“I have no other foundation for doing this other than I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing,” said Ashley Snyder, 29, founder of The Known Project.
The Known Project was an idea sparked by Ashley’s own personal revelation of feeling seen by many but never really known.
“I realized that there wasn’t this space for honesty amongst each other. A lot of times we just sit down for coffee and we never go further than the surface,” Ashley explained. “I wanted to create a space where people could be honest about their stories.”
The original idea was for people to blog their secrets, but last February Ashley launched an event instead. It was deemed Known Nights, a place where secrets stirred hope. Ashley invited 6 people to join her on stage to tell their secrets to a room full of strangers. The secrets didn’t necessarily have to be ugly or shocking, they just needed to be something that the person wanted to share with the world. Within 23 days the event was planned and 100 people walked through the door with no paid advertising.
“I went first because I believe strongly in leading by example,” Ashley said.
There were no Instagram photos of that night because no one picked up their phones during the 67 minute program. It built instant community and connection. People lingered for hours after the program to talk with each other and share their own stories.
“Some people said it was the most uncomfortable thing they ever sat through, but they felt so brave afterward,” Ashley said. “I didn’t want it perfected. I wanted the awkward and the real. I think some things are too orchestrated.”
The night launched a city tour in which Ashley and her team traveled to different cities and filmed people sharing their stories.
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Ashley | Website
Founder, The Known Project • 29 • Nashville, TN