Design the Life You Love Role Model: Nicole Michelle

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Follow Nicole Michelle as she designs the life + career she loves.

@nicolemichellesings

MSC: How do you design the life you love?


Nicole: I personally design the life I love by working hard every day to achieve my dreams and refusing to give up. I have a passion for music and creating. I want to be able to embrace my emotions and help others feel that emotion through my music. You should always have goals to work towards and find happiness in what you achieve. To me, designing the life you love means that I get to choose who I want to be and how I want to live. I choose to stay true to myself and my beliefs despite those who don’t believe in me or my passions.


MSC: What is it that makes music so important to you?


Nicole: Music is something that has always been a part of me. I began with singing the “National Anthem” at my brother’s high school sports games when I was 10 years old. Shortly after I began singing for professional sports teams like the New England Revolution soccer team, the New England Patriots, Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and NASCAR. Eventually I wanted to do something more than just the National Anthem. I decided I wanted to become a recording artist so I could share the passion I have for music with the world and feel that incredible feeling you can only get from performing. I had a voice coach that introduced me to my manager and we have been working together for about 5 years now. I currently have an INCREDIBLE TEAM I work with who not only believe in me and what I can do but encourage and teach me along the way.


MSC: What do you want most out of your music career?


Nicole: First, I cannot wait until my music is being played on repeat! I hope the message I am able to communicate is that everyone should feel confident in who they are no matter what, and should not feel the need to follow trends to be cool or liked by others. They should never feel the need to use photoshop to feel pretty or fit in – I want everyone to love themselves first. I also hope my music will make people believe in themselves  no matter where they come from. I want everyone to feel empowered and feel like they can accomplish anything they put their minds to.


MSC: What has been the hardest moment in your career so far?

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Nicole: There have been many times when people I have worked with have given up on believing in me or my career. This has made me work harder and become stronger in that I believe that I can achieve all my dreams. I refuse to quit or to let anyone bring me down. One time I had a music producer actually ask me what I really wanted to do with my life, it was as if they thought my dreams were impossible. I choose to use moments like that as education and fuel to keep me going. Those moments remind me that it’s NEVER time to give up on myself.


MSC: Who are some women you could consider your “design the life you love role model”?


Nicole: I have many role models in music but a few of my favorites would be, Carrie Underwood, because of her extraordinary talent – she is incredibly humble, giving, and a family oriented person. Demi Lovato, because of her talent and how she stays true to herself – she uses her platform to give back and help make a difference in the world that goes beyond music; she spreads awareness for issues such as depression, bullying, and addiction… All things she has struggled with but does not hide from.


Zendaya is a great role model because she acts, dances and sings – she is someone I can look up to because she has worked hard to achieve similar dreams as mine.


The woman who inspires me most in the world is my mother. My Mom has accomplished so much in her life and became so independent at such a young age. I strive to be like my Mom more than anyone else.


MSC: What would you tell girls who want to design the life and career they love?


Nicole: The best advice I could give is to never doubt yourself or your dreams – they are yours and no one else’s. They will only come true if you believe in yourself and work hard to achieve them. You are never too young to dream so why should you feel that you are too young to start working on them and making those dreams come true? The sooner you start working on making those dreams come true, the sooner it will happen!!


MSC: Tell us about what you’re up to! We’d love to support your dreams.


Nicole: Recently, my music was featured in a movie called “Bernie the Dolphin.” I had the opportunity to be able to sing the opening and closing song in the movie. The song was also featured on the movie’s soundtrack. I’m also filming another movie called “Running Waves” and working on that soundtrack this spring.  There is always something going on, whether I’m recording, writing music, at a dance rehearsal, performing at a concert or acting in a movie… I am always busy. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m designing the life that I love each and every day!


XOXO

Nicole Michelle



Design the Life You Love Role Models: Meet Tory and Victory

Tory (left) & Victory (right) – Founders, The Colored Girl

Tory (left) & Victory (right) – Founders, The Colored Girl

We sat down with Tori and Victory, the founders of The Colored Girl, and asked them to share their story and the mission of their work…

MSC: At MSC, we're on a mission to equip and inspire women and girls to design the life and career they love! What does that statement mean to you? How you design the life + career you love?

The Colored Girl: We design the life we love by working on ourselves as individuals, and also being willing to be of service to those around us, and to our greater community at large. We are firm believers that “You cannot ask for something you are not ready to give”… and understand that serving a higher purpose (service in the needs of others) is key to this. We also break things down, and work on focusing on what that immediate task at hand is and how it fits into our overall goals & greater vision… Because there are levels to how things get achieved! We honor the PROCESS, rather than being fixated on the PROGRESS, which is key when needing to be able to really see your deepest desires come to fruition.  We are also not afraid to take slower steps to be able to finish things well, while also asking for guidance along the way if needed. We also believe in remaining true to self as well and letting that truthfulness of heart & soul dictate how we move thru the world. We find that this helps us to align synergistically and amplifies our ability to manifest or create the life we desire… for ourselves, and be a great resource in aiding others to do the same.

MSC: We heard you two are good friends, and that you met on Instagram. What an incredible way to meet your business partner! How did you know you wanted to work together to start a movement and community for women of color (WOC)?

The Colored Girl: When we initially “met: via IG”, it was thru mutual admiration. Creating TCG and working together is something that organically happened, it wasn’t planned. We got snowed in a few winters ago and decided we wanted to start a meaningful, creative & disruptive passion project to represent, unite, uplift and empower WOC. So we decided to use everyday things that most women obsess over (beauty and fashion) to tell the story of colorism amongst black women, debunk the myth of lighter being better and also widen the margin on the standard of beauty in mainstream media. We felt all of these things needed to be addressed and decided to collaborate to build that story out using stunning & powerful visuals. Our first campaign went super viral with the help of Essence magazine and Instagram, and what started out as a passion project became a movement which is now a brand! More than 2 years later, we are now a business doing those same things and more!

MSC: What inspired you to found The Colored Girl? Could you share some of the story behind your mission and how your community has evolved and grown since your launch in 2016?

The Colored Girl: Women, love, and the human experience inspires us. We believe that we are all just different colors and cultures and that these things should be celebrated and not seen (or used to be) as divisive. Our mission remains the same: to uplift, unite and empower women of color. However, we have grown tremendously as a company since we first started. Our community, whom we call TRIBE is amazing! Their support has been an integral part of our continued success and growth. No woman can go it or make it alone, and so we highly value our TRIBE for the love and support they provide for us. One tangible way we’ve grown however is in the form of taking our online digital content, campaigns and community engagement offline and into real life in the form of an amazing annual women’s retreat, called IMARA. IMARA is an experience like no other that focuses on personal and professional development while connecting other amazing spirited women of color from around the globe! The next retreat will be taking place March 24-31st, in South Africa and we are super excited about the impact it will have!

MSC: What is your typical workday like?

The Colored Girl: We both usually start our mornings out with personal time to reflect, meditate (including yoga - Victory) and then its followed by a lot of relationship-focused communication via the women in our network and beyond; ideation of creative ideas (on some days), daily admin, creation and management of creative collateral, plus lots of emails & phone calls. There are also times when we are physically networking too, by going to events… And we do travel a LOT! But, most days are home office run for both of us and we are fortunate to be able to work remotely (via technology).

Tory (right) & Victory (left) – Founders, The Colored Girl

Tory (right) & Victory (left) – Founders, The Colored Girl

MSC: What’s your biggest challenge right now? What would you say to encourage girls encountering challenges in either their career or school?

The Colored Girl: We are growing at a rapid rate, and opportunities are presenting themselves at every turn… So, we are at a point where we need to scale and we are figuring out the best way (and tools to use) to do so! We believe that every challenge is an opportunity for growth, or to learn something. And that they shouldn’t be shied away from, but embraced in order to learn. We try to keep a beginner’s mind and also rely on instinct as well, plus we are never afraid to ask for help or consult others when we are looking for answers to things we may not know. So, we would always advise for girls to try and keep that open-minded, grounded, and humbled perspective, and to never be afraid to ask for what you need!

MSC: Tell us about the IMARA retreat!

The Colored Girl: IMARA IS AMAZING! It’s a 7 day immersive & emotive, life-changing experience that meets each woman as she is, regardless of titles, occupation, income level etc… We approach empowerment from a holistic standpoint by first delving into the who we are as women first, the relationship we have with self & others, and then how we move in the world to create lasting tangible positive change. It truly is a magical experience when you have all of these incredible different women together, on the continent of Africa, being open, vulnerable, being resources for one another & community and just sharing so much of themselves to learn and grow. It’s truly a phenomenal experience.

MSC: What's next for TCG? How can the women and girls of MSC get involved to support your mission?

The Colored Girl: Well, we are deepening our ties to the tribe and expanding… So, we are working on building a way for women to stay connected on a deeper level via a subscriber based platform which we are working on. In the meantime, people can subscribe to our newsletter on our website: www.thecoloredgirl.com. Women can also sign up to  attend IMARA (spots are limited!) there as well. You can also follow us on social media: Instagram @the.coloredgirl, @imara.retreat. And on Facebook - @thecgirlinc, @imara.retreat. We will also be working with some amazing partners (we cannot say just whom as of yet), and also launching more initiatives & experiences stateside and beyond! We truly appreciate all the love and support and are looking forward to continuing to share our brand & mission with as many women as possible.

IMARA Retreat

IMARA Retreat

Design the Life + Career You Love Role Model – Elisabeth Leonard

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Special Projects Manager + Senior EA to Rebecca Minkoff

Founder of Brown Eyed Ella; Board Member – Elisabeth R Woods Foundation

We sat down with Elisabeth and asked her what it’s like to be here and what being considered a Design the Life + Career You Love Role Model means to her…

MSC: We read that you’re a New Yorker, but recently followed your heart over 5,000 miles to Santiago, Chile. Could you tell us about this amazing journey? When did this adventure feel like a vacation, and when did it start to feel like real life?

Elisabeth: Yes, I am a native New Yorker living in Santiago, Chile. Long story short, my boyfriend and I met/started dating June 2015. And as cliché, as it sounds, we both agreed it felt like we had known each other forever. Fast forward a few months. My boyfriend and I came to a crossroads in our life in October of 2016; he was living in Santiago and me in NYC. We had to decide; are we going to make this work? The answer was YES. We made the decision to make it work, but not alone. We had the help of our friends, family, and workplaces. What started as a scary change, transformed itself into a never-ending adventure. It is an exciting journey; a new country, new language, new people. But I'd be lying to myself and everyone else if I said I wasn't scared in the beginning.

As with any place you call home, the adventure and thrill of the “newness” starts to fade and begins to transition into reality. Santiago is where my boyfriend and I currently call home. We still find adventure in every day, exploring new places throughout the country, and appreciating how lucky we are to live in a different country.

MSC: As the Special Projects Manager + Senior EA to Rebecca Minkoff, your days must be crazy busy. (in a good way!) And doing it all from Santiago, Chile, we’re impressed! What is your typical workday like?

Elisabeth: Yes; my days are VERY busy! But in the best way. I got very lucky with being able to work remotely for Rebecca and keep my job. I have been with Rebecca for almost five years and have grown in so many ways. There really is no “typical” work day for me, I feel like no one really has a typical work day! RM is constantly growing, adding new initiatives, and moving at a fast pace. We recently launched a non-profit called the Female Founder Collective which is a network of businesses led by women, supporting women. Our mission is to enable and empower female owned and led businesses to positively impact our communities, both socially and economically. Rebecca and I are leading this two-woman project and while it is a lot of work, we’re both so passionate about this community we’re building and the women we’re bringing together.

MSC: Favorite part about your job?

Elisabeth: The freedom to be creative, being able to share my opinions and ideas, and having the opportunity to work for a woman who inspires me regularly, Rebecca.

MSC: MSC, our mantra is “Design the Life You Love” - what does that statement mean to you?

Elisabeth: I’ve always admired your mantra because I think it reigns true to so many aspects of our lives. To me, it means embracing the unknown and stepping outside of my comfort zone. It means focusing on things that bring happiness and purpose into my life. The most important thing I have ever learned is that this is MY life. I get to write the story! Surround yourself with inspiring uplifted people who don’t settle for anything less than living a life connected to all that you love.

MSC: You have been an incredible champion of MSC over the last few years. You helped us set up a “Design the Life you Love” job shadow at Rebecca Minkoff! You even helped us arrange a behind the scenes visit with Teen Vogue where one of our campus reps got to go backstage at Rebecca Minkoff’s Runway Show back at Fashion Week several years ago! Why did you decide to support our work helping the next generation of girls to design the life they love? How has mentorship impacted your own life?

Elisabeth: First and foremost, Lisa’s passion for the work she does is what immediately drove me to support MSC. The very first phone call we had, which mind you was supposed to be a brief intro call, turned into a two-hour call, full of inspiration, laughter, and friendship. Ever since that phone call, I have always had a great respect and admiration for the work that Lisa and the entire MSC team is doing. Together, we can make an even greater change and inspire the next generation of girls to design the life they love.

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MSC: Outside of your work at Rebecca Minkoff, you started Brown Eyed Ella, an ever-evolving space dedicated to documenting lifestyle at its best and all the moments in between. We LOVE the name “Brown Eyed Ella”, could you share how you came up with this name?

Elisabeth: Growing up my dad used to always sing brown eyed girl to me (because I have brown eyes) and it was always a special thing between us. He passed away when I was 12 years old and every time I hear that song, it brings back so many great memories.  And as for the “Ella” part- my best friends call me Ella and have since high school. Ella also means “girl” in Spanish so it makes sense all around

MSC: What do you love about writing, how did you find a passion for writing?

Elisabeth: I’ve always loved to write but never knew what to do with that passion until my boyfriend encouraged me to start blogging. Brown Eyed Ella is a space for me to share all things lifestyle, travel, and everything that inspires me. It's my voice, my opinion, and a place for me to express myself. A place to inspire me and others. I’m all about honesty and transparency, and that’s what I hope to portray to my readers. I think it’s pretty interesting that I’m a born and raised NY native now living in Santiago, Chile while working remotely for a fashion company; I’ve learned a lot and I have a lot to share with the world.

MSC: What’s next for Brown Eyed Ella?

Elisabeth: That’s a tough question and one I ask myself daily! As with any new career, hobby, anything, it takes time to grow. Right now, my blog is an outlet for me to just share what’s on my mind and hopefully inspire others. It’s hard finding a balance between work and my blog because I’d love to have more time to dedicate to it. It’s a learning experience, and I’m taking it one day at a time.

MSC: Based on reading up on your passions and your life, we know your mom plays a huge role in your life. We saw she started a non-profit Elisabeth R Woods Foundation. Could you tell us about the foundation and your involvement?

Elisabeth: My mom is my hero and a true SUPERWOMAN! The Elisabeth R Woods Foundation began with one woman's extraordinary fight against lung cancer and has quickly established itself as a voice for non-small lung cancer. Elisabeth Woods was my grandmother and my moms mom.  She was just 63 years old when she received the devastating words; “you have IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer”. With grace and dignity, she spent the following three months fighting for her life but never losing sight of the needs of others. In 2012, my mother launched the Elisabeth R Woods Foundation in memory of her mother, my grandmother. The foundation was launched to provide the scientific community with funding to pursue innovative research. We support scientists who have the potential to achieve breakthroughs in how we diagnose and treat lung cancer.

The future of the foundation is extremely important, especially with getting a younger generation involved and become more aware of what we do. As head of the junior committee, it is my responsibility to make sure we’re raising awareness and supporting research

MSC: Your mom is such an inspiration! She’s what we would call a “Design the Life You Love Role Model.” How has your mom inspired you to design the life you love?

Elisabeth: WOW, where do I even begin!? Everyone says their mom is the best in the world, but those people just haven’t met my mom yet. There is no one like her. She is truly the strongest human being I know. There are not enough words in the dictionary to express the type of woman, the person my mother is. She’s strong, courageous, loves unconditionally and is the most beautiful woman I know both inside and out. Life has thrown not only my mom, but our family, many obstacles, but she has embraced all of them with courage and grace. It’s easy in times like this to want to stop fighting, but my mom never has, and I know she never will. And I know sometimes giving up might seem like the easy way out, but giving up has never been an option for her. She continues to fight. Not just for herself, but for me and my two younger sisters. She is our very own superwoman.

Her strength is inspiring. She’s dealt with many hardships in her life and yet she manages to stay positive, passionate and optimistic. My mom is such a huge inspiration for my entire life. She inspires me every day to keep smiling, keep being positive, and always keep going, no matter what happens. My mom always reminds me to stay true to myself no matter what, take every opportunity and make the best of it, and love others just as I love myself.

Thanks for helping our Campus Reps design the life they love!

Photos: Elisabeth & Rebecca, left; MSC Campus Rep (Madeline) & Rebecca, right.

Elisabeth helped us setup a behind the scenes campus rep experience at Rebecca Minkoff’s 2016 Fall Runway Show. Madeline has always wanted to be a journalist and she had the opportunity to interview Rebecca with Teen Vogue’s Social Media team.

#GirlCode | Meeting the Designers: Tatiana

Tatiana, tech student.

Tatiana, tech student.

Name

Tatiana Mangram Rock

College/field of study

City University of New York, B.S. in Computer Science

 Career aspirations

I would like to pursue a creative technical career. I see myself starting off in user experience, enhancing the way people interact with their products, and then follow my entrepreneurial interest and eventually help my Mom build and run a school for girls.

 Why did you get involved with MSC?

The mission behind MSC and Lisa’s dedication to the brand and being an active participant in supporting young women.

Favorite Part of Design Hackathon event

I appreciated the concept of bringing girls from different backgrounds, collaborating, and tying the project to each girl’s personal strengths or interests. In this case, it was a mix of technical, design and business savviness.

How and why you think MSC can and will change the lives of girls everywhere?

MSC provides opportunities for marginalized communities and gives young women a platform to have a voice, value and purpose.

Where do you see MSC in 5 years?

In communities locally and abroad – still living out the mission as they are today, but impacting thousands more (possibly even organizing their own global conferences). So much can change in six months, I’m sure that big things are coming in five years!

How does it make you feel to see the design you’ve created launch nationwide in a major retailer – a place where people you’ve never met will be able to buy your product and be inspired!

It makes me feel great! I hope it inspires women to feel fly and empowered.

What would you like to say to the Executive team at Verizon for selecting your design and selling it in their stores/online?

Thank you! I’m very thankful! They made the right decision. I think it’s amazing that Verizon chose such a unique project to partner with MSC. Their involvement shows so many young women that their ideas and talents are valued by large brands.

What would you like to say to the judge (Zac Posen) who selected your design? How would you like to see him support the phone case? (i.e. photo on Instagram, etc)

I know he obviously has an eye for fashion and I appreciate that he considered our design.

I would like to see the phone cases displayed in stores, online stores, magazines, product placement ads and across social media. Young women are always watching. Also, the design is diverse and so is his target audience, so its visibility wouldn’t be limited to just young women.

 Who would you LOVE to see carry/promote your phone case?

I would love to see Yara Shahidi (& cast of Grownish) tote it. As well as Janel Monae, Marley Diaz, Cardi B, Beverly Bond, Michelle Obama, and Oprah!

#GirlCode | Meeting the Designers: Nadia

Nadia, fashion design student.

Nadia, fashion design student.

Name

Nadia Marjanovich

College/field of study

Parsons School of Design, BFA in Fashion Design

Career aspirations

I hope to have a career that leads me down many different roads! I am passionate about art, all types of design, and I have a heart for helping people – especially young girls! It would be a dream of mine to travel the world as an art consultant for buyers and sellers, and to one day own my own gallery. I also hope to have a career in Jewelry Design and Fashion Design; linking design with outreach for community.

Why did you get involved with/love MSC?

I got involved with MSC because it was a great opportunity to connect with a community of young, smart, creative girls in NYC!

I love MSC for all of the positive energy it brings to the world through creative projects, community, and inclusivity! Lisa has developed such a wholesome platform for young girls and I am so lucky to be a part of it.   

What did you love about the Design Hackathon event?

I loved that the Design Hackathon was collaborative and that we didn’t know our team members prior to the event. It was great to dive into the project and make new connections and friends at the same time. It was also a great chance to work creatively on a large project – I am so pleased and excited with what we have developed!!

