Meet the Founder: Courtney Bianchi Chapa
Believer in kindness, lover of genuine connections and all things local to Austin, Texas.
We wouldn't be here without our fearless leader, Courtney. It's because of her warmth, positivity, and knack for creating remarkably intentional events that we are all able to continue to grow and thrive.
We're kicking off a new series called Pearl Spotlight, where we'll feature one of our members on the blog. We can't wait to share what our amazing members have been up to with you! To get us started, we'll go back to the beginning to the woman who made it all possible.
How do you define community and connection?
Community to me is a collection of individuals who mutually trust one another and believe in the same values of supporting, sharing kindness, welcoming and craving genuine connection with one another. When I think of community, the image of how a pearl is made comes to my mind—a molecule enters a protected shell and over time, getting the goodness of the shell, turns into a pearl—this unique beautiful piece. That is the kind of community I’m striving to create with W&P—a safe space for pearls to thrive (whatever that looks like to them), feel safe to follow their truth, and get all the goodness the group offers.
Connection to me is all about the feeling you get when you meet someone who truly understands you or can relate to you in someway. Where you can relate to one another on a deeper level.
How has being a member of the Whiskey & Pearls community impacted your life?
The relationships with other Pearls I have built through starting W&P has made such an impact on my life. The women in this city are so powerful, supportive, understanding and willing to actively encourage each other. It’s such a special place to grow and live.
I leave every W&P gathering ignited with so much inspiration and passion to continue speaking my truth—especially after hearing all the stories of the Pearls and the projects they are working on. This community has brought so much joy to my life and fuels me to keep making the W&P experience special.
Let's take it back to the very beginning. What inspired you to create Whiskey & Pearls?
When I moved to Austin seven years ago, I found myself meeting incredibly talented women who shared they were searching for a place to meet new girlfriends and craving quality relationships with other women in Austin. In the beginning Whiskey & Pearls events were more social-based events.
Then, in August of 2016 I went through a rebrand and began hosting more curated events. This community was inspired by the ladies who are part of this community—hearing their desire for a more curated gatherings inspired me to shift the focus from social get togethers to more intentional meets.
What do you hope each member receives out of being a part of this community?
Genuine connections! And I hope each Pearl leaves feeling inspired and knows she has the support of the W&P community and can use this group as a well of resources.
If we get dreamy for a minute, what are some big goals for Whiskey & Pearls for the future?
Continue to produce thoughtful monthly events that foster positive conversations and relationships among the Pearls. I am excited to bring back the W&P Retreat for a second year this fall, and hope to make it an annual event. And also, produce larger pop-ups in other cities outside of Austin—targeting the Midwest (where I'm from) and partnering with creatives in those cities, like Louisville, Indianapolis, Nashville or Cincinnati, to name a few.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS FOR COURTNEY
What's at the top of your bucket list?
Buy a home was at the top of my list, but my husband and I get to check that off our list this year. Next, visit all the National State Parks, and continue to grow Whiskey & Pearls.
Early bird or night owl?
I love the stillness that happens in the morning and the chance to rise early to ease into the day.
What's your favorite hobby?
Taking a walk with my husband or going for a drive together listening to our favorite tunes.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Kind, genuine, fun
What advice have you received that has been most influential for you?
Trust your gut—it’s your best guide.
A FEW FINAL THOUGHTS FROM COURTNEY
One of the most inspiring people to me is Brené Brown. This is one of my favorite quotes by her: "Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver."