Spotlight on GIRLS WHO ROCK concert benefiting “She’s the First”

20 06 2011

Originally posted on on June 7, 2011


Charity Spotlight | GIRLS WHO ROCK concert benefiting She’s the First

By Jillian Diedrich

The second annual GIRLS WHO ROCK benefit concert will rock out for girls’ education worldwide this Friday, June 10, at Gramercy Theatre in New York City beginning at 8 p.m.

Taking place during Internet Week New York, GIRLS WHO ROCK benefiting She’s the First will fundraise for the sponsorship of girls at the Arlington Academy of Hope in Uganda, where less than 20 percent of girls graduate secondary school.

Put together by a rock star team of all-volunteers, GWR brings together the most dedicated voices in music, media, technology and design.  The team has worked to help Ugandan girls be the first in their family to graduate high school.

“Being Indian, and having gone to India a plethora of times, I know how hard it is for girls to get an education,” said 17-year-old volunteer and recent Archbishop Molloy High School graduate Opal Vadhan. “I think it is so empowering that this organization is raising money for girls in third-world countries to get an education.”

Opal has been working hand-in-hand with co-founders Cynthia Hellen and Tammy Tibbetts as the creative associate, responsible for concept development and monitoring the daily tasks of the team.

“My experience has been incredible so far! I absolutely love what I get to do at GWR!” said Opal. “It’s been such an exciting opportunity in my life where I’ve gotten to learn so much and meet so many great people.”

 Looking to get involved?

Running on the passion of a team younger than 30, and by the generosity of artists donating their time and talent, GIRLS WHO ROCK aims to raise at least $20,000 in this one night and in an online fundraising campaign at Donate $11 in honor of the Class of 2011 campaign now!

The talented and diverse lineup of rocking female performers includes platinum-recording artist JoJo; the R&B twin duo Nina Sky; up-and-coming artist Nikki Jean, releasing her debut album Pennies in a Jar in July; Eddy, the first to produce a music video on the iPad2; KimberlyNichole, featured in Vogue; along with DJ Kiss, emcee Touré, host of Fuse TV and Rolling Stone music journalist, with special appearance by Data, robotic standup actor and comedian, presented by TED fellow Heather Knight.

Tickets are available online at

GIRLS WHO ROCK will be Ustreamed live the night of the concert for those who cannot attend but want to stay tuned in. GWR demonstrates in real time how the Internet can be used to create social impact, especially through social media.

An innovative spin on the concert is the pilot of a student volunteer program, GIRLS WHO ROCK Gives Back. The initiative brings high school and college students deep into the concert creation process.

“GWR isn’t only a team, I consider them my family!” concluded Opal. “I’ve always wanted an older sister and now I have SO many of them! I’m learning so many lessons, from work wise to life wise. And it’s great to have a support system where we are all rooting for each other!”

Learn more at

Donation page: [Donations can be made until the end of June. Help GWR reach its $5,000 online fundraising goal!]

Ticket page:

Follow breaking updates on GIRLS WHO ROCK’s Facebook page and the @GirlsWhoRockNY Twitter handle.


Spotlight on Komen’s Young Professionals for the Cure

17 05 2011

Originally seen on, April 30, 2011

Charity Spotlight | Susan G. Komen’s Young Professionals for the Cure Make Dreams Come True

By Jillian Diedrich

Just last week, a group of young professionals from Austin, Texas, used the power of social media to make a dream come true for 9-year-old Madeleine, who is battling stage IV Glioblastoma, by surprising her with a FOOD FIGHT at a local park.

Madeleine has been defying doctors’ predictions and is still fighting, enriching the lives of all who meet her with her infectious laugh and precious smile.

Komen’s Young Professionals for the Cure (YPC) group of Austin just-so-happened to meet Madeleine while out to dinner on her mom’s birthday.  Once the group talked with Madeleine and her family, they became inspired by her courage and strength.

“As we spoke with Madeleine, she informed us of the one thing she really wanted more than any gift: a food fight,” said Jeremy Butler, the social media chair of Austin’s YPC. “So, we decided to give her the best food fight ever!”

It took only a week and a half to plan the food fight – mostly via Facebook outreach and support.

“When Madeleine and her family showed up on the day of the food fight, I got to see Madeleine’s eyes light up in surprise,” said Butler. “How smoothly it went exceeded my expectations.”

About 100 friends and family members came out, armed with foods, to make Madeleine’s dream come true.

Madeleine’s favorite foods are spaghetti and chocolate cake, so cupcakes and pasta were donated by people in the community.  All those who attended were also asked to bring at least one canned food item to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank.

“The whole experience was positive,” said Jen Harman, active member of Austin’s YPC. “Madeleine’s smile was the best part of the whole day.  Everyone was there to have fun!”

This is a peak at what Komen’s YPC groups can do when they collaborate with the community.  The first YPC group was created in New York City by Eric Brinker, the son of founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen, Nancy Brinker.  The ultimate goal of all YPC groups is to collaborate and eradicate cancer.

