Relationships are key in work, life and sex! Twanna A. Hines, M.S., (she/her) of Funky Brown Chick is an award-winning sexual health educator, healthy relationships advocate, and entrepreneur. Listen to her share her inspirational take on work life. This dynamic communicator will help see how seeking happiness is the key to living the good life in this episode of Create Good Podcast.
Twanna A. Hines, M.S., (she/her) is an award-winning sexual health educator, healthy relationships advocate, and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, NPR, Sirius, CBC (Canadian National Radio), Paris Première (French Television) and in documentary films. A Sundance Creative Change alum, she has written and performed two sold-out, critically acclaimed, one-woman theater shows. She has also written for NBC News, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Time Out New York, Lifetime, Mashable, Nerve, New York Press, Fast Company and The Huffington Post. She has been interviewed by outlets from coast to coast, from the San Francisco Chronicle to The New York Times.
Twanna has been called a gifted storyteller by The Washington Post. She speaks at colleges, conferences, nonprofits and other events, including 92Y Tribeca and South by Southwest (SXSW). Harvard University, Wellesley College, Northwestern University, and others have brought her to their students to talk about healthy relationships.
Having amassed decades of relevant education, training, and experience, Twanna founded a pop culture, entertainment, and data analytics firm, FUNKY BROWN CHICK, Inc. Partner with her firm to grow your audiences and to raise funds using digital technologies.
Having lived in New York City, London, Chicago, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Lisbon, The Hague, and Washington, D.C., she is fluent in Dutch and English. Her eldest cat, the great Catsby, only meows in English.
[00:00:37] Dawn Crawford: Welcome to this episode of the Create Good podcast. We are so excited to have Twanna Hines on the show today.
She is an amazing communicator. She has a lot of great experience, and she adds a little spice to our typical communications folks, for sure. Hey, hey, how you doing?
[00:01:34] Twanna Hines: Hey, hey, I’m doing fine. How are you?
[00:01:37] Dawn Crawford: Good. Very good. And I think, you know, the spice is certainly in your experience in sexual health educator work, which I’m so excited to get into today. So tell us, tell everybody out there a little bit about yourself and about your business.
[00:01:51] Twanna Hines: Absolutely. So I am the founder and CEO of a business called Funky Brown Chick — Funky Brown Chick: truth and advertising. That’s me. Yeah. So we have two lines of business. The oldest line of business is straight up sexual reproductive health. It’s writing, teaching, speaking, performing one woman theater shows everything about sexual health.
And I started that back in 2005 when I was working full-time at places like Newsweek, Fast Company, all of these things, doing media communications in New York City. So then I expanded the business and began working full time for myself and added a team by adding a second line of business. And that’s where we do data analytics, digital marketing, social media, everything to like take all that, like connectivity and how the world works, relationship stuff, to really make that into a digital world of helping people connect, raise money for their organizations, grow their audiences, and move the needle when it becomes when it comes down to advocacy.
So that’s what we do. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’m proud of my team, proud of the work that I’ve produced. The team has produced life is good.
[00:02:59] Dawn Crawford: Yeah, absolutely. And so you’re not in the states now, right? Are you in Europe?
[00:03:05] Twanna Hines: At this second, I am sitting on beautiful 20th, I think it’s July 24th, Avenida, something like that. I don’t know, still learning Portuguese. I’m sitting on a street in downtown Central Lisbon, Portugal.
[00:03:19] Dawn Crawford: Beautiful. Yeah, I would love to get into that transition too sometime in our conversation. So how many years has it been in kind of this non-profit communication space helping supporting non-profits?
[00:03:32] Twanna Hines: Almost 20 years. And so I’ve started this backend, when it was my first job. And that was 2002. Yeah, 20 years exactly — woah — 20 years exactly. So 20 years doing this. Yeah. And I’ve worked for large organizations, small organizations, non-profitss, for profits. I worked for Land O’Lakes– Fourtune 500 company — so taking all of that kind of stuff and pulling it together to make the strongest strategies that we can.
[00:03:57] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. So why don’t you tell us and the listeners about a little bit about your background. Tell us about your career and about 90 seconds or less, starting from where you got your education and bringing us to now.
[00:04:09] Twanna Hines: Oh my goodness. Okay. All the way back to education. We could do that.
[00:04:11] Dawn Crawford: Yeah, let’s do it.
[00:04:12] Twanna Hines: Yeah. I’m from small town Illinois, and so hometown proud Illinois, proud Midwestern-til-I-die kind of thing. I went to Illinois State University for undergrad. I got cold and went to Florida State for grad, and then I did postgraduate studies at University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and at New York University.
So that is education. Career wise, I started my career at State Department at the American Embassy and the a, so when I say relationships make the world go round, I really mean that. So whether we’re talking diplomacy or we’re talking about strategies that you use to reach people in your business, or actually improving your love life, everything in the world comes down to relationships.
[00:04:53] Dawn Crawford: So why non-profitss? Why this work?
