Fundraising

I Am A Superwoman

What an exciting time to be a woman! Everywhere super women are coming together to make a difference in the world. I am thrilled to announce that “I Am A Superwoman” and to add to the powerful voices you can hear at the “I Am A Superwoman” Equality & Empowerment Weekend.This amazing day-long summit and inaugural Red-Carpet Gala at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles both celebrates our progress and puts our combined muscle (men and women) behind the movement for the kind of culture change that will end abuse and violence toward women and children, global human trafficking and continued inequality. It’s time for women to step forward and lead this foundational shift in our culture and stimulate a re-education and recalibration of society for the sake of our children and our children’s children.

As part of my mission to support women through my foundation, WomenConnect4Good, Inc., and Take The Lead, where I now serve as President of the Board, I am honored to kick off the event with the opening keynote, and be a beacon for women to get their S on and accept personal responsibility to be agents of change at this critical time in history. The Summit is stacked with inspirational speakers and special guests who target female and male entrepreneurs, business leaders, executives and change-makers. The day will be brimming with new ideas and opportunities to brainstorm solutions and network with some of the most dynamic speakers in their field.

Get your tickets now for Friday, August 24, 2018. Basic attendance is $222. Enhanced attendance ($359) gets you a three-course lunch at the Beverly Hilton with VIPs, and the opportunity to get to know the special guests invited to share their passion and wisdom.

Step out Saturday night on the Golden Globe Red Carpet at the international ballroom of the Beverly Hilton [www.superwomancampaign.org/RedCarpetGalaTickets/] and enjoy The “I Am a Superwoman” Red Carpet Gala & Auction. It will be a night to remember! Tickets include dinner, live entertainment, red carpet glamour plus an incredible LIVE auction featuring lots of celebrity memorabilia including the late Whitney Houston’s piano. The Schimmel was her pride and joy. It was the first piano she ever owned in fact she purchased it with her first royalty check!

I am so pleased to join SHEROESUnited, founded by my amazing Leading Women co-author Bridget Cook Burch in this effort to create change on a global scale. Besides the extraordinary personal insights and inspiration, “I Am Superwoman” Empowerment and Equality Weekend, benefits organizations like SHEROESUnited, a 501c3 organization creating a “Global Movement of Women Who DARE to Change the World through Love.” Sheroes are women who have done heroic things in extraordinary circumstances and become victors, not victims.
Please accept my personal invitation to join us, be a Superwoman, a leader for change. Put your S on and meet other powerful women and men like you at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. Get your tickets here. Busy that weekend? You can still join the movement. Check this post and learn how to participate via social media. And to donate directly, click here.
I sincerely hope to see you there, August 24-25. I’ll have my S on!
~Dr. Nancy

Strategies to Create Social Change

From actress and theater major to change-maker for lasting social impact, Linda Hartley’s path proves that life’s winding road will lead to your passion and purpose, if you listen and follow your heart. In fact, that is the key to successful leadership and finding fulfillment in your life’s work. Linda’s love for arts and culture lead her to acquire an MBA and work in the non-profit sector (social-profit) in several institutions, including establishing the first professional development department for Bard College, whose annual giving leapt from $375,000 to $1.2 million in the first 20 months.  Now, she has partnered with Vivien Hoexter to found H2Growth Strategies, LLC, and help mission-driven organizations—“social-profits,” foundations and corporations—develop strategies to improve performance, increase revenues and create lasting social impact for a more enlightened world.
With their combined track record, Linda and Vivien have helped more than 100 organizations raise over $1.5 billion to date. Now, they have gone one step further and written a book to help everyone put the strategies of great leaders to work on their own missions. BIG IMPACT: Insights & Stories from America’s Non-Profit Leaders shares ideas from nearly 50 leaders to help you cultivate and grow a plan for whatever change you’d like to make. Linda said that they looked for “common threads” among the advice, starting with getting to know you questions, like “What was the best and worst thing that ever happened to you?” to “What is the role of the non-profits of bridging the urban-rural divide in this country?” From these broad-based questions, they found 17 principles that provided common ground.

