Simone Wai is a community builder and co-founder of Folkways, focused on creating magical moments to enhance people’s everyday lives. If you’ve been to the Red River Market, Christkindlmarkt, or the Alley Fair, watched the Canoe Parade or enjoyed the mobile sauna, you’ve experienced her work!
There’s been a huge (positive!) shift in the way people see and think about Fargo, and you’re a big part of that. Why was it important to you to become a community builder for Fargo?
I have done events pretty much my whole career. I have worked with people like artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, etc. And we just saw a need to collect those people and really change the attitudes and culture of the community. When I lived here as a highschooler, it wasn’t a place I wanted to start my career. I didn’t want to be a Fargoan. So for us, we wanted to show people the potential in our community and shift their attitude.
What’s your best career advice?
It’s career and life advice: Not to take anything personally.
I am part of, but also outside of what I create. When we get surveys back from our events, there is always one crabby person. There are so many things that could be going on with someone’s life.
Who is your hero and why?
I feel like I have so many friends that I look up to. I guess my local Ladybosses are my heroes. I think of my friend Randi Kay who is killing it in her massage business, Naturally Randi Kay. And my friend Amanda McDonald who is working on Giving Hearts Day for the Dakota Medical Foundation. People who are just in their corner of their world being totally awesome. I’m so proud of them!
How are you taking better care of yourself in 2018?
A lot of saunaing. SADness (Seasonal Affect Disorder) is real, and I’ve found saunaing to be the most amazing way to combat that. You get the socializing and the firelight, and you’re so warm. I live in a 110 year old house; it’s never warm. [You can rent Folkways’ mobile sauna for your own gathering!]
I also take a lot of personal time. I work hard, and then relax hard.
What books should every Ladyboss read?
- “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” by Don Miguel Ruiz
- “Ishmael: A Novel,” by Daniel Quinn