Our definition of warrior is always growing. As a part of our #WarriorCrushWednesday series, we’re featuring Ali Greenberg, a leader in our hometown of Richmond, Virginia who works everyday to create spaces for women and gender minorities. Ali founded The Broad, a workspace, social club, and community which champions female empowerment and female storytelling. She battles for good every day and we asked her to share a story about a time she was a warrior for change. 

“He didn’t take my answer – because you requested it – as sufficient.”

When the reporter told me that her male photo editor wouldn’t send a female photographer for the story, I figured it was because he didn’t have any on staff. You see, my business is a workspace and social club for women and gender minorities – we exist to make space for people who haven’t always had space made for them. So, on a functional level, our space is designed by and for women and we tend to have a “no boys allowed” policy during normal operating hours. But, on a more philosophical level, existing to make space for people who haven’t always had space made for them means that we have to make space for them in everything that we do.

Need a food vendor for a meeting? We source local and female-owned. Need art for the walls? We have an amazing curator and her job is to find and showcase female artistic talent from our city. Want to write a story? Send a female photographer and reporter! Simple, right?

This simple request ended up killing the story in its tracks. We had dealt with online comments before that were less than favorable (generally veiled as business model criticisms that similar non-gendered businesses seemed to be immune to), but we did not expect pushback from local publications. I assumed that they just didn’t have someone in their rolodex, but after sending some names – all specialists in interior photography, of course – I learned that they did in fact have female photographers on staff, they just didn’t want to accommodate the ask.

I knew the moment that email hit my inbox that our requests would ever be valid in the eyes of this publication, and The Broad is fortunate enough not to need their validation. So, when the call never came back, I moved on. To Architectural Digest, and Dwell, and many local publications and news outlets that were proud to tell our story and showcase the work of women in their industry.

But countless other businesses led by women never even get as far as an inquiry, let alone national coverage like we have been privileged to have. For that reason, we stand stronger by our values each and every day so that some day our requests will not only be found sufficient, but won’t even need to be requested. Because if we want to tell the story of women, we have to let women tell their story.

To learn more about Ali and The Broad, visit their website.