How one mom built a community around maternal mental health support
When Aubrey Grossen set out to start a business serving new moms, she began by designing a diaper bag.
But on the cusp of submitting her first bulk manufacturing order, something pulled her back. “I had this strong impression that instead of having a product with a purpose behind it, I needed to create the purpose and have products behind it,” she says.
Aubrey knew what it felt like to need help. During her own experience with postpartum depression and anxiety, she’d found solace and empowerment through her close connections on Marco Polo. She then went on to found The Mamahood, a large online community of moms supporting moms.
Building on all her learnings and her resolve to put purpose first, in March 2020 Aubrey launched A New You Again (ANYA), a maternal health resource dedicated to bringing light into the lives of women experiencing postpartum mental health challenges.
Marco Polo small groups create space for coaching and community
ANYA, which also means “mama” in Hungarian, offers a multi-faceted framework encompassing education, events, retreats, meditation, and coaching.
In early 2022, Aubrey put the power of inclusion and community front and center for ANYA by adding a monthly membership program, Light Keepers. Members are placed in a 10-woman mentored group, or Sister Circle, that meets on Marco Polo throughout the week for discussion and coaching.
Aubrey says that whereas larger online networks can get unwieldy, the small size of Sister Circles keeps communication intimate, engaging, and easy to stay on top of. It also enables mentors to really get to know their circle members.
Discovering the ability to scale intimacy
When she first launched Light Keepers, Aubrey tried to run all the Sister Circle groups herself. Recognizing that the model was unsustainable, she began recruiting group leaders from a pool of seasoned ANYA participants.
Now, with a network of mentors overseeing Sister Circles and serving as her eyes and ears, Aubrey can focus on developing programs and growing the business while knowing that members always have the support and connection they need to thrive.
In its first quarter, Light Keepers grew to 150 members. Aubrey says they’re on track for 1,000 members by the end of 2022.
“What’s different about my program is that I’m able to utilize Marco Polo in a way that we can grow, that we’re ready for thousands,” Aubrey says. “It’s because we’re still connecting on such an intimate level that people stay.”
Streamlining internal communication with Sharecast
Aubrey also uses Marco Polo to help run the business side of ANYA. She’s come to rely on Marco Polo’s new free feature, Sharecast, to communicate status and plans with her mentors.
“I hate having meetings that aren’t necessary,” she says. “With Sharecast I can hop on, say what I need to say, and have an intimate connection with those watching without it turning into a big meeting discussion. I can be to the point and keep everyone on the same page.”
Growing a business built on relationship
Aubrey did eventually manufacture those diaper bags, and for every bag sold, she gives a portion of the proceeds to moms in need. She doesn’t regret taking a pause on that project because the process led her to ANYA, a labor of love that keeps her grounded in purpose as she prepares for future growth.
“Marco Polo’s been the tool that’s helped my business and program thrive,” Aubrey says. “Because that’s what these women need, is that connection, that intimacy.”