis? I don’t know, I’m moving today and doing my podcast from a chiropractor’s office.” It’s like, “I have a mom with a diagnosis and a commute and a dog, and I just don’t have time to do what you’re asking.”
Tiffany Dufu: And so I realized, you know, Tiffany, if your life’s work is advancing women and girls, you should probably stop preaching to women about how they need to find a crew, which I do a lot. I’m actually a public speaker. I wrote a book called Drop the Ball. There’s a lot of ways in which I evangelize what you should be doing. You should probably just do the work. You should probably just find the crew for her. And that was the pain point that I felt we had in the market, of just taking all of the workout of the networking and getting to the part of really supporting one another and helping one another thrive.
Steph Olson: I love this. I just wrote down like 15 questions that I have for you as a follow up, but I’ll go back to one of the things that you said at first, which is The Cru is an extension of your soul purpose journey and what you’re on this earth to do. And I feel very fortunate to be in the same category. I am living out my soul purpose journey. I haven’t been living it out quite as long as you have. It sounds like you figured it out really early on in your career, which is such a gift. One of the questions I get asked all the time is, how do you detect and be inspired by your soul purpose journey? I’m curious, what your… You know, I know my story and kind of figuring out what it was, but how did you know that this was your calling and what you’re meant to be doing with your life?
Tiffany Dufu: I think it’s a decision. I believe that purpose is a decision inspired by experience. I’m sure there are people who are walking down the street, the skies open up, I don’t know, the rain starts falling, they dropped to their knees and some voice of God tells them you’re here to orca whales or whatever their purpose might be. That is not how I have found it to happen from basically all the people who I know who are purpose driven, leaders. What happens is that something happens to you in your life where a series of experiences you have inspire you to care more about something than something else.
Tiffany Dufu: The experience that most informs my decision to advance women and girls is related to my mom who found out that she was pregnant with me when she was 19 years old. My parents are from Watts, L.A. My mom decided there had to be something other than what she saw around her and happened to have an uncle who was an army recruiter. So between the uncle and my mom, my dad was “convinced” to join the army. And I was born nine months later at Fort Lewis army base in Tacoma, Washington.
Tiffany Dufu: My dad had to kick a heroin addiction to even be able to pass a physical exam to get into the army. And my parents broke a very vicious cycle of poverty and addiction and violence in one generation based off of that move and based off of my mother’s gut. When her insight’s saying, “I need to get out of here, I need to figure out a way to protect myself and this child.” So she made a decision though, to be what I call a non-paid working mom. That’s my way of honoring women who are not compensated for their labor. And one of the outcomes of that decision was that when I was 16 and my parents got divorced.
Tiffany Dufu: By the way, my dad, who you heard about the situation he was in, eventually went to college on the GI Bill, earned a PhD in theology. When I grew up, he was the pastor of churches. But when my parents got divorced when I was 16, it was my dad who had all of the social and the economic and the political capital that I felt was our families because he had gotten the degree, he’s the one who was working outside of the home. He was the one who had won the awards. And my mom, unfortunately, spun back into those vicious cycles of poverty and addiction and violence with her second husband, which I was not familiar with at all, because remember they had broken those cycles for me.
Tiffany Dufu: So I spent most of my 20s trying to save my mom before I realized that each of us is the most powerful change agent in our own journey, that she did not have a mom like I did who intervened by telling her every day, “Tiffany, you’re so smart and you’re so beautiful and you’re so loved.” And so I couldn’t do it. But every day I get up in honor of my mom and her courage and what she did to intervene in my life to get to every woman that I can to just whisper in her ear, if you’re listening right now, I am literally whispering to you, “You are so smart. You are so loved. You are so beautiful. We are going to get through this crisis. We’re going to get through this moment in history and we’re going to be okay.”.
