Authority Magazine Names Larissa Lowthorp a Social Impact Hero - Medium.com
The Social Impact Heroes of Social Media: “Listen to your intuition. Your heart knows the way.” with Larissa Lowthorp and Candice Georgiadis
This article originally appeared in Authority Magazine on Medium.com
By Candice Georgiadis
As a part of my series about social media stars who are using their platform to make a significant social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Larissa Lowthorp is a design, entertainment and technology creative. She is the founder and president of TimeJump Media. In 2017, Larissa donated all of her belongings and hit the road with her beagle, her laptop and two suitcases of essentials to see what life had in store.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Hi! I’m so glad to be able to be part of this series. Thank you for the opportunity. I really appreciate it and I think it’s great that you’re highlighting the positive ways that influencers are using their platforms for good.
I’ve been sharing my life online in one form or another since my early teens — so social networking was a natural extension of that.
It’s a way for me to mesh my widely disparate talents and interests into a unified persona. My vivid imagination and creativity fuels my drive to innovate for a better world.
"I hope to serve as an inspiration to people with big dreams, to be an encouraging voice to those who have yet to uncover their passions to discover what makes their souls sing."
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t driven by a burning curiosity to learn everything imaginable about this universe, or a time when I wasn’t consumed with a need to create. I’ve always had a feeling that I’ve been put on this earth for reasons far bigger than myself, for reasons I don’t fully comprehend.
As a kid, I never fit in at school and I didn’t “get” it. For years, I was bullied for being different — for being myself. I went home in tears nearly every day. My classmates were downright cruel. At one point, the situation became so bad that I begged my parents to let me change school districts. When I was younger, bullying wasn’t under the spotlight as it is today, and the party line was, “kids can be like that.”
I’d fake being sick to avoid my classmates (pretty sure my mom was onto me). I missed weeks and months of school throughout the year, but I tested well — in the third-grade state-mandated aptitude test, I tested at the post-graduate level. Faculty and my parents recommended me to audit university classes but the request was denied due to my age.
"I wish I could open the eyes of every young person out there who’s experiencing doubt or shame, to have them realize that who they are is beautiful — and to never feel the need to hide from what makes you unique."
It wasn’t until middle school that I began taking more advanced classes (this was only after I spent three weeks being intensively tested, yet again, to see if I belonged in what was then called “special ed.” At the time, my sister was in graduate school working toward her master’s degree in theology, and used me to practice her theorems and debates, and when I engaged the guidance counselor on a discourse about existential nihilism and Kierkegaard, she called my mom, who — I paraphrase — said “I told you so.”).
Even then, I never did my homework (didn’t see the point) and I got poor grades. My dad was of the mindset that I’d learn more out of the classroom and traveling with him, and I developed an insatiable wanderlust from a young age.
The fact that I did poorly in school didn’t mean I wasn’t continually learning — I devoured all the books I possible could and was reading from the library’s adult section from the middle of first grade. On my seventh birthday, my dad gave me an unabridged copy of one of his favorite books: The Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. My mom said it was over my head and advised I set it aside for a few years. Just to prove her wrong, I read the entire novel from cover-to-cover and discussed it at length with my dad. My parents believed that learning was learning, and since I was always in discovery mode, they didn’t sweat my grades or attendance too much.
My original ideas and ability to think outside the box set me apart — and there was a long time when I didn’t fully embrace that, because I felt something was wrong with me.
I wish I could open the eyes of every young person out there who’s experiencing doubt or shame, to have them realize that who they are is beautiful — and to never feel the need to hide from what makes you unique.
"There isn’t one soul on this planet who’s born without a special gift or talent to offer the world"
There isn’t one soul on this planet who’s born without a special gift or talent to offer the world — but too many people never discover what that is, or are afraid to share it. My older sister always encouraged me to become the best version of myself. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I’m very fortunate to have been blessed with a family who believes in my talents, even when they don’t always understand what drives me.
Since before I can remember, my creativity was my escape. Acting allowed me to become somebody else. Writing allowed me to think with different perspectives and put myself into the shoes of the people who tried to tear me down, and to have empathy for what others may be going through. I put my design eyes on anything and everything I could get my hands on.
