Curious about launching your entrepreneurial journey with a business partner?
Tune into this candid conversation with Tami Astorino and Rachel Rubin, the co-CEOs of Rise Gatherings – offering retreat experiences that invite women to connect with nature, with themselves, and with one another. In this honest and heartfelt episode, you’ll learn about Tami and Rachel’s journey to launching Rise (including the fateful business “blind date” that started their partnership), and how they leverage their yin-yang personality types to create a stronger whole.
You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes window into their beloved Rise Gatherings Weekend Getaway, which over the past several years has drawn hundreds of women to the Pocono Mountains for a transformative and restorative experience.
(PSST: She Rocked It’s own Karen Gross is a Weekend Getaway workshop facilitator this year!) You’ll surely be inspired by Tami and Rachel’s courageous journey, their dedication to uplifting women, and the alchemy of their collaboration.
- [03:28] How a well-timed introduction launched Tami and Rachel’s business partnership [08:53] How the vision for Rise Gatherings came to life
- [13:08] A glimpse into Rise Gatherings’ diverse community of women
- [16:33] Why Tami and Rachel’s partnership works – and tips you can use for your own collabs
- [24:18] How Tami and Rachel found the courage to launch Rise Gatherings
- [28:30] Tami and Rachel’s tips to rock it
Links from this episode:
- Rise Gatherings: https://www.risegatherings.com/weekend-getaway-2023
- Rachel Rubin on the Athleta x She Rocked It podcast: How to Balance Career & Self-Care: https://sherockedit.com/athleta-x-she-rocked-it-how-to-balance-career-self-care/
- Rise Gatherings on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/risegatherings/
Rise Gatherings Transcript
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Hello, and welcome to the She Rocked It Podcast. I am your host, Karen Gross. I am here with two of my favorite women. We’ve got Rachel and Tami, the co-founders, co-creators of Rise Gatherings, which is an organization that I have admired for so long. And we finally came together at just the divine moment this past year.
We previously had featured Rachel at our Athleta event, this wonderful conversation we did at the Athleta Jenkintown store on balancing career and self-care. And now we get to hear from Rachel and her partner in crime, Tami. They together run Rise Gatherings, which is a wonderful organization I’m going to let them tell you more about, so without further ado, welcome Tami and Rachel to the She Rocked It Podcast. So amazing to speak with you today.
RACHEL RUBIN: Yay! We’re delighted to be here with you.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: The delight is beyond mutual and why don’t I let you both tell us a little more about Rise? And about each of you maybe about each of your backgrounds, if you will, and your journey to launching Rise together?
RACHEL RUBIN: Oh! I also, you said partner in crime. I want to say we say partner in rise.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Oh, that’s what that’s what’s up! Yes. That’s literally that’s what’s literally up? Yes. Rising. Love it.
TAMI ASTORINO: Go ahead, Rach!
RACHEL RUBIN: All right. All right. So Rise Gatherings, we are an organization that creates retreat experiences for women to reconnect with themselves, with nature, and with a diverse community of women. And phew, the way we came to this, myself, personally, I was going through a transitional time in my life.
Getting divorced, I had a young child, I was about 30. And I was in this place of really feeling into the Who am I? as far as being like this representation for my daughter, Who am I? What is life about? What is what is my life for? I have all of this potential, how can I really use it? and I was in the fitness field for a while.
And was, was really driven by this idea of creating inspirational experiences for women and learning myself the value of being in community in order to kind of transform aspects of my own life. And so I went to an event myself, a retreat myself. And when I was there, I was just, “This is it. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Wow.
RACHEL RUBIN: I loved not only what was happening for the participants, but also the nature of, of producing this kind of experience. And someone introduced myself and Tami to each other, someone who knew us mutually and said, “You need to meet this other person. There’s 15 years between you but you have, you know, similar missions in life and some similar nature.”
And she set us up on a blind date, we say. She was there and then she left and Tami and I just kind of dove right in. I was, I am this more like fiery, energetic person. And I have this like big vision. And I’m like, “Yeah!” And when I meet Tami, I’m like, “I love this I’m supposed to, we’re supposed to” and she’s this more reserved, grounded person that has, has a different, like, organizational way of seeing things.
TAMI ASTORINO: We’re gonna get into this later, I hope.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Sure!
RACHEL RUBIN: What I guess we didn’t know then, but we definitely know now how much we complement one another. But the reality was that we we both had this this similar desire, and we had no idea what that would be and become, but we both knew at that time in our lives we were, we were ready to take this on and co-create it and see. It felt bigger than us from the beginning. And we both signed on for that.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: That’s amazing. And whoever that Yenta was, who put you two together on the blind date really knew something. I mean, you actually could be sisters, you look like your beautiful curly, blonde hair the whole vibe.
