“We spoke two years ago and tried to figure out any way to do it together,” Braun says. “We were really doing different things. We were both younger and had an ego about us. We weren’t ready to put that aside and try to do something together yet, so we kept up to date with each other.”
“I was definitely aware of them and I was aware of [Braun],” Greenbaum adds. “But it’s interesting because we needed to grow separately before we were able to grow together. We had to take our time to experience on our own to grow our organization, and now the timing is right. So it ended up working for the best.”
Julie: I definitely experienced pushbacks from certain people. Definitely from the corporate world there were certain roadblocks as well. I think ultimately, though, the name is the best part of our organization and I think the majority of people really resonate with it. I think it perfectly embodies emotions and aggressions most people feel when they are affected by the disease.
Yael: It’s definitely one of our biggest hurdles but also it’s our biggest asset. It doesn’t resonate with everybody and that’s OK because we are not here to build for everybody. We are building something very specific for a specific community that needs us. We provide them with a war cry, and for cancer families it’s one of the hardest days of their lives. We are not gonna dilute that so we can please everybody, because ultimately you are never gonna please everyone.
“Yael: Don’t think of it as networking — it makes it seem empty. The word has been so overused. I don’t think either of us network at all — we genuinely connect with people. We’ve had such amazing supports because they believe in what we are doing. They are getting the same love and support from our community as anybody else. They are not there to be pretty faces, and they get to have the same experience. But the biggest thing is genuine connections and looking for people who are trying to do the same type of good shit you are, rather than people having a big name and big face.
Julie: Or looking too ahead. We’ve both chosen and want to live our lives with integrity. Every time we meet someone, we are open, honest and transparent with them, and those are just qualities that people resonate to and they are interested in. I think that’s something that’s always been helpful and we always put forth when we meet with them.”
Yael: Three years ago, I reached out to Julie and we got on a Skype call. Neither of us was willing to let go of what we thought Fuck Cancer should be. Funny enough, the biggest issue was our brand. It wasn’t necessarily vision; both of us were so attached to our brand because it was so cathartic for us because we were healing from the previous experience with our mothers, which seems so trivial now, but at that time we were emotionally charged because it was something intensely and inherently emotional. We let it simmer for a while and we couldn’t find a way to work together. Two years later, I reached back out saying, let’s start a conversation again. At the very least, even if we are gonna work together, we should support each other’s effort. Because you were doing cool shit and we’re going to do cool shit, so we should do cool shit together.
Julie: The timing was perfect because I was gonna be in L.A. two weeks later. We met for coffee. For the first 20 minutes, we were so serious and a little bit defensive. As time went on, we started getting more comfortable. I think it became clear very quickly that by collaborating instead of competing, and by joining forces, we would ultimately be able to achieve what we wanted, which is to make the biggest possible impact in the cancer space. So it was a no-brainer.
Yael: That was our key: collaboration instead of competition.
Julie: Check ego at the door in terms of working together. You gotta leave it at the door. I think that’s actually the reason why at the beginning we were struggling, because we had fairly big egos at that point. Now we are at the place where we don’t have that anymore.
Yael: I think there are few factors that play into it, one of them definitely being time and us being ready. Another reason is that we don’t run a business — we run a charity. So our end goal is not to make money, it is to help people on some of the worst days of their lives. We don’t get to have an ego in that; that takes away from our community’s experience. The last thing is that timing-wise, we were both ready for a partner. For the large part, we both built this alone, and it is emotional work and hard work and it’s so exciting to have a partner to do it with.
Yael: Entrepreneurs give up a hell of a lot to do what they believe in. Our generation likes to glorify entrepreneurs, like it’s fun and sexy and exciting to be an entrepreneur. You don’t work 60 hours a week — you work constantly. You miss a lot of fun things and miss out on a lot of important things because you are building something so deeply and so passionately. There’s various schools of thought. There’s people who think that you can’t have a partner and build at the same time, and then I am of the opposite. How lonely to think you have to do this alone — if you have the right partner, you can do anything together.