Why women should work at assembling their tribes
Female relationships are incredibly important – Leah Dean will show you why in her book, Assemble the Tribe.
She describes it as a tool to help “women unleash their unique value, redefine their female tribes and re-imagine how they show up in the world”.
“For years I would jot down thoughts and I even started a few books which are sitting on my virtual shelf but this book project was different,” the author said.
“I woke up one night with a start and just felt impressed to go to my computer. After resisting for about 30 minutes or so, I sat down and an hour later I had the outline for Assemble the Tribe. In that way, I feel the book was divinely inspired and I feel really humbled and excited that I now am able to share the message of the book with the world.”
The book follows on Designed for Impact, a concert series she launched in 2017 to support females in their personal and professional development.
It’s also very much in keeping with the ethos of Ms Dean’s company, Conduit International Ltd.
Through it, the former human resources executive offers “coaching, experiences and consulting services” to help women better understand the power of support; she also helps females boost their confidence so they can achieve success in their personal and professional lives.
“There is kind of a different narrative and experience we have as women,” said Ms Dean. “We’re trying to navigate work, getting kids out of the door, all those things; our story is a little different. I’ve had an interest for that reason.”
She felt the book was especially timely because of where we are now as a society.
“We are at an inflection point in the world’s history. In 2020, the pandemic and political divides have pushed us inside and further apart. The pain of recovery and physical distance are wreaking havoc on our happiness and mental health. Research shows that loneliness, social isolation and living alone increase mortality by 29 per cent on average. If there was ever a time to think about our relationships in a whole new way, that time is now. I believe not only is now the time, but women are also uniquely positioned to impact how we connect and heal.”
Her initial plan with Assemble the Tribe was that it would help females understand how being part of “a strong women’s group” could be beneficial.
“I had been part of an all-female group for nearly 20 years. Together we had experienced marriages, births, illnesses, career changes - you name it, we had lived it together. As a result, my original objective for the book was to teach women how to find and create a healthy tribe so they could have what I have found all these years.”
As part of her research, Ms Dean reached out to more than 1,200 women spanning eight demographics in Bermuda, Canada and the US, for their thoughts on female group relationships.
“As I read and talked to women around the world and completed my own proprietary research I found that ‘tribe’, at its highest level, is more just the one-on-one relationships or the groups that we form; true tribe is a mindset. When I combined this idea of the tribe as a mindset with the research on the health benefits of the tribe I knew I was on to something.
“We have to have healthy relationships to live longer and healthier. As women, we are uniquely positioned to change the relationship landscape. If we as women can shift how we think individually and then collectively we can create stronger connections; bridge deeply painful divides and raise the next generation to navigate relationships differently. When those ideas landed, I knew I had to share my message with the world.”
Her hope is that Assemble the Tribe “can break down the barriers to relationships and teach the next generation to do the same”, something she is already practising with her 13-year-old.
“My goal is to teach my daughter and anyone that will listen…that you have value and your belief about your value has to be a habit and practice that you think about and reinforce for yourself every day.
“We can't be our best in relationships if we have a constant inner struggle that we are not worth it. I also want her to know that the concept of one best friend will likely not work. I have found that we need multiple tribes and groups of people to help us navigate life and help us find connection and belong.”
Assemble the Tribe is available on Amazon.com and also at Bermuda Bookstore, Brown and Co, Long Story Short, Modblu, People’s Pharmacy, Royalty Bermuda, Sacred - Faith Inspired Gifts and The Griot. Follow Leah Dean, @leahjmdean, on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube
Leah Dean questioned 1,200 women on female relationships and unearthed the following:
1. There were no acute differences in the data based on demographic
2. Sixty-three per cent of the women had, at some point in their lives, been part of a group
3. Seventy-one per cent of women had experienced rejection
4. Seventy-one of the women had experienced rejection by other females - 50 per cent were under the age of 18 at the time; 25 per cent under the age of 12
5. Fewer than 50 per cent of the women had observed positive female relationships between adults while growing up.
“The good news is that even with all of that pain and rejection most women, when invited to participate in groups, are interested or curious,” Ms Dean said. “This really connects with the research that shows that women need other women and can lean on each other as a means to regulate stress and live healthy lives and that's exciting.”