Meet Liane Membis, a motivational and money-minded Woman of Color who is taking an honest approach toward the “anti-conference” mentality.
“It’s me, my Bauce friends, and you. And we’re all going to be friends by the end of this,” were the words Liane Membis, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Bauce Magazine, spoke to me days before Bauce Haus, Liane’s first one-day motivational summit held on June 29.
It’s hard to miss that Bauce Magazine, the almost six-year-old publication, takes a fierce approach to digital content. The magazine is redefining strength behind editorial-based content, describing themselves as a website catered toward a “woman who refuses to let society define her. She sets her own rules, goes after what she wants, and looks good doing so.”
Liane began Bauce Magazine as a solo mission, at a time when there wasn’t a lot of content streamlined towards Black or Brown women.
“Originally, I was blogging and creating content,” Liane said, “but I was fixated on creating for Women of Color.”
“I was drawn to upward mobility, ascension towards success, you know, the grind. There are certain things [my family] went without, certain things we didn’t have,” the Atlanta-native said.
Liane, a first-generation Nigerian-American, is the youngest of three siblings in a family of five. Liane notes that her family, specifically her older sister, is the biggest driver of her self-motivation.
“I realized how much finances put a huge stress on my family, and that’s not something I want to repeat in future generations,” Liane said. “Personal finance is the core of Bauce [Magazine], but essentially it’s mind over matter. It’s about building up that hustler mentality. Those are the stories I really enjoy, that inspire me.”
Those same values followed the Bauce team when creating Bauce Haus. Taking place at an intimate location in Midtown Manhattan, Bauce Haus’ main intent was to help Women of Color create an open and inviting space where authentic opportunities for business, friendship, and self-made power could thrive.
The day-long summit was strategically (and beautifully) filled to the brim with activities and panelists, accomplishing what a lot of other niche events aim, but fail to do: create a space where guests leave more in tune with their purpose and ready to face their obstacles head-on – without the gimmicks created for the sake of digital clout or FOMO.
While there’s something commendable over the last six years in terms of an increase in inclusive and realistic approaches to events, not all hit the mark. In fact, the sudden shift of catered events can feel opportunistic.
Most events are far from free, and there’s an almost comical marketing slant ingrained into every digital flyer that makes you wonder if your attendance is noted for profitable bragging rights, or actually to help you.
“Conversations right now are around entrepreneurship,” Liane said. “It’s huge right now. There’s a lot of women’s empowerment events, but I wanted to be as unique as possible to continue to take that energy to other places. One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with Bauce is [that] I know people are reading it, but are they applying it? I felt like it was a disservice if they weren’t getting anything out of it. So I thought, ‘Let’s try an in-person event. Let’s get women together and see what can happen.'”
In 2017, Liane began toying with interpersonal events by creating a VIP content-based platform that provided subscribers with digital coaching for growing a business. Liane considers the subscription service a failure.
“Accountability is a huge part of the journey to success,” she said. “I could’ve been getting these subscription checks every month, but for me, it wasn’t doing any justice to people.”
Soon after, Liane tested another event idea, something small, and to her surprise, astonishingly effective. An event called “Wine and Wifi,” pitched as a meet-up in a local coffee shop where women simply showed up and engaged with each other.
“I saw more power come out of that than the VIP group where I was charging people on a monthly basis,” she said.
“They wanted in-person events, they wanted to connect. I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘I’ve met my life coach. I moved to the city and didn’t know anyone and now I have a new friend.’ That’s just something I wanted to amplify [with Bauce Haus].”
In late January this year, Liane decided to fully commit to the idea of hosting a one day summit—but not just a typical conference with a bunch of “boring panels.” Something more exciting, comforting, and most importantly, real.
“The idea of Haus came to life,” Liane said, as a wave of nostalgia wistfully poured over her face. “It’s so easy to run away from big events, run away from networking opportunities because it’s overwhelming. I wanted it to be intimate, warm, and inviting. A welcoming vibe to promote natural connections. I think a lot of people feel like at the beginning of their journey they’re alone and I wanted to make people feel like they can meet a new mentor or business partner—but they can also make a new friend.”
Now, weeks after a very successful Bauce Haus (so successful that registration for next year is already open online), Liane relays that her celebratory moment came when she felt the energy at Bauce Haus, being in a place of positivity with other people that look like her.
“It means a lot to me that people are utilizing the information I’m learning and passing on, that people share it with others that need that information,” Liane said. “We kind of watch people get in the limelight and say it’s the connections… and that’s true to some degree. But I wanted people to leave the event like, ‘Now I have the attitude to be successful in life.’
“I hope Bauce Haus inspires more people to take a chance on their dreams and utilize the rest of the year to make something happen for themselves,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where you come from; it doesn’t matter your background. It’s not about who you know, but about the energy [and] being able to connect with people in a positive way while also connecting yourself to new opportunities.”