Emma & Kathryn — Living their best Leslie Knope lives

Here at HerStory, we are BIG BIG fans of podcasts. So much so, one of us is getting her doctorate in them (that’s a gross oversimplification on my part but you should expect that from me). One of our favorites is the “Waffles Friends Work: A Parks & Recreation Podcast“, hosted by Kathryn Baxter and Emma McAuley. Following the episodes of a HerStory favorite show Parks & Recreation, each podcast also features at least one real life badass lady public servant, cut straight from the Leslie Knope mold. Kathryn and Emma do a spectacular job of finding women in all forms of public service and provides the opportunity for them to speak about their experiences and positions. Of course, it made perfect sense for us to highlight these two women, their work with the podcast, and their own careers.

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Q: Why are you interested in public service?
A: Kathryn – We both have a Masters in Public Service degree — in fact, our graduate program is how we met. Emma’s background is in informal education. Mine is in advocacy and policy. But we both believe strongly in the idea that service is the rent we pay for room on this earth. As Leslie Knope demonstrates, public service positions are sometimes underpaid, underestimated, and undervalued, but I know neither of us would trade believing in the work we do and feeling that our work has purpose for anything.

Q: Why did you start your podcast? How do you find the amazing ladies you interview?
A: 
Emma – Kathryn had the idea to start the podcast and asked me to join because we are both huge fans of Parks & Recreation. We have been so lucky with the amazing women that we have been able to interview. Logistically, it can sometimes be difficult to find people at the local level because so many women (and gender nonconforming people) do work that doesn’t get headlines or awards — they just (to quote Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) “get stuff done”. So we began looking for potential guests by asking the women we knew in public service to recommend any “real-life Leslie Knopes” in their circles. We also research the staff of organizations we admire to find potential guests. We are so fortunate that many of the women we reach out to not only have Leslie Knope’s dedication to their jobs but also have her enthusiasm for their work and agree to speak with us! And, of course, we are always open to guest recommendations from listeners
A: Kathryn – I also have to add that ever since I was young, I was raised with that “anything boys can do, I can do too” attitude. So I admit that some of my motivation to actually create our own podcast was to take up some space in a field that can can feel very male-dominated and to use that space to talk with and about amazing women/gender nonconforming people. All that said, I love podcasting because it’s a fairly democratic medium in that the barriers to entry are low. While a lot of the big-name podcasts (is that an oxymoron?) are still very male-dominated, there are so many diverse voices out there if you’re willing to look for them. I also have to add that ever since I was young, I was raised with that “anything boys can do, I can do too” attitude. So I admit that some of my motivation to actually create our own podcast was to take up some space in a field that can can feel very male-dominated and to use that space to talk with and about amazing women/gender nonconforming people. All that said, I love podcasting because it’s a fairly democratic medium in that the barriers to entry are low. While a lot of the big-name podcasts (is that an oxymoron?) are still very male-dominated, there are so many diverse voices out there if you’re willing to look for them.BoysGirls-01.pngCredit to Ryan Tran

Q: What’s your favorite P&R episode?
A: Emma – Flu Season (season 3, episode 2). “Stop pooping” is an iconicParks & Recline and I just love how we get to see Leslie excel at her job while also seeing Amy Poehler have a chance to be incredibly funny in the process.
A: Kathryn – I’m not sure I actually can say! Most of the episodes that stand out to me are memorable because of iconic moments for Pawnee or our favorite characters (which I won’t detail so as not to spoil anything for our first-time viewers!). But as I think our experience with the podcast is proving, there is just SO MUCH quality in even the everyday, non-Very Special Episode episodes. Check in with me in 20 months once we’ve wrapped up the podcast and maybe I’ll be able to say for sure then.

Q: What do you do now in IRL?
A: Kathryn – I work for the national Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland Baltimore. We support research, policy, training, and practice that advances school-based mental health care. I strongly believe in investing in young people’s health, education, and success, and this position is a great opportunity to support all three of those things.
A: Emma – I am a research assistant with Education Development Center, a nonprofit that creates, delivers, and evaluates health and education programs. I work on a project that provides technical assistance to the federal home visiting program, which provides families with skills and resources necessary for healthy children.

18768368_10158724970695058_5470441648948259410_oThis photo is from a trip we and another Clinton School alumna took together to Brainerd, Minnesota to visit one of our guests at her soon-to-be-open reproductive health clinic.