[00:04:56] Twanna Hines: I love the work that we do, and so my own personal works, all sexual reproductive health and rights. We have nine areas of impact that we work with when it comes to non-profitss. So that’s everything from climate justice, racial justice, civic engagement. Because if those things aren’t on point, we’ll never have sexual reproductive health and rights and justice in the United States.
So if we can’t vote or if we don’t have access because of something going on in the legislative realm such as, I don’t know, Roe versus Wade gets overturned, I don’t know, something like that. There’s definitely an intersect between these kinds of issues and sexually productive health rights, education, and justice.
So we support all kinds of non-profits that are moving in the same direction that we are.
[00:05:37] Dawn Crawford: Interesting. So why do you, why, what has been the kind of the attraction to sexual health, reproductive health? Where has that — do you feel like was, was there a moment that you kind of went down that path or is it just kind of been a gradual growing interest?
[00:05:51] Twanna Hines: Oh, it’s been a very distinct moment, and it was the first time that I had penis-and-vagina sex. I’ve always been somewhat of a nerd. I love knowing all kinds of wonderful things, and it struck me because I grew up evangelical. I grew up in a small town. I was told if you have sex before marriage, you why? Hell like all these things.
So I was slightly older than you would imagine. I was 22 years old the first time that I had penis and vagina sex. And I remember being so amazed that I knew nothing about how my body worked. I couldn’t name all the different parts of my partner’s reproductive organs or mine. I didn’t know when in my cycle I could get pregnant.
And I thought, “How in the world is this possible?” So I became super fascinated by it. I researched on it, I published on it. I got my first sex column 15 years ago — actually 17 years ago at this point with a magazine called Nerve that was in New York City where I was living at the time. Yeah.
And that just opened a lot of opportunities. I loved this stuff, educated and trained on this stuff, and that just went really well. I’m so grateful for opportunities that I’ve had. What’s that joke about? Opportunities meets preparation and that’s the luck, right? And so I wrote for Lifetime Television, I put in CNN, NPR for The Guardian, NBC News, Health Magazine.
So all of these things over long career of really trying to make sure that we have healthy relationships in the workplaces and our love lives and our families, like really doing everything that we can. And that pleasure becomes something that’s not taboo. We can talk about sex, we can talk about turning each other on, and that is not a taboo topic.
[00:07:31] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, yeah, and you know, and I’m sitting in the south living in North Carolina and it’s still Yeah. So taboo to talk about this and especially yeah, my nine year old. So talking to my friends and about our kids growing in their maturity and people are still freaking out about it.
My kid already knows everything. Right? Like we’re bringing her age appropriately through sexual education. But it is fascinating to talk to people about — yeah — about the thing that is so a base opportunity and amazing thing for humans.
[00:08:03] Twanna Hines: Yeah, well two thoughts about that: one, you’re not in the south, you guys semi south, I would say having grown up in Mississippi …exactly clear views about what’s the actual south and what’s the semi south.
And so I was probably in my thirties before I realized the word “southerner” was not pronounced “souther-in” It’s pronounced “southern.” Someone had to tell me that cause I didn’t know. So I grew up in, I’m from Illinois, but like a lot of, especially Black people, great migration families, we have older relatives that came up from Mississippi so I spent a huge chunk of my childhood in Mississippi, so that was my first thought when you said you’re in the south, I was like, eh, it’s semi south.
That aside. I always remind people when they’re like, “Oh, but sex is taboo.”
I always, “You know, it’s not.” Cause here’s the thing, when you’re talking about any form of communication, even with your partner, what’s not said is a conversation in and of itself.
If you have like blind spots that you can’t talk about or your family members that you can’t touch this particular topic, cuz people lose their shit, you know. That’s still a way of communicating. Non-communication is a form of communicating. Right. Even if you’re saying, we can’t talk about these things, that’s silence speaks volumes.
[00:09:12] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. Absolutely. So tell me what’s your favorite thing about what you get to do every day?
[00:09:17] Twanna Hines: I That’s thought you were gonna say, what’s your favorite thing? I was like, sex. Okay,
[00:09:22] Dawn Crawford: I mean, you know,
[00:09:25] Twanna Hines: Oh my God, I love it. Okay. My favorite thing about what I get to do every day is that I get to build community and connect with people. I absolutely love the conversations that I have with people and the client facing side, the non-profit leaders and communications directors. Like I love that part of it.
And I love on the one-on-one very macro level of talking to people about their relationships and their sex life and coaching them through that. Like, I love that, like the community, the communication and the actual connection with others is what I find the most joyable portion of my job.
[00:10:00] Dawn Crawford: That’s awesome. Yeah. And yeah, when you came to speak at Create Good a couple years ago, that was — yeah — just the connection and how honest and real you are with your connecting with people is really, it’s an amazing power that you have.
[00:10:13] Twanna Hines: Thank you. I appreciate that.
[00:10:14] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Yeah. So magic wand time. What is one thing that you would change about your professional life?
