Girl Power Wednesday (GPW): CEO and Editor-In-Chief of DO YOU ENDO

“Girl Power Wednesday” is Her Campus Rutgers’ own twist on Women Crush Wednesday which dedicates one day out of the week to showcase women who are total girl bosses.

Tabitha Britt is a full-time managing editor for Mighty Scribes and the founder, CEO, and Editor-In-Chief of DO YOU ENDO- a bullshit-free online magazine about Endometriosis by EndoBabes, aka women who have experienced symptoms of or have been diagnosed with Endometriosis, for EndoBabes. Endometriosis is a chronic illness in which tissue similar to the tissue lining the uterus grows outside of the uterus, resulting in inflammation. According to The Endometriosis Foundation of America, it affects an estimated 200 million women worldwide, with many of them experiencing a decade-long delay in receiving an accurate diagnosis. There is currently no known cause for Endometriosis and there is no cure.

Before Tabitha became the founder of DO YOU ENDO, she attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington for her undergraduate degree. There, she created the fashion beat for the university paper The Seahawk and founded the school’s very first fashion blog, Seahawk Chic. She also helped her friend Kaitlyn Russell launch Her Campus at UNCW, where she was the managing editor.

After she graduated from UNCW, she moved to New York City and pursued the Fashion Studies program for her first graduate semester at Parsons. She fell out of love with the program and then transferred to the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism program at The New School for Social Research in 2016. While she was a graduate student there, she launched The Odyssey at Parsons and a Her Campus at The New School. She graduated from the New School in January 2018.

For this week’s Girl Power Wednesday, Co-Campus Correspondent Keoni Nguyen of Her Campus Rutgers asked Tabitha Britt, an EndoBabe and boss babe, some questions.

KN: "So you mentioned in [a correspondence] with us that [it took you] 14 years for you to receive your diagnosis and that was just mind-boggling to me. So how did you even receive your diagnosis in the first place? How did you react to that?”

TB: “Well, I was lucky- luckier than most girls because my mom had Endo. So, I kind of knew about it, unlike other women who have no idea what’s going on. So because I kind of knew about it, I would bring it up at my Doctor’s visits. But it took several doctors visits for anyone to take me seriously.”

Doctors would brush Tabitha’s concerns off, saying “Oh, it’s just a painful period, just try birth control.” One of them even told her that surgery was the last thing we want to do.

TB: "Which is completely incorrect because surgery is the only way to diagnose it. So when I finally started feeling enough pain that I couldn’t get through my daily life, I started looking for a serious specialist.”

She eventually found a specialist in New York who is well known for Endometriosis surgeries and started the Endo March.The EndoMarch is a global movement that seeks to spread awareness of Endometriosis. She met him during one of the Endo Marches.

KN: "So, I’m sure that you were kind of afraid of going under the knife, right?”

TB: "I was terrified and I think that’s why I waited so long to actually see a specialist. I think in my heart I knew that the Gynos really wouldn’t know and I guess I was just hoping that it was something else or just hoping to get around it.”

Tabitha was still in school at the time- however, she was also waiting until she was mentally ready too. She eventually went to two urologists.

TB: “The first one had no idea what was going on. He also told me that there was no way that I had Endometriosis because “You’re not supposed to hurt before your period-” that is a complete lie, and after he told me that I went to a different urologist and I told him straight up that I have Endometriosis even though I hadn’t had a lap yet. He told me what I needed to do was surgery, it’ll probably make this better.”

KN: "Wow, that’s incredibly disheartening that you had to go through so many professionals to actually get a diagnosis! I feel like young women have the tendency to have encounters or experiences where people are telling you, you know, “What you’re dealing with isn’t that bad” or “It can’t possibly be whatever you’re thinking about.” But I feel like we know our bodies pretty well. Anyways, what type of support group did you have? When you were going through the process of seeing these doctors and preparing for the surgery and after the surgery? I’m kind of just curious how you got the courage to go under the knife and also found the strength to come back on your A game, be a Boss Babe?"