Q: What advice have you gotten about being a woman in public service that most rings true for you?
A: Kathryn – “Take serious criticism from serious people seriously. And… take unserious criticism from unserious people unseriously.” This quote is from Chelsea Clinton, but I found it when researching one of our guests, Minnesota State Representative Erin Maye Quade, because shecited it in an interview as advice that resonated with her. And it clearly is great advice because it strikes a chord with me as well.
A. Emma –  The advice that most rings true with me actually came from Erin Maye Quade as well! She was definitely a fabulous guest. As a woman who currently holds an elected office, she spoke with us about the importance of utilizing your skill set to contribute in your own most effective way. As someone who fervently believes in equity in our representation but also does not feel that campaigning and holding elected office is for me, that advice really stuck with me and helps me better value the contributions that people can make without feeling compelled to run for office. (P.S. Erin Maye Quade joined us for episode 3.05if you want to hear more of her insights!)

Q: If you had to choose 2 Leslie Knope memes or gifs to demonstrate your daily work life, which one would you choose?

Q: Are there books or articles that have influenced you that you’d like to share?

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 9.01.57 AMA: Check out Kathryn & Emma’s 4 choices on GoodReads and why they chose these books over all the other thousands she’s read.

Q: What instagram account do you like to check when you need a distraction?
A: Emma @bymariandrew – she’s a fantastic artist who has great insight and I find her drawings really relatable (This is the second time this Instagram has been chosen so if you don’t follow her yet, you really should)

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A. Kathryn – I’m a bad Millennial who doesn’t have an Instagram, but I am part of the Silent Book Club group on Facebook. When my newsfeed is otherwise filled with (very real and understandable) anger, fear, and sadness, it’s nice to take a break with people just sharing book recommendations and their love of reading.

P.S. We love what these two are doing and love listening in to their conversations. If you haven’t signed up for notifications, you are missing out.

Also, they gave us a third gif and we love it for ourselves! This is essentially how BrownEyedJude and I also exist as well. a31d0ad3939f64e9f2dcaf60467d14d1

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Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!!

Here at HerStory, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples‘ Day on the second Monday of October. It celebrates the indigenous people of the US – promoting Native American culture and history. Hopefully soon, it will be the dedicated federal adopted holiday for this day.

While brainstorming awesome ladies to highlight on this day, it seemed an obvious choice to talk about Ada Deer. The first woman to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Ada is a lifelong advocate for Native American peoples and history.

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Her advocacy included fighting to ensure that her tribe, the Menominees, was not declassified as a tribe in the 1960s and 1970s. She helped organized a massive march in Wisconsin from the Menominee County to the capital in Madison and regularly spent time in DC, lobbying Congress to protest the declassification. Due to her efforts, the original federal law terminating their status was reversed. She also served as the Chairperson of the Restoration Committee after the tribe was re-instated.

While she led the Bureau of Indian Affairs under President Clinton, she met with dozens of tribes and tried to empower tribe businesses to succeed, whether or not if they were on reservations.

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Ada recently retired as a social work and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She also co-founded an Indian community school and started a program to provide social work training on Native American reservations.

Just a few of her honored posts: She was honored by the National Women’s History Month as a featured honoree, was a fellow at the JFK School of Government, and helped on the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Native American Rights Fund, and National Indian Gaming Commissions.

To be fair, I’ve only given you broad strokes on her awesomeness. Everything I found shows that Ada has spent her entire life, every minute, helping her community and making positive change. Even retired, she’s involved in providing support for her tribe and community.

Mara D’Amico – “Justice, Women, Empathy”

We ventured out of Memphis and made our way to DC, via Michigan. We asked our next featured ladyboss, Mara D’Amico, a few questions and like the overachiever she is….she gave us even more!

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Q: Why are you interested in public service?
A: I want to use the privileges, skills, knowledge, time, drive, and connections I have to serve others. I have been afforded many things in my life, and feel a strong sense of responsibility to serve my community and others with everything I have. Though service for me started as a way to help individuals in need, I’ve grown to focus on changing unjust systems, while also supporting the people impacted by those systems.

Q: How did you get started in public service?
A: A lot of my interest in public service stems from my family – both my parents worked in public schools and had a passion for serving their students, particularly those most in need. They helped develop a strong sense of empathy in me, as well as a passion for using my time to serve others. Additionally, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 7 years old, and, faced with a life-disrupting and life-threatening disease, I wanted to do something about it. I raised money for my local Walk to Cure Diabetes, I gave presentations to my elementary school classmates about the disease, and I learned how it felt to take action in the face of something that seems impossible to overcome. My interest in and dedication to working on seemingly intractable problems has only grown from there.