“Madeleine’s Food Fight was so amazing,” said Glen Mayes, chairman of Austin’s YPC.  “Seeing our YPC group grow from last year to now have so many people around with like-minded views made it happen.”

Why get inovolved?

Do something that inspires you,” said Harman. “That’s what made us want to help. Madeleine inspired us.”

Please visit WWW.MADELEINESGIFT.ORG to learn more about Madeleine’s story and make donations toward her fight against cancer.

Photographs of Madeleine’s Food Fight can be found at  Twenty to 30 percent of all proceeds from purchased pictures will go to Madeleine’s family.

For more information, please visit:

To volunteer with our Austin, Texas Affiliate you can visit

Find out how to get involved in the Susan G. Komen Affiliate in your area by visiting

Original Poetry from a GIRL WHO ROCKS!

17 05 2011

By far, the coolest part about emceeing She’s the First Poetry Month is the chance to see all the hidden poetic talents of some already remarkable individuals. We have been sharing poetry from our girls in Nepal and India, and on Tuesday we shared the original poetry by one of our researcher at She’s the First, Arianna Davis.

Today, we are spotlighting an original poem written by Jill Diedrich, the Communications Officer for GIRLS WHO ROCK. Be sure to check out Jill’s debut on the GIRLS WHO ROCK blog. Jill, thank you for your submission!

Want to be featured next? Send your original poem submissions or favorites from the classics to

Soul for Thought

Often we lay entwined to other realms of thought,
To escape the life we were brought.

Until the time comes when you decide what you want for the moment:
You strive for it and live it.
Life is about living,
Finding your everything.
Loving your surroundings,

And appreciating the poundings.
Discovering your self-worth from all that has occurred since birth.
Make a difference and enjoy doing it.
Just be happy and make the world a better place,
And never turn your back on the human race.

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Spotlight Wednesday: Meet Our GIRLS WHO ROCK Team

11 04 2011

Originally seen on – April 6, 2011

A core group of passionate “Renaissance women” make up the GIRLS WHO ROCK team. With diverse talent and well-rounded lives, they work countless hours to produce an amazing event which benefits girls’ education. GWR would not be the smashing, feel-good event without the contribution of these thoughtful and hardworking people, and we’d love for you to get to know them!

This Week: Jill Diedrich, @jill_diedrich, GWR PR Officer

How did you first connect with GIRLS WHO ROCK?

I was placed in front of co-founder Cynthia Hellen through my work as Director of Operations for Make Charity Cool. Before meeting, Cynthia had no idea our interests and my skill set would align to the point of me jumping aboard the GWR team the very night we met! Cynthia is so passionate about her work and I love and respect the empowerment that GWR brings across the globe. I am happy and excited to be helping the cause.

What’s your role on the GIRLS WHO ROCK team?

I am the Public Relations and Communication Officer for GWR.  My role involves reaching out to the media, strategically marketing GWR, and overseeing all communication efforts. I get to see the latest developments occurring at GWR and tell them to the world!

What’s your day job or professional/academic area of expertise?

I am a soon-to-be graduate at The University of Texas, majoring in Public Relations.  I am currently working part-time as an account executive for Hackney Communications, a boutique PR firm based out of Austin, Texas.  I am also the Director of Operations for Make Charity Cool, a budding non-profit working to inspire and change the world.  Doing PR for GWR allows me to bring together my communication skills and passion for empowering women and changing the world for the better, all in my favorite city and future home – New York City!

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned so far while helping to produce GIRLS WHO ROCK?

Enthusiasm is contagious.  Working with a team of enthusiastic women allows GIRLS WHO ROCK to thrive with others wanting to get involved and the media wanting to find out more.  It is important to enjoy what you do and believe what you preach. Watch out, because our enthusiasm for GWR has only just begun!

What’s the #1 thing you want people to know about what goes on behind the scenes of GIRLS WHO ROCK?

Our GWR crew is a support team of talented and motivated young women, working together to make positive changes in the world.  For many of us, our paths have crossed for the first time through our work at GWR, and yet we already feel connected – like we were always meant to be friends and working together for girls’ education all through the power of GIRLS WHO ROCK.  The beauty of technology allows us to stay connected on a daily basis.

Five Favorites of the moment (think fast!):

What is a memorable story or fact you learned about girls’ education in the developing world through She’s the First?

The main fact that of the 130 million youth who are out of school in the world, 70% are girls is mind-blowing to me. The gender gap must be closed, and there is no reason for girls to be left uneducated. Furthering girls’ education is critical for the future of the global community.

Give a shout out to a special teacher or mentor who shaped your own education, so that you can be where you are today in NYC, on the team.

My parents are the reason I got my educational opportunities, and they gave me the resources I needed to succeed.  The motivation and support I gained from my parents as mentors is incomparable. Obviously, I took advantage of these opportunities and made it to where I am today.  I think everyone deserves the opportunity to receive an education and that is what She’s the First and GWR is all about.

In terms of brand and image, how can a non-profit or business develop their overall look and signature style?