Steph Olson: Yeah, Tiffany, that actually makes me emotional to respond to your story. What an incredible story. And there are similar parallels to my story. My father grew up in a refugee camp and cannot read and write English and came to the States and gave his children an opportunity that he could have never even imagined as a child, living in a refugee camp who was orphaned at such a young age. And the ability and opportunity that we have to leapfrog what was possible for those who came before us in our own lives is such a gift. And I think it allows you a little more firm ground to stand on and making that decision that you’re not going to waste your life and to see really clearly the opportunity that we have. That’s a beautiful story.
Tiffany Dufu: I think it’s even deeper because not only do we have an opportunity to leapfrog for the next generation, we can actually leapfrog even in our own in really powerful ways. And you mentioned your father reminds me of a conversation I had with my dad years ago, I was pregnant with my second child and it was like one of those touchy feely moments where you’re trying to bond with your parent. And I was telling him what I hoped for, for this child. And I asked my dad, “Daddy, you know, when I was born or when, you know, mom was pregnant with me, what did you hope for? What did you wish for?” And he got very quiet and I almost retracted the question before he said, “I’m embarrassed of my answer to that question.” And I said, “Daddy, how could you possibly be embarrassed? It had to have been something positive.” And he said, “It was.” He said, “It’s just that when you were first born, what I most wanted was for you to graduate from high school and not get pregnant.” He said, “The woman that you are right now, I didn’t even know that women like you existed when you were born. You know, I just hoped, I just hoped.”
Tiffany Dufu: And so each one of us has the power to manifest a reality that we actually can’t imagine right now. Even in your lifetime, even in your life, even with what you want to achieve, you may not be able to see what’s on the other side. You can still get there.
Steph Olson: Yeah. I love that. And I think my dad’s kind of view on what he would hope for, for his children is something similar. Like just to graduate high school and to be happy and have some consistency in your life. One of the things I think about a lot as an entrepreneur on a soul purpose journey is like part of my job is to set such audacious goals that I’m going to have to change who I am to achieve them. Like I’m going to have to become a better version of myself to actually make that happen. And it’s a muscle that I think we have to flex and you have to practice doing that because it feels very scary and it feels kind of crazy and like, who the hell do you think you are? But if you get used to just setting these objectives and milestones for yourself, that like, you’re going to have to transform in a really incredible way to make them a reality. That’s how you can begin to create this massive change in your own life and understanding of what you’re capable of.
Tiffany Dufu: Completely. And you don’t even have to have it all planned out. If you just take the one step that you’re referencing or referring to. Well, I was about to say I was watching a basketball game. I was not watching the game. I was trying to support my husband and I was half falling asleep, but there was a commercial for this sports drink. And the overview, the voiceover of the commercial had this man saying that the difference between imagining the future and to being the future is what you do to get there. It’s just taking the step, taking the next step.
Steph Olson: Yeah, I agree. I love the part of your story where life hasn’t been easy. It wasn’t easy for your parents. It wasn’t easy for you. And it reminds me of something else I think about a lot that one of my mentors said to me, “Just Steph, the pain is the portal. You have to go through the yuck to come out on the other side, in the light.” And that is something that I… A mantra that I use so often. Someone was saying the other day, this whole idea that just things that happen in life are so offensive to us. Like they’re so upsetting when they’re just part of life. Life is discomfort and the expectation that it’s not is what can create you spinning out. But understanding and expecting these things and knowing the pain is the portal, this is a gift to help me become better is such a cool outlook.
Tiffany Dufu: Oh my goodness. When I was having my first child and it was my first time, I got to a point, and my mother was with me where I thought I was going to die. And I looked up at her and I said, “Mommy…” I said, “…I’m going to die.” And she said, “How do you know?” And I said, “It hurts so bad.” And she says, “Are you sure you feel like you’re going to die?” And I said, “Yes.” And she looked at me and she got this big, huge grin on her face and she says to me, “That means the baby is coming.” She was so excited. The pain is the portal.
