Meesen Brown: Connecting Women to Culture
Meesen Brown is the CEO and cofounder of Behere, a community designed to help women live the dream of working and living around the world, one month at a time.
Meesen is originally from Toronto, Canada, but later relocated to Sydney, Australia. Feeling uninspired at her cubicle job, Meesen decided to travel Southeast Asia. During her travels, she discovered the lifestyle she wanted to live—balancing work and travel—which led to the creation of Behere.
Meesen met the other cofounder of Behere, Thomas Maher, while at a coffee shop in Thailand, commiserating about the difficulties of constantly having to regrow roots in every new place she lived in. She wondered if there was a way to make this whole process more obtainable. She thought about the autonomy she and other women she knew craved when leaving stifling work environments to pursue more flexible work.
I exchanged emails with Meesen Brown to ask her about her work at Behere.
Sienna Brancato: Could you explain how the service works and what its goal is?
Meesen Brown: Behere is a flexible living membership, for women. We help women create a lifestyle that meets their individual needs and wants. Active in over 12 cities and growing, we have a supportive infrastructure in place, year round. This lets women choose when and where they want to live, a month at a time.
We provide the opportunity for women to live in cities around the world seamlessly by taking care of all the challenging, time consuming and overwhelming tasks. We find the best areas, build partnerships with accommodation providers, and verify spaces that fit our standards. We’ve become experts at understanding what women want and finding the best partners in cities around the world. We provide our members with verified private apartments, creative coworking spaces, fitness memberships, city guides, a city host, community events, pre-arrival information, and more. So instead of signing a year long lease, you're able to join Behere and live where you want, when you want, without hassles.
What we’re creating at Behere is not just about remote work, it’s about the future of living and work. It’s about providing a sustainable way to thrive in your lifestyle. Our mission is to help women thrive in flexible lifestyles and create a future of living and work that better aligns with their wants and needs.
Brancato: What does being a “community creator” mean to you, and how do you go about that through a female-driven lens?
Brown:: It means to create a safe space for people to connect and feel comfortable. To share their stories, experiences, and insights, and ask questions. To really foster an inclusive group of people who want to support, encourage, and build relationships with each other. We do this through a female-driven lens by ensuring we create this and welcome women that are open, accepting, and supportive of new people, places, and cultures. Travel is such a great learning experience, and we strive to connect our community with local communities in these cities so we can add value to them, and vice versa. It’s really important, as a community creator, to ensure our community is connecting with and adding value to others. An example of this is, one of our members just gave a talk at one of our coworking space partners.
Brancato: What do you see as some of the biggest barriers for women today, specifically related to travel?
Brown: : Safety, loneliness, time-consuming planning, uncertainty, fear, anxiety, and wanting to feel connected to their new place. We aim to solve all these through Behere.
Brancato: What do you hope to change about the landscape of feminism or societal standards for women today through Behere?
Brown: I hope to be able to help change the status quo for women and the way they, and society, look at travel and living abroad alone. I'm striving to create a better future of living and working for women, helping them to rid themselves of toxic work environments and the standard 9-5 that was created by men, for men. There is a massive cultural shift occurring, and women are at the forefront of this change. They are starting their own businesses, becoming freelancers, and breaking out of norms, and it's so exciting to be supporting them in this and providing opportunities for them to live how they want. I want to continue to empower and support women to live their dreams, dream bigger, and make those dreams a reality through Behere.
Brancato: Part of your goal is promoting sustainability in travel and making what seems like an unrealistic/idealistic lifestyle actually realistic—how do you go about doing that?
Brown:: We make sure to discuss and promote the sustainability in travel with everything we share and talk about. We actually do it by having a minimum stay of one month in each city and also connecting women with a local person. We also provide your own apartment vs a hotel, and we set you up with workspace and a fitness membership, the things you need to have that sustainable, productive lifestyle. This ensures you feel settled and actually connected to your new city. We stress that it's not just about taking awesome photos for Instagram; we want you to feel like you live there. We share local markets, favorite hidden gems, educate women on the realities of living abroad, and ask them to keep open minds. This experience changes you and helps you grow and learn in so many ways, so it's really important we are there to support and encourage throughout. To make this sustainable, you have to understand that travel won't make your problems go away. They will still be with you in a new city, you will still get sick, there will still be bad days. But it will open your eyes to the world, to amazing people, experiences, cultures, foods. Last minute trips, invitations to locals homes, watching the world pass around you while sipping glasses of wine. It's an unparalleled experience, but the most important thing is to be open and accepting—that's how you make this lifestyle sustainable.
Brancato: What do you wish women knew about the Behere community?
Brown:: We’re an inclusive community for all women who crave more flexibility. We take the legwork out of living abroad and want to make it easy and possible for women to do this. Our community ranges from women who have fully remote roles, to women who are longtime entrepreneurs or just starting out, to women who are in the in-between and figuring out what is next. Behere is for you if you’re simply looking to get out of your comfort zone and finally start living where you want.
To learn more about Behere, head to gobehere.com and get started creating your profile to chat with someone from their team.
Author: Sienna Brancato
Sienna is a proud Italian American who grew up on Long Island (she has been told she has a bit of an accent). She is a sophomore at Georgetown studying English, Italian, and Government. Her passions include feminism, reading, spoken word poetry, and awkward dancing. Her favorite TV shows include The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Last Week Tonight. In her free time, you can catch her listening to the Civil Wars while eating an entire pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream and wearing fuzzy pajamas.