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Summer 2017


EDITOR’S NOTE It’s hard for me to believe that a year ago today Step Up Magazine was nothing more than an idea. I was on a mission to cultivate a community of young trailblazers who were on a mission to change the world. I am so proud of how far Step Up has come in one year, but I can’t help thinking about how easy it would have been to just keep Step Up an idea. Ideas can be the most powerful thing in the world, but ideas are nothing without action. Ideas are the first step to changing the world- but you must take that second step of implementation. My hope is that Step Up will inspire YOU to take that next step. As I always say—don’t just say it, DO it! I also want to take a moment to thank every single person in the Step Up community. Whether you are a contributor on our website, a columnist for the magazine, a partner with Step Up TV, or Step Up Education, from the bottom of my heart--thank you. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Ryunosuke Satoro, “Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.” We are the movers, shakers, and changemakers that the world has been waiting for. Together we are an unstoppable force, we are Step Up!

- Seri Roth Editor @Seri Roth

@Seriroth

@Stepupmag


Featured Contributors

Talented and creative, Nia Sioux is now one of today’s hottest triple threats. She has wowed audiences as a dancer, singer and actor on the small screen and in live performances. Currently, Nia can be seen on Lifetime’s hit, Dance Moms, now in it’s 6th season and airs on Tuesday nights at 9PM.

Leonard Kim is recognized as a top marketer by Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur and more. He is the managing partner of InfluenceTree, a personal branding accelerator that teaches you how to position your brand, get featured in publications and grow your social media following.

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf is the Hint Water., the San author of the forthcoming Francisco based company book, Periods Gone Public: founded by entrepreneur Taking a Stand for Kara Goldin in 2005, is a wellness and lifestyle brand Menstrual Equity (Oct. 2017) and is a Vice known for its delicious unsweetened flavored water. President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Jeff Goins is the author of four books, including the national best seller The Art of Work. His website, Goinswriter.com, has been visited by more than four million people from all over the world.

Mahjabeen an essayist and storyteller and the former managing editor of Chicago Woman magazine. She has written multiple essays and articles on her experience as a Muslim-American for the Chicago Tribune, Teen Vogue, and Newcity. Mahjabeen is currently working on her first novel.


Dedication This issue is dedicated to Katie Couric If you were to walk into my room as a young girl, the first thing you’d notice would be how I decorated my wall. Rather than filling it with posters of the latest teen heartthrob or breakout Disney star, my wall was plastered with pictures of strong and fearless women I aspired to be like. Katie Couric was the first woman who made the cut. Whether Katie is stepping up for cancer awareness, creating meaningful documentaries like Fed Up, or keeping busy as a New York Times best-selling author, she is a force to be reckoned with. Katie wrote an entire book covering the best advice she ever received. So I think it is fitting that some of the best advice I was ever given came straight from Katie. When I was 16 years old I attended a taping of Katie’s talk show, and I had an opportunity to ask her a question. I was already very interested in the field of communications, and I asked her for advice as I began on my career journey. Her answer was powerful, and has been a guiding force in my life ever since. It has helped me tremendously in building Step Up. I dedicate this issue to Katie Couric. A doer, thinker, and giver extraordinaire. And role model for all of us at Step Up.

“Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone even if it means being uncomfortable. The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades bumps and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested. And have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect nothing is and no one is — and that’s OK.” - Katie Couric


C O N T E N T S

07 Abigail Harrison: Founder of The Mars Generation

68: Alisha Zhao, Founder of Kids First Project

09 The Importance of Underrepresented Voices in Mainstream Media

70: Interview with Nia Sioux

13 Kendall Ciesemier: Founder of Kids Caring 4 Kids 18: Interview with Emily McDowel 21: Step Up for Girls Empowerment 30 Featured Entrepreneur: Kara Goldin 35: Confessions of a Dreamer to Go-Getter 40: Reflections of an Unapologetic Millennial: Turning Dreams into Reality

77: Entertainment Corner 80: The Power of Different 82: What is Your Personal Brand? 88: Products We Love 98: Step Up 106: Networking Tips 109: The Financial Advice You Actually Need 111: Interview with Leonard Kim

43: BE the Change the World 116: Interview with Jeff Needs Goins 44: World Changers Entertainment

123: Interview with Jack Parsons


Step Up Magazine is a digital magazine that is split into three sections featuring doers, thinkers, and givers; in fact, a goal of ours is to create a place that allows these three types of individuals to connect with one another. We provide content from prominent leaders who are making a difference. Our ultimate mission is to inspire a world of action, education, and good, particularly within young people. Additional content can be found on our website: www.Stepupmagazine.com

Step Up MagazineŠ2017-2018 Written permission from the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this magazine or associated website, in whole or in part, may be reproduced or redistributed.

Step Up Magazine www.stepupmagazine.com SUBSCRIBE so you never miss an update! Letters to The Editor: sroth@stepupmagazine.com Advertise/ Marketing opportunities: alan@stepupmagazine.com Cover Design: Gabriella Schiller


Are you ready to change the world? The world is ready for you... Visit our website to learn how YOU can Step Up with us! Below are a few of our opportunities for students. Become a Step Up Contributor. Your words have the power to create real social change. Our contributors are talented writers from all over the world who have a passion for writing and improving the lives of others. If this sounds like you, apply to be a Step Up Contributor! Become a Step Up Social Media Ambassador! Do you have a passion for creating and spreading content? Do you want to enter a career in the social media field? Our Social Media Ambassador program will give you the opportunity to practice your social media skills while making a difference! Become a Video Journalist/Correspondent. Do you have an interest in working both behind AND in front of the camera? Step Up is giving you the opportunity to explore both! Are you a student interested in graphic design or photography? Use the Step Up platform to build your portfolio and contribute to a growing media company. Every designer will be given their OWN landing page.


"I believe that dreamers can make a difference and even change the world" - Abigail Harrison TEDx 2013

You have big dreams that include becoming a NASA astronaut and the first astronaut to Mars. What steps are you currently taking in making your dreams a reality, and what advice could you offer to other young people who have big dreams?

I am currently working for the summer as an intern in a lab at Kennedy Space Center doing Mars related astrobiology research. I am entering my junior year at Wellesley College as an astrobiology and Russian major. I am currently working on attaining my private pilot license. I have my PADI Rescue Diver Scuba certification and am working to

Abigail Harrison is a girl with a dream. She aspires to be a scientist and dreams of becoming a NASA astronaut. But it doesn’t stop there–she also dreams of becoming the first astronaut to Mars. With a dreams this big, it takes setting goals and working hard each day to make them a reality. In 2011, at the age of 13, Abby began to speak publicly about her dreams. Her work over the years as an international STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) and space ambassador has led to a following of almost one million people on social media.


eventually become a Dive Master and instructor. I also continue to remain physically fit by participating in multiple sports at school, as well as my current goal to run the Space Coast marathon in the fall. The advice I can give to other young people is that they need to research how to make their dreams a reality, make a plan and write it down and focus everyday on reaching small goals to reach the big goals and dreams. I also believe it is important to share your dreams with others so that other people can help you accomplish them. Please tell us about The Mars Generation and why you started this nonprofit? Any words of advice for other young founders? The Mars Generation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that's mission is to excite young people and adults about human space exploration and STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education and foster an understanding of the importance of these two elements to the future of these two elements

to the future of humankind on Earth. We run 3 main programs: 1. Future of Space Outreach Program is all the information and outreach work we do online and at events, including my work appearing at events and in media. 2. Space Camp Scholarship Program sends kids who have economic need to Space Camp on full paid scholarships including transportation. 3. Student Space Ambassador Leadership Program is a program for students ages 13-24 to receive mentorship and support to reach their own dreams and also to encourage students to share their love of STEAM and space with their communities. This program is open to students around the world. “I believe it is important to share your dreams with others so that other people can help you accomplish them.�


The Importance of Underrepresented Voices in Mainstream Media Mahjabeen Syed

Since I was 10 years old, I have been hyperaware of my otherness. Aware of being the only Indian kid in my middle school, conscious of being the only Indian kid within my group of friends, mindful of the fact that most people probably took one look at me and were immediately, and perhaps subconsciously, placing me in a box inside of which lay people and things that did not look familiar. As I grew older, my dissimilarities in comparison to the people around me, whether in regard to appearance, color, how my family Underrepresented voices such dressed or what we ate, became as those of minorities, women, more apparent. LGBTQs and the like feel what I do and question things that may I would attribute many occurrences—good and bad—in my appear silly to some but are in fact very real to us. day-to-day life to my race. When I was on a bus and someone decided Much of our struggle as not to sit in the empty seat beside outsiders is internalized in such me, I questioned if it was because I ways that even among close was Indian. When I got into the college of my dreams, I wondered if friends and family we are at times afraid to express our I was simply filling their minority thoughts. The first time I did so quota. publically in the form of an essay I received dozens of Then the thought occurred to me: I racist comments. can’t possibly be the only one.


If it weren’t for the hundreds of stories I have heard and read, about people who persisted long before I was born and because of the subsequent generations who I know will continue to long after I am gone, I would have thrown in the towel. I have gone on to write multiple essays about my experience as a Muslim-American in a post-9/11 era because I believe in my heart of hearts that it is vital for underrepresented voices to not only be heard, but be acknowledged. The media holds a lot of power in its big metal claws. The majority of stories told in the news, in books that are printed by major publishers, and on the Internet still do not speak to marginalized voices but it cannot be denied that there has been a change in recent years. The focus is slowly shifting to encompass underrepresented voices and that is because of all the people willing to speak up. Voices that have long been suppressed are proving to be resilient. Our gender, race, religion and socioeconomic status are being used as our strength that do not limit us, but gives us limitless possibilities.

We have to fight harder for what we have, fight harder to get the jobs that have been crafted without us in mind, fight harder to crawl out of poverty, but that is exactly why our stories matter. Because out there are children that feel as we once did, like they do not belong. They are looking for opinions that sound like theirs, skin that has a similar hue, people that march to their own cadence. They are looking for you.

Mahjabeen is a Chicago-based essayist and storyteller and the former managing editor of Chicago Woman magazine. She has written multiple essays and articles on her experience as a Muslim-American for the Chicago Tribune, Teen Vogue, and Newcity. Mahjabeen is an avid reader, loves to cook and is currently working on her first novel.


Featured Doers


HiWe are Jake Klein and Max Klein and we are doers! Since we were little we were taught that we needed to help others and pay our blessings forward. So, for each birthday we picked a charity or charitable idea to support and asked our friends not to bring us gifts, but instead help others. For example, one year we asked people to bring canned goods for a local food pantry whose shelves were empty, another year we asked friends to bring a donation so we could buy computers for the kid’s section of the local library, one year we raised money for Kids with Cancer, another for the local volunteer fire department and so on. A close family friend cooks for the local homeless shelter every month and we asked if we could help him cook and help serve the food. He told us the shelter would not allow us to come and serve because we were too young. Let’s just say we were SO annoyed because here were two kids who wanted to help and couldn’t. Then we wondered how many other kids were turned away for being too young. Would that make them not want to help others? That’s when we decided we had to DO something and create a website that had information on charities, ideas on things you could do on your own and make it a place where people could add their charity or ideas. We asked a few smart grownups to help us and started Kids That Do Good. Because everyone can make a difference at any age.


KENDALL CIESEMIER

On Kids Caring 4 Kids


You started a non-profit at age 11. Please tell us about Kids Caring 4 Kids, why you started the initiative, and what your advice would be to other young people who want to make a difference. I was born with a rare liver disease called Biliary Atresia that has plagued my life with illness, surgery, and uncertainty. From a young age I understood pain and struggle and could identify those feelings in the lives of others. In 2003, I first became aware of the plight of AIDS orphans by watching a TV special. I began to imagine myself, 11-year-old Kendall Ciesemier, alone, living in a mud hut, caring for my younger siblings and grieving the death of my parents. Having experienced struggles in my own life, their pain resonated with me and I was in awe of what appeared to be their unwavering hope. That night, I knew I had seen the opportunity I was waiting for—my chance to give my life more purpose than the chronic liver disease I had grown up fighting against. I found my purpose in starting Kids Caring 4 Kids, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to inspire

and empower young people to help provide basic human needs to children living in sub-Saharan Africa. As I underwent two liver transplants in the summer of 2004, I started by asking well-wishers to donate money, in lieu of gifts and flowers, to help me support the village of Musele, Zambia, the most highly affected area by the AIDS epidemic at the time. Through Kids Caring 4 Kids, 15,000 young people across the country came together to do great things. In raising over one million dollars, we provided support to 8,000 individuals in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa through helping to build dormitories, orphan care centers, a clinic, classrooms, computer labs, a high school, and providing specially built bikes, indoor plumbing, healthy meals, and clean water.


