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 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!

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!

Women’s Power Hour

29 11 2010

I’ve always been a big believer of women empowerment.  If I had been alive a few decades ago, I would have been a total feminist (in a man-loving kind of way ha!).

When I saw Forbes’ October edition of “The 100 Most Powerful Women,” I had to read it (see if you’re curious!).   I’ll go over some highlights:

§  -Michelle Obama at #1

§  -Oprah at #3

§  -Lady Gaga #7

§  -Angelina Jolie #21

§  -Arianna Huffington #28

§  -Chelsea Handler #33 (yay!)

And the list goes on, with Martha Stewart barely making it in at #99.

No matter how accurate this list may or may not be – which, let’s face it – is purely subjective, I think it’s awesome that there IS a list of The 100 Most Powerful Women.  This list wouldn’t even exist 50 years ago.

My idea of women empowerment is for all women, young and old, to feel that their rights matter and that their opinion is just as important as anyone else’s.  Sure, the stereotypical man and woman excel at different things, but now women are having the chance to excel in all areas.  Currently, there is controversy as to whether or not women are being paid the same salaries as men.  I will have to keep researching on THAT….

Following the Thanksgiving weekend, I am so thankful to be born in an age where my family supports my beliefs, my ideas, my joys, and what I want to become.  They’ve never forced ideas upon me or made me feel that I am limited to a certain way of life.  Although, I think my Grandma wishes I cooked more, but hey! I still have time to become a world-class chef, all in due time … yeah, right!

Juxtaposed next to my new obsession with The Tudors (I’m now on Season 2 on Netflix), the TV series based upon the reign of English monarch Henry VIII and named after the Tudor dynasty, I truly see how far gender equality has come.

Princesses were married off as peace treaties and adultery was rampant … not that I can say adultery has decreased … but I cannot even fathom an assigned marriage!

Aside from vast differences centuries make, women empowerment still has many victories to accomplish.  Worldwide, women of various cultures are still told to cover their bodies, remain uneducated, marry whom they are told, and leave any dreams they may have unspoken.

I whole-heartedly support organizations that support the empowerment of women such as WE, UNICEF, the Nike Foundation, and Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign … which brings me to whole other set of issues.  No, women empowerment is NOT just women becoming renowned sex objects, and women should be proud of their bodies no matter what shape, size and color they are.

Real Women for Dove

“Bridalplasty” came on TV tonight, which is a show where brides compete to have plastic surgery procedures directly before their wedding day.  What message does this send to young girls?! That you must cut up your body in order to be beautiful enough to get married happily?? Disgusting.  Why do men get to get old with wrinkles and unwanted body fat while women must remain perfect with the skin and body of a 20-year-old?!?!?!

Yes, we still have a long way to go in many areas.

Until then: Girls Rule, Boys Drool. (Just kidding!)