When I was in tenth grade, I devised an elaborate plan to gain wide exposure, to start a company that did many different things, and to use my fame and fortune to re-invest it into my passion projects, those things that would fundamentally improve the foundations of people’s lives, and revolutionize the framework of the world at large. It seemed to me that all of the problems we faced couldn’t be that hard to solve. The money was there. The knowledge was there. So why wasn’t it already done? I figured that if wealthy people in power weren’t using their money and influence to improve things, I’d become rich and famous myself and do exactly that. So I continued acting, and I began to pick up work as a model.
As a teen, there was very little structure to the concept. It seemed impossible –for too long, I wrongly allowed naysayers and doubters to hold me back. My desire to change the world never left and it’s only grown stronger, particularly in recent years. I wanted to help my family. I wanted to change the world. I won’t stop until I have — and even then, I’ll keep going. It wasn’t until I met my boyfriend and discovered that we share the same visionary ideas about bettering people’s lives and the world at large that I began to open my soul to exploring this side of myself once again.
By the time social media came along, people began following my posts for insights on how I saw the world (different from others, apparently), tech anecdotes, and to see how I merged the IT with my artistic side. It’s allowed me great freedom to be able to express different facets of myself.
My parents were involved in technology and manufacturing. I was rebuilding computers with my dad and programming video games in Visual Basic from elementary school. I began web programming when I was in middle school and it became a hobby. When I was a broke college student, I began bartering design services for things like photographs, hair styling, you name it. I established a roster of freelance clients who later sent new business referrals.
I had to leave university after my dad got sick. I needed a way to quickly earn money to support myself and my family. Web design was the most lucrative talent I had, and I put it to work. You always hear that “art doesn’t pay the bills” and, at the time, I had no other resources available — I had to get creative and do what needed to be done in order to get by. Focusing on technology achieved that. Eviction and repossession notices had been sent… my dad was in ICU for two months before he passed away.
My uncle provided support to us during that time. I’ll never forget the time I was speeding to the emergency room to be with him, and answered the phone in case it was his doctor. It was a debt collector — when I told him I couldn’t talk because I was on my way to see my dying father, he accused me of lying to avoid paying the debt.
"I worked very hard, and ended up having a talent"
I didn’t choose a technology career. It just happened. I worked very hard, I ended up having a talent for it and eventually got a great corporate job. About six years ago, I realized that I felt stuck. I knew I couldn’t keep going. My creativity was being stifled. I’d become depressed. My energy wasn’t in alignment and I felt out of harmony with the universe. I listened. I became more involved in my fashion pursuits, and I re-ignited my interest in the film industry.
Following this, I wrote, produced and directed a short film which screened as part of the Cannes International Film Festival to critical acclaim. I began writing feature-length screenplays — one of which was written with my mom based on her original concept. Mom and I have always done artistic things together. She established my firm belief in spreading random acts of kindness wherever I go. My other screenplays are children’s fantasy features and dark comedy action thrillers. They’ve been well-received, praised by industry insiders for their rich imagination and originality, and are currently in development for theatrical release.
As I began traveling regularly and became more entrenched within the entertainment industry, I realized that having a 9–5 job wasn’t conducive to my life goals, and I changed directions on a wing and a prayer. I left my corporate job and began consulting full-time in 2015 while working toward getting my films off the ground and following my dreams. I decided to document the journey on Instagram. I didn’t know it at the time, but my move out of the corporate culture motivated others I worked with to do the same — including my manager at the time. I’m very thankful that my actions have inspired people to pursue their passions.
In 2017, things shifted and my life did a complete 180. I was feeling entirely unmoored. There were very few people in my life who were able to anchor and guide me. My boyfriend was one of those people, and it was with his encouragement that I founded TimeJump Media. He’d known that it was a stepping stone I’d envisioned toward much larger goals of making huge positive changes in the world and, having started his own business and charity organization in the past, he helped me navigate what I found to be an overwhelming process. He’s used his experience in the entertainment industry in full support of my goals. I’m very thankful for and blessed to have his continued encouragement.
"I'm trying to say YES to life!"
