Posted on

Ngoc Nguyen

Global PR & Social Good Strategist

I’m the oldest child of Vietnamese refugees turned American doctors who spent 42 days on a boat escaping the hardships of their homeland in search of a better life for their 1 year-old daughter and future born son. I’m a publicist, a producer, a cancer survivor, an aspiring photographer and an activist. With over 15 years of experience in feature film publicity and celebrity relations, I now work at the crossroads of entertainment, sports, and philanthropy — combining my skillset with my passions. As an independent Public Relations and Social Good Strategist, I connect global brands and influential personalities to unique experiences.

You are the voice for so many productions that work towards ending bullying and empowering women. Tell us about some of the productions you have helped tell the world about and how they are changing lives.

In 2013, I led the publicity campaign for what ended up being the most viewed TEDWomen Event of the Year, TEDxAustinWomen, out of 220 events across 58 countries. From the success of one of my speaker’s presentations, Lizzie Velasquez’s “How Do You Define Yourself?” I went on to produce and lead the PR campaign for “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story” — the award-winning documentary about Lizzie’s journey from bullying victim turned bullying activist. The film has played in theaters all over the world and has been translated into over a dozen different languages — proving that bullying has no boundaries. After the film’s release, I helped spearhead a Bullying Prevention campaign where I invited celebrities to stand with Lizzie against bullying which included America Ferrera, Octavia Spencer, Chris Hemsworth, Katie Couric, Michelle Phan, Kylie Jenner, Zachary Quinto, and the World Champion Golden State Warriors among others. Most recently, I was a producer on “Protect Her,” a four-part documentary film program developed to revolutionize education around sexual assault prevention. Aimed particularly at college athletes, the series inspires young men to better respect the girls and women in their lives. Currently, I am producing a cinematic film series for Google to inspire girls in computer sciences, which showcases high-profile actors at the helm of the films and men and women working together at the core of each project.

Best thing about your job?

My work is a combination of everything that I love: entertainment, sports and philanthropy. I always knew that two things would carry my fate and take me to where I wanted to be— hard work and kindness. Those two things were always in my control, they are in everyone’s control, and I firmly believed that if I worked hard and I was kind to people, everything else would fall into place in whatever way it was destined to for me. This isn’t to say that I’ve always gotten the job that I wanted, but I have always gotten the job that was right for me at the time.

Where do you think film and in particular film that advocates for world change is heading? Is there a pendulum swinging where people want to get more educated and involved in ending poverty, corruption and bullying?

From my experience with “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story” I know, without a doubt, that films that advocate for change is something the world is desperately hungry for. People – the younger generation in particular – are much more selective about how they participate in philanthropy these days and how they give, not only their money, but their resources and their time. Additionally, I work with an organization called HARNESS, which was founded by America Ferrera, Ryan Piers Williams, and Wilmer Valderrama, and we strive to help amplify the voices of underrepresented communities. In this current climate, there is no shortage of organizations in need of support and, thankfully in response, an increasing number of influencers and new activists who are passionate about using their platforms for good.

Favourite city in the world?

Paris, although Melbourne is a very close second.

Teetotaler or something stronger?

Depends on the day…

Most recent indulgence?

Anything home cooked by my boyfriend’s mother…

Walk, bike or drive?

Walk!

Who is the one person in the world you would like to sit beside on a long flight and what would you ask her or him? (Or maybe you already did and have a happy story….)

Michelle Obama – so many questions from “What are some of the most valuable lessons you learned from your time in the White House” to “What’s your favorite Beyonce song?”

What would you tell women who are considering going into film?

Learn the job, don’t just act the boss. Always ask “what else can we do?” Champion other women.

Favourite quote?

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Last book you read?

Ready Player One, which turned into a film directed by Steven Spielberg to be released in 2018.

Favourite cause, group or activist?

Currently, though I am biased, my favorite activist organization is HARNESS (where I serve as Communications + Strategy Officer) founded by America Ferrera, Ryan Piers Williams, and Wilmer Valderrama. We work with a wide variety of front line activists, grassroots leaders, communities and organizations in need. By connecting artists to activists, we harness our energy to power change. Last fall, we were able to inspire the creation of a Sikh character on the NBC Show “This is Us” among other efforts throughout the year that helped shine a light on underrepresented communities. (www.Harness.space)

Web site — www.NgocNguyen.org
Instagram — @LittleNgoc
Favourite cause — Children’s Education

Posted on

Yve-Car Momperousse

Bon jour! I’m Yve-Car Momperousse, Founder and CEO of Kreyol Essence. I’m a Haitian girl born in Brooklyn who lives between Florida and Haiti. When I am not running a multinational company that is focused on making its mark in the beauty sector while bringing value to Haiti’s people and economy –my favorite things to do are complete a challenging CrossFit workout, spend time with friends and family preferably on one of Haiti’s beautiful beaches, salsa dancing – and most importantly –watching This is Us with my hubby, Stephane.

