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Inspiring Conversations with Chasma Smith of Outdoor Besties

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chasma Smith.

Hi Chasma, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
After nearly losing my mom to a heart attack a decade ago, I became committed to her recovery and lowering her own risks for heart disease. Staying active and managing stress were top priorities for us so we tackled both by taking walks together.

While we enjoyed their strolls; I was faced with the undeniable reality that we (BIPOC) were the minority on trails and parks yet the majority in statistics for chronic illness. I wanted a solution where others could easily find local outdoor activities, engage in meaningful relationships, and prioritize wellness like my mom and I had done. After some trying out different activities in various places and travels I started creating what would eventually become Outdoor Besties.

Upon relocating to Jamaica, I saw firsthand how deeply the country’s tourism industry suffered due to COVID; further highlighting Outdoor Besties as a multi-faceted solution to a myriad of problems, including supporting independent tour operators and offering a much-needed wellness option for a community often excluded from wellness.

Before being dedicated to building her dream company full-time, I worked in tech as a Program Manager at Uber, led operations at an engineering lab, and was a badass assistant to a few C-Suite execs in the Bay Area. The common thread in my life’s narrative is equity for marginalized people; sparking projects like a 6-figure grant for Code Tenderloin and improving the language accessibility for ELS and immigrant clients of the Mental Health Association of Alameda County.

Entrepreneurship wasn’t a linear or easy path but I lean on my experiences from a career that spans social impact, events, and tech plus the hustle and insights of a start-up founder trained by some of the best leaders in Silicon Valley and the added grit and perseverance of my ancestors help me keep going on hard days.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Building a company out of an abstract idea you dreamed of is definitely not easy, but I’m doing it! My struggles are different day-to-day; one day I might struggle with a daunting to-do list and no one to delegate it to.

Another day the struggles could be getting multiple “no’s” from funding opportunities, which is hard because those opportunities could make a huge difference in supporting our mission to help BIWOC find healing and adventure through outdoor activity.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Outdoor Besties was created to address the barriers marginalized people, particularly the barriers black women face in outdoor spaces as they reflect the barriers they face in health and wellness as well. The Outdoor Besties App connects black women to healing and adventure while also supporting entrepreneurial outdoor enthusiasts.

We specialize in bringing wellness tourism to marginalized communities as a tool for collective healing. Outdoor Besties focuses on helping BIPOC to make money, be healthier, and connect in meaningful ways through outdoor activity.

The Outdoor Besties App is the multi-faceted solution our community needs and it makes an immediate impact in two core ways:

1. makes it easy for entrepreneurial outdoor enthusiasts to easily share and monetize their passions for outdoor activity

2. minimizes disparities for women of color by offering diverse healing and adventurous outdoor activities

We are currently accepting early applications for Ambassadors for the Outdoor Besties App; Ambassadors are outdoor enthusiasts, and adventure guides who share and monetize their passions by leading outdoor activities on the app.

If you have a walking group, lead hikes or host any other outdoor activity; we’re looking for you! Sign Up Here: https://forms.gle/EUYh961aAe5o95LX8.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I’m always looking forward to collaborating with healthcare professionals and wellness practitioners to share their expertise at the Well~ish Summit and through other digital content. Those interested can get in touch through the website by clicking on “Collaborate With Us” from our footer menu.

Folks that want to see black women and women of color experience healing and adventure can support the crowdfunding campaign ifundwomen here: https://ifundwomen.com/projects/outdoor-besties-biwoc-healing-adventure-app.

Funds raised will help me to launch a new and improved version of the app, compensate healthcare professionals and wellness practitioners and hire personnel to expand digital and in-person offerings.

Pricing:

  • FREE to Apply Early to Become an Ambassador
  • FREE to Join the Waitlist for The App Launch
  • $25 Will be the average cost of activities on the app
  • PRICELESS experiencing healing and adventure

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Do Good X, @OutdoorBesties, and Chasma Smith

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