The Unintended Gift

One of the most outstanding qualities Linda and Vivien found in the leaders was a high level of emotional intelligence. Linda related the personal story of Leon Botstein, who had served as a staffer, and then long-time President of Bard College. His eight-year-old daughter ran across the street on campus and was killed by a car early in his career. He told Linda, “Rather than turning disappointment into tragedy and into an excuse for feeling like a powerless victim, I tried to recognize the unintended gift that comes from tragedy and failure.” Linda likened it to a prize fight, where you must have the ability to get back up after being knocked down. One common thread through the interviews were stories of personal tragedy and how those were used to propel their work and lives going forward.

Common Threads—Advice from Top Leaders

One common thread through this interview was how different it is to work for a mission-driven organization. Dr. Nancy said, the people are different because they care about what their organization does. They feel invested in its outcome. That was also one of the key points of advice from the leaders, whether it’s on staff or as a board member, they stressed working in direct service for non-profit organizations. Other key points were

  • Sharpen your leadership skills
  • Honor Your emotional intelligence and self-awareness
  • Look at work-life balance
  • Seek out and cultivate mentors
  • Plan for the inevitable.

That final point was very important to every leader. They advised to put a successor in place, so what you had built wouldn’t stop if something should happen to you. Even if that successor wasn’t picked by the organization, providing a system for longevity past your own service on a board or as the leader of an organization is very important.

Building a Movement

Movements are built by individual organizations partnering together. Linda reviewed the qualities that made organizations successful and how they achieved what they set out to do. One that she used as an example was the successful campaign for “Freedom to Marry.” In fact, that campaign was so successful, the legislation it promoted was passed and has dissolved since there is no longer a need for that social change.
Of course many missions to solve the world’s problems are more complicated and require many different strategies, one of which is development of the board of directors. Linda says that it’s important to have many different levels of expertise among the board members. Organizations seeking social change include social scientists; many include attorneys, marketing professionals, accountants, and others who can provide services the organization can’t afford to pay for.
For that next step—to build a movement—organizations need to come together. When they meet one another and find their common ground, they can plan actions to expand their goals. Board development, convening to leverage their power and funds, and planning were the three key strategies that Linda said they guide organizations to use.

Self-Expression Important for Fundraising

Linda began her journey with her love for the theater, which linked her with art and culture. She said that people give their time and treasures according to what they care about. It provides meaning to their lives and that’s how H2Growth Strategies helps their clients grow their missions. Listen to this interview for more stories and advice. And check out the H2Growth Strategies website for more enlightening information and details about the book, Big Impact.

Reaching Out to Help Women Like Us

Linda Rendleman, Author, Speaker, Philanthropist

Linda Rendleman


Fueled by a heart that is definitely big enough to change the world, writer, speaker and philanthropist Linda Rendleman has always worked to lift women up. In 2012 when the Super Bowl came to Indianapolis, Linda learned that the epidemic of sexual trafficking was not a world away, but in her own backyard. That knowledge appalled her and drove her to act. This year, her foundation, Women Like Us, Inc. is raising $25,000 through crowdfunding to fight sexual trafficking where it lives—in your town and on the streets around  the world.
In this conversation, Linda reveals that the market for sex relies on supply and demand and crosses all socio-economic boundaries. Children (girls and boys) are taken at the ages of 10-15 and sold into slavery. Once there, they find themselves in a lifestyle where they are victimized three ways: by the pimps who own them, the customers who use them and the police who arrest them for breaking the law. But there is a way out and many organizations are working hard to help free the victims of this horrifying industry.

The Key is Awareness

Linda admits that she was clueless in thinking that sex trafficking was the problem of 3rd world countries and poverty and drugs. As she rode along with a woman working to rescue kids, she saw everything from a top-of-the-line Mercedes to older cars amid the traffic shopping for sex. The real problem is with the user. They pay more for younger bodies and that’s when the victims are the most vulnerable. One attorney Linda spoke with said that she had never met a prostitute who hadn’t been sexually abused as a child or trafficked. Linda’s goal now is to create awareness of the problem and develop volunteers and funds to fight it head on.
Her most recent book, WOMEN LIKE US Together Changing the World contains a section with stories written by women who have found their mission fighting sex trafficking in different ways. One of these women is Washington State Congresswoman Linda Smith. She created Shared Hope International when she visited Mumbai to see the human trafficking problem for herself.  When she became aware that the industry was the second most profitable in the world and stretched into her own back yard, she vowed to  fight the laws that makes criminals of victimized American children, and today  rates the states on her website. Linda was shocked to find that California gets a D on Shared Hope’s state grade card.

