A Hug to Humanity Fire-chat with Saskia Niño de Rivera, founder of Reinserta in Mexico
Saskia Niño de Rivera was the first of the Vital Voices Gala evening’s honorees to walk back on stage at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center Opera on April 24th, 2019.
The Mexican activist went straight to Hillary Clinton, and without hesitation, hugged the former Secretary of State and co-founder of Vital Voices, a global foundation launched in 1997 to support women who advance economic opportunity, increase political and public engagement, end gender-based violence and promote human rights across 180 countries and territories.
A few moments before, the audience saw a video of children playing in Lucha Libre disguises (the famous masked Mexican wrestlers). One them, drawing, is heard wishing: “I want to go to the zoo; when I am big, I want to be a fireman; and when I am really big–yeah–if I am really big, I will be The Hulk.”
A childhood fantasy, indeed, except this child cannot even go to a zoo. This child is one the 700 children born and raised in a Mexican jail.
Omowale, The Child Has Come Home Firechat with with Tope Fajingbesi Balogun, author and founder of United for Kids and ofShe-Eo Member of the American Delegation to the 2019 Women in Africa Summit
The day Social Entrepreneur and Nigerian-born Tope Fajingbesi met with Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, she still thought she would end up working in the White House developing a project she calls Omowale (literally: the child has come home). The former accountant turned author, activist and serial entrepreneur is participating in the 2019 American delegation to the Women in Africa summit in Marrakech (June 27-28), along with former co-host of The View and lawyer Star Jones, Vital Voices President Alyse Nelson, media leader Ann Walker Marchant, Cartier Women’s Initiative Award North America judge and angel investor Birame Sock, Founder of Shea Radiance Funlayo Alabi, filmmaker Felicia Taylor, New York based ethical designer Ingrid Bruha and EBW founder Ingrid Vanderveldt among others (full list of delegates: check out http://www.wia-initiative.com/and app).
A Stylish Elevator for an Ethical Bag As published in First Class Life magazine | Mexico
There is an old elevator in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, so old that there are no buttons to push, but instead, a cable to maneuver expertly once the primitive steel doors are closed. This is as vintage as it can be: breathing life into memories and ghostly stories alike while eluding a romantic New York, a far cry from the Hudson Yards that recently opened just a few blocks away to the West.
Once inside the third-floor loft, painted in dark and woody colors, a feeling of entering a special world takes the visitor even further. The furniture is a balanced mix between antique tables and lamps found in flea markets and modern sofas and tables. On the right, a small corner office is filled with leather pieces, bouts of fur, African jewelry and a dozen of handbags: clutch, shoulder, tote, crossbody and pouch styles. They are all part of the collection that Ingrid Bruha, a French woman who moved back to the United States with her American husband Sheldon and their three children in 2013, has created for her eponymous and fast-growing brand.
There’s an emotional association when you become in tune with your passion. A feeling of elation and many times emancipated when choosing to follow your dreams come full circle. Kemi Osukoya, the founder of US-based magazine and online media Africa Bazaar, and a former business staff writer at the Wall Street Journal illustrates her evolution as a journalist, stigmas of being an African-American woman, all the while finding solace through a complicated relationship and the turbulence of motherhood.
In African culture, you are to pursue the profession your elders want and for Osukoya, a Nigerian-American, being a journalist was a secret narrative she locked away. Through personal evolution, she overcame adversities meandering her way through a media-driven industry which questioned her merit, abilities, and cultural differences.
Ethical Fashion: UpCycle! Fire chat with Gabriella Smith, the founder of the UpCycle Project
Passionate about fashion and an entrepreneur at heart, Gabriella Smith wanted to be disruptive. Her clothes had to be more than just a brand, more than just beautiful. “I wanted a story of purpose, respect, transparency and reasonability.” So, after a first corporate experience at Estée Lauder, she launched The UpCycle Project, “an education platform to raise awareness of the waste the fashion industry creates by developing hands-on workshops, student mentorship programs, debates, as well as innovative events and products to develop circular solutions for fashion and other industries.”