We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Patay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
We Are Brave Together is born out of a beautiful collision in my heart: my passion for the friendship of women, connection and community– colliding with my heart/burden for caregiving moms of children with disabilities. I have a 17 year old son, Ryan, with a rare, genetic disorder, called Prader-Willi syndrome. It has been a unique, difficult and beautiful journey! I know the highs and lows, the stresses, the cyclical grief, and the isolation that mothers face. Caring for Ryan and living with PWS has brought me resilience, depth, a million life lessons, and a heart of gratitude. If I can serve and inspire and encourage other mothers facing chronic hardship, then I must! Sometime calling comes out of crisis. WABT is working to combat compassion fatigue and isolation that mothers deal with by offering support groups, workshops and retreats. (In the midst of COVID-19, we are offering all of this virtually until restrictions lift.) We also have a podcast Brave Together.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets WABT apart is that it is more than just a support group: it is a Sisterhood, a tribe, a strong community of mothers supporting and teaching and encouraging one another. It is a warm atmosphere that has been cultivated without the cattiness, competition and comparison that other women’s groups experience. I am most proud of the weekend retreats we offer! We give moms two days of respite and we only charge $150 per mom. That includes housing, food, speakers, and goody bags! We subsidize the rest of the costs. We also offer scholarships, since we know there are moms who cannot afford the retreat fee These weekends are inspirational, restful, and fun! We offer speakers with wisdom, life experience and grit, who provide practical take-aways for the moms, as they go back into theor challenging daily lives. For me, professionally, I have never run a nonprofit organization before. And yet, it has gone so well, because I have the right people teaching/training/supporting me and the organization. I have a fabulous working Board, full of experience and expertise. The growth we have seen in 3 years has been phenomenal. We have almost 1100 moms, and we have launched support groups across the country and even in Canada! The need is huge, for caregiving mothers to receive organic mentoring, education, resources and empowerment, so I suspect we will keep growing exponentially. What I want the world to know is that genuine care and support is available through WABT, in everything we do and all the content we put out there. We have a chair waiting just for you. We will work every day until every mom knows that she is not alone in her journey as a mother to a child with special health care needs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a friend in town, I would take them to Terranea Resort. Gorgeous scenery! Great place to stay, yummy restaurants with beautiful views. I would also take them to Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and Venice for different beach vibe feels. Of course, LA has million restaurants to try out as well. Too many options really!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to first of all, acknowledge my husband, Christopher Patay, who I have been married to for 23 years. He has always supported my dreams and ideas. I could not have launched WABT without his support and attorney expertise. He funded all our efforts until we received our NPO status and began fundraising. I would like to acknowledge other critical team members: Kimberly Kooy, who dreamed up WABT with me; Rory Hunter, Tina Quinn, Anthony Rivello, and Erica Mangham, who were part of the founding Board.
Instagram: @wearebravetogether @bravetogetherpod
Other: Brand Video is found on our YouTube page.
Some of the photos taken by Tara Engle Photography.