Rescue, Restore and Recover

The organizations work with the victims through a three-part process. First, they rescue them from the streets or houses where they work. They house them through mentoring, social work and psychiatric process, then finally help them into recovery. There are many success stories where women are getting degrees, working to retrieve their children from the foster system and moving on to have happy, healthy lives.
Linda’s organization supports many  organizations that  are working daily to lift other women up, one woman at a time. She produced a documentary to tell the story and show the viewer what it’s like to ride along with those who are reaching out to help. Check out her website for more. Add your own donation to help her reach her goal of transforming lives. And listen to this conversation for more of Linda’s story and how Dr. Nancy says we must all work together to end this crime against the most vulnerable of us. And we can end it—together.

Shared Hope International Is Saving Children Worldwide


For four long years, Stephanie was known only by the name her trafficker gave her when he enslaved her at age 13. Her trafficker beat her and continually manipulated her emotionally. He constantly warned that he would enslave her 10-year-old sister unless Stephanie kept the customers satisfied.
Her story is, in many ways, sadly typical: the older boy taking an interest in the younger girl, persuading her that their relationship is “fate,” promising to marry her, buying her nice things, and then demanding that she dance in a strip club to help him out of a financial jam.
“It was degrading, but I did it ‘for us,’” Stephanie says. When he demanded that she sell herself for sex, she refused — and he threw her out of the house on a bitterly cold night. She could sell, or she could freeze to death.
Arrests and returns became a cycle. At one point, the trafficker brutally assaulted Stephanie in front of her own home. While she was hospitalized, a probation officer asked Shared Hope International to find a safe place where professionals had the skills to address her many needs. The closest such place was 3,000 miles away. Shared Hope moved her across the country, and gave her a new name for protection. Having been loved, cared for and counseled, she now shares her story to protect other girls.
Stephanie’s story is not unique. In fact, sex trafficking is a booming industry in America. It thrives because there is a serious demand for commercial sex with minors. Every day in America children are being bought and sold for sex. This is not a problem that is limited to third world or developing countries, it is happening right here at home in every state in the nation and crosses all socio-economic boundaries.
Sex trafficking occurs when someone uses force, fraud or coercion to cause a commercial sex act with an adult or causes a minor to commit a commercial sex act. That act can include prostitution, pornography and sexual performance done in exchange for any item of value, such as money, drugs, shelter, food or clothes. The worst part about it is the fact that the industry continues to grow and thrive because there’s serious demand.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there have been 13,897 calls to the hotline and 4,460 cases of human trafficking reported in the United States this year alone. Of those cases, 3,186 were sex trafficking, and of those cases, 1,438 involved minors.
Approximately 1.2 million girls and boys are trafficked each year. The victims are not all runaways or previously abused minors. Traffickers find their victims through social networks, home neighborhoods, clubs or bars, the internet, and even school. They lure these victims through promises of protection, adventure, love, home, or opportunities and once they have them under their control they use violence, fear, threats, and intimidation to keep them in line. The common age that a child is lured into service is between the ages of 10-16, when they are far too young and naïve to realize what’s actually happening.
In efforts to stop trafficking once and for all, Shared Hope International works hand in hand with federal lawmakers to strengthen laws so buyers and traffickers go to jail and victims are protected. This contrasts with laws in many states that penalize the child sex slave and let the customers escape without penalty. The organization works to teach minors the tactics of traffickers so they can avoid dangerous situations. They also train professionals on the ways to interpret the signs of trafficking to identify victims. Shared Hope focuses on protecting children on a local level by working with parents, youth workers, community leaders, and teens on how traffickers operate and how they can protect themselves and their friends.
Shared Hope’s story began in 1998 when U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith traveled into the heart of a notorious brothel district in Mumbai, India. The brutal sexual slavery and exploitation of women and children she witnessed there inspired her to establish Shared Hope International to help bring healing to devastated lives.
“I found children younger than my granddaughter, not even teenagers, being sold by the sex act and by the minute. I couldn’t believe it.  I had to do something,” Congresswoman Smith said. “It was the search for answers and the need for justice that guided my decision to start Shared Hope International.”
According to Shared Hope’s 2016 Annual Report, last year the organization was able to supply grants and technical assistance to 11 partners in the U.S., supporting their ability to provide the following services to survivors:

