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