There is a movement that has been stirring among activists, business people, innovators and artists in my local community of Atlanta, Georgia. Historically, Atlanta has been known by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and others activists who valiantly fought for human rights. The hope and vision is that Atlanta will be known as a center for social innovation.
Plywood, founded by social entrepreneur Jeff Shinabarger, rallies non-profit activists, business people, artists and cultural creatives who are working in their communities to create social change. It is a community of people who seek to address long-term social issues both in Atlanta and around the world. I was fortunate to attend my first Plywood Presents gathering. It was amazing to hear stories from social entrepreneurs, especially young women, who are creating far reaching change both in Atlanta and around the world. Jeff Shinabarger believes that some of the most innovative ideas are coming from young women in Atlanta. He believes investing in young women entrepreneurs makes an enormous impact in Atlanta as well as globally.
“Women are gaining confidence in their ideas, some of the best ideas are coming from young women entrepreneurs.” – Jeff Shinabarger
The Plywood movement encourages and equips women to “run” with their ideas. During the day and a half conference I had the opportunity to meet with several women and learn about their social causes. I asked these women what inspires them to advocate for women and girls. Also, I asked them to share advice for other young women who are working to improve the lives of women and girls.
Check out these amazing women and their social causes:
Prissy Tomboy empowers young girls in the United States to be actively engaged and involved in sports and the athletic community. Founder Tracey Pearson travels to different sporting competitions around the United States promoting the brand and connecting with girls in the athletic community. Through their Ambassador program, young girls ages 8-21 are provided with opportunities to mentor other girl athletes, share sports tips and be a part of the Prissy Tomboy core network.
Tracy’s Advice to Young Women:
As a woman, own your story. Do not look for validation from others, challenge yourself and be yourself!
So Worth Loving is a life style brand that promotes worth and value among all people. Founder Eryn Erickson created So Worth Loving as a platform to spread a powerful and positive message. As a young girl, Eryn realized the unrealistic expectations of women set forth in society by the media, individuals and among her peers. Her heart and passion is for specifically empowering women and girls with this message:
You are worth loving. You are beautiful.
The So Worth Loving t-shirt and other products can be purchased through their online store. Visit the So Worth Loving blog to find amazing and powerful stories from both women and men who have been impacted by this powerful message.
Eryn’s Advice to Young Women:
-Be yourself and surround yourself with others that support and believe in your idea.
-Do not compare yourself to others, have confidence!
-Have a teachable spirit and believe in what you have to offer to others.
Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that empowers young women in Uganda. At the age of 22, founder Liz Bohannon traveled to Uganda and was privileged to work alongside of an amazing community of young women-all whom have incredible dreams. Sseko uses fashion to employ talented young women and provide educational scholarships to them. They have been able to provide 47 young women with an opportunity to attend University. Liz and the Sseko team believe in providing dignity and hope for women in Uganda and around the world.
Liz’s Message to Young Women:
Surround yourself with people – both women and men – who believe in you and will encourage you to be the best version of yourself.
I believe an essential aspect of social innovation is listening to those around you and working to understand local and global issues. Some of the most amazing social innovators and entrepreneurs I know are young women. Many of these women are my friends who live in the United States and every day give their time and talents to further empower and love those around them. They are women from remote areas in India and Southeast Asia who have started businesses in order to empower young children in their communities.