  • outreach and counseling
  • shelter and therapeutic care
  • textbook scholarships
  • virtual mentoring where services may not be available locally
  • bi-lingual case management
  • group case management
  • therapeutic foster care

The organization was also able to reach 2,229 first responders, service providers and community members through 33 trainings, and train 228 new Ambassadors of Hope from 42 states. Overall in 2016, Shared Hope was able to reach 779,413 people through prevention education events, and the organization was able to partner with 16 shelter and service organizations in four countries to bring education, job skills, housing, medical care and freedom to 431 survivors.
Shared Hope International is just one example of the amazing work that is being done to rescue and empower survivors. Human slavery is wrong, and sex trafficking of children is absolutely not acceptable. Leading Women co-author and founder of the Women Like Us foundation, Linda Rendleman, has started a crowdfunding campaign to support Shared Hope and many women-led causes and charities who are fighting sex trafficking in their communities or nationally. All of the work that is currently being done is proof we can eradicate these horrifying statistics, but only if we work together.
If you feel that someone you know is a victim of sex trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.  To learn more about sex trafficking and ways you can help, check out our post with resources and partners.

Human Slavery Makes Me Angry

By Dr. Nancy O’Reilly

It’s time for all of us to wake up and come together to end the worst of our society’s crimes against human beings. I’m talking about sex trafficking. In my conversation with Linda Rendleman, founder of Women Like Us foundation and one of my amazing Leading Women Co-authors, I was shocked to find out the sheer numbers of children here in the United States and world-wide who become victims of this horrendous crime every single year.
1.2 million girls and boys are trafficked every year. Sex trafficking is the second most profitable business in the world, taking in over a billion dollars in business every year.
This problem is at the core of our society and needs ALL of us to step up to end it. This is not a woman’s issue; it’s a human issue. It’s estimated that 30% of the children who are trafficked are boys, but that figure is probably low. Approximately 99% of the users (those who pay to have sex with these children) are men. We must all be outraged and use that anger to really make a difference.
All of us can do something. Click here to access Women Like Us crowd funding page. This campaign is working to raise money to help the women’s organizations rescue children from the streets, house them in safe places and help them become valued members of society. Any small amount will help, especially if we all help. The organizations cannot be sustainable and continue their important work without help. The need us; they need YOU in whatever small way you can contribute.

Want to report sex traffficking? Need to call for help? National Hotline is 1-888-373-7888

Each generation of children who are stolen and sold in the streets creates a new generation of prostitutes. Our children believe what they are told. If they lack self-esteem because they are not empowered with positive language and told they are amazing and can do amazing things, they look for it in potentially harmful places—online in relationships that are false and manipulative, in older boys who profess romantic love to trap immature girls into doing what they want, and with others who only want to entrap and abuse them. We must reach out to protect them with positive environments and a belief in their own precious value as free, self-reliant young women and men.

Waiting For You To Notice from Shared Hope on Vimeo.

Our judicial system makes these vulnerable victims criminals and punishes them rather than the men who pay to use them and the pimps who stole them away in the first place. We must work from both ends of the problem. Linda Smith founded Shared Hope International after being introduced to sex trafficking in India, then finding out that it was so prevalent in the United States. Most shocking is that the primary victims in our country are middle-class middle school kids. And the younger the children, the more the men will pay.  Linda’s organization is working on the judicial system in every state and recruiting men to come forward in the fight and recruit others to get everyone involved in, not only legislating for and rescuing victims, but eradicating the unhealthy demand for sex with children.
I am convinced that every person we help, helps three more people. Imagine if each of us helps just one of these victims, how that will spread to make a difference in the world. Every person only wants to be loved. Reach out with your love to help end this cycle of modern-day slavery today. It is at the heart of social justice in our world and will do more for raising us all up than any other single action you can take. Help Women Like Us exceed their funding goal and support these organizations working every day to free a new generation of children.