Q: What do you do now?
A: I work at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the Long-Acting Reversible Contraception Program. Basically, I work with doctors and hospital staff to ensure that all women can access the full range of contraceptive methods. In my free time, I’m a volunteer crisis counselor with Crisis Text Line, a volunteer with Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia, a board member for a criminal justice organization, and a drummer with Batala Washington.

Drums                                             Mara playing the drums with Batala Washington

Q: What advice have you gotten about being a woman in public service that most rings true for you?
A: @maraedamico Treat others with kindness – you never know what they’re going through & you may have the power to lift their spirits or break them.

Q: If you had to choose a gif to demonstrate your daily work life, which one would you choose? **

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Q: Are there books or articles that have influenced you that you’d like to share?
A: Check out Mara’s 7 choices on GoodReads and why she chose these books over all the other thousands she’s read. Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 11.08.40 PM

Q: What Instagram account do you like to check when you need a distraction?
A: I love cooking and these ladies have some incredible recipes.

                                        @smittenkitchen                                           @minimalistbaker

 

P.S. It just was Mara’s Birthday Week!! So not only does she deserve credit on a daily basis for all the passion she puts into the world but she gets all the balloons this week! BALLOONS!!

Photo Caption: Mara’s featured photo is from her registering voters on the Hillary Clinton campaign in Grosse Pointe, MI.

Title Caption:  “Justice, Women, Empathy” are the three words that describe the types of service and advocacy she is drawn to.

**Subnote: Yes, we give extra credit points to Leslie Knope references.

Veena Rangaswami – Act like a lady, Think like a BOSS

By coincidence, our next amazing woman we are featuring that we know personally is ALSO in Memphis, TN. We asked Veena Rangawami, another great friend of HerStory, to answer a few questions about her passion for public service and what motivates her.

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Q: Why are you interested in public service?
A: I’ve never known a life without public service. I grew up in a small town in the Delta as the daughter of two physicians who encouraged my older brother and me to give back for as long as I can remember. My career in public service has evolved a lot over the years, but it has its roots in my Delta childhood.

Q: How did you get started in public service?
A: I grew up in one of the ten poorest counties in the country, and every day my parents would come home with stories of patients whose families could not afford medical treatment. My father is a pediatrician who never turned away a child because of a family’s inability to pay, and that was a lesson I took to heart from a young age. I had the opportunity to go to boarding school for my last two years of high school where I became involved in daily service and learned more about how to serve my community. That involvement continued through various programs in undergrad, after which I moved to India and worked as a program manager for an NGO in Bangalore. Each opportunity has led to the next, and I feel like I have now come full circle.

Q: What do you do now?
A: I am the COLLABORATE Specialist for the Bridge Builders program at BRIDGES in Memphis, TN. That’s a fancy way of saying I coordinate our summer leadership conferences for rising 11th and 12th graders and help to run our year-round program. We bring together 7th-12th graders from around the greater Memphis area to participate in experiential-learning workshops and then discuss ways they can use their newfound skills to create change in their communities. I have the honor of watching our students grow as leaders in their neighborhoods and their schools, and I know how cliched it sounds but I really do feel like I have found my dream job.

Q: What advice would you give a woman coming up in public service?
A: I saw a woman wearing a shirt at a recent festival in Memphis, and the image of it has stayed with me; it said, “Act like a lady, Think like a BOSS.”

Q: Tell me about a powerful moment you’ve had while in public service?
A: During the first week of Senior Conference this summer, I was speaking with one of our Bridge Builders. He is a very sincere, thoughtful young man, and when I said in passing that it seems like he has been a Bridge Builder his entire life, he responded with “Maybe it’s because BRIDGES is the only place where I feel I can always be myself.” He said it so casually, but it really drove home the impact of the work we are doing.

Q: If you had to choose a meme or gif to demonstrate your daily work life, which one would you choose?

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Q: Who is your role model?
A: 
I have so many, but I keep coming back to Joli Anderson. Joli was the director of the service program at Baylor School, my high school alma mater, for over 20 years and has been one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever known. She is the person who first introduced me to daily service, who gave me my first service leadership role, and who afforded me my first opportunity to combine travel and service. Over the years I have turned to Joli again and again, and she continues to be one of the greatest inspirations in my life.