My advice to young people who want to make a difference is to just start. Don't hold yourself back for fear of what people will think of you, or for fear of the problem being too overwhelming to solve. Take that first step, and then the second step, and see what happens. All change happens one day at a time. What would you say to young people who are struggling in finding their passion and purpose? Stop thinking so much about yourself. I get in my head a lot about finding my purpose and then I think, "Well, most people aren't afforded the luxury of 'thinking about their purpose or passion,' they are just trying to survive." Then, my purpose becomes more clear. If you are struggling to find your purpose, just get involved in serving other people. Someone out there needs you. That's your purpose.

You have experience working in political journalism. What would your advice be to a student going into journalism in the current political climate? Take it all in. Figure out what you agree with and disagree with based on the ways in which different media organizations cover the news. It's a great learning experience to work in political journalism and you grow quickly. But it's definitely an industry where you have to pay your dues, so don't get discouraged by the process.

“If you are struggling to find your purpose, just get involved in serving other people. Someone out there needs you. That's your purpose.�


Noteworthy Entrepreneurs

My Journey as a Social Entrepreneur My journey as a social entrepreneur started by chance. I never set out to be one; I barely knew what being a social entrepreneur meant. What I did know was that I wanted to make a positive difference in the world around me. I saw the statistics on homelessness in Ireland and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Back in 2014, when I started my entrepreneurial journey, a report by Focus Ireland stated that there were over 5,000 people homeless in Ireland at any given time, and these numbers have unfortunately risen to over 7,000. As a 15 year old, this hit me like a brick wall. I couldn’t understand how the homeless situation was so severe yet no one seemed to know or care about the issue. At the time, the problem seemed so big it made me feel insignificant and that anything I did would just be a little drop in a massive ocean. Fortunately for me, I’m a stubborn person and was determined to do something about it. I now work alongside an organization called the Mendicity institute which employs up to 20 homeless people to make my invention; the Duffily Bag. I take a huge sense of pride in my work as I can see the positive effect it is having in the lives of others. If I had allowed myself to dwell on those negative thoughts and had let them be an excuse for being inactive I would not be where I am today. The Duffily Bag is a sleeping bag that was designed to alleviate the problems faced by homeless people while sleeping rough in the streets.

It has many various features which make it stand out in comparison to a standard sleeping bag. Duffily Bags are now being used on Irish streets, in emergency accommodations and by the refugees who were in the jungle camp in Calais. My motivation for my work is constantly refreshed by the homeless people I work with. Yet every person is motivated by different things and we all have our own unique passions and skills. The question is: How do we act on them to create a positive impact?


The key to being a successful social entrepreneur is not in age or qualifications but in our ability to empathize with other. While I have never been and I hope I never will be homeless, I was able to empathize with those who are.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Margaret Mead, I hope it will be as inspiring for you as it has been for me.

This is invaluable for social entrepreneurs, it will act as your inspiration and drive you to continue no matter what challenges come your way. It will enable you to persistently act on your passions and aid you in reaping the benefits of your skills. My advice to you is to incessantly practice empathy and allow it to guide you in your endeavors. Whether it be in developing, funding or implementing solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues with empathy at the forefront of all your decision making processes, you will know you are creating positive change for the greater good. Social entrepreneurship comes in many shapes and sizes from people of various cultures, ages, abilities and passions and I encourage you to not let other distractions get in the way of pursuing social entrepreneurship.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

My name’s Emily Duffy and I’m an 18 year old social entrepreneur. At the age of 15 I invented The Duffily Bag, a sleeping bag which was initially created to alleviate the problems faced by homeless people sleeping rough on the streets. Since then I have partnered with an organization called the Mendicity Institute which provide services for homeless people. The bags are also being used by the refugees who were displaced from the Jungle Refugee camp in France.


EMILY MCDOWELL

Emily McDowell is a writer, illustrator, entrepreneur, and speaker who specializes in chronicling the human condition. In 2012, she left a successful career in advertising to launch her greeting card line, making cards for the relationships we really have. Now a multimilliondollar stationery and gift company, Emily McDowell Studio products are sold online at emilymcdowell.com and in nearly 2,000 stores worldwide. In 2015, Emily’s Empathy Cards, designed to help people communicate more authentically around serious illness and loss, struck a nerve around the world. Emily's first book, There Is No Good Card For This: What To Say and Do When Life Gets Scary, Awful, and Unfair To People You Love, coauthored with empathy expert Dr. Kelsey Crowe, was released by HarperOne in January 2017.


Before launching your multimillion dollar stationery and gift company, you had a successful career in advertising. Can you share one of your top advertising tips with us? Every ad or piece of content you make should be beautiful, useful, and/or interesting, and ideally at least two of the three. You're fighting for people's attention, and they're predisposed to ignore advertising. But if you create something that entertains them, delights them, or helps them solve a problem, they'll pay attention, and they won't care if it's an ad or not.

This relates to the other thing, which is just working really hard. Starting and sustaining a business isn't easy, and I went in knowing and accepting that it would be a lot of work. I also leaned on my background in brand-building to create a strong brand from the beginning, and to make Your greeting card brand is now a products that I wasn't seeing multimillion dollar company. Can elsewhere. you please share a few key decisions that you made early on Looking back, were there that allowed your company to any moves you would have flourish? handled differently knowing what you know now? I decided that I wouldn't let not knowing how to do something I'm not sure I would have prevent me from doing it. I joke that plunged into wholesale so I have an MBA from Google, but it's quickly. I don't regret where true. So much of what I did in the we ended up, but having a beginning came from doing research wholesale business (where you and learning as I went. I hadn't taken sell your products to retailers, a math class since ninth grade, but I to be carried in stores) figured out how to do that part of it.


requires a lot of infrastructure and labor, and we grew so quickly in that area that I didn't feel like I had the opportunity to pause and make strategic decisions A topic you often speak about is the feeling of alienation and loneliness you experienced when you had cancer in 2000. Can you talk a little bit about how you turned this pain into something productive? I eventually came to realize, many years after having cancer, that my experience was a lot more common than I knew at the time -- and that as a writer and artist, the perspective I now had could help other people in similar situations feel less lonely. I remember getting "get well soon" cards when I was sick because there really weren't a lot of other options -- but a "get well soon" card is kind of weird if you might not. So when I started my card line, I knew there was a lot of opportunity to use the perspective I'd gained from my difficult experience to create a better alternative.

What is the biggest overall lesson you've learned in running a business? Get to know the people in your industry and other small business owners, because at times, what keeps you going is having the support of people who totally get what you're going through. you going is having the support of people who totally get what you're going through.


You’re a student soon returning to dorm life, or a young professional busy from dawn to dusk with little time to spare, or a young business owner whose schedule is packed so tightly that snacks fuel your day. What do these three groups have in common beside a very hectic lifestyle? Together they describe a large percentage of our audience! And because our readers turn to Step Up for suggestions and resources, we are ready with a handy and healthful solution.

But millennials love to keep their options open, and choosing to maintain a healthful diet is right up there. But even that is not enough. We are foodies. And blandness is a non-starter. After all, why settle? Call millennials the gourmet snacking generation. We want delicious, we

For millennials on the go, the traditional three meals a day is as ancient a concept as, say, the flip phone. We are the snacking generation and convenience is high on the priority list.

want it healthy, and we want it right now. The marketplace is saturated with offerings, but there’s one more ingredient that media savvy millennials’ sensibility is finely tuned to: Authenticity.


Millennials have helped make Crispy Green, makers of Crispy Fruit 100% pure freeze dried snacks, the top-rated freeze dried fruit brand. The company takes its customer education very seriously, not just about its products, but nutrition in general, believing that no hard sell is necessary, and that an informed consumer will choose Crispy Green. And this has resonated with discerning millennials. In fact, the company provides an online educational resource about wellness, fitness, and leading a healthy lifestyle at www.smartlifebites.com.

Crispy Fruit snacks from Crispy Green hits on other millennial cylinders as well. It offers multiple flavors, notably including some exotic

And the company keeps its promise simple: each

choices not available by other brands

bag of Crispy Fruit contains a single ingredient—

(cantaloupe and tangerine). The fruit snacks are

fruit. No additives, no added sugars or sweeteners.

gluten-free, Non-GMO, and have no fat or

In other words, authentically fruit. Perfect for dorm

cholesterol. Using top quality fruit from selected

rooms, knapsacks, briefcases, or even your pocket,

certified growers, Crispy Green’s pioneering

Crispy Fruit from Crispy Green is a millennial’s

freeze drying process removes 98% of the

portable passport to a healthy lifestyle. It is your

moisture, retaining all nutrition and flavor, and

must have snack!

is placed into air-proof packages. Bags of Crispy Fruit have a long shelf life (for

Crispy Green is available at many grocery stores, or

millennials who like to buy in bulk).

purchase online at http://shop.crispygreen.com/ OR at Amazon.com!


Stepping Up for Girls Empowerment with Lauren Galley

Lauren Marie Galley is a 22-year-old award winning Teen Mentor, TEDx Speaker, Amazon Best Selling Author, White House nominated Gamechanger, UN Youth Delegate 2017 and President of Girls Above Society, a non-profit 501 (c3) organization dedicated to empowering tween and teen girls to be confident while maintaining positive morals and values as they face the tough pressures of today’s media driven society.


Please tell us about yourself and why you started Girls Above Society.

I am a 22-year-old currently getting my M.A. in Clinical Psychology while simultaneously running a non-profit organization, Girls Above Society. I was severely cyber-bullied in middle school and felt very alone. Once I started high school, I realized that mean girls and girl-on-girl bullying is a serious issue among our youth. I remember thinking to myself “I wish someone our age would do something about this problem.” We had to sit through anti-bullying presentations in school but they felt outdated and no one was really paying attention. That’s when I realized…I could do something about this problem. I never want to be one of those people who complains about society without doing their part to change it. So, I began sharing my story locally and got a positive response, which inspires me to take my message globally and reach as many girls as possible. Why are you stepping up for girl’s empowerment?

I am stepping up for girl empowerment because young girls need more positive mentors. Unfortunately, they know every detail of the Kardashian’s lives and yet most of them have no idea who Sheryl Sandberg is, or really understand the incredible story behind Oprah’s success. The younger generations are our future, and I think we can all agree that our future is something worth investing in. The reason the Girl Talk curriculum works so well is that these girls are craving an answer to their mean girl problem.

Their message is overwhelming when they say they are tired of feeling judged every day at school. However, they get caught up in the drama and gossip, and it becomes a hamster wheel that they can’t get out of. It seems that girls are learning to tear each other down at a young age. When they learn to empower each other, our world will be a better place. What is a piece of advice you have for students who want to start their own business or nonprofit?

My best advice for students who want to start their own business or nonprofit is to start today. I am so glad I started my business when I did so that I had the chance to build my organization and make mistakes in the process at a young age. You can plan and plan all day long, but you can never anticipate the obstacles you will encounter until you are out there making things happen. I can’t tell you how many business owners and entrepreneurs I meet that say, “I wish I would have started when I was your age.”


So, plan as much as you can, be prepared, but make sure you are actually checking things off of your to-do list.

What is a sacrifice you’ve had to make in running a nonprofit while also being a full time student?

I have made many sacrifices to successfully run my non-profit while also being a full-time student. There have been many times I have had to turn down social events or hanging out with friends to prepare for a speech, or make what feels like the millionth edit to my curriculum. However, I wouldn’t take back these sacrifices for anything, because I have learned who my true friends are. It’s not an easy lesson, but I’ve found that some people who I thought were my friends would say things like “Why are you wasting your time with that? Come on, just come hang out with us.” Or, my favorite, “She is only doing that to make herself look good.” That being said, I am lucky to have a core group of three best friends who are supportive no matter what and never diminish my work because they truly believe in Girls Above Society. The only opinions that matter to me are those of the people who love me unconditionally.

What is the biggest overall lesson you have learned in running Girls Above Society?

The biggest overall lesson I have learned in running Girls Above Society is that the smallest gestures are often the ones that matter the most. There is one moment that stands out to me and that I will never forget.