BE the Change You Want to See in the World

entrepreneur and philanthropist

Mea Boykins


International philanthropist and entrepreneur Mea Boykins may have been born with service in her heart. She started early helping others and her passion developed quickly. While still a junior at Spelman College she founded the Student Emergency Assistance Scholarship to provide funds to two friends who faced expulsion when their money and resources ran out. To date, she has awarded five scholarships and launched a speaking career telling people how she did it. Now a 501c3, her foundation also works with disadvantaged youth and displaced individuals around the world. Mea is a positive force on a global scale connecting with others to live her mission to BE the change she wants to see in the world.
Mea credits several things for propelling her into her life of service. First, her small town upbringing in Opelousas, Louisiana, where opportunities were few and education wasn’t valued, exposed her to people living in impoverished circumstances. However, it also exposed her to a broad range of church-going experiences. Mea was curious and attended churches with everyone she knew. Whether they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholic, Mormon or Pentecostal, she tagged along. The result: she became deeply spiritual and opened her heart to other people.
Moving to New Orleans in her teens to live with her father transformed her life. She enrolled in a private Catholic school, where she was the only black student. The emphasis there was on community service and she participated by helping the elderly. She also traveled to Paris for the first time, where she learned French. Her well-established taste for travel and experiencing different cultures deepened during her time at Spelman College. Although a liberal arts college for people of color, Spelman’s students represented 49 states and 15 countries, including the Caribbean Islands. The heritages represented are rich and varied. Mea followed that education with two master’s degrees: one from Kings College in London in Child Psychology and a second in International Studies in San Francisco during which she also studied in Spain and Asia.

“You can never do too much. There is always more.”

When Dr. Nancy asked Mea, “What makes you different? You saw a great need and reached out to solve it. Why don’t more people do that?”, Mea answered, “Because of all the hardships I had to overcome, I realized that my life’s purpose was bigger than me.” When she would face an obstacle, she felt that God put it there for her to overcome, not just for herself, but so she could help others overcome it also. She is empathetic, but warns that you also have to be balanced, stay focused and do the inner work within yourself, so you can be happy and whole and continue to be a vessel and servant to do God’s work. She stays focused on her spiritual path and her purpose in life.

Most People in the World Are Good

Having lived in five countries and developed positive relationships with people from dozens of others, Mea is firm in her belief that people really do want to get along. She says that only a few have hate in their heart, but they get a lot of attention. She also credits the imbalance of wealth as a root for world-wide problems with the top 3% not doing what they should to help equalize it.
In April Mea founded a company: Global Management and Marketing, LLC, providing project management, event planning, sponsorship, proposal writing, marketing, branding, social media management and web development.  Beginning with global clients that she met while traveling, she is already starting to spread her wings in this new business venture. She is also directing  strategic relations for Noirbnb, a travel company for millennials of color that identifies accommodations people can rent and unique venues for fun experiences. She says they are looking for organizations and rentals that fit their target market and travelers to take advantage of what they offer.
Check out Mia’s website and listen to this interview to hear more of her inspiring journey to live her life’s purpose and BE the change she wants to see in the world.

Friend-Raiser for Gender Parity

by Dr. Nancy O’Reilly

A Few of the Take the Lead Board Members: Gloria Feldt, Loretta McCarthy, Amy Litzenberger, Dr. Nancy O’Reilly! and Shelly Esque


Last week, I was pleased to join in a celebration with other empowered women and men, founders and directors, leaders, students and authors from different fields and many young women future- leaders for a Friend-Raiser at Anika Rahman’s home in New York City. We were there to celebrate Take the Lead co-founder and Leading Women co-author, Gloria Feldt’s birthday and to engage the participants in the planning and coordination of Take the Lead Day to promote “Powertopia, A World Where Gender Parity Is Achieved,” which will take place in November.
It is so inspiring when powerful women come together to do something important. Nothing is more crucial to our future success than gender parity. The statistics differ among countries, states, careers and races, but the fact remains that women are still significantly underpaid and under-represented in top leadership in both the private and public sectors. We continue to be paid less for the same work and remain undervalued in the halls of power where we can make the most positive difference in the world today. Take the Lead’s mission to reach gender parity by 2025 is central to achieving the 50/50 balance of women and men that we need to create a world that supports and sustains healthy and fulfilling human life.
Our hostess for the event, Anika Rahman, is an attorney, the founding director of the International Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights and has served as President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women among many other accomplishments. Amy Litzenberger, co-founder and board chair of Take the Lead and a former investment banker, who lends her expertise in funding and strategic planning to start-up companies and social profits, introduced the evening and the topic of Powertopia.  Gloria led the discussion about women’s ambivalence to power and how our culture has taught us to shun power as a force people use to make others do what you want. Instead, Gloria has embarked on educating women to embrace their power as a means to accomplish their goals, concepts first expressed in her book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, and later in her chapter in Leading Women.

