Play Big in the World
As women entrepreneurs rising on the world stage, we have this major opportunity to be of service. Not only to our clients, but to our communities big and small. With our talents, with our platforms and with our influence, there is no limit to the impact we can create.
Women today have a voice and so many of us feel called to use it for good. But you might be wondering—can we have thriving careers and find time for our humanitarian pursuits? I say YES and I have a list of eight fabulous ladies to prove it.
From starting foundations to working with the UN, these women have traveled the world as advocates and activists, all while enjoying the demands of their careers and families. Read on for a little insight into how the Hollywood A-list does impact.
Last year Beyoncé came out in a big way to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As citizens fought to have their voices heard following the killing of unarmed Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Bey and husband Jay-Z reportedly wired tens of thousands of dollars to bail out jailed protestors, while also contributing funds to expand the organization’s efforts.
Meanwhile Beyoncé continues to activate her #BeyGood campaign, which mobilizes her fanbase to raise money for communities that need it most. The iconic “Bey Good” t-shirt first came out in support of a hospital build in Haiti and is now focused on aiding those affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Angelina Jolie first witnessed a humanitarian crisis while filming Tomb Raider in war-torn Cambodia in 2001. When she got home, she immediately called the UN and signed up to visit refugee camps around the world. After covering all her own costs and sharing the same accommodations as the other field officers, that year she was named a UN Goodwill Ambassador. Now following a decade of service, she’s been promoted to Special Envoy and empowered to represent her High Commissioner in diplomatic talks.
Angelina’s 2001 trip to Cambodia also inspired her to adopt her son Maddox, starting the gorgeous global family we now all know as the Jolie-Pitts. What you may not know however, is that Brad and Angelina have honored their children’s home countries by preserving wildlife areas in both Cambodia and in Namibia, where daughter Zahara was born. On the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation property in Cambodia, there’s even a fully functioning Millennium Village, supporting six thousand villagers in a compound that houses schools, roads and a soy milk factory—all funded by Brad and Angie.
Long before she entered the Hollywood spotlight, Amal Clooney had already dedicated her career to protecting human rights around the world. Her passion for defending freedom of speech led her to the international stage, representing high-profile clients like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and captured Canadian journalist Mohammed Fahmy. When she met husband George, the Oxford-educated attorney was living in London and serving on a number of UN commissions, even advising Special Envoy Kofi Annan on Syria.
Now with Clooney by her side, Amal has only amplified her message. These days a regular night with the philanthropic power couple might involve meeting with the German Chancellor to discuss the plight of refugees, or speaking at a government communications summit in Dubai. As you might remember, the tone was set when Amal and George chose to donate all the proceeds from the sale of their wedding photos to a human rights charity.
While releasing platinum records and selling out stadiums around the world, Taylor Swift continues to pay it forward with countless charitable donations. In fact for the past four years, DoSomething.Org has named her the most charitable celebrity in the world.
Not only does Taylor support foundations like Broadway Cares and Equity Fights, she also often gives directly to her fans who need the most help, like when she donated $50k to an 11-year old fan battling Leukemia, or another $50k to help her backup dancer’s nephew, also fighting cancer. She’s also been a fierce supporter of education and the arts, donating over $25k in books to New York City classrooms and $50k to the Seattle Symphony.
Karlie Kloss has major career ambitions…none of which have to do with modeling! Instead, the 23-year-old has her eye on the tech scene and hopes to run her own software empire one day. In 2014 the top international model enrolled at NYU and studied coding at Manhattan’s Flatiron School. Last year she decided to empower other young women to do the same.
Her platform “Kode with Karlie” gave 20 high school students scholarships to attend a prestigious 2-week coding bootcamp. No prior experience was required—all they had to do was submit a 60 second
video. “I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible,” Karlie said about the project, continuing, “to ensure that we have a voice and a stake in what the world looks like.”
Not only is Eva Longoria a major TV star, cookbook author and the co-owner of two fab restaurants in Hollywood and Vegas, she’s also totally dedicated to her work in philanthropy and advocacy. As an activist for the Latino community, Eva has urged President Obama to reform immigration policies and worked with businesses to invest in Hispanic neighborhoods.
In 2012 she founded the Eva Longoria Foundation, which helps Latina women build better futures through education and entrepreneurship. She also co-founded Eva’s Heroes, a nonprofit benefiting disabled children, and sits on the board of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund. To get a deeper understanding of how she could help people, in 2013 Eva earned her Master’s Degree in Chicano Studies, writing her thesis on: “Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.”
Earlier this year, Emma Watson announced a one-year sabbatical from the screen to focus exclusively on two things—her personal development and her advocacy work. In July of 2014 the Harry Potter star and Brown University grad was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and has been working passionately to promote gender equality and women’s rights.
As an advocate for the UN’s HeForShe campaign, she’ll be going on a university tour, hosting an arts week and publicizing major initiatives—like this past January at Davos, where she stood side by side with CEOs from 10 of the world’s leading Fortune 500 companies as they disclosed their workforce diversity figures, including information on leadership roles. Meanwhile Emma is committed to reading a book a week, plus another every month with her online feminist bookclub Our Shared Shelf.
If you’re a fan of ABC’s hit show Scandal, then you’ve seen Kerry Washington fix a political mess or two. But while her character Olivia Pope works behind the scenes, Kerry has never been afraid to step forward and fight for what she believes in. The Golden Globe- and Emmy- nominated actress sits on the board of V-Day, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women, and has partnered with the Allstate Purple Purse Project in raising even more awareness about domestic abuse.
Kerry is also passionate about the importance of arts in education. She serves on the board of the Creative Coalition, an alliance of artists, actors and creative professionals who advocate around issues of First Amendment rights and public education. In 2009, President Obama recognized Kerry’s great work by appointing her to his committee of the Arts and Humanities.