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Girls Inc. Empowers Girls to Be Strong, Smart, and Bold

girls_inc_logoBy definition, a bill of rights is a document or piece of legislation setting out the rights or entitlements of a particular group or class of people. More than 25 years ago, national Girls Inc. codified the Girls’ Bill of Rights, outlining certain truths the organization sees as fundamental. Their mission–then, now and always–is to support girls and to ensure that their rights are recognized and respected.

Girls’ Bill of Rights

  1. Girls have the right to be themselves and to resist gender stereotypes.
  2. Girls have the right to express themselves with originality and enthusiasm.
  3. Girls have the right to take risks, to strive freely, and to take pride in success.
  4. Girls have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies.
  5. Girls have the right to have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world.
  6. Girls have the right to prepare for interesting work and economic independence.

Girls Inc. focuses on the development of the whole girl, and as a result, girls learn to value themselves, take risks, and discover and develop their inherent strengths, and the Girls’ Bill of Rights helps them do that. This important work is crucial for girls and young women to develop healthy self-esteem. Case in point, DoSomething.org reports that, “seven in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.” The organization also reports that, “75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. This compares to 25% of girls with high self-esteem.”

Girls Inc. is making a difference for girls nationwide through a combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and evidence-based programming that equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. The organization is also heavily involved in advocacy work. At the local affiliate and national levels Girls Inc. focuses on policies and practices that support girls’ health and wellness and fosters school climates that are conducive to learning, particularly those from underserved communities and those who face discrimination and other obstacles because of their race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or religion.

Even without a local Girls Inc. organization, the Girls Inc. Bill of Rights applies to all girls. Jen Faust, Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara’s CEO, urges everyone to keep the Girls’ Bill of Rights front and center in supporting and advocating for girls. She wrote in May, “If you want to do something impactful in your day-to-day, please remember our Girls’ Bill of Rights and help infuse and reinforce these rights in our society when you interact with girls — and boys. When girls are given the tools and opportunities to succeed, not only do they change their own circumstances, they also are empowered to change the circumstances of others around them. By equipping our girls and all youth with skills that are part of the Girls Inc. Experience, the idea is that they will be immersed in school environments where they can make a difference knowing how to advocate for themselves and for their peers.”

To learn more about Girls Inc. or the Girls’ Bill of Rights go to girlsinc.org or  girlsincsb.org.

Investing in Leadership Returns Global Good

Contributed by The Global Good Fund

With a $100 gift from a mentor and an idea, Carrie Rich set out to create an organization to serve as a catalyst for social good, and The Global Good Fund was born. Nine years later, The Global Good Fund has supported 188 Social Impact Fellows, raised $119 million in capital, created over 3,000 jobs, and collectively impacted 9.9 million people around the world.

The Global Good Fund believes that growing leaders is the best strategy for solving complex social problems and achieving global good. They identify high-potential entrepreneurs and accelerate their success and impact through a year-long, virtual fellowship.

Global Good Fund Fellow Spotlights

The Global Good Fund invests in young innovators solving our world’s most pressing social challenges by way of executive mentorship, leadership coaching and targeted capital. Below are just a few of their stories.

Autumn Adeigbo, founder of Autumn Adeigbo Fashion, 2013 Fellow

When Autumn became a Global Good Fund Fellow, she was living in New York City, working as a hostess by night, freelancing as a fashion stylist by day. She had designed a few collections that received top tier press attention, and was trying to find a path towards building a sustainable business. Today, Autumn is a successful Black female business owner devoted to positively impacting the lives of women across cultures by utilizing female-owned production facilities in the U.S., and providing global artisans with meaningful employment and living wages. In 2021, Autumn launched at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom, as well as specialty boutiques across the country. She closed $3 million in seed funding, allowing her to expand the team and dig into principles of diversity, while developing her skills as a leader. Autumn also receives follow-on funding from The Global Impact Fund II.

Margo Jordan, Founder + CEO, Youth Enrichments, 2018 Fellow

Margo Jordan is a venture-backed award-winning serial social entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Youth Enrichments. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she served 10 honorable years in the United States Army. Margo’s passion for social impact compelled her to develop self-esteem-based solutions to help children reach their full potential. Starting with hosting amazing youth conferences featuring celebrity teens and tweens as guest speakers she  also built the first self-esteem-based learning center for girls, and expanded her platform internationally. To date, Margo has impacted over 20,000 children around the world. Her most recent venture, Enrichly, was born out of the global pandemic and is a self-esteem-based digital health/e-learning SaaS platform and gaming app that uses machine learning, gamification, data and onsite curriculum for k-12.

