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Lean In: Andra Liemandt

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Andra Liemandt shares career updates since her 2015 cover and how she’s building a national kindness movement.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Liemandt

This month, like countless other small businesses and local companies, Austin Woman was faced with the financial ripples of COVID-19. A May issue was no longer a guarantee—without some help. Our founder, Melinda Garvey, turned to the women who have always been our loudest and best cheerleaders: our former cover women. She asked if they would lean in and support us, so in turn we can continue to support all Austin women. The responses were immediate and humbling.

Andra Liemandt, founder of The Kindness Campaign, drummer for The Mrs and a 2015 cover woman , was one of the many women who leaned in. We’re so grateful for her support and we hope as she supported us, you will support her. We asked Liemandt what she’s been doing since her cover story and how she’s building a national kindness movement.

Andra Liemandt - Lean In - Austin Woman Magazine

Austin Woman: Your Austin Woman cover story focused on your growing career as a musician with the band you helped found, The Mrs. What have been some career highlights since your 2015 cover?

Andra Liemandt: That same year that I was on the cover of Austin Woman for The Mrs, I was actually hatching something else entirely in the background: The Kindness Campaign, a nonprofit centered on emotional health for students and children.

AW: A dominant theme in your cover story was fighting against the odds. You didn’t hear songs on the radio that represented your season of life, so you created your own music. How have you continued to grow in that spirit of perseverance?

AL: Something I was learning during my journey with The Mrs was that emotional health was becoming something we as a culture couldn’t ignore. I was being exposed to this in many different ways, but the main way was with the Magic Mirror, an interactive mirror that let people open up about self-worth and the centerpiece of our first music video.

We toured with the Magic Mirror all over the country, and as a result, these deeply felt, personal stories were streaming into my life: children worried they had no friends, men who felt lonely and isolated, women with eating disorders, even an LGBTQ teenager who didn’t come out until they visited the Magic Mirror. It truly became a portal between art and emotional health, and I learned that everyone has a story— everyone—but when you can’t tell it, it eats at you inside.

So, when tragedy struck close in my own life, it was a turning point. I felt that if I didn’t do something, who would? A new calling and life mission arose, based on emotional health. And in 2015, The Kindness Campaign was born.

AW: How can the community support you and your businesses right now?

AL: We’ve got a ton of free social-emotional learning resources for anyone to access, and we’re releasing new tools regularly. Visit tkckindness.org, and click on “TKC Online.”

Try out one of our programs, like Music & Kindness. You can also join our volunteer group and help spread emotional health in your community.

Spread the word about our live stream! It’s called The Morning Meet-up & StoryTime, and happens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. A cheerful check-in about feelings and emotions, this is a wonderful way for families and educators to start the day. It’s on Instagram at our page @tkckindness, where we also archive each of these episodes.


WHAT’S MAKING YOU SMILE RIGHT NOW?

The evolution of The Kindness Campaign! I’ve been so proud of the milestones we’ve been able to achieve, but the moment coronavirus hit, it was like we were plunged into a brand-new reality. … We are completely digitizing our suite of emotional-health tools and that is our singular focus at the moment.

One workshop we’ve recently developed is called Music & Kindness. It takes participants through a creative process, where, step by step, they’re actually developing communication skills and emotional-health techniques along the way. And it’s for all ages! Originally designed for adults, we’re now doing it with students. It can be transferred to a corporate setting, to a school setting, even to a home setting for parents and children who are quarantined together.

From live streaming, to digital guides, to online learning, to video workshops, we are working tirelessly to make emotional-health tools that are equitable and accessible to all.


Read more stories of our former cover women who joined our Lean In campaign.


READ MORE FROM THE MAY ISSUE

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