Steph Olson: Yes. Tiffany, that’s so funny that you bring that up. I won’t go into this too much, but I had natural childbirth with both of my girls, and that’s where I learned that. Like you have to expect it. Yes, it has to get more intense. Childbirth has to get more intense before the baby comes. That’s how the process works and you have to expect it and embrace it and know that that is the portal. That is how you get the baby on the other side. I’ve written a lot about that, how childbirth taught me how to run a business, because that is part of the deal. So I love that you had that experience, that your mother was with you. My mom was with me for both my girls too.
Tiffany Dufu: That’s amazing, Steph. Okay, I forgot what we’re supposed to be talking about.
Steph Olson: I know.
Tiffany Dufu: But I can just talk to you all day.
Steph Olson: We’ve got this. I want to bring it back. I want to know, who is your crew and has it changed? Did you find that it evolves over time? And who helped you get your business off the ground and who’s your crew now? Tell me about your personal crew.
Tiffany Dufu: Yes. I think we need different groups of constituents of people in our lives. Early in my career, I had what people now refer to as mentors. I didn’t know that’s what they were. I just kind of referred to them as my sages. You know, people who can help you to achieve clarity through guidance and encouragement, and they know you and they tell you, give you the feedback you need to hear and all of that. I’ve also really benefited from sponsors in my career, people whose primary role is in what they say about you to other people when you’re not in the room. I’ve had some critical ones, including Marie C. Wilson, who I always have to give a shout out to. She built the Ms. Foundation for Women. She started Take Our Daughters to Work Day. And she’s the one who, when she was retiring from the White House Project said, “Tiffany Dufu is going to be the next president of the White House Project.” Just an amazing sponsor of mine.
Tiffany Dufu: But in addition to that, I have had a crew, which I consider to be a really unique group of people who are largely an accountability group for you. My crew includes really incredible women like Reshma Saujani, who’s the founder of Girls Who Code. It includes just women like Cindy pace. Who’s now running all of human resources and diversity and inclusion at MetLife. It includes women like Michelle [Gowen 00:17:12], who is an amazing writer, started her career at O Magazine and just an amazing journalist. Amanda Schumacher who’s a really great publicist. Kathleen Harris, who started her career in the magazine world and eventually rose to be the editor-in-chief at realsimple.com. I mean, I just have amazing people who… Daisy Auger-Dominguez, who’s now running all of people at VICE. They’re just really incredible women.
Tiffany Dufu: I think it’s important that you have a group of people who know what your ambitions are, they know what your plans are, and they’re largely holding your feet to the fire. The Cru would not exist if it weren’t for my crew figuratively, but also literally. Because one of my challenges in launching The Cru or so I thought was that I didn’t have a team, I didn’t have a staff of people, and I didn’t have a lot of monetary resources to get my business off of the ground. And I was being held accountable at one of my crew gatherings, which is just dinners that we have. And one of my crew members was like, “Are you crazy? What are you talking about? You’re trying to start a company, you’re telling us that you don’t have a team. You have a team, you have us, you have people in your life. You have an incredible network.” Like, “You need to stop making excuses and get to it.”
Tiffany Dufu: And that Saturday, I actually went to my office. I decided that I was just going to get help from whoever would be willing to help me. And I basically made a list of all the things I needed in order to launch The Cru. From a logo to maybe a psychologist to help me with what questions we should ask to match people. I was going to need an engineer. Basically, everything I needed. I created a timeline. And then I put the name of whoever I knew that I thought could be helpful regardless of what they were currently doing. Because of course, my big thing would be, “Oh, they have a big job. They’re not going to be able to help.” Just forget that, just who is the best person that you know. And I sent an email to everyone saying, “I wrote this list. I’m trying to get The Cru off the ground. Can you look, find your name on the list and tell me if you can do X by that date? Because if you can’t, I think I can at least launch.” And then once I got some traction, which I didn’t know what traction was at the time, but once the legs get going on this, I think I might be able to find a way to get some revenue.