 

What ignited you to start Kreyol Essence?

I started Kreyol Essence after having what I call a “hair-catastrophe.” After straightening my hair at a salon, my hair fell out due to damage caused by a hot iron. After crying, I remembered there was an oil my mom used that solved all our problems. She told me the name of our liquid gold is Lwil Maskriti, known as Haitian Black Castor Oil in english.

I ran to the store in Philadelphia, where I lived at the time, and was unable to find the authentic black castor oil I was accustomed to. I begged my mom to send me Haitian Castor Oil from her “Haiti stash” and jokingly said perhaps I should start a business that ensures the oil is accessible, not only for myself but for others as well.

As mom and I talked, we thought about the fact that I would have to work with farmers, female producers, and would have to export the product- all activities that stimulate economic activity in Haiti.

On Jan. 12th, 2010, when a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, I said to my mom “We should put the business on hold and focus on providing emergency care.” My mom reminded me .“Now more than ever, our people will need jobs and a way to be self-sufficient.  When the donations stop, how will the country survive? I need you to persevere in making this dream a reality as the lives of many are at stake.”

It is with the livelihood of others that KE was birthed and launched in 2014.

What’s the best thing about working with your partner Stephane Jean-Baptiste?

The best thing about working with my life partner Stephane, is that I trust him. I am fortunate to work with someone that has my best interest in mind as well as our baby’s best interest- the baby is Kreyol Essence by the way 😉

Stephane also brings unique skills sets that are crucial to the business such as marketing design, ability to manage logistics, and calmness when I become anxious.  I am extremely blessed to have Stephane as a life and business partner.

 

 

What are your top 3 hair tips for women with curly hair?

  • Give your hair and scalp a pre-poo  (pre-shampoo) treatment with Haitian Castor Oil (only oil with 90% Ricenolic acid), Haitian Moringa Oil (filled with oleic acid), before you wash your hair. This will help to treat the scalp, soften hair, and reduce breakage.
  • Your hair needs protein to be strong and healthy. You can use
    • Aveda’s damage remedy treatment
    • Opt for a homemade protein treatment: eggs, mayo, Haitian castor oil, and olive oil
    • Henna treatment.
  • Your hair will grow with patience, consistent care, and regular trims.

What are your top 3 hair tips for women with straight hair?

  • Give your hair and scalp a pre-poo  (pre-shampoo) treatment with Haitian Castor Oil (only oil with 90% Ricenolic acid), Haitian Moringa Oil (filled with oleic acid), before you wash your hair at least 1-2x a month. This will help to treat the scalp, reduce breakage, reduce frizz, and give hair a natural shine.
  • Regular trims not only keep split ends at bay, it gives hair bounce and life.
  • Do not over do it with heat. Roller sets, braids, and rod sets all add body without heat.

Favorite city in the world?

This is tough. I would have to say it’s a tie between Paris, Wuxi in China, and Cap Haitian in Haiti.

Teetotaler or something stronger?  Glenlivet, Whiskey please.

Most recent indulgence?

For New Years, a couple of friends and I rented the most beautiful house nestled in between mountains and built right on beautiful green blue waters in Labadie Haiti. We indulged in Haitian cuisine cooked by an amazing staff, my favorite cakes (I have a real sweet tooth), laughed, played with the kids, and the three dogs at the house. We went to the beach daily, played board games, and barely had access to internet. I indulged in the beauty of nature, gained perspective by slowing down, and really enjoyed being present with Stephane and amazing people.

Walk, bike or drive?  Walk! I’m an avid walker. It’s a great opportunity to problem solve, clear my mind and to put things into perspective. I think I get this love for walking from my father who still walks miles when he’s in Haiti’s countryside.

Who is the one person in the world you would like to sit beside on a long flight and what would you ask her or him? 

Right now, I would have to say Marcia Kilgore. Besides asking her to mentor me and let me shadow her for a month, we would talk beauty, business, and I would want to know her spiritual practice? What she is grateful for? Life intentions? And other questions that come from me watching too much Super Soul Sunday by Oprah.

You are a big voice for women, particularly in Haiti who need to be heard, any thoughts of running for office one day?