TAMI ASTORINO: Shout out to Wendy who was the one, and she’s a loose tie, which I just love. Like, it wasn’t like she knew us both really well. And they say that sometimes the magical catalysts of your life are those loose ties, and you know who you’re going to meet and what it’s going to lead to. So shout out to Wendy.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Thank you, Wendy. It really is so much about those connections. And those folks who make the connections between women so powerful, it’s kind of like that unsung role that really should be talked about more, when women connect other women that can lead to such fruitful things. So So Tami, tell us about your journey a little bit.
TAMI ASTORINO: Well, I love list— Rachel and I both love listening to each other talk about what we do. So we thank you, Rachel, for telling the story. I would add that Rachel and I both had a similar desire and vision, as Rachel said, to create the retreat we most wanted to go on, and also to be in service to amplifying them in spirits and voices. So my background is in psychology and I was a school counselor for many years. And then I worked in nonprofits, mostly on teen empowerment programs, and my passion and
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Teen empowerment. Cool.
TAMI ASTORINO: Yeah, my passion has always been women and girls. And really as a way to be efficient, as a school counselor is, I ran groups. But I very quickly learned that being in community, being in a group of people where you have something in common is where the magic is. And so everything I’ve really done since then, has been about facilitating experiences where people can feel more connected to each other and to themselves, and how both make that all the more powerful and transformational. And like Rachel, I was also a yoga teacher and had been to retreats.
And they were transformational for me. But I felt when I was at them, like what, why is this just, “Why are retreats so associated with like yoga or, or religion?” but there’s this, a lot of women out there, a lot of humans who could benefit so much from stepping away from their every day to focus on themselves, and the things that they’re curious about or that they are already learning so that they can cultivate their own light, and then go back and be more of themselves as the world is just waiting for them to be. And so you know, nothing against Lululemon or mala beads.
But like I wanted to create a retreat where you could be someone who’d never wanted to do yoga or loved yoga, and could come together and feel that connection, which is what I was so passionate about cultivating my whole career. And then I would just add, because Rachel, you said about what chapter you were in, in your life, I was a little further along, and a decade and a half older than Rachel and I was in the life stage where my kids were really growing up.
And there’s something that happens I think for a lot of women then, who motherhood becomes such a primary part of their identity that says like, “I have a lot of decades ahead of me, hopefully, and what do I want my my story to be? Not just impact in the world, but like, what do I want to keep cultivating in myself?” And I wanted to create opportunities for women to do more of that at every life stage.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: I love that. I love that you both took that sort of ripe, somewhat pivotal moment and birthed Rise Gatherings from that moment. It’s so awesome. And I have the great privilege, honor. thrill of participating in your upcoming retreat this September in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. I cannot wait and you’ve been hosting this retreat for how many years, like seven years? This is not like y’all just started.
I mean, that’s, that’s amazing that you have been collaborating for that many years that you’ve had this retreat, I’m finally going to get to experience it, I’ve heard such amazing things. And to your point, Tami, you know, there’s such a diversity of opportunities there for women to dive into different aspects of themselves whether it’s something I’m hosting about, you know, diving into your creativity and raising your voice and rocking the mic, to, more things focus on you know, health and self-care and, you know, our physical selves. So tell us a little bit about this retreat, and how it kind of brought your vision to life, let’s say.
TAMI ASTORINO: You want me to go first this time, Rachel?
RACHEL RUBIN: I do!
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Kick it off, Tami.
TAMI ASTORINO: What, Rachel and I started doing two things at once— hosting day retreats, which were small, intimate gatherings, about 15 women to come together for one day of connection and self-care.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: And these are primarily like in the Philadelphia area. I know you both both are based outside of Philly. So primary primarily in that area? Yeah. .
TAMI ASTORINO: And then at the same time, we were planning a big weekend getaway.
The weekend getaway was meant to be a destination retreat in the Pocono Mountains, where over 100 women would come to retreat together. And it’s the perfect blend of intimate experiences with a collective energy of so many women coming. And what the way we achieve that is everyone picks their own schedule from an offering of over 20 different workshops,
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Wow,
TAMI ASTORINO: To, to classes. So Karen, you’re leading workshops and experiences, someone can pre-register to come to your workshop, or they can choose from 20 other ones. And what that allows is for women to create the retreat schedule that really appeals to them. But come with this feeling of unity with over 100 like-hearted women doing the same. So I’m kind of an introvert at heart, if you told me like, “come to a retreat with 150 people,” I may be like, “eek, are you gonna make me do things…” like, once I got there, I’d have fun.