Samir Goel and Wemimo Abbey, co-founders and co-CEO’s of Esusu, 2017 and 2019 Fellows

Samir and Wemimo were named The Global Good Fund Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2022 at the organization’s Gala in May. Esusu, a financial tool that empowers communities to save better, manage their cash flow, and build credit, is one of the first Black and brown-owned start-ups to reach Unicorn status and be valued at $1 billion. Growing up living paycheck to paycheck in the slums of Lagos, Nigeria, Wemimo’s family was excluded from the traditional financial system and turned to rotational savings to pay for school fees and put food on the table. He understands firsthand the power of community savings and digitized this process to make it easy for people to use. Prior to Esusu, Samir co-founded and remains the Chair of Transfernation, a nationally recognized 501(c)3 social-profit that uses technology to ensure excess food from events gets distributed to underserved communities across New York City.

Immigrants in America often do not have robust credit profiles, and Samir and Wemimo aim to build financial resilience and provide access to those marginalized people.

Soumya Dabriwal, founder of Project Baala, 2021 Fellow

Project Baala is a social enterprise focused on tackling the main problems of menstrual hygiene in India: expense of commercial menstrual products, menstrual waste mismanagement and societal myths and taboos. Soumya, a native of India, was a student at the University of Warwick, England when she volunteered in Haryana and Ghana as a teacher. During this time, she discovered the common issues of menstrual hygiene problems in both countries. Troubled by girls missing out on school and following unhygienic practices like using cloth rags, Soumya started Project Baala while still in college. After returning to India in 2016 and visiting rural parts of the country, she understood the magnitude of the problem – only 12% of women in India have access to sanitary napkins – and Project Baala became a company. In the next three years, Project Baala is positioned to impact 1 million girls with better menstrual hygiene knowledge and menstrual product access.

You can read more amazing Global Good Fund Fellow stories in Carrie’s new book, Impact The World, a Wall Street Journal best-seller as well as at https://globalgoodfund.org/fellowship/entrepreneurs/

 

 

It’s Pride Month – Time to Secure Equal Rights for All

Pride_MonthIt’s Pride month! Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Pride Month (LGBTQI+ Pride Month) is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and works to further the cause of equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans. Millions of people around the world take part in the annual month-long celebration, which includes parades, picnics, parties, workshops, and concerts. Memorials are also held each year to commemorate people in the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. Ultimately the purpose of Pride month is to recognize the impact that (LGBTQI+) individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.

The Stonewall Uprising was a series of events between police and LGBTQI+ protesters that stretched over six days. It was not the first time police had raided a gay bar, and it was not the first time LGBTQI+ people fought back, but the events that unfolded over the next six days fundamentally changed the nature of LGBTQI+ activism in the United States. Following the Stonewall Uprising, organizers built on the spirit of resistance and organized a march to Central Park the next year, adopting the theme of “Gay Pride” to counteract the prevailing attitude of shame. That march down Christopher Street soon expanded to other cities, with many more joining year after year through the 1970s until Pride became the massive month-long celebration that it is today. It’s important to remember that Pride is a political event, and even though it feels like a party, protests have always been embedded in its very reason for existing. Pride has always been a protest against unjust systems, even in the midst of celebrations, parades, parties, and more.

In a Proclamation on Pride Month 2022, the White House writes that, “Today, the rights of LGBTQI+ Americans are under relentless attack.  Members of the LGBTQI+ community — especially people of color and trans people — continue to face discrimination and cruel, persistent efforts to undermine their human rights.  An onslaught of dangerous anti-LGBTQI+ legislation has been introduced and passed in states across the country, targeting transgender children and their parents and interfering with their access to health care.  These unconscionable attacks have left countless LGBTQI+ families in fear and pain.  All of this compounded has been especially difficult on LGBTQI+ youth, 45 percent of whom seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year — a devastating reality that our Nation must work urgently to address.”

It’s mystifying that homophobia, racism, sexism, and other forms of injustice are still present in 2022, and unbelievable that they’re so deeply embedded in our institutions, and prevalent in the way our society operates. In some parts of the country – and the world – minorities, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex individuals are increasingly discriminated against, harassed, excluded and marginalized.

