As Gild Collective evolves and grows to focus more on empowering women to be their best selves personally, professionally, and creatively, we can’t help but think of the women who have inspired us along the way. Since founding the company almost a year and a half ago, we have received an outpouring of support from women (most of which we had never met before this endeavor) who just want to help us succeed. Don’t ask us how many meetings we have left crying with gratitude (because we can’t keep count, not because we are ashamed of shedding a few tears).
Starting a business or taking any leap of faith requires courage, sure, but it also requires inspiration. Kelsey and I have long been collectors of stories about inspirational, amazing women. These women and their stories (most of whom we have never met and probably never will) are a large part of what drove us to start this company. Before ever telling a soul about our idea to bond women and inspire confidence through shared creative experiences, we would send each other links to articles about women whose stories had moved us to tears (yes, that is the second reference to crying in one blog post- still not ashamed) and talk at length about the impact of these stories. We thought it would be a good idea to share some of our favorites with you here.
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls
I can’t think of any organization or group of women that I talk about to complete strangers more often than Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. Do you have a daughter in middle school? I’ll tell you to show them Smart Girls. Did you have a bad day? I’ll send you a video from Smart Girls. Are you nervous to apply for a job/make a presentation/ask for a raise? I’ll tell you to visit Smart Girls. Am I sort of tipsy and feeling emotional? I’ll tell ALL of you about Smart Girls.
I stumbled upon Smart Girls several years ago when I fell into a YouTube hole of Saturday Night Live videos featuring Amy Poehler. (I’m assuming everyone reading this post has done the same thing at least once.) One click led to another, and suddenly I was watching a a video series called “Ask Amy“. At first assuming it was from SNL and I hadn’t seen before, it took me a beat to realize it was something differently entirely.
In the videos, Amy was speaking directly to the camera and answering questions that young girls had written to her about subjects like insecurity, friendship, and anxiety. Before I knew it, I had watched them all and was sitting in a heap on my couch, crying my eyes out (that’s three) and texting all of the women in my life to tell them I loved them and was proud of them.
Since that night years ago, my love for what was then a tumblr/YouTube page called Smart Girls at the Party, now Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, has grown exponentially. I look to the site for inspiration, my daily dose of feminism, dog videos with voice overs from my favorite comedians, and most importantly, when I need help being kind to myself.
So what is Smart Girls, you ask? I know that I won’t do the magic of the movement justice, so I’ll just quote the site’s “About Us” page:
CHANGE THE WORLD BY BEING YOURSELF
Founded by artist Amy Poehler and producer Meredith Walker, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization is dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves. We emphasize intelligence and imagination over “fitting in.” We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We are a place where people can truly be their weird and wonderful selves. We are funny first, and informative second, hosting the party you want to attend.
As a 29 year old business owner, I may not be the exact demographic that Amy Poehler, Meredith Walker, and Amy Miles had in mind when they started Smart Girls. That doesn’t stop me from soaking up every last ounce of empowerment from the site as often as I can, and I hope it doesn’t stop you, either. Because, after all, who doesn’t need to hear this?:
So thanks, Amy, Meredith, and Amy. Thank you for the empowerment and inspiration. We’ll do our best to live your mission every day.