What resources would you recommend to young founders?

There are no specific resources I would recommend, since that really depends on the type of organization or business you wish to start. However, the best overall resource is the people around you. I never realized how many kind, giving, and selfless people there are out there until I started Girls Above Society. People truly want to help and mentor those younger than them, but to do that, they must know you and understand what your goal and vision is. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask for help. The worst thing they can say is no, which in that case, you just move on and you haven’t lost anything!


Women Supporting Women’s Empowerment By: Sharon Kathryn D’Agostino Founder, SayItForward.org

I have never met a woman who did not need support and encouragement on her road to self-empowerment. For most of us, this road continues throughout our entire life, with daily opportunities to make choices that are empowering or disempowering. We make these choices in all of our relationships -- at work, in our family, in our community, and even with the people we love most in this world. Sometimes we make these choices reflexively, without realizing that we have instinctively made an empowering decision or that, on the contrary, we are giving away our power by doing what others believe we should do, rather than what we believe is best. Our individual descriptions of empowerment may differ greatly, as they have been shaped by our family’s beliefs and the cultural norms in the communities and countries where we live. If we are committed to advancing our own empowerment, these are some questions that can guide us…

… What does the word “empowerment” me to me? … When do I feel the most empowered? Why do I believe that is true? Are other people involved? … When do I feel the least empowered? Why do I believe that is true? Are other people involved? … What can I do to advance my sense of empowerment? … Who can help and encourage me? If you decide to spend some time with these questions, many thoughts and feelings will come to mind, some new and some that have been overlooked or consciously ignored. Jot down (or type) these thoughts without judging or evaluating them.


In a day or two, circle back and review your notes. Decide if there are actions you wish to take, actions that will support you in feeling more empowered, in realizing how truly amazing YOU are. In addition to the actions you decide to pursue, here are a few suggestions: 1. Be aware of your self-talk, and especially aware of every word you say or think after the words “I am.” 2. Develop a positive statement that you repeat to yourself in situations when you feel disempowered. Use it often. 3. Ask someone you trust to be a source of encouragement and coaching. 4. Most importantly, if you are in an emotionally or physically abuse relationship, seek help immediately. There are many organizations and hotlines available to you, nationally and internationally. I believe in a global sisterhood of women and girls who support and encourage each other’s empowerment, so I end this post with some ways that we can help others even as we help ourselves. … We can commit to noticing when family members, friends, colleagues and others need encouragement on their road to empowerment, and we can offer help.

… It is highly likely that each of us knows women and girls in our respective circles who are in physically or emotionally abusive relationships. We can notice. We can offer our help. We can confidentially provide contact information for local or national helplines that offer supportive and legal services. … We can share our own stories of overcoming the overcome the fears, self-limiting beliefs, or expectations of others that we believe held us back in any way. I invite you to visit SayItForward.org, where every woman and girl is encouraged to share one of her stories of empowerment. YOUR story has the potential to inspire others, reminding them that they are not alone in facing the challenges in their life. Let’s celebrate our personal triumphs, our strength and determination, while we support each other on our path to empowerment.


Periods Gone Public ... and Political Menstruation is surfing the crimson wave of fame. Given that this bodily function has been part of the human condition for all of time – and marginalized or mocked in many ways for nearly as long – it is both a victory and relief that periods have finally gone public. What’s next, you ask? I'll tell you: Periods have gone political! The fight is on for “menstrual equity.” That's a phrase and frame I first concocted in early 2016. And what it means is this: In order to have a fully equitable and participatory society, we must have laws and policies that ensure menstrual products are safe and affordable for everyone who needs them. The ability to access items like tampons and pads affects a person’s freedom to work, study, be healthy and move about the world with basic dignity. And if access is compromised, whether by poverty or stigma or lack of education and resources, it is in all of our interests to ensure those needs are met.

Sounds reasonable, right? But for millions around the globe today, menstrual products can be unaffordable and out of reach. Here in America, a year’s supply of tampons and pads costs anywhere from $70 to $120. For those who are homeless or incarcerated, lack of access can be especially dire. The most commonly reported substitutes for maxi pads? Newspaper, rolled toilet paper, paper bags, or old rags and socks.


Despite the fact that periods are a monthly occurrence for half the population, it is almost shocking to realize they’ve gone all but ignored in the laws by which we live here in the United States. But there is a growing movement to demand meaningful policy change. I am especially proud to have worked with the New York City Council as the Big Apple led the way in 2016 with the passage of groundbreaking new laws that mandate free tampons and pads for all of the City’s public schools, shelters and jails – the most comprehensive menstrual access legislation in the world. Los Angeles followed in 2017, requiring tampons in all county juvenile detention centers. States are taking action too. A whopping 24 of them have taken on the “tampon tax” – calling out the failure to classify menstrual products as a necessity and exempt them from sales tax. Over the past two years, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois and New York have successfully scrapped this unfair and discriminatory surcharge.

And Colorado made sure tampons were included in the budget for state prisons. Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, Congress is also getting on board. U.S. Representative Grace Meng introduced the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2017, the first ever federal menstrual omnibus bill that would: (1) allow individuals to buy menstrual products with pre-tax money they contribute to Flexible Spending Accounts; (2) provide a refundable tax credit to low-income individuals for the purchase of menstrual products;


(3) allow federal grant funds to be used by homeless assistance providers to make available menstrual products, along with other allowable essentials like soap and toothpaste; (4) require that menstrual products be freely available to incarcerated inmates and detainees; and (5) require employers to provide menstrual products to their employees free of charge. And just this summer, U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren introduced the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, which addresses many of the inequities facing female inmates, including access to menstrual products.

Even with all this progress, we’ve entered a new battleground – the Era of Trump. Remember, this is the president who singled out periods early in the 2016 campaign when he taunted Megyn Kelly for having “blood coming out of her wherever.” Suffice it to say, disdain for menstruating bodies looms large in the White House. Which is exactly why menstruation is such a ripe area for affirmative policy making, at every level of government. Our periods, as it happens, are a powerful tie that binds. Let’s push our leaders to make “menstrual equity” a political priority. It is our power, our voice, our bodies on the line. And it is about time.

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf is the author of the forthcoming book, Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity (Oct. 2017) and is a Vice President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.


FEATURED ENTREPRENEUR

Hint® Inc., the San Francisco-based company founded by entrepreneur Kara Goldin in 2005, is a wellness and lifestyle brand known for its delicious unsweetened flavored water. Flavored only with natural fruit, hint delivers refreshment without unnecessary additives – no sugar, no diet sweeteners and no preservatives. Hint’s water brands include the classic fruit-infused flat water; hint fizz®, a sparkling beverage that received Better Homes and Gardens’ Best New Product award (2012) and the Silver Stevie award for Best New Product of the Year (2012); and hint kick®, the brand’s first unsweetened caffeinated beverage.


What are some of your top networking tips to young entrepreneurs?

Hint Water continues its impressive growth. Looking back, what are some key decisions you made that allowed Hint Water to prosper? Hiring people who really believe that you’re solving a problem and want to join your effort. Many people told me to hire people with experience. I often say that passion trumps experience. You can teach people that really care.

The network that you have outside of your company, and the people you meet along the way, can be key factors. I would rather be at conferences where I don’t know many people, because I feel like it’s a massive opportunity for me to be free to wonder and meet new folks. And I’m always sitting down purposely next to people that I don’t know.


I often find that the most successful companies are spearheaded by a motivated leader who possesses a burning passion for their mission. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired Hint Water? I was working in tech and I took a couple of years off, I had three young kids, and I was really feeling like I was not as healthy as I wanted to be. After leaving AOL I decided that I would take a few years to really try to figure out what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to get healthy, so I started exercising and eating well, but I really could not lose the weight. I would wake up with terrible adult acne, I had no energy, and I really wondered what was wrong with me. I ultimately decided that I would only eat and drink things that were real and that I could really understand. Diet Coke was a staple for me, and I finally decided to eliminate soda from my diet and just drink plain water. What I found was that my cravings for sugar stopped. Two and a half weeks later after totally stopping drinking Diet Coke, I hopped on the scale and I had lost over 20 pounds. The diet sweeteners in the Diet Coke had caused me to gain all that weight and insulin.


About a year later I had lost 50 pounds. I had no interest in going back to being addicted to diet sweeteners. So finally I started slicing up fruit and throwing it in water. I realized that was all I needed, water with some flavor in it. I looked for this product in the market, and I kept finding things like Vitamin Water, and I realized that at that time these products had more sugar in it then a can of Coke. I really wanted a product that would get me to enjoy water. And that’s how Hint Water started. I went into Whole Foods and I started talking to the guy stocking the shelves, I asked him how do I launch a product, and that was the beginning of Hint.

What should people think about before making the leap into entrepreneurship? I always tell people to make sure you’re doing something you’re passionate about, and that you are truly solving a problem. For me it was about creating a product that didn’t have sweeteners in it.


Confessions of a Dreamer To Go-Getter

Shinjini Das

Dreamers are idealistic, worldly, and perhaps not entirely realistic, which is perfectly fine, because dreams should be a bit unrealistic, otherwise what is the fun in dreaming if we do not dream big? Full disclosure. I am a dreamer but after many years, I realized that what I was missing was action, because dreams without action are simply stars in the sky, when we ought to be building our castles on firm ground. I clearly remember the day everything changed. In 2014 as a senior at Georgia Tech, a professor casually mentioned that she had always thought of me as a ‘go-getter’ and while I agreed with her, I also felt like I needed to amp my game to the highest gear to achieve my fullest potential, which, to be candid, was not happening at that time. So, I did what I do best created an action plan, set several ruthless deadlines, and started working a great deal. Opportunities began appearing. When I consciously shifted from a dreamer to a go-getter, I removed the energy blocks which were

impeding me from reaching my ultimate potential. There were self-doubts, concerns, pain perhaps of living a life that I knew was not realizing its potential. Instead of moving forward with so much anguish, I replaced the anguish with joy, laughter, openness, and an underlying confident belief that my life would create itself exactly the way I had envisioned. Opportunities literally began presenting themselves to me from places which I never even knew existed, convincing me to believe in my great potential. I was transformed. Achieving so much in such a short amount of time was extremely difficult, and commitment was key. Let’s just say that I didn’t start out with a whole lot when I decided to become a go-getter in 2014, and so commitment to my goals was essential to my succeeding in the long-term. The greatest lesson was simply to create lists of goals and achieve each of them in a timely and efficient manner.


Becoming a go-getter has transformed my life, but achieving so much in such a short time has truthfully been very difficult. Commitment has been key to bringing me here today. Without commitment, no goal is achievable and no hurdle able to be overcome. Focus has been essential. Life as a go-getter is significantly more thrilling, fulfilling, healing, and energizing today than ever Go-getters are constantly on the go-meaning that there is a consistent buzz of energy, fun, and ambition permeating everything we choose to engage in. As a result, you will not be surprised to learn that life as a gogetter is measurably more fun than life as a dreamer.

There is something truly special about watching your dreams become a reality, a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and ultimate confidence. After evolving from a dreamer to a gogetter, there really is no turning back, exactly as we would expect. I highly encourage the incredible readers of Step Up Magazine to invest in living as gogetters by building action plans for their dreams. And remember that achievement, measurable progress, and self-fulfillment are key.

How will you make the conscious shift from a dreamer to a go-getter? Join the conversation on social with #gogettergirl and #gogetterguy! Follow Shinjini Das on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook today!


Please tell us about your invention, "Puff and Fluff", and why you created it. I created the Puff-N-Fluff dog dryer when I was in 3rd grade for a school project called Invention Convention. The rules were easy enough; create something that would make my everyday life easier or solve a problem and was not yet invented. I wanted to do something for my dog, Mojo, who really dislikes being wet. I thought about a doggy umbrella and after researching it, realized it was already invented. Then I envisioned Mojo stepping into a tube filled with warm air and thought, what about a tube he could run through with air blowing in and it would dry him. A much smaller version of that idea is how the Puff-N-Fluff was invented.

Marissa Streng Invented the Puff-N-Fluff Dog Dryer when she was nine years old. She has been on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Funderdome with Steve Harvey. She enjoys learning and excels in her academics. She loves soccer. She is cocaptain on her competitive soccer team and plays high school soccer and lacrosse. She is fun and caring person.


