At SK Marketing Group, we strive to be inclusive not only in business, but also with the people who play a major role in what we do. What better way than to start our interview series than with our founder, Kathleen Sullivan. SK Marketing Group sat down to discuss life, liberty, and the pursuit of eliminating suicide in the LGBTQ communities through an app Kathleen created.
The app, Safe Haven, is currently still in development with release coming in the near future.
I started realizing I was a lesbian when I was in high school, freshman year. I was on the basketball team & a teammate had approached me asking if I into girls. I laughed and said no, sorry I am currently dating a guy. The woman (who will remain nameless) gave me her number and told me to reach out if I ever get curious. Well a month went by, my boyfriend broke up with me on his birthday because I wouldn’t give it up. That should have been a sign, looking back now haha. I reached back out to the girl and we met up in a stairwell. I was nervous as all hell & as I was rambling, she just shut me up by kissing me. That kiss lasted a while & from then on out I knew I was a lesbian.
How did you go about coming out to your friends and family?
I came out to my friends before my family. I was actually the first of my friends to come out. I was terrified at first but I was raised to believe if someone hated me for who I am then they aren’t a real friend. My family on the other hand, I wrote my extended family an email & my parents a letter. My extended family all came back with positive reinforcement & said they already knew! HA! My parents, well lets put it this way, my father said as long as I am not fucking a horse, he doesn’t care. Yes, he really said that. My mom took a little longer to get used to it but she was accepting none the less.
How did you use those experiences to shape your LGBTQ app?
While I was growing up & discovering myself I was completely alone. I never really went to my parents for information, not that they would have told me to fuck off but I don’t know, we just never talked about certain stuff. Till this day I never had the birds and the bees talk. So I thought to myself, I am sure I am not the only one who doesn’t have the opportunity to ask someone questions so I will create a platform so no one has to be alone. I struggled a lot with depression as I was coming to terms with myself because I thought it wasn’t normal, as I am the first lesbian person in my family.
What do you want to achieve with this app?
The goal for this app is to lower the suicide rate. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death within the LGBT community. That is so sad. Through this app we will remind people that they are loved, cared for, wanted in this world. We will help people discover themselves, come to terms with themselves, help educate them on anything they need. This is a safe place for anyone within the community to come, be themselves, learn, and love. I also hope that this helps in the fight towards equality for all. Overall I want to achieve less discrimination towards the community, bring awareness to those who are unaware.
What made you come up with the idea to come up with this? Who inspired you?
I came up with this app while I was laying in bed, stoned, contemplating how little ole me can make a difference in this world. Honestly, inspiration came from my father. While I spent the last day with him, April 29th, in the hospital room we got incredibly close. He told me to travel, live life to the fullest, and overall make the world a better place. So I am doing that. This app is the beginning of a lot of change. Safe Haven isn’t just an app, it is a movement. I also grew up watching Ellen, she has always been a hero to me.
What is your ultimate goal when it comes to this app?
The ultimate goal is to save lives, which we have already done through our social media platforms, while the website & app are being created. Our platforms are being created by Mobilize 360. Sometimes people just need someone to listen to them get things off their chest & we are here for that. 24/7/365 I have talk leaders from all over the world standing by for anyone that may need help. Our app is state of the art. Each and every talk leader gives me their story of who they are, their struggles etc on how they got to where they are now. I then build a profile for each person based on that story. When someone logs into the platform they will then be paired with someone as similar to what they need as possible. We have created 2 state of the art resource sections; 1 18+ and the other lgbt overall (no age limit). You can find any and all information pertaining to the lgbt community on our site. Not only do we want to save lives but we want to educate as well.
What’s your advice to someone who might be going through some of the things you’ve been through in the past?
I have been through a whirlwind of hard times from losing family members to friends I thought I would have forever; I have been through traumas that no woman should ever have to go through; I have been verbally, physically, and emotionally abused for being who I am. My advice to anyone who is going through something, tough times don’t last but tough people do. You will have nights where it is so overwhelming and you want to do something stupid, but I promise it gets better, you learn more about yourself & you will see that the people who aren’t being nice to you aren’t supposed to be in your life. I use varying ways to cope with problems:
Music, movies, my work, going to the gym, talking on the phone/ hanging out with family or friends that are supportive.
How can one get involved with the app?
We are currently looking for more talk leaders & people for our social media teams including influencers.
What can one expect once they’re involved with the app?
Once you are involved in the app you will be expected to be active at least once per day to help anyone that may be reaching out. If you are on social media, you are expected to help our amazing social media team promote us and spread the word! You can expect to be involved in a life changing movement & be surrounded by love constantly. As of right now I have over 130 and talk leaders and I need more! I have a team of VPs overseeing different departments of the platform & more! Oh and of course, rep our merchandise once available. I expect simple communication from my talk leaders, everyone has bad days, down days, their own lives to live. When things come up talk to me. This is part of the reason why I need so many because there will be times when some talk leaders are on vacation, need time off, not able to help out one day.
Safe Haven and Kathleen look forward to making a big impact in their respective communities. Those interested in following Safe Haven or getting involved can find them at the links above or on their social media platforms.
SK Marketing Group looks forward to bringing you more profiles just like this one!
Interviewed & Written by Jarrod Prugar