Tag Archives: empowerment

Grow Your Voice To New Decibels

BeBoldIt’s time to be bolder, older. The complex navigation of the “in between stage” is something we all go through, some of you might be there now, and others have come out on the other end, thriving.

There’s this new phenomenon, OK not new just now being talked about (finally). It is the “losing their voice” phenomenon that is muting girls in the adolescent phase through to adulthood as they become more astute to the culture and societal, albeit ridiculous, standards infiltrating their psyche.

Does this really happen? Absolutely, I’ve been a witness to it time and time again through friends and young girls I interact with at the dance studio. Does it have to happen? No way! And here’s why…

When I was young, I was the girl that hid behind my mother’s legs in elevators, never uttering a peep until I got into the house or car with my family—my “safe” space, while other kids were running around giving their unfiltered opinion of the world around them. Today, I’m a more confident woman, who is bold and isn’t afraid of voicing my opinion, something that has developed over time and really escalating in the last few years, post-college. Who do I have to thank for that?
The real world: It’s complete with an all-too-often male-dominated (we’re working on that!), career driven environment forcing me to be ballsy and step out of my comfort zone.
My mother and other positive female role models and entrepreneurs in my life: They encourage me to be vocal, go after what I want (no matter how big the dream) and never bat an eye at the haters (because haters gon’ hate..hate..hate..)

How can you encourage those girls and women currently idle in this “in between”? Well, Fast Company published a well-articulated article to encourage women to not be comfortable fitting in the feminine and often “passive” role, but to instead be confident, fearless and wildly obsessed with their lives and own their opinions!

Here’s my commentary on Fast Company’s list on how to pump up the girls and women in your life (p.s. you’re included in this!):
1. Encouraging their interests
If it’s boxing, snowboarding, dancing, or putting together vision boards lift them up.  Step into their world, be curious and ask questions, who knows you may learn something yourself. Never ever, shrug it off or tear them down for being into something that’s not your mug o’ joy.

2. Call out and monitor the media, which includes user generated social media (Instagram, I’m looking at you) and be avid in smashing the stereotypes into smithereens through discussions 😉

3. Watch your own talk
OK, THIS IS THE HARDEST. If I’m having a downtrodden day, we all have them, and overall feel “bleh” about my body, I try to spin it around and find something positive about myself, rather than intoxicating my social feeds both online and IRL with my “woe is me” messages, that inadvertently girls and women are reading and listening to which leads to the appearance dictating self-worth in their subconscious, similarly to those Photoshopped teen magazines that show the unrealistic beauty standards. This is a great practice for all you mothers and sisters out there who are constantly around your favorite girl!

4. Create a safe space for them to express themselves
For me, growing up, my expression was in the dance studio, which looking back is strange because I think dance has a stigma of being body obsessed.  I was fortunate enough to grow up in a studio that believes dance is for everyone (shape, size, color—all are welcome!)

5. Bring awareness to the “loss of voice” phenomenon!
Sometimes talking it out (or writing it out) and helping others see that this does happen at their age—but it doesn’t have to—if you’re surrounded by the right people with the right uplifting messages you will forever build your voice to new decibels.



It’s Chime for Change!


Source chimeforchange.org

For every girl.
For every woman.

If you know me, you know that I love me some televised musical entertainment in the form of awards shows, music videos, reality TV and benefit concerts from time to time.

And on Sunday night live from the Twickenham Stadium in London the sold out benefit concert Chime for Change aired on NBC featuring the musical stylings of J.Lo, Ellie Goulding, Beyonce, Florence and the Machine, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and many more. Wish I was there! There were also celeb spokespeople: Selma Hayek, Frida Giannini, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Madonna, Jada Pinkett Smith and others who spoke about specific causes close to their hearts. The concert was televised in 150 countries in 6 continents. Talk about a movement! Heyyo!

Why were they coming together? To raise their (high profile) voices to make a change for every girl and woman all over the world. It’s Chime for Change (I love a good play on words!)

Chime for Change founded by Gucci (yup, you read that right…more on that later), co-founded by Beyonce Knowles, Selma Hayak and Frida Giannini (Gucci designer), is a new global campaign to raise funds and awareness for girls’ and women’s empowerment. The campaign focuses on three key areas: Education, Health and Justice.

Through the crowd-funding organization Catapult, nonprofit organizations post their campaigns, people can then search, find and fund the project that means the most to them. Simple, easy, to the point—I like it.

What I don’t like is the fact is Gucci is the founder of this campaign. They’re using their international brand recognition for the benefit of making change. I get that and I think it’s great. BUT they should probably practice what they preach, amiright? A great first step in this Chime for Change is to change how they objectify women in their print advertisements, to which they have received controversy over in the past. (Exhibit A & Exhibit B) I have to be honest when I say I was super pumped about this televised concert aimed to empower females around the world, but discovering that it was a project of Gucci I pulled back, I was disappointed, which is an understatement. Until…

Jada Pinkett Smith presented the project “Jessica’s Story.” Three years ago Jessica escaped sexual abuse and trafficking, a nightmare that she had lived since she was six years old. She is just one of the hundreds of thousands of children who are sex trafficked in the United States. For Jessica there were not a lot of resourced to turn to as she sought to escape, that’s why today, Jessica is helping other girls break the stigma, empower them and provide them with resources.
Click to watch her story below!

Who’s the First? She’s the First!

Earlier this week I attended a seminar via webcast on Girls Education and Women’s Empowerment in Real World Social Networks as part of Social Media Week in NY.

The speakers were from BRAC USA and Bangladesh, Pro Mujer, and She’s the First.

The organizations focus on helping girls who live in developing countries succeed and develop life skills through education, During the event the panel of development practitioners discussed how building real social networks through education both inside and outside the classroom, particularly for women and girls, leads to both social and financial empowerment.

I'm the first…to graduate college. Photo by Jessica Dodds http://jessicasheaphotography.com/

I’m the first…to graduate college. Photo by Jessica Dodds http://jessicasheaphotography.com/

Out of all the organizations that participated in the event, She’s the First I really felt connected with because I am the first of my family to graduate college. Founded by Tammy Tibbetts in Nov. 2009, She’s the First is a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate, not just college but high school. In the process, STF fosters leadership and global awareness in young Americans, by inspiring them to lead creative fundraisers and correspond with sponsored students throughout the world. Pretty cool stuff. Their efforts shape a rising generation of well-educated global leaders, future philanthropists and cross-cultural communicators.

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