The Puff-N-Fluff dog dryer is made by using a rectangle piece of material with four elastic leg holes. The paws are placed through the openings, and then the sides are brought together and easily fastened by Velcro. Next, you pull the draw strings to close the gap around the head and tail. Attach virtually any blow dryer to the flexhose. (Pet Blow Dryers work well with it.) Turn the blow dry on a high speed and low heat setting and to let warm air circulate around your dog. The hours of waiting for your dog to fully dry is now accomplished within minutes! You invented the Puff and Fluff when you were in third grade. What advice would you give to another young person who wants to invent a product? What are a few good first steps to take? When I first started creating the product in third grade I figured I would be able to do it on the first try. But the truth is that it takes many tries and prototypes to finalize the design and functionality. At times, you may even have to start over.

So, my main piece of advice I could give is to not give up on your ideas, no matter what the product is or what people say. There were days I thought I would never be able to get my idea into an actual product, but as long as I kept pursuing my idea, it eventually worked out. Also, don't be afraid to dream up anything, you would be surprised how many things you can come up with if you try to solve common problems.


What are a few challenges you face as a young inventor and entrepreneur? One of my first challenges in the beginning was trying to get people to take me seriously. People think that just because you are young, the invention can’t possibly work. I went through several prototype modifications and tested it on many different types dogs before I had it working well enough to manufacture it. Starting a company was all new to me. Through my parents and by attending the manufacturing meetings, I learned a lot and I am still learning today. Lastly, the challenge of managing my time, not an easy task as a teen. It is really hard when you are busy with school, play sports and want some time with friends. What is the best advice you have ever received in your entrepreneurial journey? Never give up. You learn to deal with people who dislike the product and are negative

without ever seeing it or actually using it. I know my product works. I’ve used it for years and so have hundreds of others that are using it every day and love it. What are a few key decisions you made early on that you attribute to the success of Puff and Fluff? The key decision I made early on was to have a video made of me demonstrating it on Mojo. It showed everyone how simple it is to use. And then it went viral over social media and the web. It has helped a lot with letting the world know about the Puff-N-Fluff. Plus who can resist watching a cute dog!


Reflections of an Unapologetic Millennial: Turning Dreams into Reality Column By: Isis Smalls

I thank God for the millennial generation. In a world with problems that seem impossible to solve and conflict on all sides, we are a beacon of light. We’re often labeled as careless, distracted by phones, and ridden with wasted potential. However, when I think of us, I think of greatness. It’s our daring to dream and our audacity in forsaking money to pursue meaningful missions that make us unstoppable. When tragedy and injustice swarm our news feed, we don’t turn a blind-eye. Rather, we rally together and strive to improve the world. Recently, Terri Savelle Foy said, “You can locate your vision, passion, and purpose through frustration . . . it proves that you have a solution and see a better way. . .” I believe it’s the visions and dreams of the millennial generation today that will be the world’s solutions tomorrow. When I resigned from teaching last year, I knew I’d miss those direct deposits!

I was blessed to have a year’s savings set aside, but I had no idea how my dream to empower girls would unfold. I simply followed my passion: activating potential in young women.

When it comes to pursuing your dreams, you cannot afford to wait for the complete picture to form. Step in the direction of your passion and you’ll see that life comes together like a puzzle. Each step you take, each piece you put down, brings more clarity to your vision. Of course you must research, ask questions, and make a plan, but don’t let your quest for the perfectly paved path paralyze you with apprehension. As is often said, “Imperfect action is better than none at all.”


In May 2016, I entered the world of entrepreneurship, the land of the selfemployed. I envisioned speaking around the country, so I knew writing a book would help me establish my authority and fine tune my message. As I considered the idea though, doubts flooded my mind: “You’re too young! What wisdom do you have at 26? Who will take you seriously?”

Often millennials are knocked for their naivete’, but the truth is that you are never too young to have a story or to offer value to others. Wisdom is found in your experiences, your struggles, and the unique perspective you have gained from overcoming them. Trust your ability to make an impact and to have influence right now. As I began writing the manuscript for Beauty in the Making, the challenges of carving out a living were discouraging. Often I thought back to my time as an educator to find motivation. I remembered seeing countless girls settle for less than their best, live without understanding their true worth, and fail to tap into their potential. If only I could push past my own doubts and discomfort, I could have an opportunity to inspire, equip, and empower them. As you chase your dreams, hold onto the “why” behind your mission. It’s the fuel you’ll need to keep going!

“Wisdom is found in your experiences, your struggles, and the unique perspective you have gained from overcoming them.”

Many scary days and tearful nights passed before I saw my puzzle coming together. I began booking speaking engagements wherever I could. The more in sync I got with my message, the more my audience grew. Soon I no longer had to knock, doors were flying open. I have by no means “arrived” yet, but celebrating milestones like seeing my book soar to #1 on the Amazon charts reminds me that I must press on because young women want and need to hear this message. Which brings me to my last point: Your destiny is not just about you. Your destiny is about everyone attached to you. As you become who you were created to be, you will impact others along the way. Own that today. In fact, swag it out! Don’t let the doubt and negativity of others stifle you. The dreams burning in your heart cannot stay there. They must become a reality!


Kids Coding the Future By Julie Seven Sage Imagine a world filled and controlled by technology. There is space travel and robots. It is almost a utopia. This world is our future. But how will we get there? Who will create it? We’ll get there through innovation and coding, and the coders will be the young people of today. This is just one of the many reasons kids should learn how to code. One reason is that coding will become essential to jobs in the future; it already is in the places you’d least expect it. Take car mechanics for example. More and more the newest cars are running off computers. If the mechanics need to fix the car, they’ll have to know coding to fix it. One of my friends wants to be a car mechanic, and he started taking coding classes for this reason. I think that’s pretty smart. Medicine is also increasingly requiring coding. Machines are taking care of the more delicate operations so that mortality rates are lower. For those machines to work, we’re going to need coders to code the operations correctly. Another reason is you can create so many amazing things using code.

Video games are all, of course, created with code. Games like Halo, Doom, and Overwatch are very popular and a considerable amount of coding was used to make them more robust. I have created a few games using Scratch from MIT Media Labs, and Spark from Microsoft, but those are all block coding. I want to learn more, and do more. That’s why I’m learning Python, Java, HTML, etc. I want to create games and websites because I want to share my ideas. I also want to share amazing news, and cool stuff in science! It all really boils down to my wanting to share what I know, so that others might learn. These are just some of the few reasons why young kids should learn how to code. And, it's fun, creative, and will be essential to everyone’s future.


BE the Change the World Needs Liv Van Ledtje

I consider myself a creator---a creator of videos (called LivBits), that I hope will inspire others to think more deeply about the world. I’m only 10 years old, but I see my time on social media as an opportunity to share my thinking with a global audience. My posts are a chance to share ideas that are hopeful, kind, and true. I want people to scroll through my social media feeds and think, “Liv is the kind of kid who makes a difference!” It seems like a mixed up world on social media right now. People post hurtful things, but excuse themselves by saying they are posting the truth.


They show people what you value and love, and they are a chance to connect and grow your thinking even deeper. I am not going to lie; using social media can be confusing sometimes. You have to figure out who is “real” and who is “fake.” Sometimes the people you think support you, really don’t. It’s hard to learn that lesson and I am still figuring all that out. People will take your words, your images, and even your voice if you let them. Don’t let them. I started LivBits to inspire other people, especially KIDS to share their ideas; take risks in their thinking; and to learn from one other. Social media helps kids like me become more aware of what’s happening in the world. It’s a really important time on social media. There are people in positions of power who use it to share their messages and sometimes those messages aren’t very hopeful. I challenge you to share your passion; join a cause; speak up for something you believe in. While you are doing that, remember to be real, be kind, and believe in others. Read a lot; talk a lot; share your thinking a lot; and ask questions. If you do all of those things, you can BE the change the world needs. Liv is a 10-year old who is smart about all things sharks. She hopes to be an ichthyologist and work to save sharks all over the world. A seasoned keynote speaker, Liv’s work on LivBits has been featured internationally as a model of digital good. She’s also an accomplished ballerina, an avid reader, and Pop Tart eater! She lives in Durham, NH with her family.


Please tell us about World Changers. What is your mission?

World Changers Entertainment was created to help support the people and organizations who are making the world a better place, and to give people a relatable source of positive news. We seek out and publicize the stories of dedicated people and organizations who are helping to create sustainable solutions to Our readers submitted their problems, and we try to give our audience questions for World Changers ways to get involved if they feel moved to do Entertainment, and today founders so. The idea is to give people access to Melissa Lamming, Anita Casalina inspiring news, and then to make it easy for them to get involved. You don’t have to get and Demetrius Jones answer! involved in everything you learn about, but we want to make it possible.


How did World Changers begin? What is your creation story?

We began as a branch of the Billions Rising Foundation, which was founded by our CEO Anita Casalina. Billions Rising’s mission was similar: to document and highlight efforts of people and organizations around the world that are empowering others to become selfreliant. The Foundation had a dynamic BlogTalk radio show and successful book on Amazon. But Anita and her business partner Melissa Lamming wanted to tell these stories to an even wider audience. They decided that visual media – television, film, and online programming – would be a wonderful way to connect to audiences around the world. They met with entertainment attorney Demetrius Jones and founded World Changers Entertainment to continue the work of spreading good news stories about sustainable solutions to poverty.

What are some common threads and themes in terms of your featured content?

Our content has broadened through the creation of our World Changers Network – on top of our original newscasts and interviews, we feature the work of other producers around the world who cover good news from other angles. The topics include Art for Good, Sports for Good, Animals for Good, Healthy People for Good, and Every Nation for Good. All the content is positive, inspiring, and life-changing.

World Changers is truly international in scope. Was this by design or did it happen in an organic way?

Some of both. When we seek out stories to inspire our audiences, we find that there are incredible developments taking place all over the world: solar lights in Africa, literary programs in Guatemala, adoption of technology in Pakistan. Now that the world has become increasingly interconnected through the internet and social media, we find that people and organizations are able to offer assistance based on their own experiences with anyone who can benefit. This sharing of “best practices” increases success on a global scale. “You don’t have to get involved

in everything you learn about, but we want to make it possible.”


What are some strategies World Changers uses to promote audience participation? And what are some specific strategies used to grow social media?

Audience participation is a vital measurement of our own success. One example strategy we use to encourage audience members to take stock of what they can do is our World Changer of the Month. We ask our audience members to turn the camera on themselves and send in their videos. All relevant videos will be shown on our platform, some will make it onto our social platforms, and one person will be chosen as our World Changer of the Month. Every 12 months our World Changers team will have the difficult task of choosing three World Changer How do you choose your "Friends of the Month entries and we’ll open voting to of World Changers" partners? people in our community, who will then choose the World Changer of the Year. Friends of World Changers was created Where do you see World Changers in five as a way for us to honor those who helped us in one way or another along years? our path to where we are now. We have always tried to stop and celebrate We have exciting plans for the next five years! our accomplishments and successes Our ultimate goal is to inspire people; we’re along the way. Those listed in our hoping that World Changers will become a Friends of World Changers are other household name and, more importantly, that World Changers in though own fields people will devote a lot more time and thought and we are proud to recommend them. to positive stories about people helping each other and to how they can be part of the solution. To that end, we will be producing “We’re hoping that World Changers will more shows, documentaries and social become a household name, and more content, implementing digital distribution plan importantly, that people will devote a lot to make our shows available across the digital more time and thought to positive stories landscape, building our own platforms’ brand about people helping each other and to awareness, and implementing social good how they can be part of the solution.” education competitions.


Has your mission evolved, and what added new directions might World Changers be headed in?

Our original focus was on highlighting the work being done to create sustainable ways for ending poverty. When we say “sustainable,” we are referring to is teaching people to become self-sustaining, standing on their own and not being dependent on others. We like to say we support those who give a “hand-up” not a “handout.” This ability to be self-sustaining allows people to feel that they are building success for themselves and their families, while maintaining dignity. We also have always made certain to focus on organizations who respect the culture and practices of the people they partner with, without superimposing their own culture or values. Now our Network’s focus has broadened to include solutions to many other problems as well. We will be adding new material soon for a Nerds for Good series of videos, a great hosted show called DiversAbilities with David Fazio, and an MS Challenge. We are currently beginning production on a fulllength documentary about healing racism, titled Imaginary Walls.

We want to ignite or grow the World Changer inside each one of us. Can you imagine a world where we’re all actively lifting each other up?

How can our readers get involved with World Changers?