But I think it’s also a blend of Rachel and my personalities, perhaps. But I think what really works about the retreat is there is this energy of 150 women coming together and kicking it off and ending it together and feeling the space. But all of the workshops and classes are really intimate—10,15 women, and a facilitator or a practitioner. And so it’s fertile ground for some very meaningful conversation and connection with the women sitting with you or that facilitator.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: I love that
TAMI ASTORINO: I, there’s a little more grounding. And then we have these moments during the weekend that also light us up, like we have a dance party, and we’re gonna have an evening activity with you as well, Karen. So that’s the design of the weekend, a lot of opportunities to breathe in, to breathe out, to hear your own voice, and also to hear the voices of others.
Plus, just like, the stepping away from all the plates we keep spinning, that alone and immersing in nature, the beautiful nature of the Pocono Mountains in the fall. That alone has you going home a different version of yourself. But while you’re there, you’re connecting with who we think are the greatest facilitators from all around North America leading these workshops and classes.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: It’s so awesome. It’s really true to have that breath of fresh air literally, to step away into the mountains and, Rachel, who are you finding are the women who who come? Are they coming from all over the country? Are they certain, I know you said it’s all stages of life, Tami, but are they women that, I don’t know? Are there other things in common that these women might have that would bring them? Are they coming back year after year? I know that there’s that nice balance of some, you can bunk with women and meet new friends or you can kind of do a solitary thing, so tell us about the women who show up for this great event.
RACHEL RUBIN: Yes. So, you know, geographically, we’re, we’re in Philadelphia. So I’d say the majority are from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York. But really over the years, it’s expanded out to other states, we have now representation from I’d say, 20 different states at each weekend getaway event. So it’s exciting to see women finding this from across the country and saying, “You know what, this is for me, and I’m gonna make it happen for myself and to travel and come.”
We also as Tami said, yes, women are of all ages, because we know that you through your ages, different, you know, ages, you go through different life stages. And that there’s really this value in sitting in a room with women that you’re not in the same stage of life with. Because we know that Tami and, Tami and I, you know, produce the whole thing.
But the wisdom really comes from the women that attend from the stories that they tell and share with one another. So there’s such value in sitting in a room with women of all different life stages. And that’s really felt we hear that reflected back to us. I also say we’ve learned that the women that attend are really feeling – some of them, I’m not going to say this all because there’s different, we’ve noticed that there’s different kind of psychographics, I’ll say of people, so like what’s going on inside. And also, obviously, that reflects outside, but we’re women that are going through some kind of transition. And that may mean like what I said earlier, which was I was going through a divorce.
So I sought support, which is essentially what we’re creating a supportive space. Tami was, you know, her kids were growing, and she was entering a new stage of her life,
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Right.
RACHEL RUBIN: And wanted to change career maybe. So women seek support, they may not think they are all the time or know it. But they’re, when we’re going through wanting to create change, or that initiation stage is happening inside us where change is about to happen, we seek support, so that we can more ease— move through that with some more ease, and, and excitement.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: I love that. I love seeing your dynamic, the two of you, too. And like, maybe we should dive into that a little bit. It’s so refreshing and unique to see two women co-CEOs. In fact, I always see that as your title “co-CEO,” you’re very explicit with your partnership. And you know, just, I love seeing that. So tell us about how it works. Like Rachel, you talked a little bit about your different personalities, the kind of yin yang vibe that you bring, but like, how, how does that work day to day? I mean, do you guys ever fight? I mean, give us the scoop
RACHEL RUBIN: Do we ever fight? Oh, God.
TAMI ASTORINO: Good. Let’s do that. I mean, I love this topic. I think there’s so much to learn from from this and it’s, it is a rich, rich topic. It’s like a marriage, a business partnership. Yeah, I think part of the success of Rise, it, I’m going first, by the way, Rach. And if you want to fight about it we can.
RACHEL RUBIN: Suddenly we don’t we have such a healthy marriage
TAMI ASTORINO: I, like the health of our relationship is actually good. It shows up in the Rise community and what we create and how it feels. And it doesn’t mean we’re like, exactly the same same, like now, or that we’re trying to make peace all the time. I, I’ve been thinking about this, I knew you were gonna ask this question, Karen. And it’s something I think about a lot. Because it’s, seven years, we’ve overcome a lot of challenges. It hasn’t all been easy. And, and I don’t just mean with each other. I mean, like in the world.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: I think a lot of women are curious about this, too. Yeah, we had a question at an event we did. And not the one you were at Rachel, another one where a woman actually got up at the end and said, “I’m looking to go into partnership with a woman in my business. What advice do you have?” I think women are really keen to do this, but maybe have been told no, you know, you’re going to there’s going to be tension or you know— with any partner, not just with another woman, but going into partnership with anyone can be fraught. So just, yeah. Generally love hearing from you both. Yeah.