[00:10:22] Twanna Hines: Cool. Right now, that’s an easy one. I would not ever have 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM calls. I’m working remotely from Portugal and I love it. It’s fantastic. I highly recommend everyone work in another country for a period of your life if you’re able to. And there’s all kinds of programs that will actually allow that.
And there’s I forget the name of the non-profit, I can send it to you, that pays non-profit leaders to actually take sabbaticals and go somewhere else and things like that. So work or non-work, cause sabbatical actually makes you work better. So any of these things that you could do to get a frog, I highly recommend it.
That said, it’s not all like cupcake, sunshine and rainbows flying out of unicorn’s asses all day, right? Like it’s still work. And so one of the things that I wish that I could change is that if we were all somehow in the exact same time zone, and so that way the energy matches, right? So even if I’m awake, and taking a call at 9:00 PM it’s not the same energy as someone for whom they just finished lunch and it’s 1:00 PM in Los Angeles cuz there’s an eight hour time change between us and them.
And so while I’m working remotely in this moment, the time change I would say is probably the only thing that if I could wave a magic wand, I would make everyone in the exact same time zone.
[00:11:33] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Yeah, that’s, I bet that is definitely a challenge. Yeah. So so what are you looking forward to professionally in the next year?
[00:11:41] Twanna Hines: Learning Portuguese. I’m excited about it. Yeah. I’m Dutch Ingle. I am Dutch English bilingual. I speak extremely limited French and extremely limited Italian — haven’t studied them both. But I’m very excited about learning Portuguese and I want to learn into fluency so that as we continue to grow and as I continue to spend stents here in Portugal and go back to the United States, that I’m able to just function even more deeply.
When I learned Dutch, there was a clear difference between. My life in the Netherlands when I didn’t speak Dutch and my life in the Netherlands when I did speak Dutch. And so I feel like you’re just better integrated into the country, the society, the everything. When you actually speak the language of the people there.
People here speak English, as many people around the world do, but when people are together, when there’s chatter on the buses when someone says, “Hey, look out,” like any of these kinds of things, that’s all going to be in Portuguese. So I look forward to learning it.
[00:12:38] Dawn Crawford: That’s great. Yeah. That’s amazing that you have so much, so much language and yeah. That is fantastic. How do you think that’s kind of helped, like influence the way you actually approach communications too?
[00:12:51] Twanna Hines: That’s a really great question. I think I maybe like, I’d have to think more deeply about this cause I really love that question. But like my major response would be probably that I focus more on what and how people say things. There was this funny TikTok the other day. It was this Irish guy, I can’t remember his name, but he’s hilarious.
And he was mocking, you know, the way that Irish people offer each other cake compared to the way that German people offer each other cake. And so the Irish first was like, “oh, I have a piece of cake.” And the Irish first was like, “oh no, I can possibly,” he’s like, “oh, come on, take a, take a take.” He’s like, “no, I couldn’t thank you, skull.”
And then eventually it’s like, okay, great. It’s all great. Thank you. And then so he is like, if this were Germany, it would be like, and he says, “would you like a piece of cake?” “Yeah. DankeschÃ¶n, dankeschÃ¶n.” It’s very much like, and you get your cake. Right. And so then his joke is the Irish person offers the German person cake.
And he’s like, “would you like a piece of cake?” And the German’s like, “yeah, but to, and he’s like, but sure yourself, aren’t you?” And so I think maybe like having been exposed to different cultures and languages, maybe it pays slightly more attention to not only what is said, how is said, how people are communicating. It’s just so much of it’s not — there’s just so much subtext to things.
And I say that as an incredibly blunt person, like I always joke, no one has to worry about what I think, cuz I will tell you. So even as an extremely blunt person and my style of communication I find it fascinating that like people still interpret things all kinds of ways and communicate with each other different ways.
And it’s just, it’s interesting. I love this stuff. It’s fascinating.
[00:14:28] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. Yeah, definitely. Great. So you’ve achieved a lot, you’ve been a lot of, you know, for-profit side, non-profit side. Now you’re on your biz. What do you feel like you still have to achieve?
[00:14:43] Twanna Hines: You know, I’m actually taking a quarterly break, and I highly recommend this for if any of you are out there entrepreneurs and own your own business, or if you are a non-profit leader, you’re an executive director, or you are chief C-Suite executive or whatever, but anyone who’s really in charge of leading the direction of your organization.
And then a, you know, very macro, everyone who works in an organization is in charge of that, including the people who cut the checks, sweep the floors, who, whatever. Like we’re all in charge of making sure that the organization functions and if you personally are responsible for managing people and their livelihood, their ability to stay employed or programs or anything, taking a break is so incredibly important for that clarity.
And so actually next week I’m on break. Like I take a quarterly break where I’m gone for at least a week. And that gives me that downtime to think okay, and given where we are now, it’s like what do we want for the next quarter? What do we want for next year? Like really take that break because like, it can be hard when you are the person who’s charged with steering a lot of stuff, right?
Of like, what’s that next level up? What do you need to do? What does growth look like? It’s very different when you’re like the junior accountant. And so your growth is you’re the senior accountant and then maybe you head the, you know, your deputy lead with the accounting team. Then you’re like the leading accountant, maybe your controller one day.