Tiffany Dufu: And what did everybody say? Of course, everybody said yes. There’s one thing I can say is ask for help. The universe conspires to believe people who ask for help, who asked for what they need. And that’s how I launched The Cru with a bunch of volunteers. I ended up paying about $1,500 for a designer to do the logo because the person who… The designer was like, “I can’t, I’m totally busy, but I have an amazing person.” By the way, her name is Maia Gantcheva and she’s still with me. She still designs everything for The Cru, so that turned out to be the best introduction. Outside of that, everybody just volunteered their time to help me get it off the ground.
Steph Olson: Yes. That’s such a gift. A very similar story on my end too. But I think one of the things, whether you’re starting a business or whether you’re launching your side hustle, or you’re just kind of going on this journey to figure out who you want to be in life and what you want, how you want to express who you are in this lifetime. My coach calls it earth school. She’s like, “What do you want to do while you’re here on earth school?” But I think asking for help and not getting overwhelmed by the magnitude of your ambition or your goals, and just taking that first step, like send that first email, ask that one person for help. Do the one thing that makes you uncomfortable because changing who you are and how you’re living as an expression of who you are, is going to require behavior change. So you’ve got to get used to being uncomfortable. That’s the most important thing you can do. Do the thing that makes you uncomfortable. Reach too high to ask for help from a certain person that you don’t think will help you, just flex that uncomfortable muscle, because that’s how you create meaningful change. And it sounds like that’s what your friend’s politely called you on and got you moving to do it. I love that story.
Tiffany Dufu: Yes, absolutely.
Steph Olson: Tell me a little bit about The Cru. Like, how do people join? How does it work? Do you have a psychologist on staff? I want to hear more about it.
Tiffany Dufu: Sure. The way The Cru basically works is that you apply for membership. You can just go to thecru.com and we spell it C-R-U because CRW was taken. Early stage startup, you do what you can, and you give us some information about yourself. And we use that data in order to match you with a group of nine other people who you meet with on a regular basis at what we call gatherings. During your gatherings, you do what we call crew coaching. So each person takes a turn, giving an update on their goals. After you give an update, you receive a set of open ended questions from your crew. That’s all kind of laid out in what we call The Cru Playbook. It’s a really great coaching methodology. The person on your right is you’re a note taker, so that you can just remain present during your coaching session. The person on your left is your timekeeper because we honor time in The Cru, and we want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to go around.
Tiffany Dufu: So it’s a very member-driven community. The host of that gathering… The gatherings rotates, the note taker role rotates, the timekeeper rotates. In addition to that, you do interface digitally. The organizing principle of The Cru, or what we call intentions or what people call goals were agnostic to what your intentions are, but you do need to establish them at the beginning of your journey. They can be professional intentions, like getting a promotion or a raise. They can be personal intentions, like running a 5k, spending more time with your family. But at the beginning of your journey, you decide what those are. You upload those into the digital intention tracking tool and your crew can see them and they’re holding you accountable digitally, but also through these gatherings. So that’s fundamentally how it works.
Steph Olson: I love that. And so did you all have to transition to a digital format or were you already doing that kind of pre-COVID?
Tiffany Dufu: Well, interestingly enough, I was one of those founders who was very stubborn about everything being in person. And so the crews definitely met in person. And just because we’re talking about enterprise and business here, that really was a barrier, but I didn’t care so much. To me, that part of the experience was so important. The reason why it was a barrier is because we have a lot of applicants to The Cru. In order for us to match women, it required that any city or region that we went into had a critical mass of applicants in order to be able to match women. So if you are in Tulsa or if you are in Cincinnati, it would be a long time probably before we would get to you.
Tiffany Dufu: Well, what happened in the wake of COVID was that all of our crews had to start meeting virtually via Zoom. And unbeknownst to me, because I could now participate in some of these gatherings, our format worked better over Zoom. What I just described to you worked better over Zoom. And if you kind of think about it, it makes sense. One, it’s a bunch of really busy women who now don’t have a commute, who can just hop on a Zoom. Number two, they can integrate it into their lives. So all of a sudden we’re in gatherings and I can see women nursing their babies. I can see one woman taking the cornrows out of her daughter’s hair, which I was doing last night and takes hours. And so I realized, oh, so the engagement went up for existing crews.
