Women helping women: chelsea sonksen, bossladies mag

Posted by Madison Pollack on

Chelsea Sonksen is the founder and editor at Bossladies Mag., which is a beautiful biannual print magazine that celebrates creative female entrepreneurs. Each issue focuses on one particular city and tells the stories of the most inspiring and impactful women in that community. Bossladies also hosts a series of pop-up work parties called Work Sesh and a monthly Fireside Chat. Soon, Bossladies will be launching a membership program to foster an even more intimate and thoughtful community for female entrepreneurs across the world


Three words you like to use to describe the work you do through your organization.

Celebrate, vulnerability, community


What is your morning ritual?

To be honest, I wish I had more of a morning ritual, but these days I don't seem to. Most days it's some iteration of this: I wake up around 8, make a matcha latte with lots of frothy almond milk, light a candle, and get as much writing done as I can. Then I take a bath and read a few pages of poetry before I sprint out the door, hair still wet, and head for whatever meeting or interview or event I'm working on that day.


What volunteer or work experiences have you had that have shaped who you are today?

I didn't realize this until very recently, but all the companies I worked for before I was 20 were run by women. My very first job was as a "bunkie," which is essentially a maid for a schooner. When the boat came back to port, every three or four days, I’d change the sheets, polish the brass, and vacuum the cabins. It was the kind of job you can only find on the coast of Maine. And my boss, the captain of the ship, was an incredible woman named Brenda Walker. Of all the schooners that operate in my town in Maine, she was the only female captain, and I thought she was such a badass.


My second job was as a dishwasher at Primo, which is, in my opinion, the most special food experience in the world. The chef and co-owner of Primo is the two-time James Beard winner, Melissa Kelly. Melissa is so well respected in the food world, and I watched her, in awe, for years.


It was these two women, and my incredible and talented mama, who showed me, so early on, what it means to be a boss and a woman and how those two things can inform one another.


What in your life has brought or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment?

I feel as though I should be answering this with some sort of business project or personal accolade, but the truth is, it’s my relationship with my partner, Pete. He teaches me every day how to be ambitious and yet grateful, stay present and continue dreaming, and enjoy every little second. He is my home and my heart, and watching our relationship grow and change over the past six years has been really special to me.


Is there a woman in history who has influenced you in life? And why?

Gertrude Stein. For so many reasons. For not being afraid to shape her life differently than everyone else. For taking risks with her art. For creating a gathering space and community for people whom she found remarkable.


Favorite book?

Currently Karl Ove Knausgaard's memoir series My Struggle. He retells the most minute details of his life in a raw, vulnerable, unabashed way that I love.


Tell us about another woman you know helping or inspiring women today.

One of my current favorites is The #girlgaze project, which was founded by Amanda de Cadenet. They’re doing really cool work, sharing the photography of women artists and pushing back on traditional gender roles.


Photo by: Michelle Mishina




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