I continue to document my life online and I’m operating in several different spheres –entertainment, fashion, tech, corporate, and moonlighting on passion projects of mine. I’ve got ADD in a bad way, so to me, this feels natural. I used to try and hide from what made me different, but I’ve come to realize that the people who are doing truly original things — they can’t have a map because it’s uncharted territory. What I can say is that I’ve been happiest when I’ve followed my heart and intuition. It’s never led me astray. Since becoming more involved with film, and documenting that as a social influencer, it’s seemed that my path forward illuminates just as I’m approaching a dark corner.
I’m trying to say “yes” to life! A heart open to abundance and possibility has taken me far — and I believe it can do so for anyone. YES, you have to work hard and NO it won’t always be easy — sometimes it’ll be exhausting and scary — but at the end of the day, can you say you did what you loved and left the world a little bit better than it was when you woke up? It doesn’t mean you’ll never face hardship or strife. It means that you overcome it.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?
The most interesting story that happened to me since I began this career isn’t any one thing in particular. It’s been a chain-reaction series of choices and events over the years that have guided me toward this path, this moment.
I was fearful to embrace who I was, and my full potential, for most of my life. I had a tendency to minimize my accomplishments. My mind was full of ideas that were so revolutionary, so out of the ordinary, that, for the most part, I kept them entirely to myself. I didn’t think that anyone cared, or would understand. I’ve always been extremely artistic and imaginative. Throughout my life, teachers, friends, family, colleagues, and others have noted this, but when I was younger, all I wanted to be was normal.
Except, that’s not why I’m here.
I spent years hiding this side of myself — trying to fit into a mold that wasn’t made for me. I was so consumed with being accepted and fearful of rejection that I lost myself. Having been there, I would urge any girls and young women out there — never do that. Yes, I know it’s so much easier said than done.
"I was no longer resisting the universe — I was going with it and despite all logical reasoning to the contrary"
Life nudged me in the direction of a highly varied career path which allowed me the freedom to travel as I began expanding my brand and exploring my creative passions once more. This, and other life circumstances, led me — not entirely of my own design — to attend the Cannes Film Festival in France in 2014, and while there, I experienced a sense of calm and peace that was entirely unfamiliar, but very refreshing. I was finally beginning to be myself and follow my heart. I didn’t have any business being there — I couldn’t afford it.
The entire affair was supremely impractical but I wanted to see what happened. I told myself that best case scenario, new doors would open, and worst case scenario, I had a vacation on the French Riviera! Win-win, right? I finally felt a calling — and had a deep inner knowledge, which came from somewhere beyond myself, that I had to pursue it, no matter what.
It was very impractical and highly inadvisable to quit my corporate job, but I had an overwhelming sense that it was something I had to do — no matter the risks. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time. However, I still didn’t commit to it fully. Over the the course of the next couple of years, a chain of events just kind of unfolded which led me to this moment.
I was no longer resisting the universe — I was going with it and despite all logical reasoning to the contrary, things just seemed to work out the way they were supposed to and it finally seemed like I was on the path meant for me — when before, it had always seemed forced.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of my early clients was a best-selling author. I priced out his project far lower than market value and spent time well above and beyond to get it right for him. He was an insomniac and would call me in the middle of the night, then send me rant-filled emails for not being available 24/7. He told me that he’d like to put me in contact with his marketing manager and set up a three-way conference call. A few minutes into the call, they disagreed about something and it turned into a full-on screaming match!
I later learned that the author’s marketing manager was his ex-wife. He insisted on having conference calls with her and I endured more screaming between the two of them. I didn’t know whether or not to speak up, so stayed on the line and listened to them rehash their dirty laundry.
I learned the importance of speaking up and asserting yourself. I learned to never under-value the worth of yourself or your work — nobody else will do it for you. I learned this the hard way as there have been a number of times in the past when people took my ideas and passed them off as their own, taking full credit without acknowledgement.
In years past, I was far too timid when this happened. I was hesitant and didn’t want to rock the boat, to hurt anyone’s feelings, or to make anyone mad at me. The result was that there were times when I didn’t speak up when I should have, particularly for those ideas that were truly transformative and served to catapult the reputations and careers of others, which kept me back.
