BETA May 29, 2020 10:50:26 AM 12 min read

It's Ok to Cry


In this session of Surviving a Recession, Seena Hodges, Founder and CEO of The Woke Coach, guides us through an unfiltered conversation around becoming our best, most understanding, and empathetic selves during challenging times. The mission is to help startup founders and industry leaders deepen their analysis and develop an understanding of and solutions to mitigate issues of racism, unconscious bias, and injustice.



  1. You need to understand your why. 
  2. Honor your emotions — by understanding your own level of emotional intelligence and ability to self-reflect, you will be able to improve response and overall outcome.
  3. Give yourself grace — it’s okay to rest. Understand that we are living in hard times, allow yourself space to process.
  4. Practice gratitude and understand your privilege — this will help you stay aware, positive, and optimistic.





Seena Hodges is a connector who loves people and is passionate about equity, intersectional feminism, and access to brave spaces for all. Seena founded The Woke Coach as she witnessed the nation’s awakening to racial injustices. She saw an opportunity to help shepherd people through their transformational journeys, so we can all realize the American dream of being seen, heard, and validated every single day.

Through her work as The Woke Coach, Seena engages with clients to facilitate conversations and complete projects that live at the intersection of equity, diversity, inclusion, education, and empowerment. The company’s goal is to help clients deepen their analysis and develop an understanding around issues of bias and injustice, in turn, helping them become the best, most understanding, empathetic version of themselves.

Seena is a trained equity, diversity, and inclusion facilitator, a certified administrator of The

Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI)—the premier cross-cultural assessment of intercultural competence—, and Gallup Strengths (StrengthFinder). She has also received a professional Train the Trainer certificate from the University of Minnesota.

Seena is also a facilitator with artEquity—a national organization that conducts social justice and racial equity training that lives at the intersection of arts and activism. Over the past year, that work has taken her to Chicago, Princeton, Washington, DC, New Haven, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Portland.

Seena is a dynamic communications professional with extensive experience in public relations, marketing, and communications. She is a graduate of Columbia University with a master’s degree in Theatre Management & Producing and has worked in both the commercial and non-profit theater industry as a producer, marketing director, publicist, development director, and audience development associate. She has also worked in the non-profit sector as a communications manager and marketing director. Seena has worked for the Guthrie Theater, Theater Latté Da, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Pillsbury House Theatre, and Artistry MN. Prior to starting The Woke Coach, she was Associate Vice President of Strategy and Communications at The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations.

An avid supporter of the arts, Seena is also a member of the Board of Trustees at the Walker Art Center.



Eri has worked in digital for nearly a decade, helping organizations uncover the best ways to engage their audience and drive remarkable results. She’s also an entrepreneur who is passionate about growing her Digital brand and lending her platform to social causes. Eri is a graduate of California State University Northridge. She is Nigerian born, lives for yoga, and is currently pivoting her entrepreneurial interests to the AI and SaaS space, in addition to supporting BETA’s marketing & communications efforts.



"Surviving a Recession" is a five-part series presented by BETA and Launch Minnesota featuring local and national thought leaders sharing how they are applying lessons learned from their experiences weathering multiple recessions (such as the dot com bubble, September 11 and the 2008 housing crisis) to their businesses today.



The Adventures of Code42 Post-911 

Moderated by Cihan Behlivan, Entrepreneur in Residence at BETA

Mitch Coopet, shares his co-founder journey and how he and his fellow co-founders scaled Code42 in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble. 


Staying Grounded During Times of Economic Uncertainty 

Moderated by Mike Gietl, J.P. Morgan Industry Executive

Jodi Hubler shares her experience at Definity Health (the VC backed insurance innovation bought by United) during 9/11 and the dot-com bubble burst, leading Lemhi Ventures during the Great Recession and thaw of 2008-2010, and the how she’s applying those lessons to today.


How to Survive and Thrive When Your Business Doesn’t 

Moderated by Kelly Buhl, Operations Lead at BETA

Elaine Rasmussen, Founder and CEO of Social Impact Strategies Group (SISG), shares how she overcame losing everything in 2001 to become a successful entrepreneur and community activist today. 


How Rapid Adaptation Can Save Your Business
Moderated by Casey Shultz, Executive Director at BETA

Lili Hall, Founder & CEO of Knock, Inc, Janet Johanson, Founder and CEO of BevSource and The Lab, and Scott Burns, Co-founder & CEO of Structural are no strangers to global recessions. All three were leading companies in the aftermath of 9/11 and through the housing crisis of 2008, but each agrees that something about COVID-19 feels different.

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