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The Keys to Building a Support System: LIVE in Minneapolis with Good Company

by Grace Bonney

As the year comes to a close, I’m so happy to share the final live events we hosted for our new print magazine Good Company this year. I’m especially happy to share not one but two new episodes of the podcast today that took place in Minneapolis with designer Martha McQuade, artist and designer Meg Lewis, writer/zine-founder Safy-Hallan Farah and restauranteur, Ann Kim.

I broke this event into two separate episodes because the audience Q&A portion of the evening was so jam-packed with useful information and conversation that it warranted its own mini episode. We covered all sorts of topics, from imposter syndrome and community building to reframing “competitors” as friends and colleagues instead; and how to accept that passionate, creative work can sometimes feel like just as much of a slog as other jobs. I was so in awe of the honesty and openness of these women — I hope you’ll enjoy their advice and stories as much as I did. You can listen to BOTH episodes below and download transcripts for both. Enjoy the show! xo, Grace

*The Good Company podcast will be back in January with new episodes. Until then, you can catch up on all 12 episodes from this fall right here

Thank you for listening! If you like the show, please consider rating and leaving a review on your podcast platform — it’s the most helpful thing you can do to support the show and help new listeners find us. 



“I think the key to a good support system is finding people that have strengths that you don’t have.” -Martha McQuade (09:44)

“Reframing people from competition to friends was so helpful for me to actually get work that I wanted.” -Meg Lewis (13:00)

“I think generally the more work you make, the more likely it is that you’ll have something that’s good. The more you make, the more you fail also. I think generally I learn a lot by making a lot of ugly stuff. But you keep working on it and eventually it gets better.” -Martha McQuade (22:14)

“I definitely have imposter syndrome. I feel like a fraud a lot of the times, just two kids in a suit pretending to be an adult.” -Safy-Hallan Farah (23:54)

From the Audience Q&A Episode

“I was going to be a bus driver. Seriously, I love riding the bus, and I thought, ‘I’m going to do it.’ I even went and got an application, and then my husband reminded me that I hate driving. I didn’t become a bus driver.” -Martha McQuade (04:30)

“I feel creative most of the time, not all of the time, but I rarely feel inspired, and I think they’re two different things. Thankfully, I don’t need to be inspired to do work, because I learned a long time ago that if I … because I thought to write, you needed to be inspired all the time, and then I’d sit there and I’d be like, ‘Oh my god, I’m not inspired. I can’t write.’ And then I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t need to be inspired. I can just start writing’.” -Safy-Hallan Farah (09:40)

“We need more creativity, and not just in the arts but in politics, in legislation, in the way we run businesses. Lack of creativity, I think, is causing a lot of the negativity and, unfortunately, the fear, and people are making decisions based on those fears. We need to ask ourselves, ‘How can I come up with possibilities other than black and white, yes or no?’ There are so many different options and colors and spectrums and point of views. There’s not enough.” -Ann Kim (12:03)

“I also think it’s important to continue to do good work, whatever you’re making or writing or cooking. Do the best you can. Putting good things out there will return in some way. Being a good person.” -Martha McQuade (13:09)

Question from the audience: “What is your favorite go-to, short and sweet mantra or affirmation you say to yourself in the mirror to pep yourself up?” Answer from Martha McQuade: “It’ll be over before dinner.” (13:49)



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  • i always build a team with people who specialize in concepts what I am not. I specialize in real estate and property sales. my other team members don’t. now we’re a team with people who specialize in every concept our customers ask.

    your article has motivated and pushed me further to go one step forward. Appreciate your time.

  • Hi Grace,

    Thanks for an inspiring read. It was a challenge for me to build a team. We worked together for a couple of years. But everyone was so frustrated about the general idea of being a team , not just a group of indifferent people.

    Johnell Brooks