Tiffany Dufu: The other thing that happened was related to my stubbornness, which was now the woman in Tulsa, the woman in Cincinnati no longer had to wait because if everyone’s meeting via Zoom, why does it matter what city you’re in? So we announced a national expansion this summer and just opened up the flood gates. We started matching women by time zone instead of city. And it’s really catalyzed our growth at The Cru, and taught me a really important valuable lesson, especially because I wrote the tagline that “every woman needs one.” That’s The Cru, “Every woman needs one.” And I actually wasn’t living that reality because I was saying, if you were in a city or in a market that where we didn’t have enough people, then you couldn’t have one. So I’m really excited about us growing nationally and eventually globally. So I can reach the woman in Australia who keeps pinging me about how she needs a crew too.
Steph Olson: Good for her. I mean, I am so happy to hear that you’ve come around. This is something that has been a real passion point for me that I don’t think that we discussed. We don’t discuss it enough now, but we certainly weren’t discussing it enough six, seven months ago, which is digital first experiences, remote work, remote, everything is inclusion. And this is how you can connect with caregivers, right? We see it within our own business. There are people that cannot go into a traditional work environment or cannot live in New York city because they’re caring for a sick relative, or they have an anxiety disorder that keeps them from wanting to be in a traditional environment. And so I love that you found your own path to discovering this kind of inclusive approach through a digital first platform on The Cru. And I’m sure it is going to just skyrocket, the number of lives that you’re able to touch.
Tiffany Dufu: I hope so. And that’s also a lesson in, sometimes we’re wrong as founders, sometimes we’re wrong as leaders. And really, I think that’s where if you go back to the beginning of our conversation where the purpose and passion comes in. Because at the end of the day, it was like, Tiffany, you have to serve who you need to serve. And this crisis is predicating and necessitating you serving more women. What are you here to do? And I think that that’s why being purpose first is really important.
Steph Olson: Yes. You have to revisit that North star. It’ll always tell you where to go. Sometimes it just takes us a little longer to get with the program. We’re like, “Oh, I got it now.“ You know? And that’s part of the journey too. Based on that, I’m so curious how you see the idea and this definition of professional communities evolving as we collectively everybody’s shifting more towards remote and distributed and just kind of any thoughts or trends that you anticipate are seeing now around professional communities in the post COVID world.
Tiffany Dufu: Yeah. A number of things. One is, I really hope that The Cru becomes just a ubiquitous social category. I think we have categories that have served us up until this point. And I just think we need a couple of new ones. So we actually call what happens in The Cru cruise ship. Whether or not you apply to my crew, I actually think that all of us need a group of people who are objective that are actually not our friends, that care about us, but are not invested in our decision making in order to help us move forward. I think we need groups of people that are diverse, that didn’t go to the same school that we did, that don’t have the same skin color that we do, or the same eye color, but come from different backgrounds and industries. And one of the things that Cru members really value is that I would not have met this group of people if I had left it up to my social group or my workplace.
Tiffany Dufu: And then I think the accountability is really key. Having people that say, “Hey, you said that you were going to make an impact in this way. You’re not doing it. Stop making excuses, you know, and move yourself forward.” I think that’s really important. And in the past, that’s been held up as a category for people who were elite enough to be in YPO or some of these other networks. I actually think that more and more of us just need that as a social category. I wish that, that could be a trend. I think that right now a lot of our members are valuing The Cru. In some ways, it’s a bit of an escape from the day to day. So having people and I think having networks that allow you to really focus on the forest from the trees in your day to day life, because most people that we interact with, it’s like, “Hey babe, are you going to go help her with her homework?” Or, “Mommy, can you help me with this?” To really have a group of people for whom it’s not even about any of the trees, it’s just all about keeping you focused on the forest, I think is really great.