Great question! We want to ignite or grow the World Changer inside each one of us. Can you imagine a world where we’re all actively lifting each other up? For those wanting to get involved, there are several ways. We’re currently looking for official World Changers Brand Ambassadors, ongoing World Changer of the Month opportunities and our currently active Erase MS Challenge. Anyone who is interested in participating in these should check our network site for more information, and connect with us on social media.


How Samir Lakhani Is Being The Change A few years ago, while traveling through Southeast Asia, a simple reality began to dawn on me about the people living in the developing world. It was that most people living in poverty couldn t afford something as simple as a bar of soap.

The staggering illness and mortality rates we read about or see on late-night television advertisements by UNICEF no longer surprised me. I saw firsthand that the people living in these conditions lacked the most basic resources (such as sanitation and clean water) to lead healthy, productive lives. But, I also noticed their incredible human spirit, which ultimately is something worth fighting for. When we talk about people in the developing world and some of the challenges they face, it is important to: 1) Stay positive and be uplifting. Guilting people to help may have worked on people a long time ago, however, it is no longer a modern day motivator. For every one issue facing the developing world, there are many more joyful aspects which should be celebrated. From all my travels, I ve learned that people in the developing world laugh, smile, and thank each other far more than we do. The most formative moment of my life can be traced back to my time in Northern Cambodia. I witnessed a village mother washing her beautiful newborn baby using laundry detergent, the only locally available hygiene product.


I was astonished by this, and had to do something. Anything. With no real resources, I could not purchase soap for her and her entire village, let alone the rest of Cambodian families without access to proper hygiene. I then realized there was a way to obtain soap for free and protect the environment at the same time. Shortly after my experience in Cambodia, I started Eco-Soap Bank, a nonprofit organization with the mission to recycle used hotel soap and distribute it to the people who need it most. Today, we recycle soap from over 400 hotels in Cambodia, Nepal, and Rwanda. We employ and provide free education to 35 disadvantaged women. Over 650,000 people have used our recycled soap. And we re just getting started. 2) You don t need a big degree to come up with a good idea. Coming up with an idea is the first step, and only the first step. Try to think about how you can test your idea. Neil Degrasse Tyson, a science educator, says that even the best physicists need to think about how to test their ideas, not just come up with the next groundbreaking theory.


After conceiving of the mission of Eco-Soap Bank - using a wasted resource for good - I didn t know how to get started. I decided I needed to involve as many people as possible from different backgrounds to ensure I had my bases covered. Most importantly, I worked hard to build a group of supporters who believed in me, and believed in my mission.

3. Ideas are easy; implementation is hard. Thankfully, there are people out there who want to help you succeed. What I ve learned from working with Eco-Soap Bank is that there are people all over the world with skill sets who want to do good. If you inspire these individuals and provide them with a platform to make a difference, then you will succeed, and they will too. If you ever feel alone in pursuing your idea, keep searching for someone who is just as crazy about it as you are. Don t be discouraged by those with pessimistic outlooks or those who like to point out flaws in your idea (it s likely they re just jealous). Keep working out the kinks in your plan and refine, refine, refine until you have something worthy of changing someone s life for the better.

P.S. - If I ve convinced you here that a bar of soap can change the world, start a conversation with me at samir@ecosoapbank.org.


Thistle Farms is stepping up for survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction.

In 1997, I opened one home for five women from the streets, all survivors of trafficking, abuse and addiction, to offer them hospitality and a sanctuary to heal. We called it Magdalene and that was the simple beginnings of our organization. If you are talking about loving women, though, you have to be concerned about their economic well-being. So as the women began to heal and thrive, they needed jobs and income to support becoming fully independent. When we realized they weren’t getting hired, we just decided to begin our own company. We called ourselves Thistle Farms and we became a full-fledged enterprise network with the aim of serving survivors of trafficking, abuse, and addiction. Twenty years later, we have grown to employ over 50 residents and graduates through our social enterprises, providing them with our $1,000,000 last year in wages. The hand-made products they create are in stores all across the country, including Whole Foods. We have a CafÊ, and a Global Market too that supports the lives of over 1,800 women. Our clinical team serves 36 women at a time in a two-year residential program, and hundreds more through advocacy and referral services. We also run a program for inmates called Magdalene on the Inside, an outreach program that works with women of similar demographics as our residents. This is just a small piece of all the work that this remarkable community does. I believe with all my heart that love is the most powerful force for change in the world. It impacts my work, allows me to abide in hope and frees me to work without judgment.


I used to stress about women I was working with in the community, or money, or even just the small things. The more I have learned to trust love, the less stressed I have become. It impacts my relationships, my work, my dreams and my daily peace. Love flourishes within the Thistle Farms but impacts a much larger community. We are a thriving and growing movement about women’s freedom because people keep hoping with us. If people are reluctant to get involved, it is because of their own fears, cynicism or stress. What’s important is that we keep sharing our gifts with one another so love is present and washing over all of us. I believe with all my heart that love is the most powerful force for change in the world.

Volunteer, speak your truth, donate money, be a conscientious consumer, become a social media advocate, go on a journey, do what feels right to practice how you can love the world. I know I struggle with my own fear and inner voices, but I do the work and then those voices soften. I sometimes bear witness to tragic stories, but I am also invited to be in the presence of great joy and wonder. We laugh as much as we cry in the community of Thistle Farms. You can’t kill hope in women. You can abuse them, jail them, cause them all kinds of pain, but you can’t kill hope. Our story is more than just the scars of our past—it is the hope and dreams we carry.


Alisha Zhao, Founder of Kids First Project Near the end of my sophomore year in high school, I began wearing a bracelet that I haven’t taken off since. Bound by black leather strings tied tightly in a knot, the plain brass token presents a single word etched into its surface: purpose. I use the bracelet to serve as a daily reminder for myself that amidst the crazy and hectic nature of a fast-paced world with a short attention span, I have to remain focused and true to my “purpose.” I began volunteering at my local family

homeless shelter when I was fourteen years old and was shocked to learn that contrary to my initial belief that homelessness largely affects adults, the average age of a person experiencing homelessness in the United States is just nine years old. I realized that there was also an unaddressed need when I met with a transitional housing organization a year later and learned that they had no volunteers and had lost funding for children’s activities five years ago. Combining the staggering population


of youth experiencing homelessness with the lack of resources available for them, I created Kids First Project, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that brings educational and recreational programs directly to youth experiencing homelessness living in shelters. With a team of 27 people and over 300 volunteers, we annually serve over 500 families and manage 6 chapters. Kids First also works to empower our volunteers through service-learning, giving youth and adults alike the opportunity to turn their passions, whether it be STEM, art, or lacrosse, into a curriculum to lead at our program nights. The most empowering moment I remember was when a high school student who was once a participant came back one day as a volunteer. She told me that beyond growing her passions through Kids First Project, she also found the confidence within herself to know that she can also empower others. Just like a pond ripples outwards, service has the power to influence and grow. It was through my experiences with Kids First Project that I began to reflect on my purpose. I realized that in whatever I explore and do, I hope to seek and amplify the stories of those around me so that no person or need remains invisible.

For youth also looking for innovative and meaningful ways to create a difference in their communities, find your driving force that defines, motivates, and guides your work. Whether it’s to amplify or to inspire or to empower, it will take you far in whatever you take on - trust me! Second, take advantage of those around you. People want to help you. Don’t let potential lifelong mentors, team members, and organizational partners pass by without asking. Third, expect and embrace failure: treat obstacles as positive challenges for personal and organizational growth. And lastly, love what you do. At the end of the day, you’re doing your work because you’re passionate about an issue or interest. Don’t ever lose sight of that. I hope to seek and amplify the stories of those around me so that no person or need remains invisible.


NIA SIOUX At Step Up, we appreciate when celebrities utilize their platform for the greater good. You've used your platform to spark important conversations, draw attention to meaningful causes, and spread positivity. Can you talk about why that is important to you? I have been blessed to have this incredible opportunity and I do not take this platform for granted. If I can use my voice and advocate for a cause to benefit others then I feel like I am being a good citizen. We all have to do our part to make the world better. Using my platform to engage others in conversation and raise awareness is one small way I can make a difference.

Can you talk a little bit about why it is important for you to utilize your platform for good? I have been blessed to have this incredible opportunity and I do not take this platform for granted. If I can use my voice and advocate for a cause to benefit others then I feel like I am being a good citizen. We all have to do our part to make the world better. Using my platform to engage others in conversation and raise awareness is one small way I can make a difference.

Using my platform to engage others in conversation and raise awareness is one small way I can make a difference.


You're an advocate for the ASPCA. Can you tell us why you step up for this organization? How can your fans get involved?

We love your song "Star in Your Own Life." Can you tell us the message behind this? "Star In Your Own Life" is a saying we use all of the time in my family. My mom would tell me this when I felt discouraged. It is a great reminder of my uniqueness and the power I possess. "Star in Your Own Life" is a mindset. Only you get to be the star in your life so be the best you that you can be. Don't focus on someone else and their achievements. Think of yourself as the lead in a movie starring you.

I love animals!!! If I could adopt more animals I would. I always tell my mom when I get older I am going to have five dogs and a farm where they can live. Olive, my French Bulldog, is a shelter dog. I see the importance of going to an animal shelter to save an animal's life. I am not sure my peers think about shelters as viable options for finding a new animal friend. I want to raise awareness of shelters because there are so many animals in need of homes. If fans can not adopt an animal, then they can volunteer at shelters or bring donations needed at a neighborhood shelter. At the very least, if you own an animal, please make sure your pet is spayed or neutered.

Only you get to be the star in your life so be the best you that you can be.


With more than 4.4 million followers on Instagram, and 530,000 followers on Twitter, you have quite the following. Do you feel a special sense of responsibility with so many eyeballs on what you put out? Although I see myself as an ordinary teenager, I know I have had extraordinary experiences and tremendous reach on social media. That is an honor and privilege but with it comes an enormous responsibility.

The choices I make will be seen by many people online. In many ways, I live my life in a fishbowl so people feel comfortable commenting on many things I do. This can be overwhelming at times because I am a kid and I am still figuring things out. However, I know some people see me as a role model so I try to make the best choices possible and I stay true to myself.


Who are some of your inspirations? I am inspired by so many people!!! BeyoncĂŠ, of course, is one of my greatest inspirations. She is an amazing performer. I love Sara Baraelis!!! I hope to be able to write songs like her one day!! She is able to tell a story through music in such a beautiful way. Speaking of stories- I also love how Viola Davis can capture an audience's attention and bring a story to life. Wow!!

We love that you pursue your dreams and star in your own life. Can you tell us a sacrifice that you've had to make in chasing your dream? Pursuing my dreams comes at a price. Chasing my dream requires me to travel a lot. I spend more time away from my family than with them. I have missed a lot of celebrations and family dinners but I know the sacrifice is worth it. My family continues to encourage me to stay focused even when I get homesick.


Who is your role model?

High School Edition!

Do you ever wonder who the high school students of today look up to? We asked high schoolers to share who their role models are! Here’s what they had to say‌

Emily Bendremer Steps Up for: Equality for all people. When thinking of people who inspire me, the first person who comes to mind is Lady Gaga. It is encouraging to watch her use her fame to positively influence her fans. Through the Born This Way Foundation, she is able to enforce kindness, positive environments, and mental wellness within youths. She also speaks out about her personal experiences with PTSD and encourages others to find help. It is inspiring to watch how Lady Gaga is able to use the attention she receives from various medias to spread positive messages. Leslie Marsh Steps Up for: Quality Education for all. Having acquired several gold and silver medals in numerous special Olympic events, athlete Loretta Claiborne has truly shaped my outlook on life. Beyond her noteworthy Olympic successes, her other athletic accomplishments have reflected a unique sense of determination. This perseverance is incredible, especially while juggling the struggles that accompany an intellectual disability and being born with partial blindness. I am inspired by how she uses her platform to educate others through her motivational speeches. Seeing an individual with this admirable sense of pride and courage, I have discovered the importance of not letting any obstacles get in the way of following of your aspirations.


