Betties teach sisters how to be bold

On Aug. 24, the Bold Betties lecture series hosted author and adventurer Bernadette Murphy to explore the reward of taking risks.


Bernadette Murphy inspires the Bold Betties with a passage from her latest book, “Harley and Me,” about Murphy’s adventures in learning to ride a motorcycle at age 46. Photos by Montana Martin |

Murphy’s lessons from her own internal and external experiences with nature aligned with the Bold Betties’ philosophy of living boldly. Founded as a way to connect women with the outdoors and each other, the Bold Betties sisterhood serves as a Meetup platform for roughly 40,000 venturesome women across the U.S. and Canada.

“Anytime we do something outdoors, we are reconnecting with the whole world. It’s bigger than just ourselves,” Murphy said.

Accompanied by plenty of wine and hors d’oeuvres, the twenty women in attendance at the night’s event represented all walks of Betty. With the age range of Bold Betties set from 18-84 (and they do have an 84-year-old in one of their chapters), the company recognizes that there is no need to categorize groups based on anything beyond the adventure ahead.

“You can be in your 30s and 50s and have a preschooler,” Bold Betties founder and CEO Niki Koubourlis said. “These women tend to bond over the experiences.”

Bold Betties serves as a jumping off point for a departure from one’s comfort zone. Even for those who can’t imagine actually jumping off of anything, the Bold Betties mission remains true for any woman wishing to defy her own limits.

“Whatever you’re comfortable doing is your first step,” Koubourlis said. “Even if it’s going to a movie by yourself.”

During the lecture, Murphy spoke about fear and mortality. She used her recent foray into rock climbing with her partner to illustrate that those concepts are not always exclusive to each other. Maintaining a mutual faith with her belay partner and safety harness, she is overcoming her lifelong fear of heights and issues with trust. Murphy faced her fears to move on and up from the things that kept her from living.

“That’s part of what we do this sort of Bold Betties thing for,” Murphy said. “To realize we’re not alone in the world, that we can rewrite messages that may already be in our head, that we can find strength within us that we really didn’t have and that there’s all these wonderful things to be found.”

Murphy closed the night by guiding the group in shutting their eyes and thinking of something risky that they’ve always wanted to do. After counting to three, the group collectively shouted out their personal desires, goals or dreams. Breathless cheers and applause following the activity revealed the mutual catharsis of the room.

With the buzz of whispers audible amongst the women, the group had a chance to share their goals within the solidified safe space. When attendee Danielle Paxton shared her desire to travel more, the Betties didn’t hesitate vocalizing their support.

“Seeing their true belief in me, it’s so encouraging,” Paxton said. “It’s hard to put something like that into words.”

Bernadette Murphy speaks to the Bold Betties about the psychological importance of taking risks in life.

Previously to this, Paxton hadn’t participated in any of the Bettie’s events. The night allowed her to experience the energy and positivity of the Bold Betties community firsthand. With the new potential she saw in herself because of it, her desire to get involved with a local chapter was solidified.

A fellow Betty approached Paxton and simply told her, “You inspired me.”

A hug between the two new co-adventurers followed the sentiment. Phone numbers and Facebook profiles were shared amongst the rest. At the Bold Betties headquarters, sisterhood was found in a place where a sisterhood was founded.


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