This week’s LadyDrinks Member Spotlight is on Artist & Relational Waste Expert Rita Patel. I first learned about her when she became a LadyDrinks member last year. We met in person when I hosted LadyDrinks Chicago May 20th. I was so taken by the fact that she took a bus from Detroit to Chicago to attend the private tour of women only artists at the Art Institute of Chicago. But then, as we dig deeper, art and beauty are a big piece of Rita’s life.
What kind of work do you do?
I work with organizations and ask the question ‘What if you could change the world by experiencing beauty?’ I encourage storytelling in the workplace so we can move the conversation from ‘what you do — — to who you are.’ That sets the foundation for wellbeing and helping employees deliver outstanding performance.
My work as a visual artist explores the themes of “fleeting beauty” and “up close and personal.” I do this through large scale art, installations, and pattern design.
You moved to Detroit from New York to work on your art. How was that a seminal moment in your life?
I always knew that I wanted to be an artist. I spent my life creating. In 2006, I received a gift from my best friend in high school — studio space in Michigan. I was living in New York at the time. The move to Detroit turned my life upside down. Looking back, it was a necessary move to fully and deeply realize my life as an artist. New York was too too expensive to have large studio space.
And! I met my husband. It was not something I was looking for and it all took me by surprise. We celebrate our 10 year anniversary this December.
You are getting a special laurel this week. What is that?
I will be presenting my relational art work with Tracy Kramer. It’s called “Moving from ‘What We Do’ to ‘Who We Are’: A Narrative Approach to Reducing Relational Waste™” at the 2019 Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) University Summit. This was a result of my relationship building. I have conversations with people who I feel drawn to. I had a conversation with a CEO about the things that keep her up at night. From there, we thought “Hey, what would happen if people knew each other better?”
I will also be participating in the Think Tank conversation on “Loneliness in an Era of Hyper-connectivity: The Employer’s Role in Addressing Social Isolation”. It is an honor to be invited to be part of the conversation with other industry thought and change leaders!
I love that by being true myself is what led me here.
Advice for other women entrepreneurs?
Life happens fast and it is more important to focus on the direction than speed. I had gotten sick, and I was forced to slow down. In that time, I found that a lot still happens when doing less. We can create space to experience deeply.
I urge women entrepreneurs to ask themselves as they plan ‘do I feel in harmony with the rhythm I have designed for myself?’ ‘Is this me?’ We all have choices in life. Cherish, marvel and revere who you are and what you create. The Navajo concept hózhó recommends, when things aren’t going well and we start to feel agitated, slowly take a few deep breaths. Become still. Find harmony. The answers and guidance are all inside. We just need to create the time and space for the answers to bubble up.