This has to change. It is essential to stand up for the rights of all individuals, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. For example, the fight for women’s empowerment is about much more than just equal rights; it is about ensuring that all women have the opportunity to reach their full potential. This includes access to education, healthcare, housing, and employment opportunities. It also means working to end violence against women and girls, and combatting discrimination in all forms. The same issues apply to the fight for LGBTQI+ rights. In fact, joining these important movements is something we all must do to ensure these rights for all human beings.

The LGBTQI+ community has been victimized by decades of discrimination and violence. As President Biden says, “I see you for who you are – deserving of dignity, respect, and support.” Know that we also see you and stand with you.  We support the tireless efforts of activists and celebrate every step of progress. While many countries are finally achieving marriage equality and trans rights are slowly being recognized, we realize that there is much more work to do, and many hard-won laws are constantly in jeopardy. We must work together to change attitudes and break down barriers that prevent full inclusion and acceptance. Only then can we truly achieve equality for all.

Covid and its Effect on Career Transition for Women

Guest post by Virginia Russell

If you are a woman who left the job market during the pandemic or who is presently thinking of leaving, the following process will take you step by step through the career transition you will need to complete — whether you decide to go back to the traditional workplace or start your own business.

According to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center of the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the number of women who left the labor force from February 2020 to January 2022, represented approximately 63 percent of all jobs lost.  Millions of women left the traditional job market to care for their children as schools and day care centers closed to prevent the spread of disease. Burnout from juggling all aspects of family life, including caring for sick family members, plus dissatisfaction with current practices of their employers, difficult bosses, and toxic work culture combined, causing women to leave their jobs and to think about transitioning to better paying positions and better work environments.

Other factors are contributing to women’s willingness to take risks to start something on their own, such as freelancing, gig work or starting a business. The YOLO (you only live once) movement, the realization that traditional jobs are not more secure, the availability of health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, and the ease of connections via the internet are just a few examples.

If you are ready to take the leap, work through these steps to get started on your career transition.

Phase I – Start with Self-Assessment which takes Self Awareness

Uncover your values both personal and generational (Boomer, X, Y, Z).

    • Where did they come from–parents, culture, school, religion, peers, or the media?
    • How do you spend your time and money?
    • List your five top values and prioritize them for your present situation.

Recognize your strengths and skills

    • What skills do you need now and in the future? McKinsey & Co. published a comprehensive breakdown of these skills in a June 2021 article “Defining the skills citizens will need in the future world of work.” These were broken down into four categories: Cognitive, Interpersonal, Self Leadership, and Digital. You may already have or use some of these skills in your current workplace.
    • Identify skills you have from past experiences and positions.
    • Conduct a Personal 360-degree assessment of your strengths– with feedback from someone who knows you well.
    • Utilize some of the following formal assessments that I use in my coaching practice:

Set goals – Figure out SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely). Create a vision statement to reflect these goals.

Research potential new fields and businesses – Interview entrepreneurs or people working in those areas. For traditional workplaces check out advertised positions on websites like Indeed.com to understand the requirements of your target position.

Uncover what’s holding you back – What is your blind spot, your barriers (both individual and those attributed traditionally to women, i.e., fear of risk taking, getting promoted, being a perfectionist, expressing negative self talk, feeling fraud syndrome).

Figure out how to make change – Join a professional women’s organization for your target industry. Take courses in your area of interest.

Find someone to hold you accountable – Find a coach, mentor, or professional in your target industry.

Phase II – Marketing Yourself

    • Create a branding statement using what you identified in Self- Assessment for your resume, LinkedIn profile, and networking activities.
    • Network at alumni organizations, women’s professional associations, and social organizations.
    • Identify positions – from LinkedIn, Indeed.com, Ladders, etc.
    • Write a targeted cover letter for each specific position to which you are applying.
    • Practice interviewing.
    • Practice negotiating for salary and benefits.

 

If you would like to go into more depth on these steps, check out Virginia’s book “Stand Out A Woman’s Guide to Creating Your Personal Brand for Today’s Job Market” on Amazon. You can also contact her at: vrussell@russellconsultingintl.com or www.linkedin.com/in/virginiarussell

Sexism and Racism Can’t Be Ignored

Sexism_RacismJudge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s recent confirmation was a stark reminder that sexism and racism are both alive and well in 2022. She was interrupted, talked over, and questioned about issues and persons far outside of her personal and professional experiences. Her work was disparaged and attacked, and her character called into question. Throughout it all she remained calm, focused, and on point. She was under intense scrutiny, not because of her professional track record; it was due to being a Black woman. By disparaging her solely on the basis of gender and race, senators ironically showed their worst behavior while Judge Jackson responded with a calm, professional demeanor.

Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black woman elected to the Senate, said that she admired Judge Jackson’s grace during the hearings, despite the harsh questioning. She pointed out how Judge Jackson is imminently qualified, adding that much of what Judge Jackson experienced during her confirmation process felt all too familiar.

“There’s a word, and the word is called misogynoir,” she told Vox. “And that word describes the double whammy that women of color have to face: You’re vulnerable on the issue of gender, and you’re vulnerable on the issue of race.”

While senators continued their attacks, and simultaneously moaned about other recent nominees having been treated unfairly, Judge Jackson remained steadfast, and for the most part unshakable, not giving in to the hysteria, or preconceived judgements surrounding her. Legal scholars Madiba Dennie and Kate Kelly wrote that women are already stereotyped as emotional and unfit for leadership. “Black women in particular have to patiently overperform in order to combat racist tropes of the ‘angry Black woman’.”

Judge Jackson’s experience with sexism and racism were on global display, but she is not alone in her experiences. Women, especially Black women, across the country still deal with implicit and explicit bias and outright sexism and racism on a daily basis. How does this happen? Especially now, in 2022? Actually little has changed in this century. Leadership roles in both business and politics are still occupied heavily by men. Congress is still more than three-fourths male, and just 7% of Fortune 500 corporations are led by a female CEO.

Oddly enough, attitudes have changed about which gender can do the job. The General Social Survey at the University of Chicago reports that the number of Americans who think men are better suited than women for politics has decreased from 44% to just 13% in the past five decades, and today, only 4% of Americans say they won’t support a woman for president.

Leisa Meyer, a historian at the College of William and Mary, says, “Women aren’t only judged differently for the same behaviors; they’re also still thought of as more emotional, worse leaders, and less apt to make hard decisions.” Christian Science Monitor staff writer Noah Robertson writes that while many women hold similar gender stereotypes, those perceptions tend to be held most strongly by men.

Black women also have to deal with perceptions surrounding their race. While Judge Jackson may have been the first (and only) Black woman to be nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, many Black women in corporate America often find themselves as the first and/or “Only” in different organizational settings. According to Lean In’s State of Black Women in Corporate America report, in meetings and other common workplace scenarios, “54% of Black women are often the only or one of the only people of their race/ethnicity in the room. Black women having this ‘Only’ experience are significantly more likely than white women in the same situation to feel closely watched and to think that their actions reflect positively or negatively on other people like them.

In addition, “40% of Black women say they need to provide more evidence of their competence, compared to 28% of white women and 14% of men. Black women are (also) more likely than other women to hear people express surprise when they demonstrate strong language skills or other abilities.”

Yet most Americans remain in the dark about this blatant racism. In fact, 53% are not aware of the pay gap between Black women and everyone else, although, on average, Black women are paid 38% less than white men and 21% less than white women. One Black woman described the added pressure by saying, “I feel like I have to represent the entire race. I need to come across as more than proficient, more than competent, more than capable. I have to be ‘on’ all the time. Because in the back of someone’s mind, they could be judging the entire race based on me.”

Black women have always been on the front lines for gender and racial equity, and now are also confronting anti-Black violence. It’s important to understand what Black women are up against, and end this undeserved bias and violence, and truly achieve equity for all. In order for that to happen, we have to work together. Period. Meyer contends that women overall, are less cohesive as a group. However, as Dr. Nancy writes in In This Together, that doesn’t have to be the case. There is so much we can achieve if we embrace our collective strength. Trudy Bourgeois writes that, “History teaches us that when women come together and support each other, we can change the world.” If these past couple of years (especially) have taught us anything, it is that it is definitely time to come together and support each other unconditionally, because without unity we can’t even stand up against a virus, much less a senator who keeps their job in spite of bad behavior. It is time for women (and men) of every color to come together as “us” and even include those who disparage our fitness to lead, lift everyone up and follow Judge Jackson’s example to calmly, steadfastly eliminate sexism and racism to truly create a better world.

It is Dangerous to Silence Stories. . . and it is Empowering to Bring Them Back

Bridget_Cook_BurchGuest post by Bridget Cook-Burch

Do you remember history class? I know not everyone is a history geek like me in high school and at university, but I remember something that I heard that forever stuck with me: Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.”

