Clinton Global Initiative is a unique meeting – not only does it allow for people with similar passions to meet each other, it encourages them to collaborate with each other and create a commitment to themselves, each other, the Clinton Foundation and the public that they will take their good intentions and turn them into action.
This week we heard about a commitment that really stood out to us because it is a story that begins with someone who lives grey and kicks off a cycle of empowering others to also live grey.
Kay Krill is the CEO of Ann Inc (parent company of Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor LOFT). She is one of only 35 women leading a Fortune 1000 company. Recognizing this fact, Kay felt personally responsible to help develop the next group of female leaders. She decided to blend this personal mission of hers into her professional life. As the head of such a large company, she knew she could make a huge impact (it also just made good sense – 93% of Ann Inc employees are women, and their consumer base is 100% women!).
“Life is way too short to not do what you love.”
– Kay Krill
In collaboration with Vital Voices, Kay and Ann Taylor launched an initiative called ANNpower. The goal of the initiative is to empower young women across the U.S. with the leadership skills they need to “affect global progress, invest in their communities and begin their journeys as the next generation of leaders.” ANNpower aims to provide leadership skills and mentorship to 50 Fellows annually and is designed to positively impact more than 5,500 members of the Fellows collective communities throughout the US each year.
At CGI this week we had the opportunity to hear the very impressive Monica Mishra (2012 ANNpower Fellow and 2013 Project Grant Winner) speak about her ANNpower experience. The way she speaks about her passion for technology, it is clear that Monica is well on her way to living a grey life.
Please take a moment to listen to Kay and Monica speak (Kate Hudson, Ann Taylor brand ambassador and ANNpower mentor spoke too!).
The best part of this story though, is how living a grey life is contagious. From working on her ANNpower project Monica discovered that she, like Kay, had a passion for empowering others. Her ANNpower project involved running workshops for girls in elementary school to get them interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and math. She remarked that if she was able to inspire one or two girls to pursue what they love, she has done her job. Because then those girls will inspire one or two more people. “Sometimes it’s not the sweeping legislation or education reform that matters- it is the little things.” In other words, it’s okay to start small.
It’s true that Kay is a power player and was in a position to “make things happen.” While you may not be in the same boat as Kay, what can you learn from her story (or Monica’s story) that you can apply to your own life? Ask yourself these questions: Do you know what makes you happy? Are you folding it into your life and actively blending personal and professional? Are you sharing your aspirations with others? Can you collaborate with others to turn your intentions into actions?
[Image: Roxanne Roberts/The Washington Post]