Jessica is a 22 year old student, runner, and writer from Alexandria, Virginia. She loves fashion, cooking, and her collection of antique tea cups.
Tell us about yourself:
I’m a junior at George Mason University majoring in Community Health. One of my goals is to make public health more accessible to people, and enable them to lead healthy, balanced lives.
My experience with health and nutrition inspired me to study public health. A couple years ago, I lost 20 pounds. I did it for myself, and I did it naturally: no starving myself, just eating well and exercising. I learned about food (what you need and don’t need), and I wanted to share my experience and knowledge with others.
I’m also working on a blog
that reviews socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable companies. I’ve featured a few good companies that I’ve worked with. I started this blog to help people make informed choices when they’re buying and donating. I think it’s important for consumers to support things that are local and to know what their money supports.
Why did you decide to get involved with the non-profit organization She’s The First?
I heard about She’s the First
while working for College Lifestyles
which is a fashion magazine for college women. I wrote for their Health and Fashion sections. I had such a wonderful experience at CL and I loved She’s the First’s mission of educating girls. Without resources in my country, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have an education. I want to help other people, and especially girls, have that opportunity. [She’s the First] uses every avenue to achieve their cause, including campus chapters (I’m starting a chapter for them at George Mason University). I especially like that they’re very open with where their money goes, and you can really see the impact they’re having on girls’ lives and that they use all donations for the girls. Fund-raising for overhead costs is separate and that’s something I value in a non-profit.
As I said we’re starting a chapter at GMU (launching Fall 2013) and looking for members now. The Women and Gender Studies Department has been really supportive and excited about the chapter. Angie Hattery has agreed to be our Faculty Advisor and now I just need a council! I hope to organize at least two different fundraising events per semester to give students different opportunities to get involved.
Which female leader (s) inspires you?
Shelly Marie Redmond inspires me. Shelly started College Lifestyles and her passion for her business is contagious. She really encourages the young women that write for the magazine. I always feel heard and respected when I talk to Shelly and I feel like I’ve learned so much from her and the CL team about meeting deadlines, writing, and managing time. I feel so lucky she hired me!
Carly Heitlinger also inspires me. She works at Levo League
and runs the blog College Prepster
. She’s professional, organized, and even though she tells her readers how stressed she gets, she still seems to handle things so well and takes a lesson away from every challenge she faces. She loves what she does and it shows. She works so hard and seems to really live her dreams. It’s very inspirational.
Finally, I’m inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. She has often been criticised by the press for everything from not taking a “real” job to the color of hat she wears. I think the way she handles pressure is masterful, you never see her ruffled. I hope to respond to criticisms and pressures the way she does.
What advice would you give to other young women leaders?
Don’t be afraid to ask for anything. The worse anyone can say is no.
I’ve used this advice in my own life. When I was writing for College Lifestyles, I asked 5 companies for merchandise since I was doing a review on tote bags
. I didn’t expect anyone to respond and was so nervous writing to the companies. Within minutes I got responses and some super cute bags!