Like there’s a career trajectory. And I think for people who are leading organizations or building organizations from scratch, it’s not always that clear. And so I find these breaks to be very, very helpful to kind of think what needs to next. And so that’s where I am right now. It’s the most honest answer is I don’t know.
And I feel very comfortable with that ambiguity of I don’t wanna prescribe anything until I’ve had that break. And that break for me is next week.
[00:16:30] Dawn Crawford: That’s awesome. Yeah, I agree. I find that too, that the only way to move forward when you have so much to do is to stop
[00:16:38] Twanna Hines: Yep.
[00:16:39] Dawn Crawford: Right. And that Yeah. Cuz we, yeah, I know. I’m sure both of us have a very long to do list with lots of little tactics, right? And tasks and things to do and — but the only way to see the big pictures is stop all that and step away.
And I think that is, yeah. That’s where you get the big ideas. And just gain your confidence back too, right. Of like, it’s okay that, yeah. That you’re able to step away from that day to day but it’s really only possible when you stop.
[00:17:09] Twanna Hines: Exactly.
[00:17:10] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Great. Cool. Okay. So what advice do you have to somebody who’s new to the non-profit sector or just starting out their career in general?.
[00:17:20] Twanna Hines: Oh, someone who’s starting out their career and they’re applying for their first non-profit job and they’re like, “I have a good heart and I wanna do this cause I care about it” and it’s like, great. Okay. But like, think very broadly about what that looks like is that job in the United States, especially now on the other side of Covid maybe it’s not everybody’s working remotely in some fashion still.
I don’t think we’re ever gonna go back to always a hundred percent in the office and one fixed location. So first I would say, think of where is it? Is it in the United States? Is it not? If it is in the United States, where in the country is that? Is it in non-profitss, you know, corporate social responsibility, shared value, all the stuff they’re saying.
A lot of that stuff mimics a lot of the things that the non-profit organizations have done for years. Like I said, I’ve bounced between working for State Department at the American Embassy, which was government working at Land O Lakes, working at State Farm, those were at for-profit places working at Planned Parenthood, which is non-profit.
I had a diverse and varied and grateful. Very, very grateful for the career that I’ve had and the impact that I’ve been able to make over time. So for someone who’s coming in, I wouldn’t necessarily advise them to limit their impact to non-profits, especially as non-profits start cherry picking a lot of their leaders out of the for-profit world.
And so I don’t think one is inherently better or worse than the others. I know it can be very fun to beat up on for-profit. All you gotta do is talk to anyone who’s worked in a non-profit for a long time and learn exactly how non-toxic the environment can be. So all of that is to say, I don’t think there are angels all in one place and demons all in another.
I feel like to live your best life, fuck everybody else, really think about what you personally want. What would make you happy? And the outgrowth from that is connecting with others in a way that feels more authentic and all of those wonderful things. But don’t pick a non-profit job because you feel like all the people you went to college with are doing that.
Don’t pick a non-profit job cuz you feel like that’s the only way that you can make an impact. Yeah, you can do it. Yes, do it if you want to, if it feels right to you. But don’t limit yourself to say that’s the only way you can. I worked at University of Chicago, which is “non-profit.” But it’s also very much academia and I, one of my favorite jobs and an amazing manager there who I still keep in contact with, Jeff Rosen, wonderful human being, had great coworkers who’ve come to visit me when I’ve moved to different places. One is planning to come to Lisbon to come visit me as I work remotely here.
So like it could be anything, academia, for profit, not for profit. International NGO, in the US, not in the US, remote, full-time. I mean, play with it. It’s your world. You only get one chance. So have a good time with it.
[00:20:02] Dawn Crawford: Yeah, absolutely fun. We are joy seekers. That is, that is the biggest thing that guides our decisions. Right? And, and that we truly… we like to do things, right? So whether that’s work or going places, but we like to do and we like to joy and we like to create. So I think it’s yeah, it’s always the thing I feel like people miss in, you know, if they’re having any sort of unsatisfaction in their life is, I’m always like, well, what do you like to do?
Like, what makes you happy? Like, “I don’t know.” I’m like, well, gotta figure that out.
[00:20:35] Twanna Hines: Exactly, exactly. And by the way, that goes for relationships too. Like people will say they’re unhappy. What is making you unhappy? “I don’t know. I just feel unhappy.” Gotta figure that shit out.
[00:20:45] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Yes, definitely. Okay, so this next section of questions are centered around how you receive feedback on your creative ideas. So this isn’t necessarily like personnel or like HR or annual review stuff. This is more about how you like to gain feedback on your ideas, on your work and things like that.
So first off, just how do you personally process criticism and feedback? How do you kind of take that in? Do you take it in well, do you have trouble with that? How do you feel about it?
[00:21:16] Twanna Hines: I take it in incredibly well. So much so that I’m surprised when other people don’t. So I’ve actually had to like, train myself to be less blunt when delivering feedback. But like, I’m not a like, and this is for the people out there and especially the women and femme-identified people out there who are blunt speakers, more power to you.
And I think that often what happens, I don’t necessarily immediately see value in like beating around the bush, being — coming at something sideways or all these kinds of things. I’ve always been a very direct person, even as a kid, my sister, I have a sister who’s six years older than I am, and so she was more experienced and worldly than I was.
She was a grader when I was in sixth grade, and she’s like, “you have zero poker face, like what you think shows immediate in your face.” And I’m like, I know. And I have zero filters, so it just. I take criticism well in that respect. I see it, and I’m not even shitting you. I see it as free consultations.
You wanna look at my shit and tell me things that you think could make it — Ooh, spend all your time doing it! Go as deep as you can. Give as much information as you can. I’ll listen to it all. I don’t have to agree with it. I don’t have to take your advice, but shit, give it to me. I don’t care. And so I think I’ve been very good at taking — and I’ve even gotten that when I used to work for other people. They’re like, “wow, like you listen to feedback.” I’m like, I’ve always done that.
So like I think I’m pretty good at it, but I think as far as a point of growth over time and experience and all those things, is that everybody takes feedback differently. Which interestingly, ties to your question about communicating across borders, cultures, different languages and things like that.
So even if I want to communicate something at work to my partner, to whatever, as a blunt communicator, I’ve learned over time that like if let’s say my partners are taken outta work — so my ex, I recently broke up my ex, like recently being Covid erased two years of my life, so technically two and a half years ago, but like —
[00:23:15] Dawn Crawford: it’s true. Yeah.
[00:23:17] Twanna Hines: So we had very different communications. He was British, you know, like it’s so, like his way of communicating was very much sideways come at things very different in mine. And so I had to learn in that relationship, even though impact trumps any intent, right? We say that in a non-profit and movement space.
Like, oh, I’m so sorry. That wasn’t in my intent. Fuck your intent. We don’t care about intent. We care about impact, right? And so as relationships, I had to learn as a blunt communicator to tone it down sometimes because they, the impact of those words might be stronger on my partner, my British partner, who’s much more passive, sideways speaking, nothing direct. He would interpret it much more harmful than I meant. And so, like, the way that conversation flowed was in the beginning of getting to know each other and things like that. I would say I am a blunt communicator, and one of the things that you will appreciate about this is if you ask me what’s wrong, I’m never gonna tell you nothing.
I will tell you what is wrong if something is wrong. I’m very much a direct person, and you will appreciate that. The parts where it may be difficult is if you’re not used to people communicating very directly, you might interpret it much more harsher than I intend. If that’s ever the case, please tell me that’s not what I wanna do.
And so if it lands on you that way, let’s talk about what that could look like. And same with him. Like he would say something kind of like, oh, you know, it might be nice if blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, oh, sounds good. Sure, that could be nice to me. What he meant was, I would like this to happen . And so —
[00:24:56] Dawn Crawford: I’ll edit to the maybe list. Thanks,
[00:24:58] Twanna Hines: Exactly. I’ll put that in there. Like Yeah, exactly. So like I also had to learn that and it’s like, this is what I mean about the whole kind of like the calculus of people, right? Like that whole mystery of like understanding what people mean and how they think and all of that stuff.
So this feedback question, that’s not just about like in work. I love how you said about creative ideas too, of like how creative ideas could be an extension of us and so it feels like if someone rejects it, they rejected us. Oh my God. Right? Yeah. And so I love this idea of how do we process feedback and what are the ways in which we can do that better for ourselves and others.
[00:25:39] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. Yeah. So, yeah. So what’s your favorite way of receiving feedback? Do you, do you like it blunt back, you’re like, I want it just direct —
[00:25:47] Twanna Hines: Absolutely, absolutely direct. Give it to me straight, like, yeah.
[00:25:51] Dawn Crawford: Yeah,
[00:25:51] Twanna Hines: I am incapable of bullshitting, like completely incapable. So just, I don’t like it. I skip, just, just give it to me straight. Stop playing on my ovaries. Just give it to me.
[00:26:01] Dawn Crawford: Exactly. Absolutely. What’s worst feedback style for you then?
[00:26:06] Twanna Hines: Passive aggressive. Passive aggressive, it makes me respect the person less because I would have greater respect and not just in that, like him trying to be kind or whatever, but someone who’s purposefully being opaque. Purposefully being passive, like that kind of thing. Like, man, I respect you more if you just real fucking spine and said what you actually wanted to say to my face.
And so like the kind of like passive aggressive, like the, the mean, the the not good intended passiveness, right? So not the like, hey, I’m kind of trying to like be kind, but that really can, eh, I’m just gonna do this. That’s my least favorite thing. Cause like I said, it makes me respect the person less because I feel like if you really do feel that way, just say it.
[00:26:52] Dawn Crawford: I know you’re not, yeah. You’re not saving any face by being clever.