There are always more ideas to be had and you have to keep looking forward. I’ve always spoken up for the rights of others, but it’s taken a lot of effort to make speaking up for myself a habit.
If you don’t speak up for yourself, people will walk all over you. Someone once told me, “you have to teach people how to treat you” and there’s a lot of truth in that.
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the core focus of our interview. Can you describe to our readers how you are using your platform to make a significant social impact?
Historically, I’ve used my platform to share the things that matter to me — whether it’s what I’m doing throughout the day, funny or interesting things I see, things I like, dislike, or find amusing. Over time, that’s evolved into sharing my perspectives and opinions on a variety of things. That’s what my audience loves — I provide inspiration to see the world in a different way.
I was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal and discuss the importance of understanding your audience — but it begins with an understanding of yourself.
I’m leveraging my social channels to raise awareness and amplify my message about my incredible new organization, FemmePower. FemmePower is dedicated to the support and empowerment of current and future female business owners, entrepreneurs, and micro-entrepreneurs throughout the world and from all walks of life.
FemmePower will become a crowd-resourced organization with a global reach. We work with female entrepreneurs establish business plans, connect with likeminded business partners and supporting services, obtain financing and micro-financing, craft promotional strategies, educate women on the basics of business ownership, and secure access to foundational elements such as materials or inventory.
We connect women to women and to like-minded industry veterans in the role of mentors and coaches to provide guidance and answer questions.
We’ll connect female entrepreneurs to free, low-cost and accessible tools to drive sustained success. We’ll provide access to financing, opportunities for education, business knowledge, basic financing skills and meet women wherever they are in life and in the world to formulate viable plans to financial security, and independence.
By empowering women, FemmePower strengthens families and communities.
We provide tailored services to under-served, minority, and marginalized female business owners and entrepreneurs-to-be globally with an aim to permanently lift women and their families from poverty.
We serve women in transition by supporting female refugees, survivors of trafficking, forced labor, domestic abuse, and enslavement, and their families, by nurturing growth from strong new roots to a place of independence and financial security via business ownership. We aid women experiencing life transitions to pave the path to security and success.
FemmePower shall provide coaching and small business ownership classes online and in local communities. We work to build literacy and financial competency. We shall seek and find creative ways for women living in repressed conditions to shape their lives via business ownership in a way that seeks to minimize the risk of societal or political repercussion.
We believe that all women have the right to education, lifelong happiness, security, and independence.
Female entrepreneurs face a number of barriers to business ownership at all levels even as they become business owners at a higher rate than ever. Most of these female entrepreneurs are small business owners or micro-entrepreneurs.
FemmePower seeks to support these endeavours and to nurture their growth. Women have a worldwide historical pattern of obtaining employment in low-skilled, labor-intensive industries that consign their role to a societally-predetermined profession that’s seen as being appropriate for women. This practice undermines educational achievement, perpetuates cultural stereotypes, and truncates upward mobility.
Additionally, in a 2000 report, Worldbank found that gender relations plays a key dynamic in female business ownership . Worldbank reports that in Vietnam. there is a correlation between higher rates of abuse and households where women earn a higher income than their husbands, or are the family’s main income earner.
Women around the globe are impacted by the so-called “motherhood penalty” with little regard to economic status or race.
Worldbank also notes that although the Philippines has a higher proportion of female college graduates than male, women have little in the way of career mobility and are more often seen in production operator positions while more men are working as technicians or engineers.
There are a number of near-universal challenges faced by women entrepreneurs which are driven by a lack of education and insufficient access to resources. Female business owners have inadequate access to financial and credit services, insufficient connectivity, communications and information, and a drought of financial and business management skills. Large-scale efforts and major infrastructure changes are required to support women entrepreneurs, including through access to small loans, markets, and training. FemmePower seeks to remove these obstacles by equipping women with the tools they need in order to establish a viable path toward job and income security.
Women living in transition economies are particularly vulnerable to shrinking social sector services and market competition.