RACHEL RUBIN: I don’t know how someone does it without a partner.
TAMI ASTORINO: But I’m not done, Rachel.
RACHEL RUBIN: And you keep going. Right?
TAMI ASTORINO: Then you can talk, as I love to say. But what I want to say is that it is our differences that do make us stronger, that Rachel and I come at things from different perspectives, different backgrounds, different opinions. And Rachel says something and then I can tell she genuinely wants to know how I’m going to like, twist it and turn it around, and then play it back. And I feel the same way. I’m always excited to hear what she has to say about our ideas.
And then the other thing is, we’re, it’s not that we’re always like making nice to each other, we can get kind of schticky, like we can be kinda like sometimes when I was first working with Rachel, my husband would walk through the room and be like, “what side of you is that?” Like there’s a sisterlyness where we kind of dish back at each other, which I see as brutal, loving honesty. Like I can say to Rachel, what I’m really thinking, because she knows that there’s so much trust and respect. I’m gonna cry a little. So I can, I can be myself.
And I hope she feels the same with me. And so what you get is pretty raw, as opposed to us always prefacing what we say with like, “I hope this comes out, okay, or like, don’t take this personally,” or like, we’ve saved so much time, because we don’t say that all the time. So I would say that has been what has sustained us for seven years and helped make us successful. Now, I need a tissue.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Ah, I’m feeling this. Rachel, what do you have to say?
RACHEL RUBIN: Well, I could definitely, it’s funny, you got emotional too, because that comes right up for me like right now I can definitely feel like tears up in here. in my heart in a certain way.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: What is that? Why is that? Is it because it’s actually hard to be that honest with anyone? I feel like sometimes I’m sugar coating shit.
RACHEL RUBIN: Tami’s just so honest. And it’s really just that this, so much of this, that I can just fully be myself.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Now you got me crying.
RACHEL RUBIN: That’s what honest is when when you don’t even have to think about what you’re going to say or how you’re going to be or how the person is going to take this. You just can be yourself. But I also know that it takes I just feel it takes you as an individual, to be at a certain place inside yourself to be able to show up for a partnership. And you know, I’ve been able to, we give space for each other to be human beings. This, our working partnership doesn’t just have to do with all of the work we do for Rise. It’s about our all-encompassing of our, of our lives as well. And I think that’s really key for women in business.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: That’s really interesting. And you both have I mean, you were in transition when you met, both of you. And since then the past seven years, and you can speak to this, if you would, like, have gone through, I’m sure it’s incredible evolutions in each of your lives that you’ve shared together and walked that journey together. You know.
RACHEL RUBIN: Tami married us! Me and my wife,
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Tami married you and your wife, I literally, my hair just stood up that is I did not know that.
RACHEL RUBIN: And she knew we were going to ask her when we did it.
TAMI ASTORINO: And that led to me officiating four more weddings. I didn’t know I was a wedding officiant. Because they asked me to marry them, I’d never done it before. It was the greatest joy of my life. And it also felt like something that I wanted to like was meant to do,
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: I could see it. Yeah, or what, what is, what, is there anything like, actionable that we could take in terms of how you’ve cultivated this, like, communications techniques? Like, did you read about the love languages? I don’t know. How do we, how do we take some of this beautiful thing that you— is there anything you can you can share with us, as far as like practices that have really helped you to be so integrated in your relationship?
RACHEL RUBIN: I can say right off the bat that, it’s interesting, because although we have a we have a sister-ship and our lives are integrated, we do actually stay pretty boundaried a decent amount of the time. And we when when we connect, it’s all, it’s mostly 90% about work. But, and it is and that’s happened naturally and with this focus, but also there is that 10% that is key, I think to this always checking in.
You know, there’s an appropriate time we don’t do it every single time we’re on the phone or every time we’re in a meeting or start a call. But we make sure to allow for that transparency, and that connection between her and I of just that checking in and dropping in like, “what’s going on in your life and where are you at” so that we can feel that because sometimes we can feel it anyway, actually, and that’s the stuff that ends up getting in the way.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Right that’s simmering, what-is-going-on vibe.
RACHEL RUBIN: Like, if we’re not saying them then it kind of creates this barrier. So allowing for some of that just, “where are you at?” helps to kind of let that like the walls, you know, dissolve, and then we can get more focused. But the boundaries is key.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: I love it. And this is, this is a big undertaking what you’ve done with Rise, I mean, it’s not easy to bring over 100 women into the mountains and coordinate how many facilitators? 20 some facilitators? I mean, it’s like a lot. So when did you both have that realization, looking back, when did you have that realization that this was going to be a big, you’re going to dive into this big undertaking? And how did you get the courage to do this really full out?
