Graduation Station

17 05 2011

In a time of complete uncertainty, what can make me feel better?  An episode of Sex in the City of course.

This time next week I will be an official graduate of THE University of Texas at Austin – and an honors graduate at that.

I am excited, and I have so much to be thankful for – BUT can I tell you what I will be doing in a month from now?  Absolutely not.  I am not sure if this fact should be freeing or limiting.  For a “planner” like me it’s pretty much put me on edge because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I WILL BE DOING FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

Honestly, that was freeing to say.  Ask me in the morning, and I’ll probably be back to being on edge waiting for my calling to come.  Of course, I’ve never been very good at waiting… which leads me to my next thought: is impatience a virtue or an imperfection?  And yes, that was a rhetorical question.

As some of you may know, momentum has built with the GIRLS WHO ROCK concert coming up on June 10 – for which we just booked Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge – think back to WE ARE FAMILY!  Our website has been updated so click it for more deets.

In further news, our Make Charity Cool crew is preparing for the June 18 Make Charity Cool Pub Crawl across the wonderful world of New York City – which just so happens to be the birthday weekend of our brilliant founder and CEO Stefanie Cronin!!!

As for what comes next, stay tuned.  Don’t worry, the suspense will kill me too.

Next up on the Monday lineup: Chelsea Lately.  Does life get any better than this?

Last night I watched the 1967 movie “The Graduate,” starring Dustin Hoffman… I have to say, I watched it hoping for some inspiration, but found none as I watched him have an affair with a married woman and then fall in love with her daughter… can’t see any of that happening in my life…

Nevertheless, I will be enjoying my last week as a college SENIOR with my amazing friends and family – and will be living up every last second in the best playground around: Austin, Tejas.

I will end my most incongruent post ever with my motto for the moment: 

To get big rewards, you must take big risks.






Spotlight on Komen’s Young Professionals for the Cure

17 05 2011

Originally seen on MakeCharityCool.com, 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 http://oneseventwo.zenfolio.com/p549312694.  Twenty to 30 percent of all proceeds from purchased pictures will go to Madeleine’s family.

For more information, please visit: www.komenaustin.org

To volunteer with our Austin, Texas Affiliate you can visit http://www.komenaustin.org/get-involved/volunteer/.

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





Spotlight Wednesday: Meet Our GIRLS WHO ROCK Team

11 04 2011

Originally seen on http://blog.girlswhorock.org – 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 MakeCharityCool.com, 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 www.professionalsforpop.org.

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    www.pencilsofpromise.org.





“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” – Charles Eames

25 02 2011

Oh my goodness, it’s been too long.  Even though I haven’t been writing it down, SO MUCH has been on my mind lately.  My senior year of college is literally flying by – go figure!

But I’ve certainly been making the most of it.  From music and friends to work and nonprofits, I have been loving every minute of it.

Although, living in the same apartment for three years is starting to grind on my nerves…  *Moving on up!* We can only hope.

I must tell the story of how this very blog led me to a great person and a great cause.  Although we have not met in person yet, Stefanie Cronin, founder and CEO of Make Charity Cool is my new role model!!! http://makecharitycool.com/

After Google linked one of the images I used in a post to my site, Stefanie stumbled upon my blog.  Flashback to my Nov. 19 post entitled “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

My post looking for a change made a cause that has the power to change the world fall into my lap! Funny how things work out.  Although it’s already been said, here’s a shout-out to Stefanie for finding me on the wonderful world of Facebook and reaching out.  A simple message is all it takes to make a connection.  It’s true.

I am planning to write Charity Spotlights for the Make Charity Cool website as well as help with future events and promotional efforts.  I will keep you posted on the organization’s developments.  Join the movement on the website, Facebook and Twitter!

Make Charity Cool began in a suburb of New York City in December 2010, and guess where I’m headed on March 14?! Yes, it’s back to the Big Apple!

I will be attending the Texas Exes NYC Seminar where I will meet other UT grads who are now working in the city.  I can’t wait to get insights and advice from those who were just like me not too long ago.

Right now, I’m getting excited to go home to Dallas for the weekend to see the family, shop ’til I drop, and eat my mom’s fabulous treats.  No guilt, because another plus to going to NYC over Spring Break: no bikinis just yet!

 

Oh my goodness, it’s been too long.  Even though I haven’t been writing it down, SO MUCH has been on my mind lately.  My senior year of college is literally flying by – go figure!

But I’ve certainly been making the most of it.  From music and friends to work and nonprofits, I have been loving every minute of it.

Although, living in the same apartment for three years is starting to grind on my nerves…  *Moving on up!* We can only hope.

I must tell the story of how this very blog led me to a great person and a great cause.  Although we have not met in person yet, Stefanie Cronin, founder and CEO of Make Charity Cool is my new role model!!! http://makecharitycool.com/

After Google linked one of the images I used in a post to my site, Stefanie stumbled upon my blog.  Flashback to my Nov. 19 post entitled “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

My post looking for a change made a cause that has the power to change the world fall into my lap! Funny how things work out. Although it’s already been said, here’s a shout-out to Stefanie for finding me on the wonderful world of Facebook and reaching out.  A simple message is all it takes to make a connection. It’s true.

I am planning to write Charity Spotlights for the Make Charity Cool website as well as help with future events and promotional efforts.  I will keep you posted on the organization’s developments.  Go to the website, Facebook and Twitter and join the movement!

Make Charity Cool began in a suburb of New York City in December 2010, and guess where I’m headed on March 14?! Yes, it’s back to the Big Apple!

I will be attending the Texas Exes NYC Seminar where I will meet other UT grads who are now working in the city.  I can’t wait to get insights and advice from those who were just like me not too long ago.

Right now, I’m getting excited to go home to Dallas for the weekend to see the family, shop ‘til I drop, and eat my mom’s fabulous treats.  No guilt, because another plus to going to NYC over Spring Break: no bikinis just yet!