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Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business
and a life that you love. And one of the things that we’re really passionate about here
on MarieTV and in our company is paying it forward and doing whatever we can to use our
resources and this platform to help create opportunities for others. And this year we
got the chance to work with a fantastic organization that’s run by an incredible woman that I
really want you to meet.
Tammy Tibbetts is the founder and president of She’s the First, a nonprofit that sponsors
girls education in the developing world so that these girls can be the first in their
families to graduate from high school. The organization also has an extensive network
of campus chapters all over the United States raising funds and awareness. Tammy, a fellow
Jersey girl, who herself was the first in her family to graduate from college was recognized
as a Diane von Furstenberg People’s Voice award winner, on the 30 under 30 list of Time
and Forbes, and as a member of fast company's most creative people in business 1000. However,
what she’s most proud of is that in 5 short years She’s the First has funded more than
1,000 years of education for 400 scholars and has 117 amazing campus chapters.
Tammy, thank you so much for being here.
Oh, it’s such a joy. Thank you.
So I wanna talk about your evolution. You went from prom dresses to global education
for girls. How did this all come about?
Yeah, that’s so funny because I didn't even go to my own high school prom and yet I ironically
began my career working in digital media for Seventeen, an amazing brand, and I was a prom
website editor who was volunteering on the side for an organization that was sending
girls to school in Liberia. And I got involved in that through being a journalism student.
It was a story I had written about and then turned in the assignment and had to do something
about helping. So here I was by day in the office as a prom website editor, by night
and weekends volunteering to help more girls go to school. And the skills in using web
and social media to reach teenage girls helping them get ready for prom mixed with what I
was doing as a volunteer and that’s when the lightbulb went off and I realized I could
do this and use that technology and those skills to help send girls to school and activate
this audience of young women who are able to follow their dreams here in the US and
want to see every girl around the world have that opportunity.
Did you ever dream that you were gonna start your own for purpose not for profit business?
No, not at all. I actually started She’s the First as a YouTube video, which is why
I’m so thrilled that this is going to be on YouTube. It’s like full circle. I had
an idea to get this mission of sponsoring girls education so they could be the first
in their families to graduate from high school out in the world and I thought what better
way to do it to my generation than through social media? And that was what sparked all
the offline action and the partnerships that turned She’s the First into a nonprofit
organization and really a huge movement 5 years down the road.
So incredible. I read that early on, you know, you saw this article written by an African
newspaper about teenage motherhood and it got you really fired up. And you posted something
about it on Facebook. And so many people will post things on Facebook that either irritates
them or they wanna take action on, and I know that was a trigger point for you for the organization
really growing. Tell us, what was different about that post and what happened?
Yeah, when I posted that article, it was really misjudging girls who were becoming pregnant
as teenagers and not acknowledging that they weren’t being given the resources or the
education to prevent that. So I posted it on Facebook and I said, “I have an idea.
I want to create a PSA campaign called She’s the First. Does anyone want to help me?”
I asked for help. And it was Kristen Brandt, who is now our cofounder, our director of
international operations, we had met through a scholarship program, we received scholarships
for college, and connected at the awards ceremony through Facebook. And we hadn’t seen each
other since then, but she saw that post and had a huge passion for international affairs
and she was the only person who messaged me privately and said, “Tammy, I want to be
a part of this.” So it only takes one person to step up and be the first follower. And
now she… She’s the First it would not be what it is today without her collaboration.
And did you feel initially when you got that private message and you guys had a chance
to connect, was there like a soul connection between you two like, “We really wanna work
together.” Did you know it pretty quickly?
Oh, yeah. She was interning in Washington DC at the time so I took a bus and we met
and we just… we kept adding on each other’s ideas. As people we also have such different
personalities, and I think… and expertise as well. So when you magically find that person
to be a partner in your idea and you both bring different things to the table, that’s
where the magic happens.
