The Power of Friendships :: Galentine’s Day

Nicole Johnson is my childhood BFF. We’ve been friends since the 4th grade.

Sisterhood friendships are necessary to navigate this thing called life. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a girl’s girl. My childhood BFF is still my BFF. My college besties are still my besties. And, I was lucky enough as a full-baked adult to make some friends who’ve become like sisters. Friendship is important to me!

Friendships Are Like Diaries

My girlfriends are my human diaries and I’m theirs. As much as I love my spouse, I hold these words from Carrie Bradshaw dear:

[m]aybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.” 💕

Carrie Bradshaw
When Effie’s Paper was accepted into The Workshop program by Macy’s, Nicole took a week off of work and came to NYC to attend it with me.

The Power of Sisterhood

Over the years I’ve learned there’s more than blood that can bind us to one another. I have an amazing sister by blood. Effie, my grandmother, had 7 sisters (they were all thick as thieves) and my mom has two sisters. I saw at an early age how valuable sisterhood friendships can be. 

My sister Kendell is on the left. Karla Lightoot is a sister-friend to both my sister and I, we call her “the other Johnson girl”.

Friendships That Become Sister-ships

A powerful lesson I learned from my mom and her friendships is that if you’re lucky enough, you might have girlfriends who become your sisters.  In each phase of life, from junior high on, I have bonded with women who’ve become like sisters. Some of whom I still see and speak to on a regular basis. And some who I show up for and vice versa when needed even if we haven’t spoken to, or seen one, another in years. That’s what sisters do for one another. It’s the true meaning of friendship.

Growing up in Bloomfield Hills, MI at a time when there were very few Black families, Cameran Howell has been like a sister to me ever since we met when she was 6 and I was 14. Now, the age difference is erased, but the sisterhood is still there!

Friendship Means Showing UP!

In 2022, my bestie and college roommate, Portia Roberson ran for Congress is the 13th District of Michigan. I spent 4 days on the Congressional campaign trail with she and her team because I wanted to be a part of this seminole chapter in her life. I take my friendships seriously.

Ya’ll, running for Congress is no joke. Sleep is not an option on the path to the Primary. The schedule Portia’s campaign manager had her on was intended to leave no stone unturned. We traversed all over the 13th District of Michigan meeting voters, knocking doors, distributing literature … I’ve always said entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart and now that I’ve been behind the scenes of a Congressional campaign, I can honestly say the same holds true for running for political office. I’m so glad that I got a chance to be a part of #TeamPortia IRL. When we graduated from the University of Michigan our commencement speaker, Lawrence Kazdan, told us to show up for the big as well as the little moments of one another. Those 4 days were history in the making and I had a front row seat.

In my opinion, Portia was the best candidate for the job, but she didn’t win the election. Onwards and upwards!

Friendships From Every Phase of Life

Many of us meet our BFFs in high school, college and graduate school. Some of us get lucky and meet colleagues who become lifelong friends. And a few of us are lucky enough to have chance meetings that blossom into friendships that span decades and continents. One of my besties lives in Milan. Yes, as in Italy.

Barbara Glaspie and I in NYC circa 1996 when we were both single in the city and at a private dinner party hosted by Marcus Samuelson.
Work Friends

Barbara and I met twenty years ago when Barbara was secunded to a law firm in the U.S. She worked with one of my college besties who thought we’d hit it off. She was right. And now here we are, good and grown with husbands and families and our bond is still just as strong despite the years and miles apart. Friendship knows no limits when it’s a good match.

A full circle moment when Barbara and her family visited NYC in April 2023 and we dined at Marcus Samuelson’s new restaurant, Hav & Mar.

If you’re lucky, you have a friend that you met somewhere along the way whose path you probably weren’t supposed to cross, but somehow you did …. for me that’s my friend Cass. She’s born and raised in NYC. I’m a NYC transplant from the suburbs of Detroit. She lives on the UES (or the Upper East Side for the uninitiated), I’m a downtown girl.

Cass and I at a cocktail party at my apartment a few years ago.

When we met 20 years ago, I was very much single and ready to mingle. She was married and had a kid. Oh, and then there’s the obvious, I’m black and she’s white. Despite all of the above, Cass is one of my dearest friends. It all began when we were both lawyers working at the same firm; we were stuck on a deal together with a crazy woman who had it out for each of us.

We were in different practice groups and we each had our own agendas, but the woman’s behavior was so egregious (I’m talking Devil Wear’s Prada kind of crazy) that we had to ban together to protect ourselves and our sanity. I don’t know what happened to that crazy woman, I hope she found some peace. But, I am forever grateful to her because if not for her and her antics, I don’t know that I would’ve found the JAP to my BAP.

Friendships By Way of Marriage

Unlike many women in my age cohort, I didn’t get married in my twenties. I was a fully formed adult with a career, friendships and a mortgage of my own before I said “I do.” Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my husband’s would have friends would become some of my closest girlfriends. But, lucky for me they did.

My friend Davia Stevenson and my husband have been friends since they were 10 years old. They met at church, hung out in the same circles in high school and when they graduated matriculated to the University of Oklahoma. At OU, one of Todd’s college besties became Davia’s boyfriend then fiancé and now her husband of over 30 years.

Davia and I in St. Barth’s. We celebrated our 10th anniversary in St. Barth’s and Davia and her husband joined us.

The other unexpected friendship I gained via marriage is with Donna Baines, one of my husband’s best friends from law school. You know how you meet someone and you’re just immediately in that friendship sync? Donna is just a lovely person; she welcomed me with open arms. Plus, we both love style, travel and good food. Definitely a good friendship match!

Donna and I in Cape Town, South Africa à la Slim Aarons – celebrating my husband’s birthday.
Linked In Friendship
DeNora Getachew is one of my Link sisters who’s become a dear friend and ally.

I am a proud card carrying member of a national organization called The Links, Incorporated. The Links is one of the nations oldest and largest volunteer service organizations committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other people of African ancestry.

Katrina McGhee and I in Cape Cod, MA during Covid, August 2020.

I’ve met so many wonderful women through the Links. And quite frankly, Effie’s Paper got started and has flourished because of my Link sisters. But, that’s a story for another day. I’ve got Link sisters all over the world and many of whom I’ve known since childhood (2 of my college besties are also Links and so is Davia). The friendships I’ve formed with some of my Link sisters is what continues to endear me to the organization. Friends who’ve become like family and play a significant role in my life.

At Katrina’s son’s wedding with Arva Rice, another of our Link sisters.
Celebrate Sisterhood
A beach filled fun weekend with my college besties in Miami.

Before this thing called the internet happened, my sisterhood circle was wide and now it’s depth know no bounds. I was reminded of how deep the ties go over the weekend where I learned that women I didn’t “formally” know had know had spoken my name in rooms I wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

As we celebrate our Galentines and get ready to celebrate Women’s History next month, let’s remember to shine a light on the bonds and friendships that are special to us. Let’s celebrate sisterhood!

Whether you’ve got a Valentine or not, be sure to celebrate your Galentines! Xo⁣ 😘

Stylishly Yours,

Kalyn signature

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