Launching Ali Anderson to #SOAR! (Recipient of our SOAR Scholarship)


ALI!!!  Her name makes me smile and want to shout because this crazy girl has a laugh and sense of humor that is contagious and makes your day–every time!

I know that many of you miss “Thursdays with Ali” on the SOAR! blog.  Her writing had us in tears and laughter every week.  Can you believe she didn’t see herself as a writer before SOAR!?  I remember asking her over lunch if she thought her writing would continue to go forward…I tossed out the idea of her maybe writing a novel about a woman and her comical, authentic journey in developing her photography passion.  I know I am one of many who would get in line to read that book!  I guess time will tell with Ali; she is FULL of surprises!

In fact, when Ali submitted her video to apply for SOAR!, I was like “Brian, is that the same Ali that was in the DC CONFIDENCE Workshop?…She was so QUIET all weekend!  Nahh, that can’t be the same gal.”

This was Ali’s video application;

Her video application touched all our hearts.  I told our panel of judges that this video was strong evidence of how hard Ali would work, and how “above and beyond the call” she would probably go.  In the end, the SOAR! Scholarship Program would richly benefit her because you get out of this program as much as you put in to it.  Ali was clearly going to put everything into it.

Below are a few thoughts Ali wanted to share with you…

Since writing my final post on Me Ra Koh’s SOAR! blog, I’ve often been asked, “What are you going to do now that SOAR! is over?”  In my head I respond with an enthusiastic, “I’m going to Disneyland!,” (just before Me Ra dumps one of those big orange coolers of Gatorade over my head and ruins a perfectly good hair day). In reality, the answer is less glamorous: We’ll see.

Normally, that kind of answer would sound weak, indecisive, and lazy to me. After all, as part of winning the SOAR! Scholarship, I’ve spent the past year developing relationships and learning from some of the most talented business coaches, photographers, vendors and colleagues in the field. I burned the candle at both ends all year long; putting every ounce of my vulnerability, insecurity and creative juice into each exercise, blog post and image I made. And I’d do it all over again.

I don’t feel the pressure to have it all figured out, which is why snuggling up with some warm and fuzzy ambiguity might just be the best gift I received this year.

SOAR! was never about getting a clear and predictable path laid out for a career in photography. For me, SOAR! was all about becoming confident with risk. I risked applying for SOAR and rediscovered a long lost artist. I risked my thoughts on the blog every week and rediscovered my love of writing. I risked starting a photography business. My biggest take away: Risk opens doors.

I have my goals, big and small, for sure. And I’ll share all that on my blog this year as I continue to grow my business. I will continue to write. I will continue to put beautiful images into the world. I will continue to risk. As I see myself now, I hope my path will continue to change, all the while inviting me into the ambiguously beautiful blur of the future.

Thanks to all of you who followed my journey. I am humbled by your supportive comments all year long and deeply grateful for your support.


Those two sentences; For me, SOAR! was all about becoming confident with risk. I risked applying for SOAR and rediscovered a long, lost artist. 

Wow.  Powerful.

Whenever we go after building a dream, we must subscribe to the weekly, even daily, activity of taking risks.  Risk taking can be terrifying and often hold many of us back because there isn’t any guarantee of what waits on the other side.  Ali is a wonderful example of someone who risked over and over again to be pleasantly surprised by what she rediscovered.  And not only did Ali’s rediscovery of her long lost artist-writer-photographer–all the above–bless her, but it blessed all of us who followed her journey.  This rippling effect of risk taking is what moves me the most.  You think that you are setting out on a selfish journey to find yourself, your creative self, and the truth is that you end up not only giving to yourself but all those who follow along.

Ali, your SOAR! year will always be a testament to the beauty that is waiting to be discovered when we choose to risk.  You will continue to be a champion for so many women who followed you all year.  Thank you for putting everything you had into the SOAR! year.  I think we all feel like we soared a little higher in day-to-day dream building because of the journey shared every week.

On behalf of all the SOAR! Partners and this wonderful community, we proudly launch Ali Anderson to SOAR with her photography (AND writing) dreams!  I can’t wait to see how the future continues to unfold for you!  Check out her new website, and be sure to keep following her blog posts!

Ali, we love you.  I cherish you, your sense of humor and your wonderful husband and kids.

We celebrate you today!

Your Cheerleaders Forever!

Me Ra, Brian, Wendy and this awesome community!

*I invite all of you to leave a comment of encouragement, love, celebration, wisdom…or all the above, in celebration of Ali today!



  1. Sara Arrigoni says:

    Congratulations, Ali! I have found your posts so inspiring, and I really believe that the warmth, humor, and beauty that seem to emanate from you will take you far wherever your path leads. It has been a joy to follow your journey.

  2. KarenC says:

    Congratulations on a wonderful year of stretching and growing! Thank you so much for allowing us in on your journey! Happy Soaring!

  3. Addie says:

    Congratulations Ali!! What a beautiful website. And I love the way you write and tell your story. Unique and wonderful. And I love what you said about your SOAR experience. It resonates in many ways. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Rhonda says:

    Ali, I have loved EVERY single one of your posts. You are an inspiration. I look forward to continuing the journey with you through your blog. This year is going to be just as amazing as the last.