Ha, funny you would ask that. My early professional aspiration was to be a US Governor. I was elected to the state democratic committee in Philadelphia and have done some work with the Young Democratic Committee organizations. As a young community organizer in New Jersey, I saw first-hand the resources available to impact and break the cycles of poverty for constituents. I now see that I can create change by creating work and building a successful social enterprise, but this early ambition may make sense a few years from now.

Best advice for a woman considering becoming an entrepreneur?

Confidence is an important weapon. Build your support network early and often and develop a practice that keeps you mentally and physically fit.

Favourite quote?

I have so many unique quotes that are powerful, and yet, I always go back to the simple well-known serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Madeline Albrights controversial (not too me) quote are also words to live by

“ And just remember, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”.

Last book you read?

Soar, TD Jakes

Give Work: Reversing Poverty One Job at a Time , Leila Jana

Favourite cause, group or activist?

YWCA Haiti which I was introduced to by the amazing Tamara Barrau. The work YWCA does with young women from challenging parts of the country ranges from financial education to gender based violence. I think it’s extremely important to have these trainings and conversations with young women.

The other is Prodev which is under the direction of Maryse Penette Kedar. Prodev focuses on education in Haiti and was recently featured on Conan.

****Links to your

Web site www.kreyolessence.com

Instagram www.instagram.com/kreyolessence

Favorite cause https://www.facebook.com/ywcahaiti/

www.prodevhaiti.org/

Posted on

Monika Schnarre

I’m originally from Scarborough, Ontario and currently live 2 hours north of Toronto with my husband and our young son, Bode. I enjoy anything outdoors — hiking, running and skiing. About 7 years ago when I was trying to conceive — I was looking for natural ways to take care of my skin. I met a doctor (Dr. Keith Burke) who has been formulating anti-aging skincare for 30 years. I fell in love with his formulations and suggested we bring them to retail and make it affordable — he agreed. So, we created a medically directed line, iampure, for a quarter of the price of most skincare regimes you’d find in a Dermatologist’s office. We are now in 200 stores across Canada including Loblaw’s Superstores. Continue reading Monika Schnarre

Posted on

Sass Jordan

I was born in England, but I grew up in Montreal, Quebec. I traveled the world quite a bit as a kid, and realized that the reason I came to Earth was to inspire and light up my fellow humans through expressing my own light, be it through writing, singing or talking. I also realized early on that nothing of great value to the human race is accomplished solo – rather, the real difference is made through community, which is a larger form of family, and you can create community anywhere. I chose to do it through music and writing, and I have had a wonderful time so far. My main interests in life are to have fun, to enjoy, to laugh and to share that joy with anyone and everyone who crosses my path! Continue reading Sass Jordan

Posted on

Bif Naked

Singer/Songwriter, Actress & Motivational Speaker

I am a fortunate girl, a daughter, sister, a wife, a friend, a bandmate, a volunteer. I have enjoyed working in the performing arts for thirty years, as a recording artist, writer, and actor. I feel utterly privileged to have lived this life where I am able to make records, art, painting and cartooning, write poetry, short stories, choreograph my concerts with dance, make music, and even write a memoir! As an adopted kid, having had a great upbringing by loving parents, and also knowing my loving birthmom, I have always felt especially lucky. Life has always provided immeasurable laughter and love to me, and keeps providing it. Pinch me! Continue reading Bif Naked

Posted on

Naa-Sakle Akuete

My parents and two older brothers moved from Ghana to Maryland before I was born. Despite the move, I was surrounded by Ghanaian culture which values family and education above pretty much all else. And so, I spent most of my days studying and focusing on building a strong foundation from which to support my future family. After graduating from Wellesley College, I moved to NY and started in finance at Lehman Brothers – what better way to save for the future than by working on Wall Street, right? And then we went bankrupt and it got harder to view work as the end-all-be-all. I was 22 years old, living in NY with a steady (if precarious) job, and had next to no real responsibilities. My life was concerts, musicals, friends, and family in a bid to make the most of NY before it slipped away. Ultimately, I managed to hold onto my job and even grow to like it, but there was still something missing. Continue reading Naa-Sakle Akuete

Posted on

Carlene Higgins

 

Hi! I’m Carlene, Now I’m gearing up for my next venture, a website called Beholdr, dedicated to women like me and my friends, who are in their 40s or above, and don’t feel as though there’s much out there on blogs or websites that really speaks to their modern realities. Geared toward cool, creative and diverse women, Beholdr is a visual and verbal dialogue about life, self-image and style, seeing the beauty in our perfectly imperfect selves. I am also the mother of two young, beautiful children! Continue reading Carlene Higgins