Posted on January 16 2019
We are so excited to introduce a brand new segment to our blog today called Women We Love! The idea for Women We Love was inspired by all the amazing women that we see doing good in the community around us. These are the women that don't just speak of women's empowerment, but take action for it. They deserve all the recognition we can give them, and then some!
For our first post, we sat down with Bianca Chow who is an advisory board member for The Akola Project. Bianca has always felt a responsibility since she was young to help and empower others, especially women and girls, who don't have the same opportunities to thrive. She told us her story as a daughter of immigrants who moved to the US to seek the American Dream and how it has made her feel lucky to grow up in a place where she had the opportunity to get an education and the freedom to pursue her passions in her career.
Her passions led her to her current role as Director of Sustainability where she focuses on helping employees make the biggest impact they can. Through her role she has been able to drive Women's Empowerment efforts like facilitating Lean In Circles and a mentorship program with female entrepreneurs in developing countries with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. She was later led to Akola. Akola's mission to create opportunity and economic disruption for women in Uganda as well as locally in Dallas, TX made it an obvious choice for Bianca to get more involved. And that's not to mention the common interest of fashion and accessories! Before she found herself getting involved with Akola, she found herself representing them as a proud supporter by buying their jewelry for herself and as gifts for others.
Akola is a nonprofit jewelry brand that empowers women in Uganda and Dallas, TX to redesign their stories. Each jewelry piece is handcrafted by 1 of 500 women in poverty working to redesign the future of their families. Akola was founded by Brittany Merrill Underwood when she was only a sophomore (talk about girl boss!) at Southern Methodist University here in Dallas after she met a Ugandan woman who was caring for 24 street children in her home. Today, Akola provides training, dependable living-wage work opportunities and holistic education programs to over 500 women, and those women care for approximately 4,000 dependents!
As an Advisory Board member for Akola, Bianca actively shares Akola's mission with as many people as she can. By utilizing her personal and professional networks she has been able to help them scale their efforts to empower as many women as they have today and continue to help them grow. When we asked Bianca what empowerment means to her she described it as 'leveraging each of our insights and experiences to open doors, create opportunities, and if possible, economic empowerment, for women and girls from under-resourced communities.' If you ask us, Bianca is doing exactly that on a daily basis!
Here at Mon Amie we love the phrase "women supporting women" – it's so simple but holds so much weight and meaning for each and every woman. We asked Bianca what it means to her and her response was beyond perfect!
"I love how this phrase or mantra is slowly replacing the stereotype that women have to compete with other women to thrive or get ahead. We don't have to believe that there is only a seat for one woman at the table, but that we can all sit at the table, or better yet start a new table!"
So on that note, we are so honored to be able to share everything that Bianca does with you all, and are looking forward to all the amazing women to come through the Women We Love segment in the future!
Until next time!