RACHEL RUBIN: I’m laughing
TAMI ASTORINO: I want Rachel to answer. Because Karen, part of our partnership is, I’m a lot more think, than do. Rachel is probably a little more do than think. And if it weren’t for Rachel, I would just be in an office thinking. And maybe Rachel will be out there doing and there’d be a little more like left in the wake. But when it comes to this, I’ll defer to Rachel because it was thanks to her that I was able to say yes, this is for me to be an entrepreneur to do something so big. So Rachel, how did we do it?
RACHEL RUBIN: Well, I’m like over here laughing because I know that. Not that you wouldn’t have done it, Tami,
TAMI ASTORINO: No, I wouldn’t
RACHEL RUBIN: I guess I could just say it, you wouldn’t have done it! I do want to say something around the financial thing. Because I think that for women, that can be a challenging aspect. And that sometimes it’s something that’s in our heads that that we tell ourselves a story or create a story around that that actually keeps us from moving forward and doing something. And, you know, I think for for most women, yes, it’s a priority for us to make money.
But at the same time, that’s not the core driving force of our work when we’re doing work in the world. And that there needs to be the opportunity for the learning curve. If you feel the desire to do something, and you have the skills and you want to, I’m a, you got to go for it. And that’s the way it really happened with Tami and I and with Rise, and we really have learned I could have never anticipated what what I would be the amount that I would learn through to creating not just creating this business, but continuing to nurture this business.
Yeah, there’s a lot of things that I had to teach myself. Yeah, so I say to every woman, “let yourself learn through the process, but don’t you know, keep let it keep you from moving forward.””
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: I think that is such great advice. But there are resources out there, I think to support women, business owners and support creative business owners. And I think the more that we are honest about this, too, as women and as entrepreneurs, the better, better off other women will be right to, like you said, Rachel not be stopped in their tracks, because they feel like that is the gulf there. That’s the, you know, the big gap from like, getting from A to the B of their courageous entrepreneurship journey. So I’m becoming even more honest about my own, you know, learning curve, as you said, so thank you for sharing yours.
TAMI ASTORINO: I admire the way you do it. Karen, since we’ve met you, not that long ago, and I’ve been following you on social media, you’re not just talking, like I see it in what you’re doing. And you are a thought leader and we need more women like you who are raising the bar, see what I’m gonna say it’s like you’re raising the bar high for women. And then you’re like, helping them reach it. It gets and you’re being real about it. And the way you amplify other women on your social media, I usually flip through people’s stories pretty quickly. But like, I really like to look at everything that you post.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: I notice you in the stories, by the way, I see you there. Thank you so much. I see you, I love it. Thank you. I feel so supported by what you just said. Because as you both know, building Rise, it takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears and courage. And officially, before I let you go, I have to ask you both for your One Tip to Rock It. So Tami, why don’t I let you start with your One Tip to Rock It in your career are calling — lay it on us. What are your, what are your hot tips?
TAMI ASTORINO: The thing that you want to do? Is what you’re meant to do. And that sometimes it’s so obvious that we can’t even reach for it fully. So whatever that thing is, whether it’s something you want to be paid to do, or just something you want to do more of—pay attention, cultivate it, care for it, find resources so that you can keep just nourishing it for yourself. Because you are uniquely wired and designed, it’s your divine footprint, if you want to put it in spiritual terms, to do that thing and the world’s just waiting for you.
SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: I love that, divine footprint. I’m gonna think about that one. Thank you, Tami. That was MM! I felt that. And how about you Rachel? What’s your One Tip to Rock It?
RACHEL RUBIN: My tip to rock it would be to create the life create the life that works for you. If you’re going into entrepreneurship in some way remember that you have the freedom that is, that is that it will look, it can look however you want it to look your day to day can be. However you want it to be, if it’s best for you to get up in the morning and do your this then that’s what you can decide now and to follow your insides and what they tell you and to really work with your own nature to design even the from the day to day to the bigger picture of what you want your life to be. So remember that and like lean on that.
Thanks so much for tuning in to the She Rocked It podcast. I’m your host Karen Gross. This episode has been produced by Tori Marchiony with audio engineering by Teng Chen. The She Rocked It theme song is by Karen Gross and Tim Motzer. Please join us over on Instagram and check out our website at sherockedit.com to check out our Rockstar Network and check out all the cool things we have going on. Hope to see you soon!