What did that matter? Not just that “to the victors go the spoils.” No, for centuries, only the victors of great and terrible battles and wars had the wherewithal and the resources–as well as the coercive forces possible–to manipulate the way history was both written and read.

As time has passed, luckily, we have talented archaeologists who find pieces of our history that might have been forgotten pieces of other sides of the story, but even the evidence they discover only tells a tiny fraction of the story. While some lucky cultures have been able to keep their ways of life, beliefs, and customs intact, despite what has been thrown at them, no one culture has gone completely untouched by war.

We have an entire set of cultures in our own backyard that have been immensely impacted and almost destroyed. The multi-faceted and multi-cultured Native Americans. Tribes across the continent endured heart-wrenching loss during imperialism and colonialism. I grew up in a town that thought they had a good plan with an “Indian School.” The attempt was to assimilate them into white culture so they would be tamed and be able to live and become employed like whites. It didn’t work.

Instead, for a time at this school and around the nation, Native Americans were strictly outlawed to share their stories of their peoples, most of their dances (any considered dangerous) and many of their songs–since songs are stories in musical form. Stories were stolen from them, which was how they taught their children their way of life for centuries. This one selfish act – out of fear of losing control – almost wiped out an entire culture of people!

Stories are not only what gave breath to Native American culture, but they give meaning, perspective, and wisdom to all who listen. Have you ever read or listened to a story that blew your mind? Suddenly you had incredible new knowledge gained by simply reading or listening? Stories and histories have the power to give voice to the voiceless, change hearts and minds, and so very much more.

Healthy society thrives on stories!

Think about it. Without stories, we would not have the technology, the science, or any revolutionary acts to transform the world into what it is today. Take the story of Rosa Parks, for instance. Her story inspired millions of Americans of every color into a revolution, but without it, would there be the change that there is now?

Unfortunately, there are voices and stories that are being stifled and silenced in our very midst, even in the twenty-first century. In today’s headlines, it’s tragic seeing the atrocities being committed in Ukraine, yes, but did you recently see how Vladimir Putin blocked his own people from using Facebook in an attempt to stifle alternative views to his regarding what is happening in the war? There also are journalists being pulled out of Russia and the Ukraine in fear of being put into prison. Putin is attempting to take away his people’s ability to tell their own stories–and therefore their own truth.

This does a great disservice. For one thing, we begin to equate every Russian with Putin’s face and personality, instead of the millions, billions of varied faces, personalities and stories from across that vast region of the globe. We forget that they are unique, have children, are raising them and inspiring them as best they can with their own stories, but now have to keep many of those stories secret, or quiet just to survive.

We now know how dangerous it is when the ability to tell a story is taken away. As generations of survivors of one pandemic, war, revolution, or another, we know that taking away the simple freedom to speak truth could impede or even threaten all of humanity’s survival.

History used to always be written by the victors, but we are now more capable than ever to eradicate that old way of writing history, and instead read, listen and allow all perspectives to be heard and remembered. There are things being done now even outside and inside of Russia because people know it is vital to have more than one perspective.

I was fascinated and cheered to find that the BBC is broadcasting shortwave radio into Russia and Ukraine like they used to do during WWII! Many family members, friends and journalists are doing what they can to make sure that Russia has a way to communicate with the outside world. Other social media platforms are being threatened, but what I see is that this is an awakening. . . an engaging of community to recognize just how valuable freedom of speech is to all those affected by the forced silencing.

Please know that your stories have value.

AND so do the tales of strangers living oceans away.

I invite you to use your voice and writing skills to continue those stories. In my eyes, stories are a tool to be used to inspire and change the world . . . one reader’s or listener’s ear at a time.

And one last question for you:

Do you have a stifled or silenced story that deserves to be written?

Check out our website for all kinds of free, affordable and valuable resources so that no voice is silenced.

post originally published at yourinspiredstory.com.

Ketanji Brown Jackson Makes History

Ketanji_Brown_JacksonHistory was made on April 7, 2022, when a bipartisan group of Senators confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States. The momentous vote was presided over by Vice President Kamala Harris, our nation’s first Black female vice president, and witnessed by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Black female lawmakers sat together along the walls, while young people filled the visitor galleries, all present to witness the event. Vice President Harris called for the final vote on Jackson’s nomination with a smile on her face, and the chamber broke into loud applause when she was confirmed.

Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock said before the vote that “Ketanji Brown Jackson’s improbable journey to the nation’s highest court is a reflection of our own journey through fits and starts toward the nation’s highest ideals.”

“She embodies the arc of our history,” he added. “She is America at its best. That I believe in my heart after meeting with her in my office, talking to folks who I trust who know her and hearing her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

It was a bumpy road to the Senate chamber for Judge Jackson, and much of the nation. Under intense scrutiny for four days, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee attacked her as a progressive activist who was soft on crime, glossing over her exemplary qualifications and experience, even asking her how she would define the word “woman.” President Biden denounced those behaviors saying Judge Jackson displayed “the incredible character and integrity she possesses.”

“To be sure I have worked hard to get to this point in my career, and I have now achieved something far beyond anything my grandparents could have possibly ever imagined, but no one does this on our own,” Judge Jackson said in her remarks on the White House South Lawn following her historic confirmation. “In the poetic words of Dr. Maya Angelou, ‘I do so now while bringing the gifts my ancestors gave. I am the dream and the hope of the slave.’”

Judge Jackson thanked the Democratic Senate leaders, numerous White House staff involved in her confirmation process, and the many people who helped her along the way. “As I take on this new role, I strongly believe that this is a moment in which all Americans can take great pride. We have come a long way toward perfecting our Union.”

“In my family it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. And it is an honor – the honor of a lifetime – for me to have this chance to join the court,” she added. “To promote the rule of law at the highest level, and to do my part to carry our shared project of democracy and equal justice under law forward into the future.”

Ketanji Brown JacksonJudge Jackson is the first Black woman to be nominated to the nation’s highest court in its 233-year history. Born in Washington, DC, she grew up in Miami, Florida. Her parents attended segregated primary schools, then attended historically black colleges and universities, and her father attended law school. Both started their careers as public school teachers and became leaders and administrators in the Miami-Dade Public School System. She testified at her confirmation hearing that one of her earliest memories was watching her father study law. “He had his stack of law books on the kitchen table while I sat across from him with my stack of coloring books.”

Judge Jackson stood out as a high achiever throughout her childhood, serving as “mayor” of her junior high, and student body president of her high school. As class president, Judge Jackson was quoted in the 1988 Miami Palmetto Senior High School yearbook as saying, “I want to go into law and eventually have a judicial appointment.”

However, when she told her high school guidance counselor she wanted to attend Harvard, she was warned not to set her “sights so high.” She remained focused and in fact, she not only made her way to Harvard, she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, then attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Today, Judge Jackson lives with her husband Patrick – who she married in 1996 – and their two daughters, in Washington, DC.

Prior to her confirmation to the Supreme Court, Judge Jackson clerked for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit and for Justice Breyer. She worked in private practice before joining the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2003. Then she became a federal public defender in 2005 before her confirmation as a U.S. district court judge in 2007. Just last year, the Senate confirmed Jackson 53-44 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Judge Jackson has set the bar – no pun intended – and is serving as an example to young girls around the world. You have to see it to be it, and she’s “being” it with grace, dignity, and deserving qualifications galore. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker summed it up best when he said to Judge Jackson during her confirmation hearing, “You deserve to be here, at this place, at this time, and you have made us all so proud…”

Social-Profits Work for Social Good

Since its inception, Dr. Nancy has referred to the Women Connect4Good Foundation as a social-profit organization rather than a non-profit or not-for-profit organization. Women Connect4Good is only one of thousands of 501(c)3 organizations which Dr. Nancy believes should be described as social-profits, for the value they provide to their communities beyond the limitations of financial measurements. The many ways they do good – by providing resources, guidance, or just a hand up to the people they serve – are innumerable.

“The term ‘not-for-profit’ suggests financial gain is an organization’s only worthwhile value,” Dr. Nancy said. “I much prefer to describe our important community groups as ‘social-profit organizations.’ I believe these vital groups are our path to changing the world, and that we need to change the term to reflect the true nature of the work that most 501(c)3’s do.”

However, social-profits do make a definite financial impact. Currently there are approximately 1.5 million 501(c)3 organizations based in the United States alone. The social-profit sector retained its position as the third-largest employment sector in the U.S. in 2020, employing approximately 12.5 million – or one in every 10 working Americans. In 2018, roughly 63 million Americans volunteered their time with social-profit organizations. In 2020, charitable giving in the United States grew by 2% compared to 2019, totaling $40.7 billion.