Tika Roper Steps Up for: Mental Health Awareness. There are lots of ways to be a role model and I have lots of them in my life, but when I was asked who my role model is, I immediately knew the answer. Not only has my aunt been a rock and pillar of love and support for me, but she has shown me time and time again what it looks like to be strong, persistent, and resilient, even in the face of unimaginable challenges. She is the single mom of my most awesome cousins, and she just graduated with her masters degree in respiratory care leadership. She is strong and confident, but not afraid to show vulnerability or doubt. She is supportive, compassionate, and ready to deal out some tough love if need be. She has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to me. Aaditi Narayanan Steps Up for: Individuality. A person I look up to as a high school student is my dad. His journey to get where he is now was not easy and I admire his work ethic that made it possible. Shortly after getting married, he took his new bride and flew across the world leaving his small village town to come work as a software engineer in a foreign country. He works hard every day to provide for my family and has a go getter attitude that doesn't let him settle for anything. I hope to embody his values of determination and good work ethic in my own life. Looking back, I know that I would not be the person I am today without him.


Must Reads

Drop The Ball by Tiffany Dufu: A bold and inspiring memoir and manifesto from a renowned voice in the women's leadership movement who shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go.

Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life. Organize Tomorrow Today breaks down the eight fundamental ways elite athletes and business professionals get organized. Through methods of prioritization and precision, successful people know they don’t have to check everything off their to-do list on a given day to be successful. The key instead, as Selk and Bartow illustrate, is to get the most important things done each day. Forged In Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times: Nancy Koehn delivers in-depth portraits of five of history’s most brilliant leaders, spotlighting the diverse skills they rely on to lead, especially in moments of crisis.


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children's book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. Each woman's story is written in the style of a fairy tale. Each story has a full page, full color portrait that captures the spirit of the portrayed hero. Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors. Plus, interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations—all to show the many ways the geeky girls of today can help to build the future. In Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs shares personal stories, biblical truth, and examples of how others have courageously walked the path God paved for their lives by remembering all God had done, loving what was right in front of them, and seeing God in the everyday—whether that be nature, friends, or the face they see in the mirror.


In Breaking Through Power, Nader draws from a lifetime waging—and often winning—David vs. Goliath battles against big corporations and the United States government. In this succinct, Tom Paine-style wake-up call, the iconic consumer advocate highlights the success stories of fellow Americans who organize change and work together to derail the many ways in which wealth manipulates politics, labor, media, the environment and the quality of national life today. Nader makes an inspired case about how the nation can—and must—be democratically managed by communities guided by the U.S. Constitution, not by the dictates of big businesses and the wealthy few. This is classic Ralph Nader, a crystallization of the core political beliefs and commitments that have driven his lifetime of advocacy for greater democracy.


Excerpted from the book

THE POWER OF DIFFERENT By Dr. Gail Saltz What is genius, and how can it coexist with what we would consider a mental flaw in the form of a brain difference? For that matter, what is a brain difference? For many of us, Einstein comes to mind as the quintessential genius. Even without the benefit of IQ testing, we can empirically observe that he, like Leonardo da Vinci or Isaac Newton, clearly had intellectual gifts several standard deviations above the person with average intelligence. There are also many high achievers among us who might not be geniuses of this order— geniuses with a capital G, if you will— but who have accomplished above- average things in all fields. It’s these high achievers, who have performed in arguably genius ways, on whom I’m most focused in this book. Oxford Dictionaries defines genius as “exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.” The purity and simplicity of this definition help to clarify the coexistence of gifts and weaknesses within these high achievers. Most of us intuitively understand that while we are exceptionally good at one thing, we might be exceptionally poor at another. The absentminded professor stereo type exists for a reason—as does that of the tortured artist. This book explores the ways in which the unique wiring— some aspects of which might be considered weakness in certain contexts—of many high achievers has directly contributed to their abilities and achievements. In order to apply names—or diagnoses—to the wide variety of brain differences that exist in humans, clinicians and medical insurers have relied on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. The newest edition of this manual— the DSM-5, as it’s popularly known— lists 157 diagnoses. These classifications range from various forms of learning differences, such as dyslexia, to more severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. While the manual isn’t what anyone would call scintillating reading, the launch of the DSM-5 at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting in May 2013 incited a firestorm of criticism. The diagnostic manual has always been an imperfect tool. Its neat categorizations of constellations of symptoms into discrete psychiatric disorders are often arbitrary, and the human brain defies such black- andwhite definitions. But the manual is a necessary evil for practitioners as well as patients— insurance companies require such categorization in order to cover the costs of treatment.


One of the most vocal critics of the DSM-5 was psychiatrist Allen Frances, who had been chair of the DSM- IV task force. In an article he wrote for Psychology Today, he called the APA’s approval of the new set of guidelines “the saddest moment” of his long professional career. He felt that the DSM-5’s continued expansion of the number of diagnoses served to pathologize too much of human behavior, and he argued the research criteria didn’t exist to validate each one of those diagnoses. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from 2002 to 2015, also questioned the validity of the DSM-5’s diagnostic criteria and objected to its combining of disorders that he felt deserved their own designations. He wrote, “While DSM has been described as a ‘bible’ for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each.” And he concluded, “Patients with mental disorders deserve better.” Indeed, they do, and the labeling of disorders is itself a source of significant pain and suffering. The heated debate surrounding the DSM-5 reveals just how sensitive an issue labels can be, and not just in the medical and scientific communities. Labels are, by definition, limiting, and if they are suggestive of mental illness, they can be downright terrifying. Such was certainly the case for parents of children with Asperger’s, who learned that the DSM-5 folded Asperger’s into the autism classification. Those whose children had been diagnosed with the softer- sounding disorder of Asperger’s were dismayed to find out that medical experts now placed their children in the same category as people whose symptoms seemed far more extreme and potentially devastating. Such is the power of labels.

Excerpted from the book THE POWER OF DIFFERENT by Gail Saltz, M.D.. Copyright © 2017 by Gail Saltz. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved.


What is your Personal Brand? Seven Steps to Live On Brand By Marissa Ainsworth Founder, Live On Brand

Have you ever thought about your personal brand? Take a moment to think about what you truly stand for and what is the mark that you leave behind? Are you someone who is known to be trustworthy, detail oriented, creative or spontaneous? Developing your personal brand is aligning what you stand for and what others associate with you. If you are someone who is known for their attention to detail but you want to be known for your creative expression, it’s time to redefine your personal brand. Similar to a corporation’s brand you can define the relationship others have with your own. The key to a strong personal brand is to develop one that you can live each day, that is truly authentic.

Below I have outlined the key steps to develop your personal brand strategy. Step 1: Where do I come from? Don’t think so much about your brand, just think about how did you get to where you are today. Define the story behind your brand. Write down three key milestones that were influential in getting you to where you are today.


Step 2: What do I do? Look from the outside in of what types of industries do you work with or what type of business do you do? Think about what types of skills do others seek your input on. Identify three activities that you do as a part of your brand. Step 3: What will I do tomorrow? Take a moment to think about where you imagine yourself in 2025, what will you be doing? Develop an image of what this tomorrow looks like, what will be your greatest accomplishment? Will you be a global voice for your industry or the local expert in your field? Define what exactly you will your brand be known for. Step 4: What makes me unique? Now let’s dive deeper and express what makes you unique? What is it about your brand that makes it stand out in all the noise of the market? What experiences do you provide with your brand that are memorable and unique? Step 5: Who am I important to? Specify who are the key people who benefit from your brand. Build a map that identifies the wishes, needs and concerns of the people that your brand supports. Identify what is important to them and how your brand helps them to accomplish their goals.

Step 6: What am I like as a ____? Time to paint a picture of your brand. If your brand were a human being what would they look like? If your brand were an animal what type of animal would your brand be? What adjectives would you use to describe your brand? Building a brand persona is fun, cut out images, draw or color to create your brand persona.

Step 7: What do I fight for? Leverage your brand persona to define what battle you will go fight. When you peel back the external layers of your brand what is the core? At that core, what is the mission that your brand truly fights for? These elements are the tenants of your brand strategy. “Developing your personal brand is aligning what you stand for and what others associate with you.”


These seven steps provide a great outline for developing your brand strategy. The key to a strong brand strategy is developing a strategy that is authentic to who you are and what your brand strands for. When you develop an authentic brand you are able to live on brand each and every day. Contact me at Live On Brand at Marissa@liveonbrand.com to develop your brand strategy and put your strategy into practice to Live On Brand!! Marissa Ainsworth is the Founder and CEO of Live On Brand. Marissa is a passionate millennial and brand consultant. Marissa has helped small businesses and professionals to develop, promote and live their authentic brand. For more information on how you can develop your authentic brand visit LiveOnBrand.com. Marissa has a MS in Operations Management from Kettering University and BS in Interdisciplinary Engineering and Management from Clarkson University. Marissa currently lives in Rhode Island and enjoys spending time by the ocean.


MILLENNIAL AUTHOR

Daniel Lysak is one of those people whose enthusiasm always fills a room. His flair for entrepreneurship began at eleven years old. Daniel quickly developed an interest in psychology, which he went on to study at Georgetown University. He has worked at both casual and elite restaurants, and currently runs Millennial Restaurant Consulting to help restaurants train millennial staff in what he calls, “The Same Team Mentality.”

Please tell us about your book The book is full of psychological insights, and also insights I gained from from so many people. It’s divided into three parts. The first is about dealing with your co-workers, next covers the actual customerserver interaction, and finally I get into literal scripts of what you say to a customer.


What exactly is an excellent server? Everyone has a general sense of what it means to be a good waiter. In my book I talk about how there are three main customer types; three personas that I believe an excellent server must personify. Who should read your book? This book is for anyone who works in the restaurant industry, or who just wants to hone their serving skills. Or even someone who just wants to hear some entertaining stories!


When did you first decide that you wanted to write this book and what were some first steps you took? I would say that I’ve been thinking about these concepts for years. I’ve been involved in the food service industry from the time I was very young. The writing process was a very interactive process for me. Just to give you an idea, I had a partner who is also writing a book. We interviewed one another with scripts we each had created. We recorded hours of audio and I transcribed it. From there I edited. After a year and a half, I came out with a 250 page book! How have you been balancing the demands of school while also working on such a large project? Because I am so passionate about the topic, it really makes time for itself. No question it has been a struggle to balance school, but I don’t think writing the book has detracted from my school work in any way. You just have to make the time, and perhaps take the time away from other activities that don’t really add anything.


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Step Up Contributors: Summer 2017

Visit www.Stepupmagazine.com to become a contributor!


With Lauren Brocious

For Mental Illness In April of 2016, my life completely changed. After a failed suicide attempt, I was hospitalized and diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety, an eating disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and PTSD. It was disheartening to hear this because I knew I was going to have to pursue a long road ahead. But also I was relieved. I finally figured out the reason why I never felt quite right even though I had the whole world: Class president, a trivarsity athlete, and seemingly someone that had it all. At first, it was hard for me to grasp; why would I of all people have depression? I had everything anyone could ever want. After talking to the doctors, they showed me a scan of my brain. They showed me that the chemicals in my brain weren’t producing the way they were supposed to, and compared it to the average person’s brain. It was a big difference. And then that’s when it hit me, it wasn’t my fault. These feelings I was experiencing weren’t my fault! And that’s when a lightbulb went on. Millions of people worldwide have some sort of a mental illness. Some are diagnosed while most people in the world aren’t. Only about one in four people worldwide will actually be diagnosed while those remaining three will continue to go undiagnosed. To me, knowing that there are people out there who are struggling is heartbreaking.

I struggled from the time I was age eleven to eighteen with chronic depression and to think that people will struggle with it their entire is mind boggling to me. People are scared to ask for help or scared to admit they have a problem because even though society is getting better with mental health stigmas, there is still a negative connotation behind the term mental illness. When I developed The “#YouDefineYou” Project, I had a goal in mind. That goal was to make sure that students felt accepted and could talk openly to people they cared about. I remember going into my school board office of the school system I had attended and talked to them about mental health and suicide prevention. I was told that there was no bullying or suicide issue in the county. Two weeks later, a student committed suicide at my high school. This is an issue. Not just for my school system, but for everywhere worldwide. It’s important that we step up and take initiative, step up to the plate and help combat this stigma associated with mental illness. We can help people open up and learn that there are different options out there, and that we shouldn’t even entertain suicide as an option. Instead of keeping suicide as a touchy subject, let’s open up and talk about why people commit suicide, show diagrams of a suicidal person’s brain, and talk about how we can prevent it. We are the generation that can help others learn that mental illness isn’t a fault, it’s what some people are born with. And that’s what makes us unique.


