Founder of (B), Keele Burgin on Her Ability to Foster Deep Connections and Ignite Profound Transformation
Hello Keele! Please share a brief introduction about yourself.
My magic is my ability to connect – and connect deeply. My life’s story makes me uniquely qualified to help women unearth their unique genius, to see themselves as worthy, and to share the stories they don’t want to say out loud. This journey brings profound transformation. I founded (B) to bring growth-minded women together to ignite their inner compass and create profound transformation in their lives through the inspiration and accountability that comes from the curated circles, powerful curriculum and customized coaching.
So Keele, what excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
I love women. I love their fears, their accomplishments, their wit and their hiding. I believe when a woman uses her authentic voice, she can change the world around her, and I’ve worked with women around the globe to do just that. The Entreprenista League is an incredible community of women and I am excited to collaborate and lift each other up!
What made you take the leap to start (B)?
Several years ago I climbed the Grand Canyon. It was the hardest physical thing I have ever done. I went with eleven women I had never met and one woman I’d been wanting to get to know better for a decade. We were in the middle of a government shutdown which meant there would be no water stations, likely no bathrooms and no rangers in the Canyon. We would be on our own. Just because that wasn’t enough to deter us, we found out the main water line was out at Phantom Ranch, the place we were staying our lodging at the bottom, so we would not have any running water after the descent. My determination to stay on the journey was unrelenting. I signed up for this crazy adventure because I knew I had to do something drastic to shock myself back to the land of the living after a decimating divorce. I was going to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to leave my marriage behind and climb out to my new life. The only problem was I needed a plan – I had no idea what my new life was going to be or if I was capable of creating it. In the past I’d been very successful starting, growing and selling businesses. My resume was solid, everything from taking my international strategic marketing company public to selling an analytics business to a Fortune 100 company. But this time I was worried, would I be able to do that again? How could I make something valuable when I didn’t feel my own worth? As you can imagine I had a lot of time to think, to place my life on an observation wheel, and to take in the awe of my surroundings. As the temperature dropped and the snow began to thicken, I found myself watching the women as we walked in silence for hours. They were each in a place of their own fear, contemplation or excitement. As the snow began to thicken I felt a sense of waking up, like the last part of a yawn when you know you are about to put your feet on the floor to start another day. I saw the women fall and get picked up, I heard them share their wisdom and their devastation. I watched them give their water when they didn’t know if there would be more. I listened to their stories and in a profound way I knew I wasn’t alone. One woman in particular was my counter opposite, her actions in her relationship reminded me of my “wasband’s” hurtful behavior. In hearing her story I was moved a step toward empathy for him. I witnessed in those four days how women show up for each other. I saw that when Julie couldn’t carry her 35-pound pack another step, we divided her things among several of us and kept her moving. We sat up late in our old wooden bunk beds, and I listened to beautiful words dripping from these women’s lips. Things they had promised to never say out loud now took residence in my heart. I could feel the healing taking place because we were present for each other, we were cradling the words of joy and suffering. Life is both; we sometimes run from the suffering, but it is still intertwined in the fabric of our life. I went home from that trip a changed and motivated woman. I knew it was time for me to start a new business, and by the time I climbed out of that canyon I was clear about the mission. Within weeks (B) was birthed into the world. We curate groups of twelve like-minded women who walk through my curriculum together, embracing all that they are and coming out on the other side transformed. Like the Canyon was for me, (B) is a challenging, invigorating and rewarding experience. I named it (B) because I want everyone to BE who they are in the moment. Be giddy. Be free. Be powerful. Be a hot mess. Just BE and know you are worthy. So, to answer the question, “Why did I take the leap?” I guess my short answer is – I didn’t know I was starting one, but I was committed to doing the next right thing and those things became a string of important decisions that led me here and I am grateful beyond measure for the life I live now. It is my authentic life!! I feel blessed to work with women who want to up their game and find and use their voice to change the world for the better.
So Keele, what was your background prior to starting (B)?
I have always been an entrepreneur. I’ve co-founded a few companies (even took one public!), I am a philanthropist (working with women in Guatemala and Vietnam on micro-finance projects), a speaker, and a single mom.
Would you say you have always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
To be honest at first the word Entrepreneur was a bit of a leap for me, it made my unworthy gene kick in with all of it’s false accusations about me. It took me having some real success before I could really step into the word at full force. Looking back that word was quite the motivator!!
When starting a business, marketing is key! Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word?
When I first started (B) my marketing strategy was, and still is to this day, to get up every day and ask how I can be of service to women. How can I help women to open up and tell their story, live their most authentic life and feel empowered to own every single thing that has happened to them in their lives, even the rough stuff. I find the challenges women have faced to be some of the most interesting parts of them.
So Keele, entreprenistas overcome challenges every single day. What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
Oh jeez…how long do you have? 😉 I owe my character to the challenges I have faced. They made me who I am and have taught me that no matter what the circumstances I get up and I keep going. I am resilient. I have worked incredibly hard to take my challenges and turn them into a gift of experience that I can give to others in the form of hope.
Keele, you have lots to celebrate! What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Having the courage to write my story and have it published! My memoir, “Wholly Unraveled”, was birthed in 2019 (and it was chosen by Amazon for ‘Top 6 Books’ when it came out!)
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I absolutely believe in work/life balance. One best practice that I live by is supporting my team in showing up as their full self at work. I believe in full transparency and want everyone I encounter to feel confident about telling the truth. There’s no need to pretend to be OK – say out loud how you are really feeling and keep moving.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Entrepreneurs need to follow their intuition and remember that YOU know what is right for your business. Trust the process and embrace the journey of looking at your business with an objective eye so you can continue to optimize!
What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
I recently had a moment witnessing other women that I will never forget. There were ten of them, arm in arm as tight as they could get to one another to solidify their circle. They were outside, covered by a rock entry during a beautiful rain storm, with distant shards of lightening coming and going as they saw fit. Truthfully, I am not sure the women were aware it was even raining. Their connection was palpable, and I don’t use that word lightly. I felt their connection inside of me, it was THAT special. I was a few feet away watching this spontaneous circle as it formed, feeling intensely grateful for my proximity to these beauties. “I love you ladies” I heard one of them say. “We are forever,” another one chimed in. They swayed and voiced their promises to each other and it was as if the ground disappeared from under them and they were floating. Now imagine this…these women didn’t know each other 48 hours earlier. And THAT is what happens when women gather with an open heart and desire for connection. These ladies ‘graduated’ from our I.N.K. (Invoke your Native Knowing) retreat in October. I watched each one of them transform in their own spectacular way. They fell deeply in love with the essence of who they are and co-created a sisterhood that will stand the test of time. I am so thrilled to have them in the (B) family!!
What’s next for (B)? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We have some amazing things coming that I know are going to help women step deeper and deeper into the meaning of their lives and their unique essence. Along with expanding the number of signature INK retreats, we will also be introducing themed retreats to focus on singular issues that women face. We will also be rolling out more online courses, a subscription based app for women’s wellness and I’m thrilled to report that I am in the midst of writing my second book!