For example, a survey conducted in China’s Shanxi province found that one fifth of women workers had suffered job losses in some regions and industries, with childbearing responsibilities listed as one of the main reasons for the lay-offs (Cooke 2001). To offset income insecurity and wage gaps, many women in Vietnam are forced to take on multiple jobs, with almost a quarter of women being both self-employed and engaged in wage work (ADB 2002). Women should never be put in the position of having to choose between motherhood and career. Business ownership affords women the opportunity to make educated choices in both their personal and professional lives.
Wow! Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?
All women are impacted by this cause. FemmePower exists to empower existing business owners as they seek to begin, improve and grow. We’re here to support those interested in exploring business ownership learn more and get their dreams off the ground. For those who are lost and seeking their way, we can provide insight. We are the next step in the journey forward for women emerging from crisis situations and entering a rebuilding phase of their lives. For women living in vulnerable and repressed situations, our trusted network will aid in your efforts to achieve autonomy in a safe and discreet manner.
Was there a tipping point the made you decide to focus on this particular area? Can you share a story about that?
Here’s what I’d like to know. Once you have that exposure, once you have people who are interested in your causes, in your life, and in keeping pace with the things you’re doing and want to accomplish — how can you empower those followers to turn around and do good themselves? What’s the point of being a celebrity or having a large following if you don’t use it to full effect to improve the world?
"Money, fame, vanity, and material possessions are all fleeting and will not leave a lasting footprint on history. In order to effect real change, one must be willing to put themselves out there, to risk things that others would not, and to take chances that haven’t been tried before. It requires a lot of guts, creativity, and persistence."
Because you will fail, and you’ll fail a lot. As long as you learn from your mistakes, they’re never missed opportunities. Keep on going. I’ve made more mistakes than I can count, and I make new ones every day.
My career path has been anything but straightforward. I’ve always been extremely artistic, to the point where my math teacher told my mom that I was the best artist he’d ever had in class (I doodled all over my assignments and turned them in full of sketches of elaborate fantasy worlds and missing the answers). Art is my life, and I always knew I wanted to do something creative — but it wasn’t practical and I didn’t know where to begin.
From high school, I had a nebulous idea of starting one large company that did a lot of different things. I dreamed that at some point, my company would be making enough money and become well-known enough that I could use it as a platform to do what I really wanted to do — to foster a positive, worldwide transformation and work toward eradication of unnecessary problems such as poverty, hunger, lack of education, and conflict. Whatever was already being done wasn’t enough — and I didn’t understand why, because the resources are already there, they just weren’t being utilized. It was painfully clear.
But how? I was paralyzed. There are so many excellent charities and organizations out there that are doing wonderful things. I wanted my organization to be more than just one of many — my hope was for whatever I did to fill a real gap and really improve people’s lives in a sustainable way. I spent years trying to think of what that could be. I saw major problems in the world — but had a hard time identifying them for what they were or effecting a real way to change things and so I put it to the back of my mind. It stayed there for years.
I’d effectively run and operated businesses since I was a teenager (my parents were entrepreneurs and were very encouraging — plus it got me out of the house. I could be a pretty annoying kid.)
More recently, however, getting TimeJump Media off the ground posed new challenges — and it was a larger endeavor than I’d previously tried. I wanted to do it right. I wanted to set this up to sustain me for years to come because I was tired of spinning my wheels and doing the same thing every day. I didn’t want to keep building other people’s dreams for them. It was time to build mine, and to make a difference.
I frequently encountered dead ends which required me to come up with creative work-arounds. Banks were reluctant finance a small business without an established track record. This presented a paradox, because without that track record, I was unable to access resources required to grow, and lacking that, I was unable to service my niche as fully as I’d envisioned. It’s been a heavy learning curve, and very difficult at times. FemmePowerwill use and expand upon my experience to make things easier for other female business owners so they can focus on the things that matter most in their lives.
Although I emerged from a background of abuse (in various forms), this will never define me — even as it shapes who I am and how my endeavors will change the world for the better. Throughout this journey, I found very limited resources available to underpin long-term success. I defied the odds, despite every obstacle thrown in my path — things that would stop almost anyone else — and I plan to continue to defy the odds and stand up for what’s right for as long as I live. I don’t believe people ever want to give up — they encounter insurmountable hurdles. What if those hurdles could be removed?
