Keep It Real Ladies

Dallas innovator wants women to stop pretending and get real with HeartStories

Dallas innovator wants women to get real with HeartStories

HeartStories, Crystal Gornto
Crystal Gornto, Chief Love Amplifier at HeartStories, believes we can replace the noise by sharing our stories and getting honest about what’s really going on in our lives. Photo courtesy of HeartStories

Women are busier and more successful than ever. And they’re supposed to balance their many roles while keeping smiles on their faces and portraying lives perfect enough for their Facebook feeds.

But that’s hardly realistic, nor is it good for any woman’s state of mind. That’s where Crystal Gornto and her new venture, HeartStories, enters the picture.

No stranger to the corporate world, the 37-year-old mother ditched that life to explore her passion of finding a better way for women to live. That passion turned into HeartStories, a new social way for good friends to connect.

 “On the outside, our lives are a stream of picture-perfect Facebook updates. In reality, we’re really hard on ourselves,” says founder Crystal Gornto.

“We’re juggling our roles as wives, moms, business owners, executives, leaders and friends, all while we’re expected to be healthy, fit and happy, never breaking a sweat,” Gornto says. “As a result, on the outside, our lives are a stream of picture-perfect Facebook updates. In reality, we’re really hard on ourselves.”

To combat that, Gornto created an app that allows women to connect with their closest girlfriends (10 or less) and let them know how they are really doing. Users can send an “I’m having the best day of my life” or “I’m on the verge of tears” message, which in turn hopefully triggers some type of real communication.

“While I believe that technology is part of the problem, it isn’t going away. So I made it part of the solution,” she says.

The app is not supposed to replace face-to-face visits, of course; it’s actually supposed to initiate them. At least we hope if your best friend sends a message that she’s on the verge of a meltdown you will be at her doorstep within minutes, bottle of wine and tissues in hand.

“It’s not just an app; it’s a real commitment,” Gornto says. “When we invite our core group of friends to use the app with us, we’re saying to them, ‘I trust you with who I am, and I believe in who you are. I want to do life with you. Let’s do this.’”

The beta version of the app debuts during the first-ever HeartStories Summit on February 22 at Hotel ZaZa — which Gornto hopes will be one of the most real, down-to-earth events in Dallas.

The goals of the summit are simple:

  • Inspire women to get clear about who they want to be
  • Encourage them with practical steps to overcome self-imposed limitations
  • Ignite an urgency to invest in their closest friendships as an essential part of the journey

Speakers include author and interpersonal communications expert Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.; founder Shasta Nelson; author Mendhi Audlin; fitness experts Leisa Hart and Angela Joyner; and Southwest Airlines senior director of marketing and communications Anne Murray. Gornto hopes by listening to these thought leaders, participants can take a break from the noise of their lives and walk away with a clearer picture about how to live a life they love.

But it’s not all speeches. There is an after-party too (it is at ZaZa, after all), featuring a performance by Dallas-based singer-songwriter Catie Waters.

In addition to inspiring women to be who they really are, Gornto wants HeartStories to serve a greater purpose: help stop human trafficking. So the summit will raise funds for My Refuge House, a nonprofit in the Philippines that provides a safe home to empower and restore survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and abuse, and Traffick911, which helps stop the sale of American children into sexual slavery.

To find out more about HeartStories, visit the website and start dampening the noise in your life. Better yet, recruit a group of your closest girlfriends and attend the summit February 22.