I’m posted up in Boston, and waiting for Hilken Mancini to wander up to the Mobile Incubator. I’ve been parked in the shady area of Harvard’s Zone 3 and my solar batteries are dead. I hope Hilken doesn’t mind that we’ll be doing this interview by the light of a flashlight.
But I want you to go back in time for a sec. I want you to remember growing up and there was a moment where you just didn’t understand the world anymore. Like why is the world this way? Why do people have to do X, Y & Z? Why can’t I just be myself? And there’s that brief crack in our psyche and we just start to sacrifice parts of own original spirit to just fit in.
Well, Hilken thinks that’s bullshit. You’re gonna hear how she took her experiences of being harassed as a young female musician and being told what her role was supposed to be. She co-founded several initiatives to not only express who she is but to empower others to do the same.
You’ll know her bands like Shepherdess, Fuzzy and The Monsieurs. And you’ll know her initiatives like Girls Rock Campaign Boston and Punk Rock Aerobics and she’s also running the vintage boutique 40 South.
On this episode of Hilken steps into the Mobile Incubator, bringing over twenty years experience as a musician signed to a major record label, a multi-faceted entrepreneur, and a leader of a grassroots movement that is empowering woman on both coasts through punk-rock music. Hilken shares how youthful passion for music and culture eventually led to her success as a musician, and the challenges that come with it. In the early 2000’s Hilken found herself struggling to find a deal in an industry going through an unprecedented in revenue model. Instead of finding a traditional job, Hilken went on to start multiple business ventures, sharing her passionate vision in the Boston area and beyond.
My favorite quote is her monologue at the end of the podcast:
“I think that money sucks. And I think that what it’s really about is if you have something to say. I have something that I want to say in this world…
I wanna tell people that they don’t have to be anything. Cuz no one ever tells you that. No one ever pulled me aside and said hey you know what, you’re not supposed to be doing anything. You can be what you want to be.
…And once you feel that you’re fucking free. And you can make any decision and follow thru with it because you don’t have to be doing anything.”
How did a seemingly dead end - hurting her back (3:38) & being dropped from the label (9:02) - bring meaning to Hilken’s new endeavors? How could a dead end bring meaning to your work?
Advertising theory says that there’s nothing “new” except “new combinations” of two established things. Punk Rock Aerobics combined Hilken’s two past endeavors - her love for dance and punk music - into a new thing (10:32). What are two of your passions that have yet to be combined?
As a serial entrepreneur (dancing, music, retail, mentorship) how are Hilken’s endeavors connected? Are your passions and endeavors connected in ways you never considered?