Sarah Dubbeldam, founder and CEO of Darling Magazine, spoke at an event called “Darling, Be Courageous.” The event took place at noon and included lunch so that university and local employees as well as students could attend over their lunch break. Dubbeldam spoke about how her company began, some struggles she has had along the way and how her faith played a part in her story.
The event took place on Feb.4 at John Brown University and was hosted by the DaySpring Women’s Leadership Forum. Gabrielle Marcy, a JBU staff member, said that hosting events that focus on women in leadership is good for JBU and the Siloam Springs community. “Representation matters. Hearing from women who are leaders, whether they be entrepreneurs, scientists or innovative artists, inspires other women to seek positions of leadership and allows for a wider range of voices, experiences and stories to be shared.”
Dubbeldam spoke about how leading her company in its mission required taking steps despite her doubts and fear. She said that “being an entrepreneur and trying to start this and put this out into the world was something that required so much bravery in my life.” She referenced this theme of courage throughout the night as she reminded people to take courageous steps towards their goals.
One courageous step that Dubbeldam took related to the mission statement of her magazine. She realized that the women’s magazine industry focused on superficial and unattainable standards for women, such as the perfection of their physical bodies, maintaining the appearance of youth and obtaining a certain level of public success. Dubbeldam, along with her friend and business partner, created a mission statement for their new magazine that highlighted the beauty, power and individuality of women, while striving to push away from the unrealistic standards they saw in the industry. Their magazine’s mission is to remind their readers that “darling, you are a work of art.” For example, no women are retouched in the magazine, stressing the natural beauty of a diverse spectrum of women. Anna Carlson, a senior biology major who attended the event, commented on how Darling Magazine is empowering to women. “In a society that makes us feel like we have to attain an impossible level of perfection, this magazine is very uplifting and encourages women to love their bodies just as they are,” she said.
Dubbeldam also explained how her Christian faith has played a role in the establishment and leadership of this magazine. For her, trusting God through the whole journey was difficult, but has enabled her to act courageously with less fear of failure. “It’s a cycle and you slowly get better and better at trusting God,” she said. “It’s an act of handing over your whole life.” To better illustrate her point, the audience participated in an exercise that Dubbeldam has integrated into her own life: writing down worries and placing them in an envelope as a way of illustrating trust in God. Dubbeldam challenged the audience to continue to lean on God for support and trust him to provide.