“Your brother and sisters are your best friends.” That was the mantra we heard growing up in our house south of Boston, Massachusetts. If we ever squabbled, our mother would remind us that other relationships will come and go but our brother and sisters will always be there.
There are five siblings in our family and we are all very close. Beth was a true oldest child — forging her way in the world and constantly off on adventures. Lisa was a brilliant dancer and spent most of her childhood at the studio, every day after school and all weekend. Lee, the only boy, was smack dab in the middle and was off playing sports and music with his guy friends to escape the household full of estrogen.
So while our mother shuttled them all around from one activity to the next, we were often left to our own devices — usually in front of the television. Since childhood, we’ve been best friends. And who else is better to rely on as a business partner than your best friend? While many people we meet proclaim that they could never work with a sibling, we have found these four reasons why we will never work with anyone else.
1. Work ethic
We were schooled by Catholic nuns. And while we did not take all their views with us into adulthood, they did give us an incredible work ethic. Every day, we would return home after school and do our homework. Right away. We did not run outside and play. We did not procrastinate. We got our school work done immediately. And when we were done with our assignments — okay, we’re admitting a deep, dark secret here — sometimes we would play school. We would line up our dolls and stuffed animals on the bed as if they were sitting at desks. We would hand out worksheets, give lessons and then grade their assignments. It might be a warped view of “play” but we love to work. Some might even think our devotion to productivity is at an unhealthy level — some might even say we’re workaholics. We prefer to think of it as an intense drive to follow our passions. No matter how you slice it we’re both equally enthusiastic about what we do and we share an equal commitment to getting the work done, no matter what the cost.
2. Equality is king… or queen
Our mother never played favorites. We knew with certainty that she loved us all the same and so equality became a big thing for us. We bring that sense of fairness into our business — equal partners, 50-50. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. We even speak in the “Royal We.” We’re like the Lennon and McCartney of Passionistas. It doesn’t matter who wrote the song, we both get credit. Even though we each bring different skill sets to the table, our contributions are equal. There’s no sense of competition. We are a team through and through. We often comment to each other, “I don’t know how I’d get through a day without you.” And we’re not being dramatic. It’s just true.
We really do get along. When people find out that we’re sisters who work together we get two reactions. One is, “Oh that’s beautiful. I wish I could work with my sister.” The other is, “How do you do it? I’d kill my sister if we worked together.” We know that we’re fortunate to get along so well. Our thinking is so similar we very rarely disagree. In our adult lives, there have only been three or four major fights — and they all involve traveling while hungry. On the very rare occasion where we have different views about work, we often let it go, walk away and come back to the table, realizing that we can meet in the middle or that the other one was right. It’s never a fight to the finish cage match to make decisions.
4. We have each other’s backs
Getting our starts in the cutthroat worlds of advertising and Hollywood filmmaking, we learned very early on to keep an eye out for the daggers hidden under peoples’ cloaks. We found that most people, including many of the women who we worked with, were out for themselves. The Passionistas Project is all about support. And it starts at the top with us. We support each other no matter what. We never make a decision in a meeting — we talk it through before committing. We don’t do anything unless we’re both in. If one of us is uncomfortable, we don’t do it. We know we’re lucky. We know we’re unusual. But in the immortal wisdom of our mother, we also know we’re always here for each other no matter what. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sisters Amy and Nancy Harrington have been inspired by the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp campaign and decided to use their skills as celebrity interviewers to work to tell a different kind of story. Where many podcasters reserve their airtime for the elite, Amy and Nancy are talking to amazing women you probably haven’t heard of, who are making a huge difference by following their passions. From the founder of a successful ice cream company to a volcano scientist running for office to an artist who makes sculptures using melted down nuclear weapons, Amy and Nancy shine a light on the positive stories of women on The Passionistas Project Podcast.