Ali Bailey

Ali Bailey

I am a transplant here on the Central Coast. I moved 3,000 miles from North Carolina with two children and a dog to the Santa Maria/Orcutt area to recharge my career life in the non-profit sector.

As a longtime military spouse who’s moved around from post to post for more than 20 years, I learned early on, the drill and the need for adaptability. Being bold and open comes natural for me as an extrovert. Learning the lay of the land of our new community was always first and foremost in my mind. Asking everyone I met, “where’s the best gym, best place to get hair and nails done, the best/worst neighborhoods?”

Once the foundation for my family was in place, I could begin to seek out and ask one of the most important questions for me. “Where is the best place or group to join to connect with other women?" That question has always been easy.

When I left California 28 years ago married to an Army soldier, I was 24 years old and never experienced living in any other location. Venturing out, I soon got a taste of southern living in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and then on to Texas.

Let me just say, Southern hospitality is alive and well. I made a ton of friends in those southern states that I’m proud to say I maintain a deep connection with. Call it military connected or maybe it was them simply opening the door and welcoming me to their table. All I know, is it felt REALLY good and that’s how I want to make others feel.

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Making that woman that may be feeling out of place feel extra special and connected has become a passion. I find it exciting and exhilarating to connect and learn from women. These connections become deep friendships sharing the bond of a very special sisterhood.

It causes me to question, when I hear stories that represent the opposite of my experiences. Why are some tables closed to new ladies? I would imagine there’s a twinge of fear and it might feel uncomfortable. If you have a great circle that you trust and have known forever, it takes a step of faith to reach out and extend that chair to a new face.

I have found that if I focus on asking what the gains are rather than the risks, I always win. Now I have found myself in a wonderful circle of encouraging women managing the social media with Touchstone Central Coast. Is it worth the risk to put yourselves out there? My reply is absolutely YES!!

As for those with well-known and formed groups, I would encourage you to always keep an open chair at your table. You will not only be pleasantly surprised, but the blessings and positive ripple effect will be life changing.

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Ali Bailey resides in Old Town Orcutt with her two daughters, Eden and Olivia. She’s the Development Director at OASIS and serves on Team Touchstone CC.