TB: “Well, in November of last year, in my class for graduate school, I had to create a kind of publishing project. It was a design and publishing class... I’ve always wanted to have my own magazine and I just thought why not just create an Endometriosis magazine?”

She wanted to create a magazine about Endometriosis that was honest, rather than clinical. She wanted something to speak to women.

But first, she needed to find a specialist and have surgery, so she did a bunch of research in November and December. She was also getting married in February, so she waited until April to finally undergo surgery. During the period of time she was researching, she found a bunch of Facebook groups for those seeking support in the Endometriosis community, which did help. However, she also had a personal support network.

TB: “...As for my own personal support, it’s probably just my mom. 'Cause she had gone through the same things that I am going through right now. So I would just talk to her about it."

She also mentions her husband, Joe, as one of her main supporters.

TB: "He was, um my fiance then, husband now, he listened, he does listen, even though he doesn’t really understand when I try to tell him, but he has also been my support.”

KN: "I feel like it’s really important to have people that, even though they may not entirely understand like what’s going on- it’s just so important to have someone that’s willing to be there. So, what would you advise young women to do if they think they have Endometriosis or maybe they’re feeling similar symptoms that you experienced?”

TB: ”It was difficult because I was telling these people, these doctors, that I knew I had it, so the fact that they still didn’t know how to help me was frustrating. But my advice for anyone who is experiencing symptoms is they should definitely just look up a specialist because only a specialist is going to know what’s going on.”

Tabitha stresses that the most important thing is speaking to specialists and looking at accurate and reliable resources such as the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

TB: “And I think one of the most important things is you have to be an advocate for your body and for your health. If you know something is wrong and the doctor is telling you “Oh let’s do this” “Oh let’s do that-” don’t. Go to another doctor. As soon as they tell you they want you to do a different surgery or procedure, go somewhere else.”

According to Tabitha, Gynecologists will do surgeries that they don’t necessarily know how to do and some won’t do laparoscopies- the gold standard in endometriosis diagnosis. 

TB: “They’ll miss some of the Endo and leave it in there. So, you just had thousands of dollars worth of surgery and it’s not going to help you. And other doctors are telling women that hysterectomies could help- while it may help some women, Endo grows on the outside of the uterus, so if you remove the uterus the Endo will still be there...being an advocate and being strong in the doctor’s office and standing your ground is the best thing you can do.”

KN: "To see all these women who are experiencing these struggles expressing [themselves] and talking about them, I think is really important because ...if you don’t talk about it, on a personal level, I feel like it makes people more fearful of that experience, Endometriosis, and other illnesses.”

KN: “So, I noticed that you said on the website that it operates on no revenue, so how does that work? Because I saw that people who are creating businesses and companies, maybe specifically to help others, [and] I’m kinda curious to see how that works for you?”

TB: "Well more than anything, I’d love to have DO YOU ENDO to be my full-time job, but because it doesn’t have monetary value right now, I can’t do that.”

Many of the writers and contributors currently featured on DO YOU ENDO are “just really passionate women” and “just want to get the word out.”

TB: “I’ve created a little family- we have a Slack group, we have a group chat, we talk to each other all the time. I’m actually having brunch with one of my writers in two weeks, but we’re all from different places- some are in Canada, some are in California. The girl that I’m meeting, in two weeks, she’s from Minnesota. She’s going to NY so I’ll be able to talk to her...but I think it just takes a lot of passion and dedication. I work full time- so in the morning, early in the morning or late at night I work on DO YOU ENDO and sometimes it’s hard because I have, right now, fifteen articles in the queue waiting to be edited- but it’s just me editing.”

Besides editing and managing the content that is posted on DO YOU ENDO, she also posts on the Instagram, Twitter and the Facebook social media accounts for the website. She’s currently working on partnering with brands and hopes to one day make merchandise, giving ten percent of the proceeds to the Endo Fund.