Photos courtesy of Alexis Buryk for City Love Photography
or @citylovephotog for Instagram or Twitter


 
Coming together as we did at Anika’s home shows how we can shift the conversation if we work together. We are uniquely designed to do that very thing. Women naturally collaborate to share the load and integrate one another’s talents for the best outcomes. But as I spoke to young women in attendance and listened to their questions, it was clear how much work we have yet to do. Their concerns were mostly how they could get along with other women at work. On a personal and professional level, their daily concerns are still centered on problems of working together. Women must reach out and support other women. We must not hold one-another back, but urge each other forward. Be a mentor to another woman and seek out a mentor for yourself. Together we can do anything. We have proved it over and over again. As the African proverb says, “If you want to go far, go together; if you want to go fast, go alone.”

Actor, Caileigh Scott and Gloria Feldt


Let this Friend-Raiser and gathering be an example of what happens when we collaborate to advance women and men everywhere. When one succeeds, we all succeed. As we change our relationship with power, we can write a new chapter in human history that truly supports the common good of all, not just a few. Stay tuned for more about the Take the Lead Day in November and trainings and events to promote Powertopia, a world where women are totally equal and gender parity is achieved.

When Information = Female Empowerment

by Rebecca Tinsley, founder of Network for Africa and Leading Women Co-Author

“Why waste time teaching people about their human rights when they’re hungry?”

Rebecca Tinsley with children in northern Nigeria

Rebecca Tinsley with children in northern Nigeria


It’s a reasonable question, until you witness the expression on the face of a woman in a remote rural African village when she learns she is officially, legally equal to a man. And that her husband does not have the right to beat her for the slightest infraction; or confiscate the fruit of her daily, back-breaking agricultural work so he can get drunk with his friends. Or until you assure a young woman who has been raped that the police have a duty to investigate the assault, once she reports it.
Network for Africa works in places where, at first glance, you might think there are other priorities. But information is power. That is why we supplement our training on literacy, vocational skills, health, hygiene and nutrition with sessions about human rights.
If you want to equip people to transform their life chances, you must give them the confidence to assert their rights as human beings. Everything else flows from this most basic cornerstone, including the right to ask local administrators why the government budget allocated to local clinics and schools have never arrived. Rights equal citizenship, and citizenship is the power to hold officials accountable, to organize with like-minded people, and to speak the truth.
Many leaders sign up to international treaties and conventions because they don’t wish to stand out from their peers. They like the cloak of respectability and status that comes from attending UN summits, mixing with politicians and diplomats from more powerful nations. But once they have signed up, it is up to the rest of us to make sure those rights have some meaning, and are enforceable by citizens. That is one reason why the UN annually marks December 10th as Human Rights Day.
Dictators prefer their subjects to be kept in the dark about their constitutional rights. They use ignorance, fear and hunger to control the population. Similarly, some men deliberately keep their women ignorant and illiterate. But once you equip people with the awareness that they have rights, and that they are equal under their country’s laws, you unleash a tsunami of human potential. This is doubly so in traditional, rural societies where women are raised to believe they have no rights, and only subservient duties to their fathers and then their husbands. Being told you are worthy and valuable is one step on the road to self-confidence and taking control of your future, and that of your children. Surely that applies as much in our Western, supposedly developed world as it does in Africa.

~

To find out more and add your support to the important work of Network4Africa, click here.

Women Must Align with Their Power

Sarah Acer

Sarah Acer


When encouraged by her parents to pursue something in her life  to contribute to the betterment of society, Sarah Acer decided to connect in the most meaningful way. An award-winning global communications and development strategist, she founded and serves as managing partner for Align Communications and Creative, headquartered in New York City.
Align is a collective of six women who see themselves as industry disrupters and who left their respective big-brand careers to build a new kind of agency. Their full-service strategy and development firm works exclusively with government agencies, nonprofits, and socially conscious organizations looking to deliver social change and a positive impact to the world.

What Does Profit Really Mean?

