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Power Portrait

Her name is

Her power is

Connection & Inspiration

Rebecca Gruenspan

“Powerful women resonate with me, and I’m proud of what I have accomplished in life… and so, I thought, I’m one of those.

She goes by “Becca”, and this is her answer to what resonates with her about this project. Becca showing up in all her essence completely resonates with me.

It’s an overcast day, and Becca’s styling choice of a floor length black dress acts as a striking backdrop for her blonde hair and its vibrant magenta underlayer. The pop of color is a great metaphor for Becca’s energy. She can’t help bringing colorful vibrancy into a room. I ask what she feels she brings to the pages of this power book.

“I think it’s an all-around pride for women who have accomplished something that’s worthy of sharing in the world. I think that we don’t always give ourselves the credit that we deserve, and so to put myself among a group of women who inspire me, who I look up to, to be able to step back and look at myself as one of those women… is really empowering to me.”

When asked to define her power directly, Becca doesn’t hesitate. She knows her strengths are in inspiring others and connecting people. I’m compelled to ask her why those two things are important, and the first thing she mentions is community. Becca confesses her love for being part of various communities and helping to build them up. “When I can connect people together and see what kind of relationship they form or what they can do with each other, I feel like I’ve done something magical.”

I agree that connection is magical. Especially since at the time of our interview, I had to talk to Becca through a face mask, six feet across from her. Being in close proximity to others had become a rarity in the last few months… and with someone like Becca, a genuine treat. The COVID-19 pandemic had many of us feeling, as Becca observed, “so isolated and alone,” and highlighted how, “the power of being with other people can lift you up, or give you encouragement, or cheer you on.”

Yes. It. Does.

She follows up honoring connection with her thoughts on inspiration. For Becca, the word hits home in a way that drove her toward the passionate profession she now holds dear. Rebecca Gruenspan is the founder of RG Adoption Consulting – where she and her team dedicate themselves to helping families grow through adoption.

Before she speaks again, Becca lets the muffled sound of the train pass by outside. She seems to stare misty-eyed into space, but then she tells me with beautiful clarity, “There’s no greater gift that I receive than when somebody tells me that I have inspired them to take action – to do something, to get out of their funk, or to just to feel good. To me, that is the greatest compliment ever, and I’m lucky that I’ve heard it a lot. I think it’s because I’m so willing to be open and to share things I’ve done in my life that I don’t even realize inspires others! It’s such an important thing when you can inspire others and it ricochets back to you.”

Connection, community, inspiration, sharing stories… I ask Becca to tell me a story, a memory, of when she knew she had these powers. She waves her hands over her body and makes a whooshing sound as she exhales. I can see tears welling up in her eyes. I imagine that vignettes of her life speed through her mind.

“I was doing some sort of exercise,” she begins, “…and the prompt asked, ‘What were you put on this earth for? What is your purpose?’” Becca’s tears freely fall now. She exhales deeply… wipes her eyes. “I don’t even know where these tears are coming from!” she says. I think she knows full well what’s causing the tears, and I wait for her to tell me. She comments, “That’s a really hard question,” before she sits up straighter and says with conviction:

“I help people adopt babies and create families. That all started by sharing my own story – what I thought was just an ordinary story of somebody who had a dream and went after it. What I didn't realize as I was going through these moments in my life, thinking how ordinary I am, is how many people I have actually touched by sharing them.

And when I think back on my happiest moments in life, they’re the times where people have come back to me and told me how much my story has touched them. So many times in our lives we have no idea how we can affect people, and if I can continue to do that, that’s what I was put on this earth to do.”

Becca is in full crying mode by now, and she excuses herself from the camera to grab tissue from across the room. As she adjusts herself on the couch again, I ask what the feeling is that brings up such emotion in her. I think she’s about to go into her experience of adopting her son, Trey… or maybe the events that led up to her decision… but Becca’s response is, instead, all too familiar. It’s a reply I hear daily with the work that I do: trying my hardest to get women to smile at themselves in the mirror, or – heaven forbid – hang a portrait of themselves inside their own home. Becca says that saying something like this out loud “feels so vain. That’s how [women] feel. We’re so afraid to take credit for anything.”

I stretch the question and ask her how it feels, then, to say her words of power out loud. Through soft sniffling and even a smirk, she answers directly, “Uncomfortable and vulnerable, but also good because we need those moments to look inward and say, Wow, I’ve done some really incredible things, even though it might not feel like it.”

“Even though when we’re in it, and we don’t feel like it’s anything great – maybe we just feel like we’re surviving, or maybe we’re just feeling like, I just really wanted something and so I figured out a way to do it… Why is that so extraordinary? Yet, to somebody else, it is! So, we have to be willing to share that… and to have moments where somebody asks me about that… I don’t know… it feels really vulnerable, but it’s my truth.”

At the mention of truth, I ask Becca what she might offer other women looking for their own truths, wondering if they, too, are powerful:

“You are powerful. Everybody has a story, even if you think you’re very ordinary or don’t have any huge story to share. I think when we look back on our lives, each one of us is extraordinary in our own right, and it’s in sharing that with other people that we become powerful. If you’re really willing to look inside yourself and then share that with others, that’s where power lies. You’re powerful.

She finishes this last statement with such straight shoulders and a brilliant, knowing smile – the kind that makes you believe what she’s saying is true.

written by SpiderMeka

& Taylor Imel

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