This New DC Wellness Series Wants to Make Women Feel More Empowered

WE Command is hosting its first event this month at Eaton.


Attribute it to the mosh pit that is today’s politics or our growing attachment to the tiny screens that dominate us or maybe the fact that we can’t even count on Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens’ love to sustain us anymore—but people are really seeking self-care these days. Like a lot: It’s hard to swing a sheet mask in 2020 without hitting a wellness group such as Girls’ Night In or Well Read or the Woo Woo Company.

And you can now add another to the list. WE Command, an empowerment and wellness event series for women and women-identifying folks, will launch its first workshop at the Eaton February 29.

The group is helmed by longtime friends Joelle Tolifero, 29, and Hanna Berman, 28, who met while living in New York and continued their friendship when they both moved to DC. Tolifero, who recently relocated to Philadelphia, works in global education, and Berman, who lives in Adams Morgan, is a mental health consultant and reiki practitioner.

When Tolifero moved to Philadelphia and started working from home, she found herself struggling to maintain boundaries between her job and her personal life. She began getting stress headaches, and found she was neglecting her self-care.

It was around then that the seeds for WE Command were planted. How could Tolifero not only help herself get back on track, she wondered, but also help other people experiencing the same feelings?

“I want to help women command a space,” says Tolifero of the mission that launched the group, “[to] allow them to feel like they can walk in anywhere and make decisions for themselves and their wellness and set boundaries.” She recruited Berman as a co-founder to oversee the wellness aspect of the series (Tolifero handles the empowerment portion), and WE Command was officially off the ground.

Hanna Berman and Joelle Tolifero. Photo courtesy of Tolifero.

But the duo doesn’t want WE Command to be prescriptive. They’re mindful that there’s no supreme wellness journey, says Tolifero—everyone’s path is unique. That’s why the events aren’t structured as lectures, but rather as workshops where attendees work together to develop their own paths and resolutions.

At the first event, attendees will be greeted by a sound bath, meditation, and reiki healing, during which they’ll set their intentions for the workshop. Then it’s time for the group exercise. The duo doesn’t want folks just showing up with goals like losing weight or running a marathon, but rather overall missions for improving their wellness and empowerment.

Using the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, attendees will write down challenges they face in each pillar (purpose, social, financial, community, and physical). Everyone will display their answers, then folks will break into small groups to focus on whichever pillar they choose. The end goal is for each participant to walk away with a set of empowering commandments (things like “I will be an entrepreneur” or “I will lead a more active life”), as well as an outlined path to help them manifest these commandments.

A big part of WE Command’s process is its WECA format: wellness, empowerment, community, and accountability. Post-workshop, participants will be invited to join a private Facebook group where they can discuss their commandments, keep each other accountable, and post updates on their progress. Also, Tolifero or Berman will hold accountability calls with past attendees for a fees ranging from $25 to $50.

The duo is also committed to providing intersectional experiences at their workshops—in fact, they require it. Fifty percent of the women who lead workshop exercises must be women of color, says Tolifero. “We want to make sure there’s a diverse perspective of voices that are challenging the ideology that the wellness space is not diverse, because it is,” she says. “We just need to make sure we’re [sharing it with] the right communities so they have access to it.”

The team has plans to host a bigger Philadelphia-based event in July, as well as to expand into online courses one day. But for now, they’re focused on using WE Command to create inclusive communities that help people feel empowered and well. “It’s more than just setting boundaries. It’s more than just setting commandments,” says Tolifero. “We need to be well in order to feel empowered to do all those things.”

Tickets to the first WE Command workshop are $55 and include lunch by Prescription Chicken and Chaia, a swag bag, and drinks by Teaism and Jrink.

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.