[00:26:56] Twanna Hines: I had a person, like I was at a, a social event and this person was complaining — a loaded word, and I mean it that way– was complaining about how the world has changed so much. And like with the gender stuff, it’s like you can’t even say pregnant women anymore. You have to say pregnant people. The world has changed on and like badada.
And my response was, well, shit, if you want to be transphob — be that way. Nobody’s stopping you. If you want to be exclusive, be that way. Like no one is stopping you. I really have zero patience for this. Like, oh, I don’t even know. I can say, you can say whatever you want. Take responsibility for how that’s received.
And so like this whole kind of like passive aggressive, micro, like that shit I have zero time for.
[00:27:43] Dawn Crawford: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so the next section is about burnout. You know, I think, I feel like our, you know, humanities turning a corner on this. I feel like everybody taking their breaks this summer and those well deserved vacations and pent up demand for vacations in downtime has been good for people, I feel like they’re a lot more calm.
But so moving to Europe again for you, did that happen during the pandemic or before?
[00:28:15] Twanna Hines: Yeah, moving to Europe happened during the pandemic.
I was actually in here in November, December, here in Lisbon, November, December at the height of Omicron, and I came back to the United States with Covid, after not getting it the whole time. So yeah, it’s been interesting going back and forth between Lisbon and the US as I’ve been going for the past, almost a year at this point.
And it’s, it’s, yeah, I came over here during the middle of a pandemic.
[00:28:40] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, it’s a lot of life changes for you and a lot of the things like how do you, and time zone now changes on top of that, how do you manage burnout? How do you kind of keep it, keep all those balls in the air besides, you know, taking your breaks clearly. But is there anything else you do day to day?
[00:28:58] Twanna Hines: Yeah, so one of the things is for myself and my team, I put work blocks on my calendar. So we are Google facing enterprise, so not teams, but Google Drive, Google all those sheets, Google all that stuff. So we’re Google Enterprise, and one of the things that I do is I block on my time, on my calendar, working hours.
And so when someone pulls up my calendar, they don’t have to like, do math to figure out whether or not I’m working in that time or whatever. It literally has a block that says I am working. And so they can schedule meetings in that block or not schedule meetings. And so it’s nice. And then the thing that that stops me from doing is waking up.
I’m an early riser waking up and be like, okay, I’m gonna start work. Okay, good luck with that, Twanna, starting at 7:00, 8:00 AM and working till 10:00 PM like that’s burnout territory right there. And so it also is a reminder to me, like I am working this hour to that hour.
And the other thing we did is we switched the firm to a four day work week company, so we work public facing Monday through Thursday usually, and then there’s zero client meetings on Friday if there’s an emergency or something. We always have room cuz there’s no other meeting on Friday. And then I encourage team members like, do your work with what works for you. Like no meetings on Fridays cuz we’re not client facing that day.
No internal meetings on Mondays. So all of the meetings are stacked Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And so for me, yeah, so for me it’s super helpful cause I work long ass days and so I end up not working on Fridays pretty much ever. I lock my computer away and do not have access to my computer so I can only do so much work as an iPad or a phone will allow me to do.
And so that’s really helping to time out burnout, and it’s great too. The nice thing about not starting work until 2:00 PM most days, cause that’s 9:00 AM in New York, is I could literally wake up, so six, seven in the morning, like, you know what? Go on to the beach. I could spend my entire morning at the beach and then come back restored, rejuvenate it, and then start my day at 2:00 PM
[00:30:56] Dawn Crawford: Yeah, yeah. I’ve done a shift of, yeah, having, I get my kid off to school, and then. I have my time. I have like an hour on my calendar that is workout time or putting around taking care of my plants. That has been so nice to know that I checked off my self care for the day, you know? Yeah. It’s incredible to move it to the start of your day.
And yeah, and also have that luxury to be able to take that time, but it’s it’s pretty incredible. Yeah, it really does make a huge difference. So what makes you come back to this, this busy, busy life every day? What is, what’s kind of the drive?
[00:31:34] Twanna Hines: What makes me come back? Like, why do I still keep doing this work after so long and all of these things, it’s been 87,000 years. Like, why do I still keep doing it?
[00:31:44] Dawn Crawford: Yes. Yes.
[00:31:45] Twanna Hines: Several things. I think on the, you know, sexual reproductive health side of the firm, the things that keep bringing me back are people, honestly, it’s like on the micro level of like individual interactions and things like that.
People still and always will need and be excited about improving their sex lives and improving their relationships, and I get excited about that. The fact that people care. I did a series here of sex talks. We sold out. I’ve got one tonight, sold out. The advertise, the organizer person is texting me like, can we add people in?
And they’d be standing, I’m like, bring ’em in if they want in. So I love it that people care. Like that keeps me going. Like they actually give a shit about it. So I love that. And then on the client facing side, it’s that it’s these, this is the more macro level, right? That these organizations, they care and they’re winning and they’re succeeding.