Q: What Instagram account do you like to check when you need a distraction?
A:  

P.S. Veena is awesome. This is just the tip of the iceberg of her awesomeness. She also has one of the best grams herself – @veen_83. You should totally follow her.

Kayla Brooks – Well behaved women seldom make history

We are trying something a little new here at HerStory and highlighting the women we know personally that we admire and who inspire us on a daily basis. We are starting with Kayla Brooks, a good friend of HerStory working in Memphis, TN. We asked Kayla a few questions about her passion for public service and what motivates her.

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Q: Why are you interested in public service?
A: I am interested in public service because there are systems in place to disenfranchise certain people (poor, black, women, etc.) and I want to work toward dismantling those systems and supporting those affected by them.

Q: How did you get started in public service?
A: I started in public service as a result of my parents. They were extremely active with my childhood church and that is where I gained a lot of early exposure.

Q: What do you do now?
A: I currently serve as a Network Manager for an education focused nonprofit. In this role, I provide training for our partners geared toward capacity building and facilitation.

Q: If you used a wordle to list all the types of service and advocacy that you are passionate about, which words would be biggest?

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Q: In tweet-format (140 characters), what advice have you gotten about being a woman in public service that most rings true for you?
A: @herstory Well behaved women seldom make history

Q: What advice would you give a woman coming up in public service?
A: Don’t be afraid to speak your mind or be yourself.

Q: Is there a book that has influenced you that you’d like to share?
A. Pedagogy of the Oppressed – the book describes how change must occur and the voice of those most oppressed must be at the center of the conversation

Q: If you had to choose a meme or gif to demonstrate your daily work life, which one would you choose? 

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P.S. We love Kayla. She also started a great networking event series for women, recently starred in a show in Memphis, and is generally one of the most delightful humans ever.

I, Activist.

Last month, I spent a few weeks in Belize, doing all sorts of things. Randomly on one of the last days, I was introduced to the concept of an Earth Ship. It’s nothing to do with aliens but rather a home that is completely created from recycled materials, self-sufficient, and totally off grid. And across one of the walls was this quote from Rigoberta Menchu:

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BrownEyedJude and I have discussed Ms. Menchu a few times because she’s the classic definition of a woman who felt compelled to stand up against injustice. You might have seen her book, My Name is Rigoberta Menchú, on pretty much every lists of social justice books.  (Book Nerd Alert: The book is often mistakenly filed under memoir/autobiography but was actually created around a series of interviews done by a Venezuelan author. She had only been speaking Spanish for 3 years by the time she had the interview. I doubt she used Duolingo to learn it.)

Rigoberta grew up in a activist family, with her father being a member of one of the guerrilla groups in Guatemala, but she used her own voice to resist the oppression of the Guatemalan government and to bring to the international community the reality of the civil war in her country. She amplified the voices of the Maya Indian community in Latin America and she was run out of her own country. She still finds it difficult to return due to the frequent death threats.

She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. I’m not sure what an UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador has to do but it seems pretty cool. She elevated her Nobel Prize experience and formed the Nobel Women’s Initiative with the other five female Peace Prize winners. The idea behind the Initiative is to support women’s groups around the world in promoting peace and justice.

My “favorite” [insert sarcasm font] part of her story is the mansplaining that a historian tried to do on her book. He went back and interviewed many of her friends and family and tried to prove that everything she said was false and tried to get the Nobel Prize people to take back the prize. Rude. Years later, he said in ONE interview that she was actually pretty accurate in the book but he refused to change his book or apologize. Dude. Not Cool.

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Should’ve worn goggles

Katherine Hepburn and I have a lot in common. Not only do our names have some of the same letters in them, we also both almost went blind while acting. She famously fell into a Venice canal multiple times for a shoot, which caused a series eye infection that she struggled with for the rest of her life. I was randomly in a transportation commercial a few weekends ago when I was visiting BrownEyedJude and somehow managed to hurt my eye, leading to a swollen eye requiring antibiotics and 2 days of a weird puffy eye. See? Totally the same. I will take anything that puts Katherine Hepburn and I in the same category.

Growing up, like any good theater kid, I was obsessed with old movies (shocking, right?). Of course I had no context so I didn’t realize that the strong, independent women that I gravitated towards in these movies were an anomaly. Lauren Bacall and Katherine Hepburn frequently played women who were not stereotypical. They wore pants (GASP), smoked cigarettes (gross but still mindblowing for the time), and generally did what they wanted.