Sarah sees a change in the way the world views profit. The United States is still focused on financial applications, but worldwide the perception is expanding to view it in terms of gains, such as increased longevity, decreased mortality rates, reduced HIV cases, etc. She says these gains for the good of society are more aligned with “outcomes” than the traditional view of profit. However, she expresses her wonder that investors will gamble on ten “for profit” businesses at $50,000 each and be happy if one of them makes a profit, while they see investing in a “non-profit/social profit” organization as a loss.
When Align works with a corporation, they make sure their community goals align with their business goals and unlike many businesses, they don’t create a foundation for foundation’s sake. They support the “triple-bottom line model” from the 90’s in which companies are concerned with people, profit and planet.

There is Power in Numbers.

Align has become the agency of record to help Take the Lead reach its goal of achieving parity for women by 2025. Sarah says that now is the time for women to join together and help each other. The US is far behind other countries in leadership. While over 60% of college graduates are women, only 20% occupy upper management and we rank 95th in the world in Congress. However, things are beginning to change.
Sarah cites an article in The Washington Post that talked about what happens when women really support other women. When the Obama took office, two-thirds of his top administration was male, made up of those who had worked for him during the campaign.  The women banded together and created an “amplification strategy” in which they repeated each other’s ideas and credited the woman who came up with the idea. More and more aids and staff joined in this sort of cabinet of leadership and got more women appointed through demonstrating and emphasizing women’s contribution.

Take the Lead’s Strategy

It’s a different take on how Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt, founder of Take the Lead, is working to create an even bigger outcome for women supporting women. Gloria believes in the infinite pie: the more there is, the more there is. Create more women leaders at the top and we create more women leaders at every level and in every sector.
Sarah invites everyone to check out Take the Lead website for the many programs that are offered to women of all ages and at all states in their careers. There are many free resources, such as Virtual Happy Hours and online courses. Check it out also for how you can contribute in your own way to their efforts to bring women into a place where parity and equality is achieved. Sarah says that ultimately the goal of Align is to work themselves out of a job and there’s no longer a need to talk about women reaching equality any more.
Listen to this conversation for more intriguing insights into how feminine leadership is more profitable for both the companies and the communities they serve. And look at Align’s website for the impressive outcomes of organizations they have served.

Shelter and Support for Expectant Mothers

pexels-photo-54289-largeFor most expectant mothers, pregnancy can be a source of great joy as well as a cause for physical and emotional challenges. Those challenges multiply exponentially for the women who are both pregnant and experiencing the hardship of homelessness. There are approximately 8,000 pregnant women in Los Angeles County seeking shelter and support on any given night, yet there are only 69 beds available for them. Located in Santa Monica, Harvest Home provides eight of those beds as a part of their residential program for women and their babies. For over three decades, the organization has been providing care and resources needed, not only for healthy and successful pregnancies, but also to help these women become wonderful mothers for their children long term.
Leigh Flisher currently serves as a member of Harvest Home’s board of directors but started volunteering with the organization as a part of a community service project through her daughter’s school. As a mother herself, Leigh observed firsthand the impact of the work Harvest Home was doing with these women and children and was compelled to invest more of her time and energy in that work. She transitioned from volunteer to mentor, which allowed her to provide counsel and encouragement through personal relationships with the mothers involved in the program. As a board member, she now spends her time advocating the work of Harvest Home in the community and fostering supportive relationships with local businesses. Leigh even returned to school to earn a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California in order to expand her ability to help those in need.
Passionate about helping the mothers at Harvest Home, Leigh helps them become the best mothers they can be, achieving success in their lives. She also recognizes the lasting influence the program is having on mothers. Harvest Home has developed an alumni program to give those who have successfully completed the program the opportunity to pay it forward. In fact, Leigh notes that roughly 90% of alumni stay involved in the alumni program. This not only speaks to the effectiveness of the program, but it’s also another shining example of women helping women. When we are able to grow through the difficult lessons life teaches us and pour our care and wisdom back into others, we all reap the benefits of the sisterhood of success.
Women Connect4Good is honored to support Harvest Home with a donation of $20,000. When asked what this donation might to do to support the organization, Leigh said that it will allow them to move their offices off-site creating space for more open beds. She also noted that the organization is hoping to open another location in the near future to be able to meet the needs of more women and children in the area.
To learn more about the work of Harvest Home and help us support them with you’re your own personal contribution to their work, visit their website at theharvesthome.net.

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