Kitty’s Crush is a weekly feature that highlights and champions emerging entrepreneurs, creatives and cultural forces of today. We keep it cute, get to the point, but we make sure to ask what you want to know from the people who we feel are killing it! Make this your destination to be inspired by your peers, learn about their journey and be empowered to embark on your own.
2. Where are you from?
3. What is your sign?
4. What do you do? Can you tell me about your journey?
I am the founder of Her Agenda, a digital media platform bridging the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women. I started out as a journalist, I started on that path when I was 16. I did a lot of internships in college and worked hard to get experience in multiple arenas of the media field from print, to broadcast to digital. After graduating I worked at NBC, then The Huffington Post and freelanced for a few other places. I love the news, and the media. With Her Agenda, I use the power of media to change the perception of opportunity and highlight the role models we can look to as women who aspire to accomplish great things. My time working in media really showed me the power of visibility and as the saying goes, you can't be hat you can't see. So with Her Agenda we're highlighting women in positions of power and also the opportunities that can help you become like them so it can become the norm and reality for all women to become their most powerful accomplished selves.
5. What's your agenda?
My agenda is to inspire millions of women to go after their goals no matter what and not let anyone or anything stop them. The ultimate agenda is for women to literally run the world from the Oval office, to the boardroom.
6. How did you come up with the Her Agenda concept? Who was your target audience?
My target audience is my peers, women like me who are trying to figure out life and their next steps in life and need a source of inspiration to keep them going and also access to the resources and opportunities to help them get there. Not many women have mentors and mentors are typically people who shape and guide your career by passing along advice, connections and also opportunities you can't find anywhere else. I was lucky to have gotten mentors early in my journey and I started to recognize that was not the norm after I started to blog in 2005 and shared my journey as an up and coming journalist. I got hundreds of messages from girls across the country asking me how I was able to interview celebrities, cover press conferences and do all the things I was doing. That's when I first started to notice there was a disconnect between resources and access to role models and mentors for young people. Then in college as I learned more about the women's movement and the lack of women in positions of power I was compelled to create something that would help bridge that gap.
7. Before turning solely to Her Agenda, you were an Emmy award-winning journalist. Talk to us about that experience.
It was amazing. I learned so much during that time about research, outreach and reporting. I was lucky to be in a newsroom full of amazing journalists who shared their wisdom with me and trusted me to get out in the field. At NBC I was able to shoot, write and edit for the 5, 6 and 11pm news. I was in the news meetings every morning where we decided the stories we would cover for the day and I actually had a voice. They encouraged everyone to pitch stories and ideas and then it was up to you to make it happen, make the calls and follow through. I learned a lot about delivering quality work under a quick deadline in a fast paced environment.
8. How did you make the decision to solely pursue Her Agenda?
It was time. My team was growing, interest and traction on the site were at a point where I couldn't maintain balance of a day job and Her Agenda.
9. You've accomplished so much including Forbes 30 under 30, speaking at the White House and the United State of Women Summit, what do you hope to accomplish in the new year?
There's so much! I'm launching a Her Agenda campus ambassador program working with college students and sharing how they can leverage their role as students to set a strong foundation for their careers. I'm also looking to work directly with employers to connect them to our audience of ambitious and qualified women to fill their open roles. On a personal level I'm looking to do more speaking and traveling! Traveling inspires me and I worked so much in 2016 that I didn't get to do as much of it as I usually do.
10. What/who keeps you inspired to make Her Agenda bigger and better?
The readers! They inspire me. I love meeting them and speaking to them at events and hearing about how Her Agenda changed their lives. Our most ambitious readers are part of a Slack community where they get access to each other (peer mentorship!) exclusive career resources and opportunities. People can sign up to join here.
11. You went to school in a small town in Indiana, what made you move to NYC? How was that transition?
I was lucky enough to get a full-tuition leadership scholarship to go to DePauw through the Posse Foundation. I'm from NYC originally and it's the media capital of the world so the plan was always to move back to NYC! The transition to NYC wasn't hard. But if anything going away for school taught me that NYC is not going anywhere. You can leave and come back and the city and your people will still embrace you.
12. What/who are you currently crushing on?
Oprah! Always Oprah.
13. Best advice?
Feel the fear and do it anyway. People we admire who achieve great things are just like us, they're human. They feel doubt, anxiety, they get tired but they keep going. You can't let your feelings dictate your progress.
14. Your motto?
No one Ever Slows Her Agenda.
15. Do you have any hobbies? If not, is there anything new you would want to try out?
Seeing Broadway plays! My favorite is Wicked, I've seen it five times. I really enjoy art and live performance so anything in that realm from concerts to plays I make it my business to support. It's a good escape.