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Female Disruptors: Cat Lantigua of Goddess Council On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

“Build it and they will come” this was advice shared to me by my boyfriend Frank during the early days of Goddess Council. There were a few events that I planned in which nobody showed up and I worried whether my idea was sustainable or not and he comforted me by reminding me of this.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cat Lantigua.

As a first-generation Dominican-Amercian, Cat learned to navigate the nuance of community, identity, advocacy, self-care and storytelling in everyday life. In 2016, while living in her hometown Miami, Cat launched a blog dedicated to vulnerable sharing her personal journey of trying to ‘Figure it Out.’ In addition to sharing her personal experiences, her blog amplified the voices of millennial women shifting the culture. After moving to New York City, Cat found herself depressed and lonely seeking true friendship in a new city. Doing what she knows best, Cat took her personal experiences online and realized there was a community of womxn with similar experiences. In these tender spaces, many shared candidly about them wrestling with belonging, self-understanding and navigating the windy sometimes unexpected curves of life. In 2018, Cat officially became a community architect and created Goddess Council, a vulnerable, authentic community that usher in honest, meaningful conversations and nourishing exchanges.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Sure! I graduated from FIU in 2015 and at the time was determined to commit my life to non-profit/NGO development for organizations dedicated to empowering women and children and alleviating poverty. I was ready to move across the world to embark on this path, but after dipping my toes into the nonprofit sector I realized that the bureaucracy of it all prevented me from being as hands on as I would’ve liked to be. Upon realizing this I reevaluated everything and distilled my sincerest interests to be storytelling and fostering safe spaces. Throughout that journey I launched my podcast Chats with Cat to document my journey (and the stories of my inspiring peers) of overcoming fear and paving the way for my soul’s purpose to shine through. I also launched Goddess Council, a wellness community and sisterhood for women seeking deep connection, new friendships, healing, and joy!

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

The work I’m doing within Goddess Council is disruptive because our mission to raise awareness around social wellness by bringing together women in a meaningful and authentic way is requiring the context of wellness and the conversations relegated to that category to expand.

In the absence of physical touch and in-person connection, our society is realizing the critical role our relationships play in our overall wellbeing and health. I’m committed to furthering this awareness by amplifying the conversation around social health in accessible spaces and platforms as a means of bridging the knowledge gap that has existed between academic social science and everyday people.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Something I used to do often was downplay my qualifications and commitment to this work while in the presence of highly established women until one day someone just flat out told me “you don’t need to do that”. I learned that minimizing myself was in no way flattering to me or anyone else, I just came across insecure.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

To be honest, I’ve never formally had a mentor. I used to feel like I had to go out and recruit one or else I wouldn’t be “doing this right” but then I realized that all of the authors and podcast hosts that made up my media diet were all my mentors! Sure, I’ve never met most of them but they’ve all impacted my life and attitude in some way or another which is ultimately what I think a mentor is supposed to offer.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

This is a great point. I think the positive element to disrupting an industry, system, or institution is usually in the context of demanding an overdue update or change that will impact the lives of those involved in a more equitable and sustainable manner. In other words, if it makes the system more inclusive, intelligent, and fair I think it should be interpreted positively.

Conversely, negatively disrupting a facet of industry or an institution can look like creating an unequal distribution of power, making decisions that will endanger the quality of life and safety of the beings involved, creating an impact that will thwart the culture toward an outdated approach

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  1. “Build it and they will come” this was advice shared to me by my boyfriend Frank during the early days of Goddess Council. There were a few events that I planned in which nobody showed up and I worried whether my idea was sustainable or not and he comforted me by reminding me of this.
  2. “People come into your life for a season, reason, or a lifetime”. My mom would always say this to me as a child, but after experiencing a tough friend breakup while living in NYC she shared this with me and it really landed.
  3. “Ni un paso atras” is something my Guela (grandma) always tells me, which translates to “not one step back”. When I find myself in uncomfortable situations and want to give up Guela adds this into her pep talk and it seems to always help.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

One thing that comes to mind is that men aren’t typically filtered through the lens of being overly emotional or hysterical beings, they just are. Unfortunately, women often have to work to convince men that they’re level headed and worth paying attention to instead of just being heard to begin with.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

All about love by bell hooks is a book that deeply impacted the way I define the different ways I can imagine love to be embodied. I read it during a time in my life when I needed that awareness the most and was absolutely transformed by it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If I could inspire a movement it would be one about eco-conscious and sustainability through intentional community architecture!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have to share it in Spanish because it is the language I learned in! It’s “lo que es para ti nadie te lo quita”, which translates to “what is for you nobody can take”. Throughout my life the elders in my family have said this as a way of reminding me of my destiny and that I should always remain focused on my own path.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can follow me on Instagram at @cat.lantigua ,by visiting www.catlantigua.com or by checking out my podcast Chats with Cat on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you stream your favorite shows!

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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