"I don’t believe people ever want to give up — they encounter insurmountable hurdles. What if those hurdles could be removed?"
I recently woke up one day and all of this had gelled in my mind to create FemmePower. The idea was fully formed and I couldn’t rest until I’d taken action on it. The idea came from beyond me. It was this amazing calling from God that I couldn’t get out of my head. I knew I had to pursue it.
My journey away from abuse, and toward becoming a successful artist, technology executive, creative, and female entrepreneur, could be tapped to serve a much wider role and to fill a very real missing link in the pipeline toward achieving lasting autonomy, security and financial independence for other women — no matter what one’s life circumstances may be.
FemmePower is a resource providing aid to women from all walks of life, grow viable businesses, establish reachable goals, and to challenge themselves to do better.
Human trafficking and safely removing individuals from of hostage situations is an issue near and dear to my heart. Trafficked women can become inadvertently involved in the trafficking pipeline while they were trying to find gainful employment to lift their families from poverty. Many accepted (false) job offers to work overseas which were a bait-and-switch, and realized too late that the job was entirely different than what was promised, involving forced prostitution or other de-humanizing and illegal activities. Their captors cut trafficked individuals off from their families (or they’re forced to check-in with their families and fraudulently report health and happiness to fly under the radar) and, avoid return (when it is even possible — many have their identities stripped and passports taken) for fear of causing shame to their families or the societal repercussions they may face. Captors use both physical and emotional torture and manipulation tactics to gain compliance.
By seeking new opportunities and financial independence, these women became involved in something nefarious, and there are limited resources available to these individuals after a crisis has passed. Recovery and emotional and psychological rehabilitation is a lifelong process.
There is an uphill battle of legal issues, particularly when they’ve been forced to perform illegal activities such as drug trafficking, organized crime, and prostitution — and this, in part, can be a major barrier to rebuilding their lives. As survivors enter the next phase of their lives, with robust support, their entrepreneurial spirit can be re-awakened and nurtured into a viable path toward a better life.
Survivors face tremendous psychological impact, and PTSD, anxiety, depression and substance abuse can result. FemmePower will work hand-in-hand with mental health professionals and legal case workers to aid in the healing and rebuilding process.
Society at large needs to shift their mindset from classifying survivors as victims, and work together to support these women as they pave sustainable paths to gainful careers.
Trauma psychology plays a key role, and FemmePower will work with mental heath professionals serving survivors to nurture, support and cultivate the ability to thrive for life via business ownership for those who wish to pursue that path. FemmePower is a step toward the future for women emerging from vulnerable and at-risk situations. We foster social rehabilitation and re-integration via business ownership.
We will operate a network of vetted and trusted business ownership proxies for women living in repressive conditions worldwide who are working to establish secure and long-term exit plans.
FemmePower works hand-in-hand with crisis organizations such as Gino McKoy’s Kinder Krisis to provide long-range aid to women and their families after safe environs have been established. FemmePower is designed to support women and their families as they enter the next phase of their lives looking toward a bright future. We’ll lay a network of roots throughout the world promoting freedom of education, free exchange of resources, positive change and growth. FemmePower shall work in tandem with organizations throughout the world who are already involved in their local communities to ensure that we have a positive cultural impact.
FemmePowers icon is the lotus flower because it is born of the dark and comes from mud. This symbolizes the journey of the female entrepreneur. There are universal truths and challenges that all women business owners have in common with one another no matter where they came from, or where they’re going.
The transformative power of the lotus has special meaning to me . I was born in July, my birth flower is the water lily (lotus) and my life has ebbed and flowed like the tides with phases of the moon — blossoming, fading and blooming again into something more beautiful than I could have imagined. The lotus is a symbol of hope and enlightenment, which is what FemmePower provides.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
Yes, absolutely! Everyone can become involved with FemmePower. Strong women build strong communities. I’d love to hear from other women business owners who would like to become involved in our outreach and mentorship programme and inspire others.
I’d also love to hear from people willing to invest and finance women in business, from micro-loans all the the way to more substantial financing efforts.