STEP UP TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE By Elizabeth Ryan

Domestic violence, assault impacts both men and women but many people still don’t know what to do after they are victimized by their attacker. The first 48 hours after the incident are crucial to your survival. Each decision that you make ultimately decides your fate, so it is important to remember that while you’re being attacked your main goal is to survive. Many studies and articles represent statistics but none of them teach you how to survive and fight back. Whether you’re on a college campus, at your home, or in a public place it’s important to know how to defend yourself and protect others. Here are 4 steps to keep you safe: 1) Remember that your goal is to survive. No matter where you are you need to make sure that survival is most important. If you’re in a public place make it known that you need help, seek out strangers or run into the nearest store.

If you’re in a parking lot press the alarm on your keys, or just scream as loud as you can. Do as much as you are able to not only draw attention to this person but to cause the attacker, out of his/her own self interest, to run instead of hurt you. 2) Take each step at a time. When I was attacked, I was driving down a dark road at one in the morning with a very angry passenger. As my body began to kick into fight or flight mode, I began to process what was happening. I took every step that I could so that I wouldn’t get hurt. The last decision that I made brought me into a stranger's home, where I was finally safe. Even if your body is taking over, try to find safety in your situation and do what you can to escape from your attacker. Don’t take any moment for granted and no matter what happens always choose to preserve your safety, rather than letting impulse take over.


Don’t take any moment for granted and no matter what happens always choose to preserve your safety, rather than letting impulse take over. Fighting with them will only escalate the situation, which will put you in more danger. 3) Try to recognize why your partner, or attacker is angry and what they are asking for. If your attacker is under the influence then their anger might escalate very quickly. In this case you must proceed as quickly and safely as possible. If you’re alone don’t provoke the person you’re with, don’t yell at them or fight with them. Instead try to speak to them calmly while you’re looking for your way out. Fighting with them will only escalate the situation, which will put you in more danger. 4) Prepare yourself. Many police officers, campus departments, and fitness centers offer self defense courses for free. They have specific courses for everyone, including children. There are also classes that teach individuals how to use pepper spray; you should consider purchasing your own container along with a personal alarm. These steps are key to your survival. Beyond protecting yourself it is important to educate others. You can step up and make powerful changes by teaching others how to protect themselves and also the ways to recognize red flags.

Elle (Elizabeth) is a wellness and lifestyle blogger, business owner, and domestic violence activist. During her Junior year of college, she was assaulted by someone that she knew. This incident sparked her passion and activism towards creating a world that no longer tolerates domestic violence. After attending Bridgewater State University to obtain her Bachelors Degree in Strategic Communications she moved to Boston for a career in Communications. Currently, she is working as an Editor-in-Chief and writing her first book about coping with allergies and auto immune disease through food and a healthy lifestyle.


Stepping Up for Racial Equity Other families choose not to, and that’s on them.” Sound familiar? This explanation of racial inequality is inaccurate, harmful, and racist.

By Karen Fleshman

Our White parents meant well. They just didn’t know what they were doing, and it’s up to us to change. Mom and Dad taught me that Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man, and that racism is terrible. And the way to not be racist is to be color blind and to never mention race. They told me... “Because of the very successful and wonderful civil rights movement, opportunities are now distributed evenly in our society," and "Some families, like ours, work hard, and that’s why we have our lifestyle.

It allows White people to believe we are not racists, while simultaneously believing that we are superior “hard workers” and people of color are inferior and “unwilling to work hard.” In other words, we are White supremacists who think racism is wrong and has nothing to do with us. This explanation thrives in all White spaces like the community where I grew up, as well as in the all White spaces I see too frequently as an adult in professional and social circles. At barbecues and birthday parties. In workplaces and neighborhoods. At schools and universities. It is up to us, White people, to disrupt these spaces, and teach our friends, colleagues, neighbors, and most importantly, our children, the truth about racism.


Here are three ways to get started: Be honest with yourself about whether or not you harbor racist beliefs. So many of us do. We absorbed them when we were children, they were reinforced in the media, and the majority of us have very few friends outside our race. Start to intentionally expand your social network. Seek out networking opportunities where you will be a minority in the room. In the next 30 days, go to at least one such event and meet new people. Follow up and start building relationships. Find likeminded people in your social circle/workplace/ kids’ school and work together to dismantle one aspect of systemic racism as it manifests in these spheres of influence. At work, get involved in any diversity initiatives in your organization. Racism will not end from on high, it will end from a grassroots movement of people like you and me changing ourselves, our relationships, and our spheres of influence, and bubble up from there. The time to start is NOW.

To practice overcoming bias, join me at an upcoming workshop in San Francisco or Atlanta, or contact me here.

Karen Fleshman is the founder of Racy Conversations. Her mission is to build and support a community of people committed to love, learning, accountability, and action on race in America. She cofacilitates workshops on race nationwide and online and contributes to Huffington Post. Karen is a cofounder of San Franciscans for Police Accountability and serves on the workgroup overseeing US Department of Justice recommendations on ending bias at SFPD. www.karenfleshman.com @fleshmankaren


Stepping Up & Creating the Representation You Need In The World By Vilissa Thompson, LMSW Founder of Ramp Your Voice!; Social Worker; Disability Rights Consultant, Writer, & Advocate I decided to take charge in representing the marginalized disabled experience when I created my disability rights organization and blog called Ramp Your Voice! I created Ramp Your Voice! in 2013 as a way to bridge a gap I saw - the lack of voices from disabled people of color, particularly Black disabled women. I had begun blogging a year earlier from the social work perspective, and saw that disability was a topic that few bloggers tackled effectively. I thought to myself, why not combine my educational and life One of the surprises of RYV! has experiences to give a perspective that was been the support and unique and much needed? Looking around encouragement I have received the disabled community at that time, I did from black disabled women. Their not see many advocates of color with support has been the motivation I blogging platforms (an example of needed to continue doing this #DisabilityTooWhite). I took it upon myself work. Though my advocacy work to create a niche to tackle topics and issues is for the benefit of all disabled that interested me. The mission of Ramp people, black disabled women are Your Voice! is simple: to be the space the primary group I am seeking to where disability issues are discussed from empower. an intersectional, personal lens. Taking on controversial topics is a challenge I have long accepted, and being known to be unafraid of speaking the truth (even when it is meets resistance) aligns with my values and morals professionally and personally.


Hearing from them, having a platform that gives space for them to tell their stories, and shattering the cloak of invisibility that has existed for too long drives me every day. When moments arise when I am angry about the injustices we are subject to, it is their voices and faces that energize me to keep making good trouble. Personally, I believe that now is the time for disabled people to step up and proclaim the realities we live in. If there is not a space that discusses the issues that matter to you, create it. This is especially true if you are a multiply-marginalized disabled person. Sharing your world and voice are instrumental to the collective movement. With the current societal climate, the future has to be intersectional and a true representation of our community; anything less is a travesty. I want to see more disabled bloggers, vloggers, journalists, writers, filmmakers, historians, etc., speaking on our diverse experiences authentically. Seeing our stories validates our livelihoods in a society that demeans and ignores us.

I know how important representation is to our community, and I hope these diverse perspectives continue to be developed and shared so that we do not have to fill in those gaps - we will be adding to what is already there. Sharing my pains and joys while embracing being a woman who is black, physically disabled, a wheelchair user, a little woman, and hard of hearing is how I have stepped up. In sharing my experience, I have empowered others. How will you step up and be the representation that is needed?

How are YOU stepping up? Tell us on our website for your chance to be featured in our next issue!


Pauleanna Reid

Networking Tips Every 20-Something Needs to Know


I’ve always been a big dreamer, but not always courageous enough to go after what I wanted. At least not until I hit my twenties. That’s when things changed and becoming an adult became real. That’s when I realized that no one is going to achieve success on my behalf and if I didn’t begin to work for it, I would never have it. I would not be where I am today if it was not for the amazing mentors and friendships that I have met along the way. Being exposed to these people from different walks of life introduced me to the idea that I could be anything and everything I wanted to be. All it took was me raising my hand and introducing myself. As someone who used to be extremely shy, I have also shared your nervousness at one point in my life. But I challenged myself to learn how to make it work for me. Here are my top secrets to network with confidence [In no particular order]: 1. Don’t be too shy to say hello. I always keep a wish list of people I want to meet. Whether it’s the girl a few rows down from you in class who seems to have an interesting perspective or someone you’ve been chatting with on social media, reach out to them and request a coffee or Skype date. You’d be surprised at the amazing opportunities that arise from a simple HELLO.

2. Network in all directions Sure it’s great to connect with someone higher up like an executive or CEO, but I’ve found that connecting with others who are at the same stage as me or perhaps a few steps ahead can actually be more effective sometimes. Get to know your fellow students, interns at the office, the assistant to the CEO of that awesome company on your goals list. These people will go on to do great things in the world and will keep you in the loop of any opportunities or connections if you cultivate that relationship. 3. Be the girl with a plan If you are attending a networking event and have access to the guest list, make sure you take some time to study who will be in attendance. Find out who the key players are and do some research on them. This is vital because it will give you the one up when you engage in conversation.


4. Dress to kill…always. You only get one chance to create a first impression. Before you even open your mouth, you’ve already made a statement to the world. You have the power to say something about who you are and what you stand for through your image, so don’t waste the opportunity. Own it! 5. Give … and give some more Before you even think about asking for a donation, job connection, reference letter, or anything for that matter, be sure to invest in your business relationship first. It’s not optional — give before you ask. 6. Know your story Who are you? What do you do? Have a clear definition of yourself and say it clearly. People want to be wowed by you. Don’t be afraid to dazzle.

Do you have an amazing network tip that you’d like to share? Email it in for your chance to be featured on our website!

Pauleanna Reid is a Motivational Speaker, Millennial Mentor, Celebrity/CEO Ghostwriter and critically acclaimed Author of her fiction novel, Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother. Through a whirlwind of inspirational lectures, round table discussions and media appearances she positively influences, challenges and reconnects youth with their passions. Pauleanna uses incredible wit and candor to empower women and girls.


The Financial Advice You Actually Need Stefanie O'Connell is millennial money expert and author of The Broke and Beautiful Life.

If you could go back in time and give your 20 year old self some financial advice what would it be? More than your education, your job title, your employer or anything else, YOU are the driver of your own income potential. Don’t sit around and wait for increased earnings opportunities to come to you, go out and seek them for yourself. Ask for a raise, improve your skill set, cultivate additional income streams. While you can only scrimp and save so much, your earning potential is unlimited. Increasing your income has the power to transform your life in a way that savings alone cannot match. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing millennials when it comes to building a secure financial future? Student loans, stagnant wages, skyrocketing living and healthcare costs, and lack of access to traditional employer benefits like 401k matches are all major financial challenges facing millennials. While each of these challenges have significant implications, they don’t have to determine our ultimate outcomes. Let’s shift our focus from our challenges to our advantages. For example, information and resources for improving our financial lives is now more low cost and accessible than ever. Let’s use that to our advantage!

“More than your education, your job title, your employer or anything else, YOU are the driver of your own income potential.”


What piece of advice can you offer students paying off debt? Wherever you stand with your debt, you can be proactive about it, whether that’s accelerating your repayment plan to pay less in interest over the life of your loans, whether it’s negotiating better interest rates or whether it’s calling up your lenders to restructure your payment plan in a way that works better with your current financial situation. There are options and alternatives for making your debt repayment more manageable and more cost effective, but it’s up to you to do that work of questioning your current plan and crafting the best alternative based on your circumstances and needs researching alternative repayment options - checking out forgiveness programs, and/or getting on the phone with your lenders so that you can negotiate paying less in the long run.

What is something all young entrepreneurs should consider before taking all the financial risks that come with being your own boss? You HAVE to know your basic cost of living first, or what I like to call ‘the make or break number’ - how much you need at a minimum to afford your essential monthly bills and meet your essential financial goals each month. If you don’t know what that number is, you won’t know how much you need to be netting each month to even consider full-time entrepreneurship. What are some apps or resources that you’d recommend for students on a budget? One of the most important things you can do for your financial life is also the simplest – track your spending. An app like Mint or Level Money can do that for you, helping you stay more mindful of your spending and more accountable to your budget and financial goals.

“Don’t sit around and wait for increased earnings opportunities to come to you, go out and seek them for yourself.”


Leonard Kim Leonard Kim is recognized as a top marketer by Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur and more. He is the managing partner of InfluenceTree, a personal branding accelerator that teaches you how to position your brand, get featured in publications and grow your social media following. He resides in Los Angeles and in his free time, you can find him on vacation in New York at the Viceroy Hotel.