TB: “That is my ultimate goal, to give back to the Endo community but right now it’s just going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of late nights, and a dedicated team.”

KN: "Obviously, you’re really passionate about this and [is] something that really means a lot to you. But at the same time, I can imagine that it’s really stressful and really difficult sometimes. So what would be some advice to young women who are also building up their own brands, creating these websites that are helping others- what are some thoughts that you have on volunteering your time and your energy to something that is a great cause?”

TB: "I think that if you’re going to start your own business or your going to start your own brand, the first thing that you have to do is be passionate. If I wasn’t passionate about this, I don’t think it would work because it takes so much time and it takes so much effort - if you’re gonna do something, make sure you’re passionate about it. If you’re nonchalant or ambivalent, don’t do it. Just don’t do it. Be passionate. And just know that when you get traffic boosts or you see your analytics and they’re going up that definitely makes it worth it. Literally just yesterday I had seven thousand impressions on my Instagram for DO YOU ENDO and I was excited because I was like wow we’re reaching seven thousand people…”

TB: “I do think other women need to be mindful, I think we try to do a lot, of burning out. If it’s too much, just take a break. That’s the good thing about it being your own project. If you don’t... if you can’t put in the time to make it perfect, then take the day off. I don’t publish on the site unless I know the article is going to be perfect unless I know it’s going to be what I want it to be. It’s not necessarily about getting the views- it’s about reaching others who need this kind of content.”

If you are an entrepreneur seriously seeking money or funding for your website, she recommends applying for grants and reaching out to small businesses. She says that partnering is also a great way to outreach. According to her, they’re a great way to get the word out if you’re just starting out or if you’re an influencer on Instagram. Reaching out to other people and getting them to maybe partner and post on their Instagram are also great ways to get more followers.

KN: ”I noticed that you mentioned earlier that you helped found two Her Campus chapters. How do you think your experience with Her Campus helped you in the workforce, freelancing, etc?”

TB: ”Definitely- I love Her Campus and the first time I was with Her Campus I was in Undergrad. My friend had started the chapter there but needed help, so I immediately became managing editor and it taught me how to manage a team.”

Besides helping her hone her managing skills, she also became more comfortable with editing, which is most of her work nowadays. She also thinks it’s a great way to find your people.

TB: “I think Her Campus is great because first of all you get a group of girls you can really hang out with and that’s what I am trying to create with DO YOU ENDO- a community. Her Campus is a great way to have a community.”

According to Tabitha, it’s a great way to learn on your own, “Because when you do make mistakes you have to fix it. It’s a great learning experience.”

TB: “That’s why when I went to graduate school, I wanted to start another chapter at The New School…”

At The New School, she wanted to have a team and some girl friends. By that point, she had been a journalist for a long time, so she just wanted to help other girls, with many of the ones on her team being a lot younger than her.

TB: “I do think Her Campus is a great way to get started, even if you don’t want to be a journalist. I think it’s a great way to get into your career...whether it’s journalism, pr, or even broadcasting, I think you could still do something- marketing, anything like that.”

KN: “Last question- do you have any favorite shows that you like to watch when you’re not being a boss and working and kinda just want to relax? Or maybe you’re not feeling as well and want to watch something that will keep your mind off of things?”

TB: "So, I was just telling my mom the other day that she needed to watch this- it’s called The Bold Type. I love that show. It’s a great show to watch, it really helps me. Even though it’s about work it keeps my mind off of work because I can focus on Jane or Sutton or “What is Kat doing today?”I think that it’s a great, great show.”

Interested in hearing more about what it’s like having Endometriosis? Be sure to check out the articles featured on DO YOU ENDO, which offer a bullshit-free take on what it’s like having Endometriosis and more.

To learn more about Endometriosis, check out the resources provided by The Endometriosis Foundation of America.

All featured pictures courtesy of Tabitha Britt.

Who do you think we should interview for the next Girl Power Wednesday? Tweet us your thoughts at @hcrutgers!