How and why you think MSC can and will change the lives of girls everywhere?

By setting positive examples, MSC has the power to change the lives of girls everywhere. The scope of our project is so inspiring, and I know that with continued persistence, MSC will continue to make a huge impact in girls’ lives all over the world.

Where do you see MSC in 5 years?

In the next five years, I see MSC trippeld in outcome! I see us taking on huge projects together and really making an impact on the world.

How does it make you feel to see the design you’ve created launch nationwide in a major retailer – a place where people you’ve never met will be able to buy your product and be inspired!

It is such a fulfilling feeling to know that what we created is playing a role in changing lives and inspiring other girls! This phone case is designed to be a positive reminder to girls, a source of encouragement, and it’s super cute!!  I never had imagined myself being involved in something like this, let alone having a design launched nationwide!! This whole process is inspiring to me, because it has allowed me to do something that I never thought I was capable of doing, or designing, or creating with such a positive outcome.

What would you like to say to the Executive team at Verizon for selecting your design and selling it in their stores/online?

Thank you so much to the Executive Team at Verizon for selecting our design! It means so much to me that you believe in what we have created! I hope that this project meets great success and brings more opportunities in the future!

What would you like to say to the judge (Zac Posen) who selected your design? How would you like to see him support the phone case? (i.e. photo on Instagram, etc)

Thank you so much, Mr. Posen, for believing in our design! I truly feel honored to have received your vote in selecting our case! This project has such a valuable message, and we are trying to spread this message on Instagram and other internet/social sites! It would mean so much to me and our team to have your support on Instagram to further this campaign! This phone case might be the perfect accessory to finish off one of your outstanding looks!

Who would you LOVE to see carry/promote your phone case?

I would love to see Rosie Huntington-Whiteley supporting our case. As well as Karlie Kloss, who has amazing reach and such a big heart for young girls. Karlie Kloss would be the perfect candidate to promote because she runs an organization called Kode With Klossy. She is passionate about young girls leading in the tech industry. I’ve looked up to her for awhile now, and she is truly a positive leader to our generation.







#GirlCode | Meeting the Designers: Melanie

Melanie, business student.

Melanie, business student.

Name

Melanie Greene

College/field of study

I have a B.S. in Information Technology with a focus in Web Design and Digital Media; Minor in marketing from Pace University.

Career aspirations

I am a proud first generation college student and I hope that with my current position as a User Experience Designer in Silicon Valley, along with my future education, I will be able to give back to my community and help create a better future for its children.
My family and professors encouraged and inspired me to be the woman that I am becoming, and so I hope to be able to share their love and courage with those I meet. I am passionate about mentoring others and I hope my future is bright with more opportunities so that I can share my experiences.

Why did you get involved with MSC?

MSC empowers women to embrace who they are, to challenge themselves, and to reach their fullest potential.

MSC sets the tone for future generations of women to come – they are paving the way for the future. MSC is changing the perception and face of the STEM field. Together, we are making a difference so that the young women of tomorrow can see the women before them successfully pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We are designing the lives we love for ourselves and for other women.

What did you love about the Design Hackathon event?

I loved the concept of the design hackathon – to encourage more female participation in the STEM field by designing a phone case. The Dean of the Seidenberg School at Pace University made me aware of the competition and encouraged me to be a part of it – I am so thankful he did!

How and why you think MSC can and will change the lives of girls everywhere?

MSC provides mentorship, job shadow opportunities amongst different industries, and encouragement for women everywhere. With this support and drive, MSC helps shape the future for young women despite their career goals. It is imperative that career opportunities are shared with girls in school so that they can understand what kinds of careers are out there. This is the time where we should be exposed to the endless possibilities that exist.

Where do you see MSC in 5 years?

Touching every corner of the globe! I would also love to see MSC’s presence at the Grace Hopper Conference. It is a perfect event to share their purpose and passion.

How does it make you feel to see the design you’ve created launch nationwide in a major retailer – a place where people you’ve never met will be able to buy your product and be inspired!