When Kansas got the when they struck down the attacks that were coming on them on restricting abortion, I was so proud as a Midwesterner to see that happen in Kansas, but then also to see, like, we know the majority of American people approve of terminating pregnancies in some aspect, right? Like, it is not the case that all Americans, or even the majority of Americans, are a hundred percent against abortion. And so it’s like seeing them win, seeing these organizations. In the trenches fighting the good fight, everything from making sure that everyone who is legally eligible to vote does not have their vote suppressed, which is incredibly important in states like yours and North Cackalaka, and so all of, yeah, right?
So all of these things, it’s like I am so inspired by the leaders that are doing the work and winning the wins. I say it all the time, like if we were the minority, like if there was this like silent majority of haters that want the world to be off, they wouldn’t have to fucking cheat and try and still steal elections suppress the vote.
If you’re the goddamn majority, you want everybody to vote. But time, over time, when more people vote, Democrats win. And I say that as someone who’s not a Democrat, I’m a Socialist.
[00:33:53] Dawn Crawford: Yes. Yes. Nice. So yeah, I think, yeah, so relationships are incredible and I think, yeah that, your genuine interest in relationships and, and how to help people work better together in their lives, in their sex, in their work, you know, all of it. It’s, it’s neat that you’re able to share that with the world, so thank you.
I’m trying to think of a clever segue, but I can’t, so we’ll just talk about Below Deck. So um, I love Below Deck. I think it’s a really interesting show about relationships and about feedback, right? I think the whole show is about how people receive feedback from the charter guests. So if people have not watched Below Deck, it is a show about working life on a super yachts.
So super rich. Also, I think it’s always very ironic folks who work so closely with non-profits work and see how the other half live. Well, I guess the other, what 2% live? Is that — on
[00:34:52] Twanna Hines: I love.
[00:34:53] Dawn Crawford: But so I, I genuinely love it because it is, it’s about working as teams and how people work together.
And then they add, you know, fun relationship stuff in there too. So but you were a charter guest on Below Deck, and can you share anything about, you know, what that was like being on a reality show for a couple days of your life?
[00:35:14] Twanna Hines: Yeah. I will say one, you are such a good human being. You’re like, it’s about teamwork, helping people together, all those things. I was like, “I got to drink champagne on a super yacht bitch ass!”
[00:35:26] Dawn Crawford: Exactly.
[00:35:31] Twanna Hines: Oh my gosh. That’s hilarious. But yeah, no, I loved the experience. It was amazing. And yeah, you’re right. They try, I mean, that’s, that’s known information that those charters are paid for, that people actually charter the super yacht. And so I am not mega wealthy, my friend Billy has deeper pockets than I do.
And he was the primary, him and his partner were the primary and he invited us to come and celebrate with him. So I’m just very grateful. He’s a very generous and wonderful human being. And so it was a good experience. I was in Malta. That’s also public knowledge now too, that it was in Malta. Which was my first time in the country.
I’ve spent a lot of time in southern Europe. I currently am living in Southern Europe, so I love this region of the world. I hadn’t yet been to Malta, so it was wonderful to spend more time in Malta too. So it was a good time. I really loved it. And I love boats. I love water. I love all of those things.
And I, I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. I’m not like some chick who ever thought I’d be riding a goddamn super yacht and Malta. So like, so one of the things that I love is that like I always try and remind people. find your passion, your joy in the way that you can.
When I lived in DC, there was a Black-owned business called Float DC. You get 10 friends together and ends up being about 20 bucks each, and you have a boat that you have yourself, and you can bring your own food and your drinks and all of these things. Yeah, so I always say find the way to do the thing that you really love to do, you know, and that it’s like doesn’t have to be some extravagant kind of whatever thing.
I’ve been in a shit ton of boats before I was ever on Below Deck, and I never paid a lot of money to be on all of those. There’s always ways to kind of find different ways to do things, you know, usually.
[00:37:13] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s really neat. It’s neat to, yeah. We were so excited when we saw you. Brian’s like, “That’s Twanna. my gosh.” I was like, wait, what? What? What? You were such a kind guest. Thank you for being a kind charter guest.
[00:37:28] Twanna Hines: Oh, thank you.
[00:37:29] Dawn Crawford: Oh gosh. We’ve watched every, every episode of that show. But also I think, yeah, it’s also interesting too, just that yeah, folks who, yeah, we’re very middle class, but having those kind of upper, upper experiences and like I turn into a, I — it’s, it’s like embarrassing when I go into these experiences and like, yeah, because we — Brian’s saved for like five years for us to fly business class to France for our anniversary and so it was really amazing experience. My daughter is forever ruined, but that’s okay. Um, , it’s like on planes.
[00:38:02] Twanna Hines: Yeah.
[00:38:03] Dawn Crawford: When we were there, some, like the stewardess asked me like, “Oh, did you get like bumped up from the other class…” because like was so clear that I was not
[00:38:14] Twanna Hines: Oh my god
[00:38:15] Dawn Crawford: from that…
[00:38:15] Twanna Hines: God, that’s a shitty thing to say.
[00:38:17] Dawn Crawford: It was awful, but it was funny. It’s funny thing, but I just turn into like a total nerd. I’m so excited to like be part of — yeah — part of a different world sometimes, you know, but it’s, it’s interesting.
