Charlotte changemaker Kathy Izard’s latest venture aims to help women of all ages nurture their inner talents.
by Michelle Boudin
Kathy Izard has spent the last decade learning to trust her inner voice. She’s raised millions to help build both Moore Place, Charlotte’s first supportive housing complex for homeless people, and HopeWay, a residential mental-health facility. She’s a published author and a motivational speaker. Yet Izard says her latest venture, Women | Faith & Story, almost didn’t happen — until her 31-year-old daughter stepped in.
“I had this idea to bring women together and lift each other up. It started with a blog, and then we were going to do in-person workshops, but Covid put an end to that,” Izard says. “So we started building a website, but I just couldn’t see the vision. It had kind of become too big. … and then Lauren, she came along at just the right time.”
Lauren Salatich, the oldest of Izard’s four daughters, is director of development for The Hollis Co., a production studio in Austin, Texas, and is a writer and producer for The Rachel Hollis Show. (Hollis is a New York Times bestselling author and blogger whose book, Girl, Wash Your Face, has sold more than 4.5 million copies.)
Salatich, who has degrees in finance and film, also has experience in website development. Her diverse background of corporate work and creativity made her the perfect partner to help bring Women | Faith & Story to life, her mom says.
“She came along with her spreadsheets and her Google Docs and gave me the courage I needed to go ahead and say, ‘This is bigger, but we can do it, and we can do it even better than I’d imagined,’” Izard says.
“My goal was to unify all sides of my life. I had one side where I was a writer and people would ask for advice on writing a book, another side where I worked with nonprofits, and another side where I would have coffee with someone and I would end up helping them navigate next steps … how to trust that whisper and to listen to what’s calling you. I was trying to imagine how to put it all together,” she explains.
Women | Faith & Story is intended as an online gathering place that offers workshops, coaching and community. Salatich says she hopes to bring in a younger demographic who can benefit from connections with women of all ages.
“Women in my age group may have found the thing they want to do but aren’t sure how to turn that into taking the next step,” Salatich says. “We all can use a network of women who have come before you. We realized the two demographics are really complementary groups of women.”
Both women say the word “faith” in the name is meant in a broader sense and shouldn’t turn people away who may not place much emphasis on religion.
“I see it more as faith in each other, in yourself, in the community and something bigger,” Salatich says.
The website launched last fall with online workshops from 10 different coaches. Classes range from self-help topics like “Five Steps to Discover your ‘Why’” to the more practical “Dream It. Write It. Publish It” and “DIY Note Cards.” The groups are purposely kept small, typically six to eight people, so there’s a feeling of intimacy that promotes sharing. Nothing is ever recorded so that attendees can feel free to be as unguarded as possible.
“I’ve been coaching people one-on-one for years, but there’s magic in women validating and honoring the stories and experiences of the other women in their workshops,” says life coach Meg Robertson. “It’s powerful to see them get real and open up with each other and support the other person’s hopes and dreams. After just a few workshops, I’ve had participants give up nicotine, reignite passions and start moving on things they wanted to do but felt ‘stuck.’”
Izard says that’s exactly what she hoped would happen, and she and Salatich hope to eventually host in-person coaching sessions, retreats and conferences.
“I think it’s going to continue to evolve,” says Izard, who is adding classes and bringing on four new coaches this month. “We’re going to continue to figure out what people want and try to offer that. We want it to be a network for women — whatever they’re dreaming of, hoping to do — we want to support them in that work.” SP
featured photograph by Ashley Merritt