We had the good fortune of connecting with Abby Raymond-Dow and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abby, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
C.A.K.E. stands for Community and Kindness for Everyone. CAKE is a group created to promote connections and community by creating conversations and opportunities to interact from a place of humankind-ness. From thoughtful posts and community meditations, to interviews with local organizations offering ways to volunteer and be of service, CAKE is a place to find friendship, build community, to serve others, and to be served. We are still small, but we know that big movements are started (and carried) by small groups of people coming together to make a difference. C.A.K.E. was born from the need for greater communication, more kindness in our exchanges, and more awareness of our common humanity. Now more than ever we sense the hunger for real connections between us- and we are answering the call.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My mother, who was a very brave, divorced, mother-of-two, accepted a position as a professor and moved us to South America when I was 8 years old. I was put into a school where being the new girl was only the start of my differences. Not only did I not speak the language, but my parents were divorced, my father was absent, and I was the only blond kid in the class. I was an outsider in every sense of the word! It took some time, but I eventually found my place, and, in doing so, I learned a lot about the power of community, and about friends who become family. I realized that wherever you are, you can always find kindness and belonging. Somewhere along the way, it became my mission to help others find that kindness and sense of belonging too. Moving as much as we did, I dreamt of buying a house for as long as I could remember. I bought my first place at 26 and the feeling I got when I became a homeowner was everything I thought it would be. Real estate, and wanting to share how I felt about homeownership and the importance of owning real estate became another piece of my story that I needed to share. Today, I feel very fortunate that many parts of things that I am passionate about help me pay my bills. I love houses. I love people. I love my community and I love being of service. I am a Realtor. I have now lived and worked in real estate in South Florida for over 20 years. Wherever they are on their journey- buying their waterfront dream home, downsizing, or changing their lifestyle, I thrive on helping people connect to homes, to their communities-and to each other.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If COVID weren’t an issue, I would absolutely take them to a Waves event! Waves is the sister group of C.A.K.E. and has a similar concept, but has been around a lot longer. Although they share the same premise of promoting kindness and community, Waves is a group just for the women. Pre-Covid, we used to have fabulous gatherings at local restaurants- and there are no people kinder or more welcoming and fun-loving than the Wavers! With that said, I would probably take them to many of the places where we held events: Mai Kai, which is an Old Florida classic, Sea Watch, Jungle Queen. Some places I would take them where we haven’t held events are: LeTub, Jackson’s Ice Cream, Las Olas. I would take them to stroll Atlantic Avenue in Delray for the galleries and for people watching. Certainly no visit to Florida is complete without visiting the beach, and depending on the vibe they want, there are lots to choose from: Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Deerfield and Lauderdale by the Sea-or further north or south. We have options! Boating is a must with snorkeling just off shore and dining at a restaurant on the water. Southport Raw Bar is a fantastic, flip-flop, come-as-you-are kind of place and has (limited) dockage. The Florida Keys are soul-restorative, so, if we could fit that in, we would go there too!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
C.A.K.E. is definitely a community effort. Some contributors are easier to identify: Nancy Levitan Charash is not only a creative contributor, but also a remarkably resilient sounding board and our group moderator. Dawne Richards is an uber-talented wordsmith who has helped me find words when I couldn’t find my voice. Kristen Birth Longworth leads our weekly community meditation. Several members, like Linda Kleinman and Jo-Anne “Purple”, contribute time and energy to promoting the group. The organizations we interview, like ‘My Safe Harbor Florida’, contribute by offering opportunities to be of service, giving details on what they need, and letting us know how to volunteer or donate. There are members who post frequently (and beautifully), some comment or like. There are others who simply watch. Some contributions may be harder to identify, but all are important, since solely being present in the group makes a difference. Some of the most powerful tools I have learned for living have come from Landmark Worldwide, their teachings on being impeccable with your word, separating stories from facts, and living powerfully, have profoundly improved my life. Landmark is the spark that has led to the birth of many organizations for change in this world. As part of its curriculum, I was invited to create a project for my community, C.A.K.E was the result. Particular shout-out to my coach from Landmark, Abby Santiago, for shining the light and calling me out for not showing up in full color. The biggest, most heartfelt shout-out always goes to my mom, Susan Raymond, who I hope can hear it in the stars. Her examples of kindness, grace, and the power of women and friendship, have always been the fountainhead of my inspiration and the source of anything good I have done in my life.
Other: Link to Waves Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/womenofwaves Waves Website: https://www.womenofwaves.com Real estate website: https://thehousehuntress.com