In terms of brand and image, a nonprofit can stand out by having a bold look, strong message, and unique style.  Clearly our message is strong, and GWR is especially unique in its initiatives of music, technology and design.  Staying ahead of the curve with technology is where non-profits and businesses need to be.  GWR exceeds this expectation through its use of social media and technology in general.  It stands out by being on a national platform and having the power to reach people anywhere, anytime with a consistent message and collaborative style.

Fill in the Blank: A GIRL WHO ROCKS is can change the world!

Check back each Wednesday for a new profile on someone from our team and the GWR council!

Spotlight on Pencils of Promise

11 04 2011

Originally seen on, March 28, 2011

Charity Spotlight | Pencils of Promise

March 2011 | By Jillian Diedrich

Founded less than three years ago, Pencils of Promise is a nonprofit that started out with a $25 deposit and has grown to build more than 20 schools in the developing world.  PoP also strives to train young leaders to take action at home and abroad.

To get the real story behind Pencils of Promise, I interviewed two amazing women who stand behind the cause: founding member and Director of Outreach, Mimi Nguyen, and the Director of Youth Programming, Jocelyn Kmet.

“PoP is a community of passionate individuals dedicated to education for all, and this community is built upon the belief that every person has the potential to create good in this world – regardless of age, ability, or money,” said Mimi, who has helped founder Adam Braun change the world ‘one pencil at a time’.

One of Mimi’s goals as Director of Outreach is to increase membership on the Professionals for PoP community site.  This newly launched program helps guide professionals on how they can get involved.  Visit the site directly at

The overall long-term goal is “access to education” – in order to bring down the statistic that 75 million children in this world are without access to education.

“We train young leaders by providing programs here that will inspire them to take initiative against a key issue: education as a basic human right,” said Mimi. “Through our education, our supporters become advocates for Pencils of Promise’s work abroad.  In our youth program, we’re launching PoP Leadership Institute this summer so check it out!”

Jocelyn Kmet, Director of Youth Programming, came aboard the PoP team last summer to run the summer internship program.  She didn’t realize then that the three-month commitment would change her life.

“I have the best job in the world!” said Jocelyn. “I get to work with the most amazing, passionate and inspiring young people who are looking to change the world.”

The youth programming team develops toolkits and campaigns for students to get involved, spread awareness or fundraise for PoP.  An International Youth Council is being created along with a social entrepreneurship and leadership summer training program for high school students.

“I want Pencils of Promise to provide students all across the world with the best programs to allow them to easily participate in the creation of good whether through PoP or within their own communities,” said Jocelyn.

PoP strives to engage students at the college level and under by hosting live webinars and video chats for students to get to know the team and to receive guidance on how to join the movement.

Interested in getting involved? Both Mimi and Jocelyn advise you to combine your passions and your talents with your volunteer project.

“I always wanted to find something I was truly passionate about and that I could devote myself to,” said Jocelyn. “That is what PoP is to me.”

Join The PoP Movement at

March Madness

24 03 2011

If blogs have the ability to feel neglected, mine deserves at least a dozen roses.  With that said, tonight I get to spoil it with many juicy details that have occurred during this great month dedicated to women’s history.

As for the March Madness, let’s not even talk about the basketball due to the end of the run for my horns… let’s just stick to the happy stories…

The Bravery @ the ACL Moody Theater

I don’t even remember what happened during the first week of March, BUT two weeks ago Hackney Communications had the pleasure of representing RISE Week Austin, the largest free entrepreneurial conference in the world.  In its fifth year, RISE Global kicked off the week with Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET and the RLJ Companies.  As I sat and listened to his speech, I could feel the passion and motivation behind all the entrepreneurs in the room working towards success.  Austin is a city of innovation and a pinnacle for entrepreneurs.  Needless to say, RISE Week Austin was a huge success.  It ended with an Awards and Bash at the W hotel with a performance by The Bravery!

Next up was my much-anticipated trip back to THE city for the New York Texas Exes Seminar.  The week was FILLED with office visits, networking events, meeting new friends and visiting old friends.  I LOVED it.

Of course, it made me want to move to the city for good, like yesterday, but I am still determining my plans post-graduation.  Whether I keep living the life Austin or take a leap of faith to the city, I am so thankful for the support of my family, friends, and professional mentors.  I am full of motivation by nature, but it’s certainly nice to have people to cheer for and for those people to cheer for me!

One very exciting development that resulted from my trip to NYC is my new position with GirlsWhoRock NY.  As the newly appointed PR & Communication Officer, I will be helping create a rocking concert scheduled for June 10 benefitting girls’ education in Uganda!  More deets to come for sure.  Definitely visit the website @ and join the conversation on twitter #GWR2011.  See ya again in June, New York City!!!

As for this week, I am writing my life away as a PR major and preparing for my grandma and aunt to visit Austin for the first time EVER next week! Kind of fitting to end Women’s History Month with a few generations of my favorite women: my mom and her sister and the woman who started our history together: my grandmother.

Then I will be jet-setting to Miami for the IMG World Congress of Sports, another perk of working for Hackney Comm.  Bienvenidos a Miami!