The theme this spring at Tribe Porty might well be “Forty in Tribe Porty” – but She is the leader of the pack, the chieftess and Mama of our Tribe, the one that makes dreams come true.
She rocks this place, her enthusiasm and positivity are infectious, her creativity unbeatable, her listening ability eternal, her talents uncountable. Loved by so many…and brightening up people’s lives, constantly…
Join me in wishing her the best in the world, celebrate her, make her feel special today and always. Let me indulge in sharing a few special people’s stories about Dani and her Tribe.
A potted history according to the Portobello archives
Danielle, Denise, Trudeau – born 7th April 1977
Half Native American, half English American and half Canadian, Danielle moved to Scotland to find a future after being banished from Rapid City, South Dakota for dancing to too many Kenny Loggins tracks.
She worked in the field of behavioural science, specialising in providing support for families with autistic children. During this time, she saw much of the Scottish countryside, mainly due to misreading maps. She settled in Edinburgh, probably trying to find Inverness, where she gave birth to two amazing Children, Max and Izzy. (It kind of just happened.)
So Dani has always been a bit tribal, into people and feathers, pipes, spears and all that shit…She was working for the charity, Autism Initiatives when she was asked to run the project, The Hermitage Golf Course. I think this is when she really got into wanting to run social enterprises. She went for a new role at Autism Initiatives, but was gazumped by an old bloke. This pissed her off but fuelled the passion to make a difference. Not content with AI’s lack of innovation and foresight Dani decided it was time to go forth… She landed a job at Senscot, Social Enterprise Networks, Scotland. She would go around Scotland helping people set up social enterprises or help with general support and advice. She loved this but it was still not enough….
Parallel to these roles, Dani set up Tribe School Edinburgh with Johanna Holtan, an energetic wee soul from North Dakota. Dani and Jo tried out many a venue but then, through a chance encounter with a bloke called Jez, they stumbled across the possibility of using the upstairs of Earthy foods in Portobello.
It was a dark cold place but ideal for something…. That something was soon realised by Dani and Jo, and they began to hold Trade School events in the space with great success. Again, though, not satisfied with just the odd event, Dani started to dream big. She saw the potential for the space as offering more to the community. Another plan hatched with a lady called Sasha: Sasha and Dani plotted and decided that Portobello could do with a sewing group and so, ‘Sew and Sew’ started.
Women from all over the town brought machines, thread and cake to the space above Earthy. Sewing machines set up on school desks mounted on pallets gave the impression of a sweatshop. But really, it was just the next stage in the spaces transformation.
Dani wanted to create a space for people, more people than just the sewing fanatics of Portobello. She wanted to create a place for young and old, a place that would benefit people of all walks of life.
Not exactly sure what was needed she undertook a community survey.
The survey said YES. ‘Yes please’ to something for the community. Dani set about creating her Tribe. A place, a space, a place space…. Tribe was born…
It took a while to get going, it felt like years of planning. Weekend after weekend planning, drafting, drinking and theorising, until eventually a meeting was organised to make the shit real. A number of friends, interested parties and handy folks met up, in the space above Earthy to help make the dream possible… Among the many helpful folks were some very special people, Jo (of course), Jamie, Matt the architect (he does more than just the boring stuff), Akiko (she’s an architect too, as is Jamie), and Paul Lambie (you might have heard of him). There were many more there too, apologies for not mentioning you all.
Plans were drawn up and submitted to the Council. Building works started and so did the stress…Dani was only 22 when the first nail was hit by the hammer and she is now a lot older…
The rest is history, really – a very successful place was created because of the vision this lady had of the future… a future where some that are dear, are no longer with us but a future where many more are benefiting from the kindness and love from this remarkable woman… Happy Birthday Danielle… .
Soul Sister and Friend
Starting a business that aligns with who you are and is driven by your hopes, dreams, and values is hard.
But what you have done is truly difficult. You have held a space – a real physical one and a special space of people – that weaves everything wonderful about you into everything it is and will be. You have created something that has never been created before bringing together people that are now friends – sharing success, failure, birth, death, love, transition, beginnings, endings and everything in between.
It’s a testament to the woman, entrepreneur, mother, champion, daughter, role model, sister, mentor, dancer, leader, friend, bestie, artist, and person that you are.
From painting walls and sweeping floors to launching events and late night board meetings, this has been my most favourite journey to witness and be a part of.
You, my friend, are my heart and soul and you make life wonderful for so many people. Bask in the goodness and love. Happy birthday old lady x
The Listener and Catalyst
The way I remember it is, I had a coffee with you on the Prom. I think we’d probably met to talk about your idea of a Porty Tribe. At one point I was talking about how I wanted to fix the film industry, make it better, make film crews happier and safer. I told you how I’d done all this research and spoken to people and made these exciting discoveries but that when I took them to producers and managers nobody would listen. I was frustrated and getting worn down by it. You listened, let me talk (and I suspect waffle on for a bit) then suggested I talk to Bob. “Bob does that kind of thing, maybe he can help. You should speak to Bob!”.
I’m not sure if that’s exactly how it went because I’ve told that story countless times in the past couple of years. Every time someone says “What exactly are you doing for a living?” I start the story with you.
You are a huge catalyst and spark for so many of us. You helped me change my life and I’ll be forever grateful. Thank you Dani and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
What all of these snippets of Dani’s story have in common is that they show what a journey of success, empowerment, determination life can be, if you go about it with a badass attitude – anything is possible when you believe in your dreams and have loved ones and supportive friends by your side to make stuff happen… and to build your tribe.
Happy Birthday, Dani – Keep making your dreams come true… Feel on top of the world… Have a great day and a wonderful year ahead…. Keep smiling always because your smile matters a lot to those around you…
D stands for dancer and dreams.
A stands for accommodating and amazing.
N stands for Nothing is impossible.
I stands for intuition and investing… in ideas, people & places.
E stands for energy and easy to talk to.
L stands for laughing, love and listening.
L stands for life – embracing it all!
E stands for empowering and enterprising.
T stands for trust and true tribal temperament.
R stands for roots, respect and radiance.
U stands for upcycling and unafraid.
D stands for daring and dogs.
E stands for encouraging and enthusiastic.
A stands for awesome and all-embracing.
U stands for universe and unashamed.
Outside of Tribe you might have seen her around Portobello, walking her playful Labradoodledoo pup called Wonder at the beach, tap-dancing at the Big Beach Busk, sea-swimming, playing volleyball, enjoying mojitos at the Skylark, chatting, smiling and waiting for her two children in the playground at Towerbank Primary School. Mostly dressed in black, keeping the paparazzi away by hiding behind her big black sunglasses.
No wonder, we say, having set up Tribe Porty, the buzzing community place on Windsor Place in 2015, coming up to its 3rd year: Tribe Porty is a place to make good things happen – a connectivity hub which promotes a healthy and happy community. We love it and we love her. Thank you for being you and Happy birthday!