It is absolutely unreal! When I was younger, I was interested in becoming a fashion designer. I was a big video game geek (I still am) and I am a tech nerd. As unlikely as it may have seemed, it’s happening, and this is a dream come true. I know that I will shed tears of joy opening up my first phone case and when I see them in Verizon stores nationwide. I will definitely tell my children and my grandchildren about this. I am very honored and I am grateful that I got to work with incredible women in the field of design and technology on this project.

What would you like to say to the Executive team at Verizon for selecting your design and selling it in their stores/online?

I don’t think I can say thank you enough times to let them know how much this means to my team and to myself. Not only are you impacting our lives, but the lives of young women everywhere. You are helping us inspire young women to be bold and confident in pursuing careers in STEM. You are helping us change the perception and face of STEM. Everything indicates that this will be a successful product for Verizon. We applaud Verizon for taking this product to market.

What would you like to say to the judge (Zac Posen) who selected your design? How would you like to see him support the phone case? (i.e. photo on Instagram, etc)

It is an absolute honor for me because fashion and culture help me identify who I am. This phone case will help others identify career paths and skills that they can use so to create a life that they love. It is gratifying to have Zac’s support and encouragement. It would be great to see Zac Posen create a signature product with our case.

Who would you LOVE to see carry/promote your phone case?

It would be a dream to have Oprah, Ellen, and Michelle Obama promote our phone case. They are women of strength that I, and millions of other girls, look up to.


Iridescent Podcast Feature ⚡️

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We are so excited to announce that our founder and CEO, Lisa Mayer, has been featured on the Iridescent Podcast! Our friends Nicole Smithee, Founder and CEO of Iridescent, and Alex Brown, Chief Director of Strategy & Operations, took the time to sit down and ask Lisa what it truly means to design the life and career she loves. 

Lisa covers what it’s like to build a business from scratch and what it’s like to never give up on your dream, even when it feels like everything is going against you. #7DollarDreams

You may be thinking - That’s great! Yay, Lisa! But, what is Iridescent?

We’ll tell you.

First and foremost, we’ll start with the definition –

IRIDESCENT
irəˈdes(ə)nt/
adjective
Showing luminous colors that seem to change when seen from different angles.

Our friends at Iridescent believe that YOU are brilliant- uniquely formed and divinely woven together, with the ability to light up this world through goodness and kindness, bravery and resilience. Your shimmer is multi-faceted and potential uncontainable. Created with purpose, you were destined to shine. Nichole has launched a platform where young women can engage with one another in real conversations – conversations about health, culture, beauty, relationships, spirituality and more! At Iridescent you will find real women sharing their insight and experiences around their careers, relationships, culture, fitness, beauty, and spirituality. 

Make sure to take a listen to Lisa’s interview here, and to follow @IridescentWomen, and subscribe at iridescentwomen.com 

A Yemeni Girl's Dream: An Interview with Yasmeen Munasser

Yasmeen (middle) with two other inspiring women in the My Social Canvas Design the Life You Love community! Emma (far left) and Ameenah (far right)

Yasmeen (middle) with two other inspiring women in the My Social Canvas Design the Life You Love community! Emma (far left) and Ameenah (far right)

If you ever wanted to meet an inspiring woman, here's your chance. We are so thrilled to introduce you to Yasmeen. Without giving too much away, she's an absolute rockstar who is going to change the world through technology and is already paving the way for more women to enter the STEM field! So, with no futher adue, here's our interview with this lovely lady.

MSC: How did you first hear about My Social Canvas? Why did you want to get involved?

Yasmeen: I first heard about My Social Canvas when I first met Lisa Mayer. I met her from an event hosted by HerHuddle, a movement of women, from executives to young women in college, designed to ignite possibilities and inspire action for a rising circle of women. I wanted to get involved in My Social Canvas because I am all about being a part of a program/organization that inspires young women to be the best that they can be by designing the life they love.

MSC: What does My Social Canvas mean to you? What do you love about MSC’s mission of equipping and empowering the next generation of women and girls to design the life and career they love?

Yasmeen: My Social Canvas means to dream big. What I love about MSC’s mission is that the brand as a whole share a positive message for young women to believe in themselves and they can absolutely achieve the life they love and want to live. The brand is also like a sisterhood and a bond for the next generation of women and girls to just be there for one another as we all flourish in our careers.

MSC: What events have you attended through My Social Canvas? What did you learn?

