Tribe TLC: Healthy Living Network Cultivates Community, Not CompetitionSep 30, 2021 10:00AM ● By Michelle Bense
We talk quite a bit about community here in the pages of Natural Awakenings, but Fairfield’s healthy living community has been in the nurturing hands of Beth Leas since 1997. A practitioner of Reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, integrated energy therapy, meditation and more, Leas began what started as a small group of local holistic practitioners because she believed that they could better serve the community together. Today, that group is known as Tribe TLC.
In the words of Leas, Tribe TLC, or the TLC Community, is “a vibrant and growing community of holistic practitioners and wellness entrepreneurs who provide healthy living resources for the community”. Currently about 120 members strong, Tribe TLC is about support, collaboration and connection between healthy living professionals in the Fairfield area and beyond.
The idea for TLC started while Leas was doing her energy healing work out of a spare bedroom. A self-proclaimed introvert, she was comfortable working this way, but it was not the best way to grow a business. “My clients had life challenging illnesses, and I was often referring to other practitioners,” explains Leas. “I was thinking, it would be nice to have everything under one roof.”
Leas opened the TLC Center in 1997, which held her private practice as well as workshops from members—chiropractors, naturopaths, holistic professionals and more. This continued into 2017, when the Center celebrated its 20th birthday in Norwalk. The next week, the landlord sold the building. “It was the best thing that ever happened to the TLC community,” Leas laughs. “I knew I could either recreate TLC Center in a new space or take the cue from the universe and hit pause—see what else was in store.” She moved her private practice elsewhere, and started hosting monthly networking gatherings out in the community—in a Norwalk restaurant and various members’ offices in Fairfield County.
“It was kind of like when you put a goldfish into a bigger container, and the goldfish grows miraculously to fill that space,” Leas says of the group’s shift. Tribe TLC began growing much faster, with more members, events and opportunities.
She replicated the Fairfield County group next in Westchester County, New York. This spring, TLC also expanded to New Haven County. Being able to connect virtually has helped the growth and connections in ways Leas did not expect. “Before COVID, I wouldn’t have considered the pivot to online networking. But it works really well. There are things I like better about online networking,” she says. The groups now use a hybrid model, with a standing monthly networking event online. This helps members participate even when it’s harder to meet in person, but keeps the face-to-face connections very much alive.
This warm and friendly community is more than just networking. The group focuses not on competition, but collaboration. Leas says that Tribe TLC has members of all kinds, covering many vastly different areas of work, but all with an understanding of a holistic point of view. The group includes energy healers, massage therapists, psychotherapists, coaches, hypnotists—but also financial advisors, attorneys and more.
Many members share the same modality or profession, but rather than working to get ahead of the local competition, these business owners and practitioners are joining forces to better serve people. Whether co-hosting workshops and events, referring patients to other practitioners or teaching one another new skills, the support from other members is invaluable.
Members of Tribe TLC enjoy numerous benefits from being part of this growing family. The benefits include: monthly networking breakfasts, both in-person and online; monthly community events; opportunity to co-host a networking event; opportunity to present a workshop and/or service; listing in membership directory on TLC’s website (over 6,000 monthly visitors); promotion of services, products or special events each month to the TLC email list of over 4,800 people; posting of events and specials to Tribe TLC’s Facebook page; twice yearly member Barter Bonanza; and discounted monthly advertising with Natural Awakenings.
Those thinking of becoming TLC members have many opportunities to “dip their toes in” by attending local in-person and online events or simply calling Leas to chat. Her warm and inviting demeanor makes it easy to join this special tribe of like-minded individuals. While Leas wears many hats, from her own private practice to working with others to grow their practices, she loves every role she fills. “I love what I do. It’s a blessing to be able to help people. I realized that I could help a lot more people have a bigger effect in this world if I supported practitioners. I can only do so many hands-on sessions, but if I can support practitioners in their businesses, they can have a bigger impact,” says Leas. “The richness of life and of being a healing professional is the connections you make. I’m all about building relationships.”
What’s next for Tribe TLC? “I see more chapters around,” says Beth, but she doesn’t want to get too ahead of herself. “I like to be in the mystery of it all, let it all unfold. I feel like we’re on the cusp of something big collectively. Practitioners and entrepreneurs are being called to step forward and serve the world in a bigger way. I’m feeling like I’m getting ready to support people in having the courage to step forward in a meaningful way.”
Michelle Bense is a writer and editor for Natural Awakenings magazines. Connect at [email protected].