Episode 41: Advocating for Disability Rights ft. Melissa Chang & Mei Hung
Melissa is 17-year-old high school senior living in Tokyo, Japan. She is the founder and director of OrigPower ( @origpower_ ) , a youth-led organization aiming to create an inclusive society by connecting people with disabilities through individual stories. Through her love for volunteering on weekends, she discovered the need for more disability activism in Japan and in the rest of the world. Melissa hopes to foster a community with diverse backgrounds, where people with and without disabilities can come together and learn about each other’s passions. Along with advocating for disability inclusion, she also spends her time at Girl Up Tokyo and Space to Speak to advocate against gender inequality and sexual assault. In the future, Melissa hopes to go into the STEM field, where she will integrate AI and technology into her works of disability inclusion and create an accessible society for all!
Mei Hung is the educational resource director at OrigPower (@origpower_). Academically, Mei holds a Bachelor’s of Arts & Science in Human Geography & City Studies from the University of Toronto Scarborough. She is a woman
proud to have cerebral palsy. She is a passionate self-advocate for people with disabilities for communities & students. She aims to make a change and gain connections with people of all physical abilities/ages. You might find her planning her next vacation, next game night with her friends, or singing to any song on the radio.
Learn how Elaine navigated through the tech industry as a newcomer to the US, along with how she now empowers minorities to succeed and thrive in STEM.
In this episode, learn why and how Melissa first founded OrigPower and advocates for disability inclusion through this channel, and learn about Mei's experiences helping to run OrigPower and advocate for disability rights as a woman with cerebral palsy.
Episode 42: Empowering the Underpresented Through Community ft. Eno Oduok
Eno is the founder and CEO of Naija Comm, the first-ever online community catered to Nigerian creatives and professionals in overlooked career fields specifically. Naija Comm empowers Nigerians in overlooked fields while breaking barriers and challenging stigmas in the community. She is a passionate storyteller and creative who is dedicated to amplifying the voices and stories of people in the community. Her passion is exemplified through her role as a founder, digital coordinator for Black Girls Graduate, and Content & Editorial Strategist at Wieden+Kennedy, one of the largest
independent creative agencies in the world & they are responsible for notable campaigns like McDonald's Travis Scott Meal and Nike's Dream Crazy with Colin Kaepernick.
She has contributed to impactful initiatives by working on PR and social campaigns for critically acclaimed organizations, TV shows, events and more. These organizations include AMC Networks and The Creative Collective NYC. Her work for the community has been featured in BellaNaija, AfroTech, Culture Custodian, PR Daily, and other publications.
Learn about Eno's inspiration, motivation, and story behind her work elevating marginalized voices and building community, along with her own experiences and challenges faced working with both advocacy and PR.
Episode 43: Tackling Financial Independence ft. Nikita Daga
Nikita Daga is a 17-year-old high school student at Canadian International School in Bangalore, India. She is an advocate for women's financial independence and the author of "Blooming: Unfiltered Stories of Indian Women's Struggles with Financial Independence'' which is available on Amazon India and Flipkart. She hopes the book will serve as a source of inspiration for young girls and women, sensitivize society to the struggles of women, while also bringing to attention an immediate need for reform. Intrigued by gender disparity and a curiosity to understand its intricacies
further, she published a research paper titled "Money to Call Her Own" in the International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences which explores various factors hindering women. Additionally, she works towards increasing financial literacy of women and access to education for children, which she believes are the first steps to an empowered community. Nikita hopes to work towards these causes on a larger scale in the future and emphasizes the importance of financial independence for women and all communities at large.
In this episode, hear about how Nikita has been able to amplify the voices of women in her community through her writing and tackle the often complex topics of financial independence and literacy.
Episode 44: Empowering Young Aspiring Economists ft. Armita Hosseini
Armita Hosseini is a 17 year old from Toronto, Canada. As an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker, she is an active advocate of financial and economic education for youth. In 2020, she published the book Roadmap to Financial Literacy: An Introduction to Personal Finance For Teenagers, and later partnered with the nonprofit organization operationEconomics International to donate 300 copies of her book to underserved schools in San Marcos, California. She is also the founder of EmpowerEcon, an organization which hosts virtual financial literacy camps for teens; they
have organized four 3-day financial literacy (x3) and entrepreneurship (x1) camps for over 260 participants from 34 countries across 5 continents to date, and published an economics book titled Economics From a Youth's Perspective: An Introduction For Teenagers. Armita's projects have been featured on platforms such as Forbes Magazine, Next Gen Personal Finance, Get Involved Foundation, and many others. She hopes to inspire other teens to use their passions to leave a positive and lasting impact on society through education, entrepreneurship, and advocacy.