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You could be asking why I am featuring yet another actress in our public service ladies blog. For me, groundbreaking actresses portraying independent women who refuse the “traditional” gender roles have an enormous impact in changing people’s ideas and open doors for women to express themselves in their own fields. Not only that but Ms. Hepburn openly supported access to birth control and abortions when birth control was frowned upon and abortions were illegal.

In addition, most people don’t realize that she was aggressively opposed to the McCarthyism that swept Hollywood in the 1940s. She was active in the Committee for the First Amendment, a group that supported the Hollywood Ten, ten individuals who were cited for contempt by Congress after refusing to answer questions about their supposed involvement with the Communist Party.

If you aren’t already a fan, I encourage you to watch Katherine in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” or “The African Queen” or “The Philadelphia Story”. You’ll feel empowered and inspired.

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The Day After Tomorrow

I’ve been circling the idea of writing about Margaret Atwood for a while. An amazing author, a fascinating personality, lover of comics and social media…she’s a symbol of female empowerment for me. I mean, she says things like this:

“’Why do men feel threatened by women?’ I asked a male friend of mine.
“’They are afraid women will laugh at them’, he said, ‘undercut their world view.’
“Then I asked some women students, ‘Why do women feel threatened by men?’ ”’They are afraid of being killed,’ they said.”

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Everyone knows her as an author. After all, my favorite novel of hers is being shown on Hulu right now, with the insanely talented Elisabeth Moss as Offred. Other books of hers (Alias Grace and the Maddam series) are being developed for our viewing pleasure. She even collaborates on a graphic novel series, Angel CatBird. She writes real good. You should always start with Handmaid’s Tale but if you like her, go with Cat’s Eye (reflection of an artist’s childhood), Blind Assassin (a story within a story, fascinating), or Oryx and Crake (another dystopian and first of the MaddAddam series). Her books tend to focus on a woman or women finding their strength and exposing secrets. They are usually oppressed by men as well.

But Margaret Atwood is prolific outside of the written page too. She’s a huge animal advocate and her Angel Catbird graphic novels are intended to educate about the perils facing cats and bird. She partnered with Nature Canada, encouraging owners to keep their domestic cats from roaming and protecting the environment’s natural ecosystem.

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She’s a frequent political commentator. If you don’t follow her on Twitter, you really should. She isn’t afraid to share her opinion and is a strong feminist (no matter what people try to say about her). Even though she’s a hardcore Canadian, her commentary on the recent U.S. election gave me LIFE.

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She’s also an inventor. Since she’s always on book tours, she came up with the brilliant idea to create the LongPen. It allows authors to sign books even if they aren’t there. People who show up for a signing can even talk to the author through the pen. Sounds randomly weird but I can see other uses. It’s still in its early stages so I’m excited to see all the uses. As I see how it could be used for evil, I hope it remains a positive invention.

Margaret Atwood refuses to be boxed in and remains using her voice to amplify issues and use fiction as a form of educational tool. I think, at minimum, we should require a deep dive into the Handmaid’s Tale but we can all learn from her and her life. As she says:

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Ice, Ice Baby…too cold, too cold

If you’ve been wondering why you’ve only seen posts from QueenJules, it’s because BrowneyedJude has been on an adventure on another continent. She returns today, bleary-eyed and inspired. Before she takes a well-deserved nap and returns to our blog, let’s throw out all the blueberry kombucha (so gross) and learn a little more about some of my favorite lady adventurers. I have a soft spot for lady travelers. I posted about one of the most famous ones in an earlier post, Nelly Bly, and I follow a few current bloggers that focus on solo women traveling. My interest stems from my own wanderlust (which BrowneyedJude also shares). I can’t wait to see all of the big 7s: continents, seas, and wonders.*

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My interest in Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft comes from my deep desire to visit Antarctica. I know they would totally understand this desire since they were the first women to ski and sail across the entirety of Antarctica’s land mass in 2001. In case you aren’t up on your geography, that’s 1,717 miles. They completed it in 94 days. As many can tell you, I complain about a flight of stairs. 1700 miles is almost unfathomable to me especially when you consider that Antarctica isn’t an easy place to take a stroll. Individually, these ladies are pretty amazing already but together, they are just beyond words.

1200px-Liv_Arnesen_Portrait.jpgBorn in Norway, Liv Arnesen had been breaking records before she strolled across Antarctica with Ann Bancroft. In 1992, she was part of the first women’s only team to make an unsupported crossing of Greenland’s icecap. In 1994, she walked solo to the South Pole (half of her trek with Bancroft. For giggles, she hangs out in the Arctic Circle. On her website, Ms. Arnesen says she is a keen outdoor enthusiast but she isn’t fanatical. If she isn’t fanatical, who is?

