In conversation with the gal gang of The Assembly

Woman power
Culture & Art
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By Virgin Hotels

Let’s call 2019 the year of the girl crush. In a city like San Francisco full of incredible talent, we’re surrounded by empowered, high-achieving, kick-ass women with endless lists of accomplishments to celebrate. And we LOVE it.

For International Women’s Day, we’re excited to highlight a group of local women who’ve come together to build a unique, inclusive, and welcoming community and club – all for women of course. These ladies are each individually remarkable, but when working in concert their efforts came together to create something simply magical. Stop into The Assembly at 449 4th Street in San Francisco to see for yourself, and get to know them a little more right here.


Molly Goodson, Co-Founder and CEO of The Assembly

What inspired you to start The Assembly?

I was inspired to create community for women because that has always been central in my life. I knew that it was important to ground the space in fitness and wellness — because who doesn’t love taking an amazing class with a group of inspiring women — but also value all the different parts of women’s lives. My hope was to create a place for women to work, sweat, play and connect. And my hope is that The Assembly actively makes you feel less burned out when you walk out than when you came in. It was something I really needed in my life, so I knew that I must not be the only one.

What is the most challenging (but likely also rewarding!) part of your work at The Assembly?

It is so challenging and rewarding to create true community and hospitality for every single person who walks through our doors, follows us on social media, or signs up for the newsletter. Women everywhere are seeking these connections, yet we have to retrain ourselves to actually welcome the opportunities when they come. Say hi to someone new. Allow vulnerability into every conversation. It’s always worth it.

What are some words you live by?

At The Assembly, we talk a lot about Permission Granted. For us, that means allowing ourselves to try new things, to live the lives we want to but also the lives we need to. It means permission to tell honest stories, ask for help, and allow others in to support you along the way. Permission to take care of yourself…always.

What is International Women’s Day about for you?

International Women’s Day is about honoring the work of women in your life, in your greater community, and around the world. It is incredibly important to recognizes the privileges we have — in the cities, countries, communities, and circumstances where we live — and to recognize how we can do more, always more, to help other women nearby and around the world.


Gina Wang – Head of Food and Beverage at The Assembly

How does your work at The Assembly help you foster community?

Through my background in hospitality and my love of cuisine, I find value in gathering our community together through food and conversation. As the Head of F&B at The Assembly, I enjoy finding unique moments where our members and larger community are able to hold space together and highlight the experience with a tasty treat.

What motivates you, excites you & makes you happy?

Wine, wine, and wine!

What is International Women’s Day about for you?

International Women’s Day is about celebrating women in our community who have influences from around the world! What’s most exciting to me is celebrating the hundreds of local female food and wine makers: hearing their success stories and being a support system and advocate to continue to promote, highlight, and support them!


Mary Keane Arenson, Head of Partnerships at The Assembly

How does partnership building support the club’s overall goals?

Identifying and aligning with partners is one of the most important elements of my job. It’s a true delight to meet and engage with so many incredible humans, the majority of whom are women, who are doing great work with interesting products, missions, and perspectives. It is imperative that our partners are representative of our community – a diverse set of women with unique skill sets, values, interests, and passions.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about holding space for myself and for other women; through my work at The Assembly, at home with my family, or with my friends and larger community. Often as women we prioritize other people ahead of ourselves, and I’m passionate about encouraging the notion that self-care does not mean we are self-ish.

What is International Women’s Day about for you?

International Women’s Day is a day that highlights what we strive for daily at The Assembly; which is elevating and perspectives of women across industries, races, backgrounds, generations, and so on. It’s a day I’m looking forward to in particular because I find value in listening to and learning from women in my community and, if I’m lucky, around the world.


Happy International Women’s Day!

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