Tiffany Dufu: Obviously, we’re not going to cocktail parties right now, or conferences or events. And so I think curated communities like The Cru where you give some information and there’s a matching component is really helpful for those of us who can’t be in the room or who, I don’t know, are introverts or for whom that model never appealed to you to begin with, I think is really helpful. And ultimately, I think communities and networks that help keep us focused on what matters most to us in our lives, that keep us out of just like flipping the Instagram stories and really focused on what am I doing today, tomorrow, and the next to cradle I find passionate about and to make a difference in the world. I think that’s what I’m here for. And I think more people are here for that.
Steph Olson: I love it. And technology enabled platforms really create the space for us to make all of this magic that just wasn’t possible before. Tiffany, my parents met in a car accident, like crashed into each other. And so I look at my family as this like microcosm of diversity and what is possible when two stars collide that just never in a million years would have encountered one another in a traditional sense. And it sounds like… I’ve just always been really inspired by that, that thought and the idea of the reason I’m here is that two people literally crashed into each other that are from completely different walks of life, different skin, color, religion, all of it. And it sounds like you’re integrating that kind of ethos into The Cru to give people like, these are not just your neighbors, these are not just the people that went to the same school as you. These are not friends of friends necessarily, but were really able to give you truly diverse perspectives and create the space for that magic to happen when you do expand beyond your kind of immediate concentric circle of crew members or allies and advocates.
Tiffany Dufu: Absolutely.
Steph Olson: Yeah. One of the questions I ask on every podcast is, we’re not going back to normal, which is a good thing in so many ways because normal was not as great as we all think it was while it was comfortable. What are you excited about? What gives you hope?
Tiffany Dufu: Lots of things give me hope. The one thing that gives me hope because I’m the founder of this thing called The Cru, is that we have data on intentions so I could tell you exactly what hundreds of women want to achieve over the next 12 months. And I’m really heartened by the fact that it’s all about creating really great impact in our lives and in the world. So I get to see that on a daily basis. What brings me hope are kids, especially being on the founder of Girls Who Code, on the board of Girls Who Code, being a parent and really seeing their optimism and feeling like the world is in good hands despite the fact that we don’t often provide them the best models for leadership, they seem to be taking that data and that information and deciding that they’re going to do something differently with it. And that brings me an enormous amount of hope.
Tiffany Dufu: But I think ultimately just, I know this sounds strange, but looking back at my own life, remembering when I was an adolescent and I was being teased because I was skinny or because I was a nerd, and seeing that with just one decision after another, you can actually create a life that you’re passionate about. That you can really get clear and decide on your passion and purpose and you can stay committed to that. And you may not know what city you’re going to be living in, in the future, you may not know that you’re going to be an author, you may not know that you’re going to be an entrepreneur. Some of those ideas may seem kind of ridiculous to you right now, which I can tell you, there was a past in which entrepreneur, that would have been a ridiculous idea to me. But if you stay true to why you’re here, and if you make decisions that are in the best interest of your values and you are determined to make your ancestors proud, you’re going to be fine.
Steph Olson: Yeah. I love that. My big takeaway that I’ve written down and underlined is around what you’re talking about, purpose being a decision. I’ve never thought of it that way, but it really resonates with me. I feel like it was a decision that I made and the decision that you made. And I love that, I think that will be helpful for our listeners.
Steph Olson: Tiffany, I could talk to you for years. How do we keep up with you? How do we follow you and The Cru on socials? Where can we find you?
Tiffany Dufu: Yes, absolutely. So we’re at thecru.com, C-R-U. That’s our handle as well, @TheCru. You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That is my real email address. I’m here for every woman, so reach out to me and I’m more than happy to support you in creating a life that you’re passionate about and helping you to find your crew.
Steph Olson: Love it. Thank you so much for joining us today, Tiffany. It was so lovely to have you here. And this wraps up season one of The Rosie Report Podcast. Thank you to everyone who has subscribed to our first season. And while you stay tuned for season two, where I pass the mic, be sure to check out all of my incredible conversations with change makers on Spotify or by going to therosiereport.com/podcast. Tiffany, thank you again. We will see you on the other side.
Tiffany Dufu: Thank you, Steph.