More importantly, social-profits also make the world a better place. There are numerous social-profit organizations making a difference in our communities each day. From cultural centers to food banks to disaster relief organizations – think Red Cross, YMCA, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, United Way, Convoy of Hope, and so many others – and they deliver important services, strengthen communities, and facilitate civic engagement. Whether we’re aware of it or not, these organizations play a vital role in our lives, and we all “profit” from their activities in countless ways.

“I had the opportunity to speak to a group of representatives from various 501(c)3’s and referred to their organizations as social-profits,” Dr. Nancy said. “There was some initial confusion until I defined what a social-profit is, and the impact it has. I said, ‘What will we be? What would our society be without the work you do?’ That changed everything.”

Despite growing employment numbers, rising donations, and immeasurable social benefits, many social-profits need our support. Especially since state and local governments have come to depend on 501(c)3 organizations to help solve pressing social problems. And in unpredictable times like these, social-profits – often understaffed and underfunded – continue to provide a host of critically needed services and help hold communities together.

“Social-profits benefit when we all come together to help those who need us, whatever the circumstances may be,” Dr. Nancy concluded. “All of us can help. All of us can serve. All of us benefit when we support our social-profit organizations.”

Switch your perspective when thinking about organizations that are set up to spend their profits on fulfilling their missions to support the greater good instead of filling the pockets of their investors.  Think about how these organizations create immeasurable profits that make our communities more welcoming places to live and support work that aligns with our values. Our communities “profit” when we hear the call to action and serve as volunteers and donate our time, treasure, or talent to social-profit organizations. Check out your local community website for social-profits in your area, or go to GreatNonProfits.org or VolunteerMatch.org to get connected with the organizations that make your community strong. Together, that’s how we make a difference with abundant profits that benefit us all.

Women’s Leadership Challenge Creates Transformative Change

Samantha Karlin Samantha Karlin’s passion to help women become phenomenal leaders drove her to develop the Women’s Leadership Challenge to give women the tools to create transformative change. Samantha is an entrepreneur at heart and excels when it comes to finding a need and meeting it with results-driven solutions. As the host of Samanthropolitics and CEO of Empower Global, she has built a career around analyzing women’s needs and consistently meeting them with whatever it takes, whether it be for information or inspiration–providing training on everything from inclusive and feminist leadership to diversity and inclusion.

During the height of the initial COVID wave, Samantha took time to really look around and listen. Paying attention to the isolation people were feeling and how many were struggling, she realized there was a need among women for meaningful connections and community. At the same time, she saw that women’s progress toward leadership was going backwards; a trend that continues today. She also realized the only solution that can reverse that is more women leaders.

“I believe we need women leaders who don’t reinforce the patriarchy, women leaders who lead in innovative, creative, courageous ways that are true to who they are.” Samantha said, “It’s not just about having more women leaders; it’s having women leaders who are committed to change. It takes women at the top who are not afraid to speak out.”

Through her company, Empower Global, Samantha created and launched the Women’s Leadership Challenge to call out to women around the world who have similar commitments and need help to lead in ways to create transformational change. The Women’s Leadership Challenge gives participants the skills practiced by the great feminist leaders of today – Jacinda Ardern, Christine LaGarde, Stacey Abrams, and Angela Merkel among others. It also equips them with the tools they need to counter imposter syndrome and self-doubt and discover what is most unique about them as a leader. Each session also explores gender-specific challenges and delivers strategies to help women navigate them and change the system. Overall, participants gain the courage to advocate for themselves and others, learn to speak truth to power, utilize their strengths, and become agents for change.

“When women graduate from the program, they absolutely and truly believe in themselves as leaders and have crafted their leadership mission and vision,” Samantha said. “They are committed to creating workplaces where women and marginalized voices are able to rise, while supercharging their own career growth simultaneously. They are ready to lead, to move forward, and to be vocal.”