Access to credit is a key issue that women business owners face when attempting to grow their companies and when attempting to source inventory or materials. I love Kiva’s model of social financing and hope to implement something similar, or work directly with Kiva, Grameen Bank, and other local financiers and angel investors who would be willing to support women in business. I hope to speak with attorneys who are willing to provide low-cost or pro-bono services to female start-ups, and with people who want to work with our clients hands-on. Anyone who is interested in becoming involved in our network of mentors, people willing to volunteer their time and space on their feed to draw awareness, and as a way to highlight inspirational success stories of other female enterpreneurs.
Politicians can take real action beyond vocal advocacy and enforce anti-trafficking laws and ensure that women facing criminal charges as a result of their situation receive immunity from legal as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives. We can earmark more federal grants, scholarships, and money to get new female owned and operated businesses off the ground and plan for long-term success.
Female business owners who would like to be interviewed and profiled on the FemmePower website and social channels, please reach out! I love to share inspiring stories.
What specific strategies have you been using to promote and advance this cause? Can you recommend any good tips for people who want to follow your lead and use their social platform for a social good?
FemmePower is quite new. Things are just getting off the ground and reception so far has been incredibly promising. I’m so excited about this and I hope you will be, too. I’m using a grassroots social media strategy and pointing people to the website (https://femmepower.co) as a starting point. The first thing I’d like to do to advance the cause is to raise awareness via social media (I’ve already started on Instagram at
https://instagram.com/femmepowerofficial) about challenges women in business face at all levels, across industries, cultures, races and professions. I’ve been on a fact-finding and sharing mission to raise the voice of the cause. I’m first connecting with localized resources that are already in place to advance female business ownership and other like-minded influencers. I’ll then leverage my primary social media accounts to highlight our efforts and our progress. This is a journey and I want to take you with.
My biggest tip for anyone who’d like to follow my lead and use your social platform for good is to do it! You have a voice — raise it. Your followers watch you for a reason — there is something that makes them feel connected to you and interested in your life, your views. There’s no good deed too small. There are so many eyes on your feeds, why not take the time out of your day to inspire somebody? You never know when that will make all the difference for them to keep going. But don’t use it as your only method — get out there and get your hands dirty, meet others, never stop expanding your network and horizons because you never know what amazing door will open next.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
To be honest, if someone had told me five things when I first started, I probably wouldn’t have listened. I’ve always had to learn things the hard way, and experience it for myself. It’s a chief complaint of my family and boyfriend. At times they get to say “I told you so” but had I not learned to follow my heart and intuition, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now, I wouldn’t have had the incredible experiences I’ve had thus far and I wouldn’t have the guts to create an endeavor like FemmePower.
1. Listen to your intuition.
Your heart knows the way. Even if people say you can’t, or something is impractical, there’s something inside of us all that guides us to the right path. Be true to yourself. The times when I’ve forced myself to be logical, or to follow advice that made sense but went against my gut, are the times that I’ve been left unsatisfied or things didn’t work out the way they should.
2. Be vocal!
Talk to everyone about what you’re doing — don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. It used to be that I was shy and reserved to share my ideas and what I’m working on — but whenever I have, it’s had an overwhelmingly positive result. Not everyone will be receptive or supportive to what you’re doing, and that’s okay. It’s all about awareness — the more people who know, the larger your potential network becomes.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I tend to be very independently-minded and, in the past, was reluctant to trouble people and had thought that reaching out for guidance and support was a sign I wasn’t competent, when in fact, it’s the opposite. Everyone needs support and those learnings will expand your horizons. Everyone starts somewhere. My knowledge is nothing compared to the vastness of the universe — we need to rely on one another. Most people will be eager to help and, when possible, offer to connect you with others or share knowledge they have to share.
4. Be true to yourself.
Don’t let others define you. This seems like an over-shared platitude, but I think it’s so popular because it’s far easier said than done. In my life — past and present — I’ve encountered a lot of people who wanted to pigeon-hole me into focusing on just one thing, when the truth is, that I’ve been tremendously unhappy when I’ve tried. The truth is that I’m multi-faceted in talents and interests, and my truth is to live them all. They all exist in harmony for me.