Interview: Emily Rose Thorne


On your website, you’ve published your inspiring story about how you rose from a dark emotional place to become the successful person you are today. What advice do you have for other young people who may feel similarly stuck or hopeless? In life, bad things happen to all of us. Some, more tragic than others. And because of that, it’s easy to feel stuck. And sometimes, you may even feel hopeless. Feeling this way is okay. It’s natural. But you don’t want to stay that way forever. Following these 10 steps will help you get out of the position you’re in: 1.Stop thinking. 2.Get up out of bed. 3.Take a shower. 4.Get dressed. 5.Drink a glass of water. 6.Eat breakfast. 7.Go for a walk towards somewhere pleasant. 8.Pay attention to what is around you. 9.Get immersed in the scenery. 10.Appreciate the beauty around you.


You mention having tried nearly everything and taking several entry-level jobs as you tried to find your own “thing.” What inspired you to take up writing and how has that helped you grow personally or professionally? When I was working at American Honda, I was earning a little more than minimum wage. It stayed that way for two years. And I didn’t get a single raise. Taxes raised $80 a month. That was my lunch money. I couldn’t afford to eat anymore. So I ended in a position where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Because I was in this position, I realized that the only way for me to get out of the position I was in was to put my all in something. So I tried three different things. 1.I applied to over 100 jobs. I got three interviews, but didn’t get hired anywhere. 2.I went back to school, but that was a long term move and wouldn’t create any immediate results. 3.I started writing. That resulted into 2 million views within the first six months. And 10 million by a year and a half. What inspired me to stop writing was both my positioning of where I was at that exact moment, along with reading content by James Altucher. He kept saying try to do something. So I did. And it panned out. Writing helped propel me into achieving a few successes, then I stacked those successes upon each other and they led to more, then more, then more and then some more. And next thing I knew, I was landing big clients and being called an expert in my space by top tier publications.


What inspired you to cocreate InfluenceTree and what advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs? When I first started writing, a lot of people asked me to mentor them. I got messages by the hundreds. But I couldn’t spare the time to help each and every single person individually. It took some time for it to click, but I had a realization. I could create a course where I could help mentor everyone who asked me at a wider scale. So I made a decision to launch InfluenceTree. Sometimes, young entrepreneurs try to go out there and make an idea based on market demand, or what they think will be cool, or something where they aren’t even testing whether the market wants it or not. Instead of doing that, what you should be doing is looking at what you’re good at, what people come to you for and what you enjoy doing. Otherwise, chances are that it just isn’t going to work.


What is some of your best advice for small companies looking to grow their social media following?

The best advice for building your social media following is to make the first step and connect with others. When you make that first move, people are usually more than willing to reciprocate. When you start to think you are too good to make that connection, then you end up catering to an invisible audience that doesn’t exist. Always make the first move and start the relationship, whether it’s with a comment, a like or a follow. Show appreciation in what others do first, and if they like what they see you doing, they will reciprocate.


Many of our writers are young professionals who are trying to figure out what career track is right for them. What is your message to the young person whose passion is in creative work, but feels the pressure to pursue a more stable career path? Take your time. I see so many people get passionate about something and think that means they need to quit their jobs right away. Most people who do this don’t build sustainable dreams and end up back at another day job six months later. In my experience, it’s better to build a bridge than take a leap. What I mean by that is you should spend 30 minutes a day for the next two years working on your dream, gradually building momentum, so that when it’s time to make a transition, it feels more like a step than a giant leap. This is what I did — it took two years — but when I made the change from day job to doing my dream, I never looked back. I’ve been doing this now for six years. Can you explain to our readers what it means to be a "real artist"? A real artist is someone who doesn’t have to wonder if they have what it takes. That doesn’t mean they don’t question themselves sometimes, but they’re doing the work every day and getting paid for it. A real artist is a professional. As one artist told me, when you’re making money off your art, no one can dispute that you’re a real artist.

You wrote an entire book about the differences between a starving artist and a thriving one. This may be difficult, but could you summarize in one or two sentences: what's the key difference between the two? A Starving Artist chooses to starve because she thinks it’s a more noble or creative path, whereas the Thriving Artist knows that you have to make money to make art.


What advice would you give to young artists on pursuing their passions? I would say passion is overrated. I’m not saying you should do stuff you hate, but understand that passions come and go and often change depending on the season of life we’re in. Better advice than “chase your passion” is listen to your life. Parker Palmer once wrote that “before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I need to listen to my life telling me who I am.” Get a good idea of who you are, and then decide what you want to do. Activity follows identity. What would you say is the very best piece of advice you've ever received?

Who do you look up to in your field? I consider my field a mixture of fields. I am constantly borrowing from other writers, artists, and entrepreneurs. This is how we find our voices, by mixing together the voices of others. Among those voices, I admire Seth Godin, Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Gilbert, Malcolm Gladwell, and others. Why should a young creative read your book? Because the advice that “there’s no money in art” is flat out wrong, and you can’t afford to waste your life doing something you hate because you believe it’s the most secure path.

Surround yourself with friends who don’t care what you’ve accomplished.

JEFF GOINS Jeff Goins is a full-time writer who lives just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, two children, and border collie. He is the author of four books, including the national best seller The Art of Work. His website, Goinswriter.com, has been visited by more than four million people from all over the world.


Stepping Up To Hate With Jeffrey Marsh

The biggest fear we need to step up to is the fear we have inside us. We need to stop blaming mom and dad. We need to stop blaming our teachers or counselors or priests. At a certain point, we need to face the fact that fear has shaped who we are – that it is a deep and dark habit of ours – and we need to begin the long, painful, joyous, crazy process of living for another reason. We need to learn to have motivations and inspirations beyond petty fears. What will THEY think of me? Will I ever find someone who REALLY loves me for me? I can’t quit my job, I’ll starve!! All of it needs to go. Fear is one thing that truly gets worse with age. I learned this lesson very well when I was internet famous. I still am famous, I guess, but at an earlier time in my career my biggest platform was Vine (which has since died altogether). With Vine’s demise, the importance of getting viral likes began to fade for me. But even though my priorities have changed, I’m exceedingly grateful for Vine because it taught me how to give up fear.

If I told you the things people commented on some of my videos, you might be sickened. Here's a story: I had just become famous, although that’s a tricky thing to track. Let’s say I had just had a string of very successful videos that were starting to push into the millions of views range, and that was new for me. I would eventually be unable to keep up with the notifications and the comments. But in the transitional phase I was still interested in reading what people had to say. And one person said they were going to kill me.


Over a series of comments, someone wrote a novel. It was a (gladly fictional) account of finding me in New York City, shooting me with a particular kind of gun, in a particular way, on a particular day – shooting a particular part of my body. This person also described how all of this would feel and how they would celebrate me dying. They mentioned how happy they would be to see a f3gg%t like me bleed. This was a turning point for me. This was a wake-up call. I remember how clear the choice was: to be governed by fear, and turn back. Live a small life and stop "being famous." Stop drawing attention and being a star. Or, choice two, face the fear and keep going. I knew enough to know that this would also mean I would need to stop complaining. I knew that if I was to keep going, I’d be doing it consciously and with a full awareness that the hate wasn’t going to stop. In fact, I remember thinking at the time that the hate was probably going to ramp up. If you didn’t guess already, I went with choice two. I kept going. And yes, the hate increased. It morphed into a monster I would never have been able to handle when I made my decision to keep going. But, the love has also grown. No matter how big the hate gets, the love is always so much bigger. I live with purpose. I live to spread and live with love. I have the joyous freeing and happy feeling of living a life without fear or hate inside me. And so, for Vine and my would-be assassin, I will always be grateful."

“I live with purpose. I live to spread and live with love. I have the joyous freeing and happy feeling of living a life without fear or hate inside me.”


Step Up For Women’s Rights There is this belief, held by many, that one person cannot change the world. That, as an individual, our contribution is so miniscule that there is no reason to even try. But this is simply nothing but an excuse, a way to be lazy; every single one of us has the potential to make a difference, and with hard work and perseverance, you can succeed. I have always been a huge advocate of women’s rights and empowerment. From talking about it on social media to empowering women in my own life and owning several feminist t-shirts (that I wear proudly), I have constantly felt the need to emphasize just how important it is to stand up for women. In January of 2017, I decided to take this a step farther. What began as an idea for starting a blog quickly turned into a full-fledged magazine. A few weeks and an amazing web-designer later, I had my own magazine: Women’s Republic. Before long, I had people who joined the team as writers, and we’ve turned it into a website that is quickly gaining momentum.


Women’s Republic provides a platform for women to talk about issues they face in society, potential solutions, and simultaneously empower one another. Articles range from feminism to mental health to sex-ed, and the idea is to give these topics a fresh perspective from women. Women’s Republic’s writers hail from all around the world, from different backgrounds and various life experiences. Writing is my life; it has always been my outlet to put my views and opinions out there. Starting my own platform like Women’s Republic is a dream that I have had for a long time. However, I never thought that I would be able to make it happen at the age of 19. It is possible to follow your dreams and make something of yourself at any age. I’m not saying it is easy, but it is not impossible. I would not have been able to do it without help from the people around me: my family, friends and the writers of Women’s Republic. But with a support system, and with hard work and dedication, it is possible. If you, like me, believe in women’s rights, there are so many ways that you can help achieve gender equality. Start by speaking out and voicing your opinion. Find your outlet, whether it is writing, music, art or any other thing, and use that to show people how and why you believe in women’s rights. Encourage others to stand up. Help a women’s organization; it does not always have to be monetary, it can even be as small as putting in some of your time to volunteer. Standing up for something can be hard, but it will be so incredibly rewarding. Go to Women’s Republic in order to see how I’ve turned my passion for women’s rights into a platform, and remember this: if you work hard and persevere, anything is possible.


Q&A with Jack Parsons

“Never turn an idea into reality if you’re not passionate. You must be passionate, this is an essential requirement in the recipe of success.”

Please tell us about yourself and yourfeed. I’m a man on a mission to connect two million young people to purposeful opportunities by 2020. I have three skills: Those are connecting communities together, working bloody hard (I work seven days a week) and sharing my Passion. I’ve surrounded myself with people who are immensely talented which is why our awardwinning squad @ yourfeed is making waves. yourfeed is a new social/professional networking platform for fans to showcase their skills, passion and talents to brands and sidekicks and we want

to empower young people and merge industry with education so that we can build a brighter future of intelligent young people. What are some of your best networking tips for young professionals? I believe that half of it is turning up. If you’re at the event, your chances go up by 50% compared to the 0 if you had stayed at home. Next, it’s about having the confidence to just approach people, what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like you’re going to see these people again.


Your mission is to connect two million young people to commercial opportunities by 2020. How do you go about achieving this mission? As with any big mission, you’ve got to break it down into phases. Phase 1 for my mission is the Pledge. The Pledge is 90 days of bespoke events with 200-300 young people, we’ll be hosting these events to connect young people to opportunities and further develop relationships between industry and education. The other phases remain in development. You left school at age 16 and decided not to attend college. What would you say to another young person who is contemplating the same move? Know what’s right for you, if you want to be a doctor then sixth form is the right path for you, but if you want to go into something like sales, sixth form my not be your best move and you should be looking at apprenticeships. It’s all about knowing where your passions and skills lie. Once you know that, the decision is easy. What are some resources you would suggest to young people interested in entrepreneurship? Google and YouTube can teach you everything you could possibly need to know; every answer is at your fingertips. If you’re using the internet to waste time, you’re not using it correctly. Through the power of the internet, I taught myself as much as I could and there’s some great examples of people in my business using the internet to really upskill themselves.

What is your best advice for turning your ideas into reality? Never turn an idea into reality if you’re not passionate. You must be passionate. This is an essential requirement in the recipe of success. If you start up your idea and you’re passionate, there should be nothing stopping your drive, energy and passion. Which social media platform do you find to be the most effective in communicating to your audience? Across all the channels I reach 2.7 million young people monthly, but a large majority of that comes from my Twitter. I find that it’s the perfect balance between Social/Professional and Photos/Videos. What would you say to a young person who has dreams of becoming a CEO, such as yourself. Know what you’re getting into, I work seven days a week, my social life is my work life. If you want to become a CEO then in the beginning be prepared to sacrifice a lot to channel all your energy, focus and creativity into your business.


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