FIRST THOUGHT: Giving Rise to Women’s Voices
Every woman has a story to tell. That’s our commonality. The stories can be funny, sweet or somber. They can make you laugh or make you cry. They can share regrets of the past or give hope for the future. All we need is for one single person to pause and listen.
What story do you want to tell? We’re listening.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 6th Annual
One of the powerful ways women tell these stories is through creative outlets. In the recording studio, Beyoncé sings about “Becky with the good hair,” and in Uganda, women create original plays to comment on social injustices.
This year, the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund is hosting its sixth annual Kikopo Pa Mon drama competition. Women in the organization’s microfinance program use dance, drama and music to express issues in their community. This year’s theme is “Women, a force for peace, security and democracy!” Can it get any more empowering than that?
WOMAN TO WATCH: Sara Bordo, Founder and CEO of Women Rising
Sara Bordo is in the business of listening to and telling women’s stories. Her resume is a mile long, beginning with a career in marketing at brands like Clinique and Estée Lauder. She also worked as executive producer of 30 red-carpet events, and even for The Hunger Games premiere. (I’m totally jealous!)
Bordo has been nominated twice for Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs. While climbing to the top of her field, Bordo mentored many young women, and in 2010, she founded Women Rising, an organization that empowers girls and women by telling their unique stories. In 2013, the group partnered with the United Nations Foundation to produce the first TEDxAustinWomen event, which was the top-viewed TEDxWomen event that year.
One of those stories is of Lizzie Velasquez. Bordo met Velasquez during the TEDxAustinWomen event. Inspired by her resilience, Bordo directed a documentary called A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, which premiered at the 2015 South By Southwest Film Festival and has received a slew of awards. While Women Rising funded the pre-production, a Kickstarter campaign covered early editing and shooting costs.
The film gives a glimpse into Velasquez’s experience of living with a rare disease that doesn’t allow her to gain weight. Velasquez was the target of a popular YouTube video calling her “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” Velasquez, now a speaker, author and activist, braves a journey of forgiveness and self-acceptance.
As for Bordo, the future looks bright for this storyteller. Condé Nast hired Women Rising to produce an original series for glamour.com called Lizzie’s Film, Everyone’s Story, and in April, the company produced and directed the Circular Summit, an entrepreneur conference for women. Additionally, Women Rising is slated to begin filming the story of the founder of the nonprofit Unchained At Last, Fraidy Reiss, later this year.
Bordo has created a career she’s proud of. She resolves that women should always ask questions and follow their instincts. After all, there’s always a story to be told.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Bordo used her talents and resources to tell the inspiring story of a fearless and spirited woman. This reminds me of a quote from best-selling author Dianna Hardy, who said:
“It only takes one voice, at the right pitch, to start an avalanche.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.