Even as I’ve been building out my social network, the major advice is to narrow focus to one thing — but that’s just not me. Initial feedback for TimeJump Media was dubious and many advised me to narrow the focus. I seriously considered it — I didn’t want to take the wrong steps. But in the end, I’ve got to do what vibes with my perspective and when that is aligned, I have seen that things fall into place — even when it seems to be against all odds. It’s amazing to see.
5. Don’t take things personally and be adaptable.
The arts are a fickle place to be. It is highly unpredictable — you never know what will catch on or what will sink. An artist’s output is highly subjective, and (I can’t speak for other artists) for me, everything I create is tied to a piece of my identity. When somebody responds poorly to something I’ve made, it feels like a piece of me is torn away. My moods are extremely mercurial. I used to focus on one negative comment out of many, many positive ones and let put me into a funk for days. I’ve had to learn to recognize that their opinions aren’t a refection of who I am or the value of my work or worth as a person. An artist’s role is to get people to react, and those reactions come in many forms. You can’t take it personally or it could destroy you. People’s reactions to your creativity are a reflection of themselves and their own worldview, not of you.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
My long-term goal and the next phase of FemmePower is to develop a global “underground railroad” of sorts to aid women seeking to exit repressive regimes. This will be network of allies who are willing and able to help women living in such conditions bring themselves and their families to safety — across borders if necessary — and to seek asylum where they can rebuild their lives and find a new equilibrium of normal as they look toward the future — but most of all, to be free, and happy.
If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be a movement to freely share knowledge. Everyone has a special knowledge and in-depth understanding of everything in this world. The Internet has been such an amazing development because it provides a vast amount of knowledge across the world. But there’s still a cost to accessing the web. It frequently costs to get online — not everyone has access to a public library or free wi-fi. The barrier to entry is literacy. If you’re unable to read, you find limited value in it.
With a global free mind-exchange, I would connect people to like-minded people in a knowledge-transfer network in which they can tap into that exchange of resources and be able to communicate with experts on any subject in an accessible way. It could be face-to-face. It could be online. It could be in written letters, over the phone, or via any other means. There’s still a separation between online life and off — if there were a way to meld and merge these into a truly free pool of human intelligence, how much more powerful and well-off would the human race be?
I’ve had incredible opportunities to speak with many people, and every single one of them has had fabulous ideas about something — how to improve things, how to change things, how to simplify things, how to connect ideas that aren’t readily apparent. Despite advances in connectivity over the past 25 years, people still have trouble getting their ideas out, and sharing their expertise. Access to education is limited and expensive. Student loan debt is crippling generations of Americans. Why? Knowledge can be free — and we are all enriched by its exchange. It’s already there but we aren’t harnessing its full potential.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Nah — life lessons for me aren’t found in Pinterest quotes. At times, I’ll share ones I find to be meaningful and articulate my life philosophy — but if you’re getting your life lessons from memes, you’re not living!
Go out there, open your heart, your mind and your soul to the beauty and abundance the universe has to offer. It’s out there. You can find it. Stop over-thinking and allow yourself to vibe with the universe. No matter what you’ve faced or are facing — live life to the fullest. Fail frequently and use those mistakes and failures to rise higher in the future. I’m here to tell you: You have boundless possibilities living within you — even if they haven’t been unlocked yet.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
I’d love to have a private breakfast or lunch with my sister Pauline, who was adopted as an infant. I’ve never met her. She was born in Ottumwa, Iowa on February 11th, 1967. Her birth name was Pauline Lee Neff. It was a closed adoption managed by American Home Finding Association. We’ve been searching for her for years. We don’t know the name of her adoptive family, her current name or the name she was raised with, where she was raised or is living now. We don’t even know if she knows she was adopted or would want to find us. But Pauline — if you’re reading this, we love you and think of you every day. If anyone out there has leads about who she might be or how to connect, I’d be tremendously thankful if you could get in touch!
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
THANK YOU!!!!! I’m very excited to see the series and read about what other influencers are doing and hopefully we can join forces to make an even bigger impact in the future!