Alyssa May Hart and Mercy Lee Bell are millennials who are defining sobriety in their own way. During the pandemic, they created ‘Sober Voices’ a platform that represents sobriety in all its forms.
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Alyssa May Hart and Mercy Lee Bell are creating a platform for conversations on mental health and recovery.
I connected with Alyssa and Mercy a short while back and I’ve been very intrigued by their mission. At its heart, Sober Voices is about bringing people together to discuss what sobriety, sober curiosity, and recovery looks like to them and to celebrate the many definitions of what it looks like to drink differently.
Alyssa and Mercy both have very different approaches to their work and I was fascinated to listen to what they’re doing with Sober Voices and how they’re meeting the needs of the sober community.
A few months into the pandemic it became clear that it was going to be something we would have to deal with over the long term. At the same time, Alyssa recognized the need for a place for sober people to come together, outside of what she refers to as “sober Instagram”.
She started with a question. What would it look like to get all these amazing community leaders from different identities that tend to be overlooked or underrepresented in the online recovery space online?
That question blossomed into their first event in early February 2021 which garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from attendees.
People were thirsty for this: lived experience as expertise. – Alyssa May Hart
With over 40 primarily non-cis,white-identifying speakers and over 700 attendees from more than a dozen countries, that first event was an unqualified success.
After that, Mercy joined as Alyssa’s partner and their events have continued to grow and thrive.
About Alyssa May Hart and Mercy Lee Bell
Mercy Lee Bell is co-founder of SoVo, a facilitation platform for conversations on mental health and recovery, and an executive producer of Sober Voices, a virtual event that brings together thousands to celebrate the full spectrum of sobriety and normalize opting out of drinking culture. Both brands promote more inclusive discussions of recovery and peer health facilitation while focusing on underrepresented voices in the mental health movement, with a particular focus on LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities. A distinguished scholar from Stanford’s Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity program, Mercy transitioned from academic life to a decade in Silicon Valley as a sales leader, startup advisor, and consultant. Mercy’s first passion is storytelling. She’s read for NPR, hosted the podcast Data & The Future of Sales, and is narrating Morgan Stanley’s upcoming podcast on company equity.
Alyssa May Hart is an Austin, TX-based event producer and designer who pivoted from event work at festivals like SXSW and ACL into digital community building when she founded Sober Voices in the fall of 2020. Sober Voices is now the fastest growing virtual event for the sober and sober-curious, with a base that has grown to 6,000. Alyssa’s work has been featured by the Association of Recovery in Higher Education and by San Francisco Design Week. She is also co-founder of a new platform called SoVo, which pairs the community of voices built during the pandemic with Identity-Based Facilitation™ that empowers peers and organizations to be a part of a new conversation at the intersection of mental health and identity.
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