So exciting. Now, I know you had kept working as an editor and you started She’s the First
as a PSA and as a movement and then it started to grow. When you finally made the choice
to say, “Ok, I’m kind of done with my other side gigs. I’m doing this full time,”
I think that’s something that’s really scary, it was scary for me when I let go of
bartending and fitness and dance and said, “I’m just gonna work on my online business
and that’s all I’m gonna do.” What’d you have to change whether it was practically,
like shifting around money or did you have to save a bunch of money or time management
or even in the way you were thinking to say, “Ok, this is my full time gig. This is what
I’m doing all the time.” What were… how did you make that leap?
There were a couple of factors that looking back that I started that… things I started
doing right out of college when I started my career that helped make that big leap a
lot easier. Even though I could’ve never seen that that would happen in the future.
One, when I started working at a big corporation, I became an intrapreneur within the company.
So I was able to kind of apply the skills of starting things with the resources of a
big company into starting something on the side with really no resources. And two, because
the nature of my job was social media. I was the first social media editor for Seventeen.
And that enabled me to have a very flexible schedule. And because my bosses trusted me
and the projects I had launched successfully, I could set my own schedule as long as I delivered
on growing the social media following, engaging with our readers, which often times didn't
happen during the 9 to 5 schedule anyways. It was early in the mornings or late at night
and on the weekends. I was able to still get a paycheck from the day job but if I had to
step out for a couple of hours in the afternoon to take a meeting with a potential funder,
I could do that. So I found that middle road before I made the actual leap in going into
She’s the First full time. And at that point I had a couple of funders who believed in
the vision and put money towards salary and operations.
Was it still scary? Like when you finally decided and said, “Ok, I’m gonna give
my notice and I’m gonna do this full time.” Did you have those little butterflies?
I did, but I always knew that there would be a safety net under me. I was successful
in what I did and if for whatever reason She’s the First was not meant to be as big as I
thought it could be, someone would hire me and give me a job back in that industry. And
when I think of our scholars, there is no plan B for them. Giving them a sponsorship,
that’s their one ticket out of poverty to a better life. So I was willing to take the
risk knowing that there would be a fallback for me, whatever I did. But for… there was
a greater reason to take this chance.
Yeah. I love that, it’s so beautiful, and I so resonate with what you shared because
I felt like when I was starting my business if just everything failed, I fell flat on
my face, I put myself through school bartending. So I was like, “You know what? I bet you
I could get another bar job if I really had to in order to, you know, keep a roof over
my head and food on the table, but I’ve really got to go for this.” Thanks for sharing
that. I read that you have this theory that if you genuinely need something and tell enough
people about it, eventually it will find you. How’s that been true for you?
Part… it goes back to social media again. I’m really transparent about what the needs
of She’s the First are. And I think a lot of people are afraid to show others that they
don't have it all together. And I feel like I have a plan, I have a strategy, but there
are times like earlier this year where we needed a new office. And I just put it out
there to everyone that I knew and then I got a lead for a new pro bono office that we’re
moving to in January. And if I would’ve just kind of kept it secret that, you know,
“I don't have an office for She’s the First. What am I going to do? I need to figure
this out on my own,” I would’ve never found this opportunity.
That’s so admirable because I can certainly relate to that, this idea that it’s like
you have to know everything that you’re doing and if you ask for help I’m sure you
look weak or something like that. And I love that you really have taken that and flipped
it on its head. And congratulations on your new space.
Oh, thank you.
One of the other things I love about your organization and that really resonated for
me and for us as a company, I mean, we are so about women and girls education. We’re
sponsoring 9 scholars thanks to you. I love that you connect individually donors with
the scholars and it feels like there’s such a personal relationship that happens. It’s
smart, it’s strategic. Was that a decision that happened all the way from the beginning?
Was it a strategic decision, a heart decision? Tell us a little more about that.
Yes, doing the one to one matching was a decision from when we were a YouTube video, and I believe
in it so much because I think it changes the relationship where this isn’t… I don't
think if She’s the First, although we are a nonprofit. That’s our tax status with
the IRS, we do not see ourselves as a charity. And our scholars are not beneficiaries any
more than we are as donors. And it’s a real collaboration. And when you can have that
dialogue, we allow our sponsors to write letters, send letters to our scholars if they would
like to, and then they get letters back and it becomes a conversation. Because everyone
who’s a part of this, whether they’re receiving the scholarship or they’re raising
the funds to send a girl to school. Everyone’s working towards the same vision of universal
secondary education and contributing what they can at this moment.
