GIRLAB empowers women to achieve their boldest goals through coaching, mentorship and community. This would not be possible without the support of our members and their respective circles. The first step is made when we show up for ourselves and each other; start there, and we are capable of achieving anything. From us to you, thank you for being a part of the change - we are building a better, brighter future for women, together.
Origins of GIRLAB
GIRLAB was founded by Cass Benadum in Los Angeles at the start of 2020 to bring a group of 25 women together to learn, grow and empower each other while training for a half marathon. When the world shut down part way through our first season, we pivoted and went virtual. Maintaining community and support was all the more necessary given the uncertainties of the time; thanks to a highly adaptable and supportive group (plus technology), we were able to accomplish nearly everything we had planned for the first half of 2020 in a virtual space. We emerged with a new understanding of the importance in creating and holding a space that both supported and empowered women across all aspects of their lives, as well as the potential scale of our impact.
The subsequent year and a half was an exercise in testing concepts and exploring future possibilities. We held 6 virtual seasons, each with a different focus, journey and intention, and our internal team grew from one to five. Each season was centered around group sessions that leveraged guest speakers with curated content and lessons to support each participant in their personal growth and development. In addition, we provided yoga, mobility workshops, live strength workouts, nutrition and mental skills workshops, led a book club as well as run coaching. We wrapped that chapter at the end of 2021 with the launch of our Summits; our first being a 68 mile relay on the Backbone Trail (in the Santa Monica Mountains, just outside of LA). Between 2021 and the end of 2022, we formed, coached and fully supported four all-women teams over two years for The Speed Project (340 mile relay from LA to Las Vegas), coached many women individually, held a trail relay Summit and hosted our first multi-day “retreat” in Big Bear, CA (aka: summer camp for adults).
Though physical fitness/health has always been a consistent element within our programming, it has never been the main focus. Rather, our platform exists to support women along their unique journeys: helping them reach their goals while nurturing their wellbeing. This encompasses everything from improving mental health to finding balance in motherhood; training for and running a marathon to developing leadership skills within a community. Over the years, we’ve found that running (or some form of consistent physical activity) is an incredibly effective tool to develop and nurture the skills and mindsets required to reach the boldest goals. Through participation in sport/physical activity, we are gifted with the opportunity to develop resiliency, patience, grow confidence, build self-compassion and much more; it is truly an investment in oneself. We believe that when we prioritize our own wellbeing, we lay the foundation for growth and achievement in all other areas.
As we look ahead, our Team GIRLAB programs will expand to better serve women across a broader spectrum of goals. Our new Community Leader program will be launching in mid-2023, welcoming women who want to explore or further develop a role in building community and mentorship. The GIRLAB Summits are evolving and growing in line with our overall mission, and will also support our goal in establishing an in-person presence globally.
No one knows exactly where their journey will take them and neither do we, but we can say with absolute certainty that our purpose is true and guides our every step. Thanks for being a part of the journey!