Yasmeen: I have attended a couple of events. The most recent event I attended was the Apple Event where I learned about how to become a more skilled coder and was introduced to the Procreate app where I can gain design and sketching skills with the Apple Pencil. It was so much fun and very inspiring.

MSC: What is your dream job?

Yasmeen: As a computer science major, my dream job is to be a software engineer. I want to be a representation, and a leader, for women in tech. I also am minoring in business because I want to gain a set of skills that will allow me to explore the business and finance industries.

MSC: Our Founder/CEO Lisa is inspired by your story and the journey you took to pursue your education! Could you share some of your personal story so we can help inspire other women like you to always dream big and never give up? 

Yasmeen: As a Yemeni girl, it was a challenge for me to pursue higher education. In Yemen, most girls end their education at high school. I graduated from high school in 2012 and I did not go to college or work once I finished high school. This remained for three years. For those three years, I didn’t feel like myself. I knew that high school was not the end of my educational career; I always loved school and I was an ambitious girl... I wanted more for myself and my future.

In 2015, I had the realization that I need to do what is best for me. I needed to break the cycle of Yemeni girls’ highest level of education being high school. This lifestyle stems from the culture and not the religion of Islam. I also wanted to be an example for my little sister and to make things easier for her to pursue higher education. In summer of 2015, I had debates with my father about enrolling in college. After three months, he agreed. Now, in August of 2018, having completed three years of college and completed two summer internships, one winter internship, and working a couple jobs while taking multiple classes per semester, my parents could not be prouder. I am also proud of myself. I broke the cycle. I am the first in my family to pursue higher education and to have an Associate’s degree while I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science/ minoring in Business. I am living my truth. I am doing what I love every single day which is being a working young woman pursuing her education.

MSC: What advice would you give to other girls and women in your area of study? 

Yasmeen: One piece of advice I would give to other girls and women in my area of study (STEM) is to “invest in yourself” - it is the best investment you can ever make. This short three-word statement is what I have chosen to live by for three years now. There will be many days where you will feel discouraged or that you do not belong. However, you have to push through those days and never give up. You will only come out the other side stronger. Form study groups, use resources online to study any material you may have trouble with or you feel you may never quite understand. The world is in need of more women in computer science and the tech industry. There isn’t anything women cannot do! I also attest that you will be at a point in your life where you look back at some of your toughest moments and you will smile at the fact that you have pushed through. You will then realize that there is nothing you cannot handle and that you are meant to do what you love. 

MSC: Who are some of your “Design the Life You Love” mentors or role models? (women you look up to)

 Yasmeen: For me, one of my “Design the Life You Love” role models would have to be Lisa Mayer. She is an example of what I hope to achieve in the future as far as creating an organization or a brand that will only inspire young girls and women to be creative and open about what they would love to achieve in their lives. Like Lisa, I hope to someday create a space for young women to be able to be involved in a space where they feel there are other young women like themselves that they can relate to. She is focused and driven to giving back to young women by always inspiring them. She reassures us all that we can achieve anything we want and make our dreams come true. I only hope to do the same.

Another role model for me is Judy Spitz who is the Director and Founder of Women in Technology in New York. I first met her when I applied through the WiTNY Summer Guild Program in 2017 which was a two-week intense program for young women pursuing computer science or related majors and who want to flourish in the tech field. I had an incredible experience. Once I completed the program, I realized I wanted to pursue Computer Science as a major and become a leading woman in technology. My relationship with Judy is not only professional but it has become a personal relationship as well. We stay in contact through email and she is someone I go to ask for advice whether it is about a next job opportunity or school related. She is an amazing, accomplished woman and I hope to one day be at her level and inspire as many young women as she has. I do not think she realizes how her support and guidance has impacted me in an abundant way. I am very appreciative of her. I like to think of her as the Beyoncé of Technology.  

Lastly, a third role model for me is US Olympian and 1st Muslim female medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad. It is refreshing and inspiring to see a Muslim woman pursuing her dreams and designing the life she loves. It can be very challenging for Hijabi women to live in their truths and at the same time balance our religion, Islam, while being a Muslim American pursuing her passion. She is a force to be reckoned with who deserves all the success.