It’s really beautiful. Let’s talk about too how the community really helps because
one of the things I learned when I came to the amazing mentor breakfast that you guys
held, which I loved this year. It was so inspiring. Was about the chapter communities. Tell us
more about that and how did that evolve in She’s the First?
Yes, the campus chapters, they’re the heart of She’s the First that’s beating here
every day in the United States and I see their posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter every
day and that’s such a huge motivation for me.
What are the chapter…?
The chapters are in high schools, colleges, and universities across the United States.
They are self started by students who they establish it as a club. So they have little
executive boards, they do fundraisers, they host documentary screenings. So they’re
driving a conversation about how will we achieve universal education in our lifetime? And it
started because at the time when Kristen started collaborating with me, she was in her senior
year at Syracuse University. So her friends wanted to do something and they started the
first chapter. And then of course they shared what they did online and then other students
replicated it. And as this was happening I started to see that students were gaining
leadership skills, that they weren't through other extracurricular activities. And that’s
where I saw the opportunity for the campus chapters to be a program where they’re raising
the funds that send girls to school and that sets off its own, you know, domino effect
of positive benefits. But in the process they’re becoming leaders and that’s a lifelong commitment
that they’re making to philanthropy and to being global citizens.
One of the most striking pieces to your story for me was the fact that you shared in high
school you were voted most shy. And what I love about you is you’re such an eloquent
speaker, you’re so powerful, you’re so in your strength but also in this receptivity
place that I’m… I just personally am so drawn to about you. Tell us a little bit about
for the people in our audience who might feel, you know what, I’m not this crazy, boisterous,
outgoing person but I really wanna make a difference in the world. And I think what
you’ve created is so extraordinary. The lives you’ve touched. I mean, your impact
in 5 years. How many hours of education or years of education?
Over a thousand years of education funded.
A thousand years of education funded. It’s really extraordinary. So any advice or any
secrets that you wanna share with our audience for people that wanna make an impact in some
Yeah, that… people don't believe me when I say that I was voted most shy, but I have
the yearbook to prove it. I can send you the picture. It was true, I… throughout all
of my 13 years of public school with the same kids that’s what they remembered me by because
I didn't speak up. I was a good student but I was just too afraid to raise my hand. And
when I realized that that was the legacy I left, I didn't want to go through the rest
of my life being remembered as shy. But I didn't know what my message was to the world,
so that’s why I became a journalist. I thought, “I can use my voice to tell other people’s
stories,” and that work led me to She’s the First. But one of the things that I learned
from that experience at 17 years old, which, by the way, I was then going to college to
be the first in my family to graduate from college, was that most of the time we stand
in our own way. And when you’re… our scholars have many other things standing in their way
that are out of their control just by the birth lottery, but when you’re living here
in the United States assuming that you have a roof over your head, food to eat, a lot
of times it's just you. And if you can move yourself out of the way, there's no limit
to what you can do for yourself and then for others.
Tammy, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for the work that you’re doing in the
world. I am so honored to play a small part, we are so honored to be a part of your mission
and we look forward to many, many, many years together. So for all of you watching right
now, we’re gonna cut to a challenge in a moment. But if you wanna learn more about
Tammy, you wanna get involved, we have all the information below and it’s one of the
best organizations I’ve had the privilege to get to know. Tammy, thanks so much.
Thank you.
Now Tammy and I would love to hear from you. So as she talked about, all of us can get
in our own way sometimes, so what’s one way that you get in your own way and how can
you take an action step right now to just step outside of it? Or if you prefer, what’s
the biggest single insight that you’re taking away from today’s interview? Now, as always,
the best discussions happen after the episode over at MarieForleo.com, so come on over and
leave a comment now.
Did you like this video? If so, subscribe to our channel and, especially for this one,
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讓所有女孩都受教育 改變世界 (Educate a Girl Change the World - Tammy Tibbetts and Marie Forleo)

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SylviaQQ 發佈於 2015 年 9 月 8 日    Arnold Hsu 翻譯    Mandy Lin 審核
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