I met Katie through Instagram, and I have to say it’s a “meeting” I’m so happy occurred. As a woman in an industry that is very visual and has been criticized for aiding in the self esteem issues many girls face, as well as being a mother to a young girl, it’s very important to me to support women empowerment movements and constantly know I’m helping to build, not only my daughter’s confidence, but confidence in others as well.
Katie Zeppieri and the Girl Talk Empowerment organization do just that.
- Katie, tell us a bit about yourself and what compelled you to begin the Girl Talk Empowerment organization:
Hi! I’m Katie and I’m a fun-loving, social entrepreneur and media personality based in Toronto. I love beets, non-fiction books, and playing soccer. I also love working with young people and inspiring them to live an extraordinary life. In 2012, shortly after graduating from university, I became inspired to start my own social enterprise, Make Your Mark. The goal of Make Your Mark was to build workshops, presentations and media to inspire young people to make their mark on the world. As I started to begin hosting our first event and speaking at schools, I soon saw that there was a special need for girl-focused programming. Often it was girls between the ages of 11-18 who would approach me after a talk and share some of the struggles they were facing. These struggles ranged from issues such as self-esteem, body image, mental health and confidence. I quickly realized that in order to properly reach this female audience and encourage them to be leaders, I would first have to focus on building their confidence and addressing the barriers preventing them from taking action. Thus the idea for GIRL TALK Empowerment Day was born. In June 2013 I planned the first ever GIRL TALK Empowerment Day in Oshawa, Ontario and was amazed when nearly 1000 girls from schools across the Greater Toronto Area showed up for the event. It was on this day that I knew that I had struck a chord. There was a need for girl empowerment and I felt compelled to be the person to lead this movement.
- How did you come to organize and plan the activities that would be a part Girl Talk Day?
I knew that conferences were a great way to reach many people in a powerful way so that’s why I decided to make our GIRL TALK Day conference our first event. There is a certain magic that happens at live events that you don’t experience from any other source. When a room full of people comes together towards a common goal, powerful things happen, and GIRL TALK Empowerment Day has been no different. Each event I seek to build a program filled with motivational speakers, musical performances, video messages and celebrity guests. The idea is to create a fast-paced agenda that keeps the audience engaged and inspired. Each guest on the stage is carefully chosen to speak about a particular topic or struggle so that we reach a diverse group of girls. GIRL TALK Empowerment Day has continued to grow and evolve each year and I am so excited to see how our movement continues to impact the lives of girls near and abroad.
- What is your ultimate goal for Girl Talk Empowerment?
My ultimate goal with GIRL TALK Empowerment is to build a movement of girls inspired to become world-changers. Being a girl in today’s world can be tough. A survey of 300 women by Glamour Magazine found that on average, women have 13 negative body thoughts daily—nearly one for every waking hour. Our image-obsessed society tells girls that they are not skinny enough, pretty enough, or talented enough to change the world. I seek to change this. I want to empower girls to recognize that they have the power to make a difference in the world through their words and actions. You don’t have to be President to make the world a better place. You can change the world by being a source of light in your own circle with your family, friends, peers and community. If we all commit to embracing who we are, lifting up others, and being conscious with how our actions and words impact the world, then I think the world will be a better place for all of us to live.
- Can you tell us some of the things you are currently doing?
It’s a full and busy time for me at the moment. With school back in session all of our GIRL TALK School Chapters (we currently have 30 registered) are back up and running and we are working to equip them with tools and resources to help them lead thriving events at their schools this year. I have also been overseeing the launch of our new mail subscription box (The Pink Box) and forming partnerships with companies and brand ambassadors to help spread the word. Lastly, I am in the process of relaunching my katiezeppieri.com page to include a lifestyle blog along with a YouTube vlog series. I love waking up each day excited by the possibilities of what doors of opportunity might open. Life is far too short to stay static—I hope to never stop evolving.
- Since I am a designer, I have to talk a bit of fashion and style. What do you think the most important message young girls should feel about their style or choice of clothing/fashion?
I love fashion and I think it’s so important to talk to girls about incorporating our world-changer motto into all aspects of their life, including fashion. Western society has become “throwaway” in many ways. The greatest quality our society aims to achieve is: convenience. This trend has become particularly apparent in the world of fashion where we are all chasing the latest trend and buying clothes that are poorly made for a cheap price that we wear a few times and then discard. We at GIRL TALK Empowerment and The Pink Box are passionate about promoting ethical fashion—fashion that maximizes benefits to people and communities while minimizing impact on the environment. It’s for this reason that we love supporting companies like Enamour Design House who show that ethical fashion can still be stylish fashion.
- We are excited to be included in this month’s Pink Box- can you tell those who may not be familiar with it about it?
I’m excited too! The Pink Box is a new monthly Lifestyle Box that offers girls/women ages 10+ a variety of beauty products, apparel, jewellery, healthy snacks and other feel-good products each month. All of the items included in each Pink Box must meet at least one part of the P.I.N.K. acronym: Positive, Inspiring, Noteworthy & Kind. In each box girls can expect 4-6 high-quality lifestyle products, valued at over $50. We partner with like-minded companies & organizations to offer girls products that not only make them look & feel good but that also DO good. Pink Box subscribers also receive a code to log-in to an online monthly coaching session focusing on topics related to self-esteem, leadership and goal-setting, hosted by me! Plus, $1 from each Pink Box sold will be donated to the Because I Am A Girl charity to help empower girls in developing countries. We are SO excited to have Enamour Style in our first Pink Box and look forward to future collaboration!
- And for those of us who will want to support the Girl Talk Empowerment movement can you tell us what you have coming up?
Yes! You can subscribe to our Pink Box for just $25/month at: www.thisboxispink.com. Also, if you believe in the GIRL TALK message, you can head to www.girltalkempowerment.com and request to start a Chapter at your school—totally free to do! Finally, our signature GIRL TALK Empowerment Day event will be taking place in Toronto in June 2017 and we may just be launching a second location for this year soon…stay tuned!
Thank you Katie! There are so many powerful, exciting and inspiring things happening with the Make Your Mark brand and Girl Talk Empowerment, I’m so happy we are able to highlight them all and be a part of one of those happenings. Of course I can’t get enough of the message the Pink Box conveys and because of that Katie will be taking over our Instagram account next week. September 20th Katie will be giving us all the behind the scenes sneak peeks and fun that goes into her day. I can’t wait! Be sure to follow along:
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