In this episode, learn about Armita's objective to make economics more accessible to youth while exploring its link to political science.
Episode 45: Creating Meaningful Change Through Volunteerism ft. Jessica Carrera
Jessica Manzo Carrera is a first-generation college graduate from Stockton, CA. She grew up in the projects and was inspired by her hard-working parents who were immigrant farmworkers. Determined to succeed, she took advantage of mentors and her local AVID program and graduated high school at the top of her class as a Dell Scholar. She attended Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles where she earned her BA. Determined to create social change, she joined L.A. Works’ RSVP team and has worked her way up from program coordinator to director in the past few years. During
this time, she was part of The CUP (Council of Urban Professionals) Fellows inaugural west coast class. Which encourages participants to create meaningful change through board service, political engagement, volunteerism, public-private partnerships, social entrepreneurship, and more.
As the RSVP Director, she holds primary responsibility for all RSVP activities including strategic planning, day-to-day program management, reporting, and budget management, management of the Advisory Council, and staff supervision. She ensures compliance with all RSVP program requirements, accountability, and efficient use of resources, as well as assists in RSVP community priority volunteer mobilization. In a fast-paced world where overworking and overlooking others has become a cultural norm, one of Jessica’s biggest priorities as a leader has always been to take the time to acknowledge everyone and to advocate for work-life balance when possible. This has become even more important and equally challenging as a first-time mother during the pandemic.
Learn about how Jessica's early environment inspired her to pay it forward with her actions and give back to worthy causes through both volunteering on her own and encouraging volunteerism throughout her community.
Episode 46: Uplifting Underrepresented Teen Artists ft. Anya Shukla & Kathryn Lau
Anya Shukla is a gap year college student and has been an artist for as long as she can remember. A proponent of racial equity in the arts, she co-founded The Colorization Collective, an organization that supports teen artists of color, in 2019. Her goal is to create space for teen artists of color who, like her, may feel underrepresented in the art community. Beyond The Collective, Anya also volunteers with the Institute for Systems Biology, where she creates tools to teach students about health equity. In her free time, she enjoys reading romance novels and eating Molly Moon's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (preferably at the same time).
Kathryn Lau has been a performing artist for all her life, training in classical ballet before transitioning into musical theater and acting. In 2019, she co-founded The Colorization Collective alongside Anya Shukla to support and promote teen artists of color. She strives to make the arts inclusive for all audiences and artists regardless of race, and promote authentic representation. Kathryn is currently a student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
In this episode, find out how Anya and Kathryn are empowering teen artists of color across the globe and learn about their journey with developing their platform for creating this change, The Colorization Collective.
Episode 47: Promoting Acts of Kindness ft. Jeannette Mare
Jeannette is a communication scholar, currently pursuing her PhD, who has been teaching kindness for over 20 years. Her world changed drastically after the sudden death of her son in 2002. In the incredible grief of losing Ben, the life-saving, world-changing power of kindness became her sole focus. With her heart broken open, she founded Ben’s Bells, a nonprofit that inspires and teaches the intentional practice of kindness. Using humor and storytelling, Jeannette helps people learn the skills they need to put their kind intention into action to strengthen relationships and communities.
Learn more about Jeannette's inspirational story behind Ben's Bells and her journey growing and leading the nonprofit, along with her future plans and goals to continue spreading kindness.
Episode 48: Advancing Inclusion in Tech ft. Dr. Toni Collis
Dr. Toni Collis, Phd, is the CEO of Collis-Holmes Innovations, an award-winning leader and executive coach, International Keynote speaker, and women's leadership expert. Toni’s career has focused on facilitating the use of technology, and she believes that this requires true diversity in the future leadership of the tech industry. Toni’s career started in the field of Supercomputing and early in her career she focused on bringing the field of supercomputing to new users to facilitate discovery. As Founder of Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC), Toni developed and led innovations aiming to diversify the international Supercomputing
workforce, providing training and consultancy on building inclusive workforces, and research into how to improve the representation of women. Today Toni is an award-winning executive coach, and works with women around the world to thrive in their careers, with a personal goal of assisting 2000 women into the tech boardroom in the next 5 years.
Learn about how Toni first grew her interest in supercomputing and turned it into a lifelong passion for mentoring women and promoting diversity and inclusion within the tech industry.