But, well, thank you for talking to me about that. I have my one degree connection to Below Deck now, and I’m very excited about that.
[00:38:36] Twanna Hines: And one of the things I tell people about, all along with that, with your flight story, it’s like right now, if you wanna fly to Lisbon, you can usually, for most parts of the year, get from Washington, DC which is where I was right before I moved here, you can get from Washington, DC to Lisbon for like $400 round trip.
And so it’s, yeah. So my hack is subscribe to Google Flights, tell them where you live, where you wanna go, and just say, Hey, when it gets cheap, let me know. And they’ll just email you and be like, Hey, it’s $380, which it was when I flew out here in November. So it’s all — always ways to find cheap shit.
[00:39:14] Dawn Crawford: Yep. Yeah, that’s how Brian did it too. He did Google alerts and yeah, did all the alerts and yeah, one day he’s like, “I gotta go buy tickets.” I’m like, okay. like, gotta to ’em right now.
[00:39:24] Twanna Hines: I love right now. I now, dammit, right now!
[00:39:26] Dawn Crawford: Go. I gotta go
[00:39:28] Twanna Hines: I love it.
[00:39:29] Dawn Crawford: Cool. So this final section of our conversation is rapid fire. So it’s supposed to be single words, single phrase, answer to these questions.
Communications folks are hard. They like, we like words, so, but we’ll see.
[00:39:43] Twanna Hines: Okay, I’m gonna close my eyes. You can’t see me right now, but I’m closing my eyes that concentrate on like one word. That’s hard. That’s really hard.
[00:39:50] Dawn Crawford: Okay.
[00:39:50] Twanna Hines: Okay. I think I’m ready. I think I’m ready. Okay.
[00:39:53] Dawn Crawford: Sure. Favorite word?
[00:39:55] Twanna Hines: Fuck
[00:39:56] Dawn Crawford: Yes. What’s your least favorite word?
[00:39:58] Twanna Hines: Abuse.
[00:39:59] Dawn Crawford: Mm. Okay. This one could be a phrase or an area, but what’s your personal, non-profit cause or passion?
[00:40:06] Twanna Hines: Sexual reproductive health rights, justice, education.
[00:40:09] Dawn Crawford: There we go. I like it. Is there a non-profit cause that gets too much attention?
[00:40:13] Twanna Hines: No such thing. Everybody needs attention because they exist to right some injustice, so they need attention.
[00:40:21] Dawn Crawford: Ooh, I like that. What’s your favorite curse word?
[00:40:23] Twanna Hines: Motherfucker
[00:40:25] Dawn Crawford: Yes. And then what profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
[00:40:32] Twanna Hines: Ooh. You know, in my later life, I’d love, not like for money, but like when I picture like, you know, 95 year old Twanna, I’d like to like just be gardening. I’d love to like be planting shit and be excited about like some flower coming out of the ground. Like I love this idea of just like, that just seems so peaceful for, to me.
Just like you wake up and you’re like, oh, I do lily, I do lily pop. Like something like that. But I think like, just like focusing on my own damn garden, just having like a really peaceful life when I’m old would be very cool.
[00:41:03] Dawn Crawford: it’s nice. It’s great. And then is there any non-profit professionals or organizations you’d like to hear on this podcast?
[00:41:10] Twanna Hines: I would say I would love to see Executive Director, CEO, C-suite folks who are Black, brown, undocumented, immigrant and documented, LGBTQ — so people talking about what their route up has been for them, what the space has been like I’d love to see more of that. I’d love to see disability rights advocates, who as encroaching right wing stuff happens, they increasingly find themselves swept up and stuff. They’re like, “what does this have to do with us?”
So like, just like disability rights advocates. I’d love to see oh, so much in the intersections of all of that, right? So like, people who are working with like trans vets for example, is fascinating to me.
So like veteran organizations also trans, also BIPOC, so like people who are working in a lot of that I think is interesting because I think in the intersections of these issues, like I was talking about sexual health and voting rights, for example, right? Or climate — climate variability, climate change, climate justice, all that stuff, and sexual health and people can’t feed themselves.
Then things like trafficking and forced labor and all different kinds of things that look really ugly and sexual assault type of shit tends to happen. And so like all of these kinds of things we, when we look at the intersections we see beautiful routes forward that might not be clear if we were only looking at one of these things.
So I think that’s what I would say, folks who are working in that space. BIPOC-led organizations that are focusing on disabilities or like trans groups and LGBTQ rights groups that are working with like undocumented folks or just different stuff like that I think is interesting.
[00:42:50] Dawn Crawford: That’s cool. Well, great. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. It is always a delight to talk to you. It’s amazing. I think, yeah, the way that you lead your life is incredibly inspirational. So good job on doing what you do every day.
[00:43:09] Twanna Hines: And thank you for having me. I love being had!
[00:43:12] Dawn Crawford: Yes. Well, thank you. Thank you. Well, have a great afternoon.
[00:43:17] Twanna Hines: Awesome. You take care.