246a0d015901306313dfb6c8b3fbeaa3_f244Ann Bancroft (I don’t have to tell you that this isn’t the actress, right?) also was super impressive before she started hanging out with Liv Arnesen. In 1986, as part of a 6 person team, she was the first woman to reach the North Pole with a dogsled, without being resupplied. She also crossed Greenland’s icecap and both polar icecaps to reach the North and South Pole. These days, Ms. Bancroft also advocates for same sex marriage in her home state of Minnesota.

After crossing the Antarctica, they started an exploration company together and can often be found leading expeditions to highlight the devastating effects of climate change on the polar icecaps. They work with schools around the world, teaching kids about the Poles, the environment, outdoor activities, and climate change.

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It’s not hard to admire these ladies. They push themselves physically regularly and care deeply about the world they traverse. They get to put “Explorer” on any forms that require you to fill out your occupation. When I do that, people think I’m ridiculous. Someday it would be awesome to hang out with Liv and Ann although I imagine it will be somewhere pretty chilly. I better wear nine sweaters.

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*Occasionally I run across someone that maintains that there are 5 continents. Weirdos.

**Grammar note: I have no idea whether “ice cap” or “icecap” is correct. Google is not helping resolve this issue.

Sending you a texty text

I love text messages. I love apps that have texts like WhatsApp, SnapChat, etc. I once had 2000 texts in one month between me and one another person. Do the math on that. Other math that is cool? Text messages are opened by people 99-100% of the time. In 2014, 561 billion texts were sent EVERY month. 4.2 billion+ people text every day. 97% of Americans text weekly (my mother is in the 3%). 50% of adults from 18-24 say texts are just as meaningful as a call. (If you need the sources, let me know) Texts are obviously pretty powerful and in my opinion, vastly underutilized as a tool for change. My public service crush, Nancy Lublin, totally agrees with me. She hasn’t told me that directly but based on her career, I think she is down.

I am not inspired by helping you find Chinese food at 2am in Dallas, or swipe right to get laid. I want to use tech and data to make the world a better place.”* Nancy Lublin

Ms. Lublin has dedicated her professional life to supporting people, starting with an organization called Dress for Success. She started D4S in the mid-90s with a 5k inheritance and a few nuns as partners and it continues to this day by providing professional attire and development skills around the world. The entire organization is founded on the dream that every woman can achieve her full potential and full financial independence. As anyone can tell you, when you look good, you feel good. You feel good – it’s amazing what you can accomplish.
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Once D4S was standing on its own, Ms. Lublin moved on to DoSomething.org. Started in the early 90s by one of my favorite Melrose Place actors (hello, Andrew Shue), DoSomething focuses on empowering young people to make positive change in their communities. Some of my favorite programs include Diversify my Emoji (to get Apple to create non-white emojis), Nude Awakening (to convince Merriam-Webster and other dictionaries to create a more inclusive definition of “nude”) and Teens for Jeans (a nationwide jeans drive to provide jeans to homeless youth). I enjoy the play on words for most of the programs and their commitment to try and reach young’uns where they are at.

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During one of their programs, DoSomething used a text blast. One of the responses shook Ms. Lublin so badly, she started Crisis Text Line in her spare time. I can’t do justice to the story so you can check out her TedTalk. Designed to be an anonymous, free, text line to provide support when anyone is in a crisis. It’s not designed to be a long term solution but helps people talk through their problems, reach out for help, and brainstorm ideas for support.  It’s a great solution, using a method that has such an incredibly high response rate. It allows people to reach out by texting 741741 or through Facebook, no matter what their situation. I don’t have any jokes about this. This organization is awesome. I even volunteer for it as a crisis counselor. Ms. Lublin left DoSomething to focus on CTL because the organization grew so quickly. It really addressed a need that no one else had noticed.

That’s the common theme for Nancy Lublin. She sees a need that seems to have gone unnoticed and designs something to address it. As for her being my public service crush, she regularly gets on the platform and she once messaged me individually to thank me for helping out. I legit squealed IRL. I once met a friend of a friend of hers and was not articulate once he started talking about her. I almost fear what happens if I ever meet her in person. It won’t be pretty. Probably similar to how I would react when/if I ever meet any of the badass ladies we feature on this blog.

*Pretty sure this should be a t-shirt