Each Challenge class, or cohort, is limited to just 8-10 participants, some virtual – generally international – and some in person, limited so far to the Washington, DC area. Samantha usually has one of each going at the same time, and while she has generally done four per year, this year may result in five or six due to increased demand. The Challenge consists of 14 sessions covering everything from “Deconstructing Your Inner Patriarchy” to “Speaking Truth to Power” and “Building Your Own Damn Table.” There is also a bonus session for final presentations. Samantha routinely brings in speakers during the sessions – social entrepreneurs like Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, founder and executive director of See Change Initiative; and Hasina Kharbhih – who’s Impulse NGO was selected as one of the top three models in the world for its innovative development and practice, and has transformed the way Southeast Asia confronts human trafficking; women in Senior Executive Service positions in government like Jennifer Miller, acting Assistant Secretary of the Airforce; heads of DEI like Dr. Naomi Mercer, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the American Bankers Association; and entrepreneurs like Tory Graf, CEO of Trillium Creative Solutions.

“I really like to have people across borders. You gain perspective on the lives of women far different than yours, from other countries, industries, races, and religions, increasing your ability to lead diverse teams,” Samantha said. “By taking this course, women join a global community of women leaders who will encourage them, support them, and supercharge their growth.”

The Empower Network

The Challenge does not end for participants once they complete the curriculum, graduates transition to The Empower Network where they can continue networking, connecting in referral circles, a soon-so-be launched women’s leadership mastermind, and even virtual and in-person parties. While women have had the time to bond with others in their own cohort, once they reach The Network, they are also intentionally paired with other members of the Empower community for one-on-one networking meetings based on what they want to achieve in their lives. These meetings expand their world views, foster collaboration opportunities. While the program is still young, Samantha envisions growth and partnerships throughout multiple cohorts happening as a result.

Samantha described the course as intensive with amazing results. She said, “Women are getting salary raises, promotions, winning leadership awards, becoming CEOs, starting their own businesses, shifting policy. I’ve seen so many amazing results from the women who go through this program.”

For example, Samantha is especially proud of one Challenge graduate who is putting together a humanitarian action network to change the humanitarian aid industry to be more human focused and gender equitable. The graduate has put together a task force of women from across the different cohorts who are all in the humanitarian aid space.

“Another woman was doing work with indigenous communities, and I had a feeling about two other women who would be interested so I matched them all at different times,” Samantha added. “Now they are all working together on a sustainable finance initiative for indigenous communities.”

Samantha plans to continue to grow the Challenge, do more with her alumni community, and expand the program further with additional trainers focused on specific geographic regions. She is also in discussion with several corporate clients about bringing the Challenge to their workplace and is working to secure additional fiscal sponsorships so she can continue to offer partial scholarships. If your company would be interested in sponsoring the program and reserving a few spots for female leaders and rising stars, reach out to info@empowerglobal.net for sponsorship options.

Cohorts are forming now. To learn more about The Women’s Leadership Challenge or to register for an upcoming cohort, go to WomensLeadershipChallenge.com.

 

Ukraine Response – Hope in a Hopeless Situation

Twenty-four hours a day, the line of Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border town of Medyka stretches as far as the eye can see. Tired, hungry, and scared, people are running for their lives with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, carrying their babies and holding their children’s hands. Keep in mind that the line at Medyka is just one of many. More than 2.3 million refugees have fled Ukraine in the past two weeks, creating an urgent need in Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, and other adjacent countries. The images are confusing and heartbreaking and many of us wonder how we can help.

For those that have remained in Ukraine, the situation is getting dire. They are facing food and water shortages, and lacking many basic necessities. As of March 10, residents in Mariupol, Ukraine have been without power, heat, or reliable access to other necessities for days. The ever-changing cease-fire agreements make escape dangerous, but still has many fleeing the country. The bitter cold is only making things worse.

As the war uproots Ukrainians looking for safety and shelter, Convoy of Hope is on the ground and working with partners in the region to provide emergency relief. More than half of those who have already fled have gone to Poland, where Convoy is making great progress in finding ways to serve people through local churches and partners. The organization is also continuing to facilitate transportation and storage of relief supplies and distribution of vital necessities like food, water, and hygiene items into Ukraine and neighboring countries. Convoy of Hope’s partners across Europe and supporters around the world have made Convoy’s timely and effective response possible.

 

Dr. Nancy and her family have joined together with the global community to raise their voices and funds to help the Ukrainian people through Convoy’s Disaster Relief Fund. As Dr. Nancy says, “We are a global world. When one of us suffers, we all suffer. Hope resounds when we see people lifting others up. We are truly in this together.”

Convoy specializes in hope: Hope comes in the form of diapers, bottled water, a warm cup of soup, a dry bed, and just someone reaching out a helping hand. Join Women Connect4Good, the O’Reilly family and Convoy, and reach out to help our neighbors in Ukraine.

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