Seaver College | 2009
Cofounder, Kind Campaign
What does being an honoree of this campaign mean to you?
To think about someone thinking of me, nominating me, and then to be chosen—it is such an honor to be included among so many inspiring women who are using their voices to create change and ignite innovation.
How has Pepperdine played a role in your success?
If not for Pepperdine, Kind Campaign would not exist. Lauren Paul ('09), Kind Campaign's cofounder, and I met at Pepperdine. Not only that, but the initial support for Kind Campaign came in many different forms through Pepperdine. Our first grant that made it possible to launch our website was from Pepperdine, our first official fundraiser was through Pepperdine's Kappa Kappa Gamma's Kappa King, and our first interviews for our award-winning documentary film, Finding Kind, had us sitting down with Pepperdine students. It was because of Tom Shadyac, award-winning filmmaker and former Pepperdine professor, and his generosity and donation to Kind Campaign that made it possible to shoot Finding Kind, which set into motion what Kind Campaign is today. So many of Kind Campaign's beginnings were while we were still students at Pepperdine, having founded Kind Campaign during our senior year. So needless to say, Pepperdine holds a special place in our hearts.
Describe a lesson you've learned from a challenging time in your career or life.
There are so many facets within Kind Campaign, all presenting different challenges as we've grown over the last 10 years, but truly what I take away from that and I think how we overcame those struggles is by learning and growing from the experience. Our biggest challenge was learning to manage the hurdles that came with being a startup and the lack of funding to fuel different initiatives and ideas.
In the beginning, every year we were brainstorming new ways to keep Kind Campaign afloat. But what we learned was that our biggest challenge was also one of our greatest assets. The grassroots nature of our programs is a huge part of why girls relate to us the way that they do. It's also one of our favorite messages to share: if you are passionate about something, you can work hard to accomplish your goals and achieve your dreams. There will inevitably be obstacles that stand in your way, but as long as you don't let them stop you, you really can change the world with your friends.
During the early stages of starting a nonprofit, making a documentary, and going into business with a friend, we faced challenges. But we also learned priceless life lessons during that time that ultimately allowed us the privilege to peek into the lives of thousands of inspiring young women that we've met along this journey. We have learned not only how broken so many girls across our country are, but more importantly how resilient and ready to create change they are. We have learned the value of kindness and how giving people can be. We have learned to fight for what we believe in, even if the battle may seem overwhelming and present unexpected roadblocks. We have learned the value of female friendship and how important it is to surround yourself with people who lift you up, celebrate you, and are there for you. Therefore any struggle or hurdle that we overcame was worth working through because of who we are fighting for, and keeping that at the forefront of our minds is how we overcame any obstacle we faced.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Lauren and I are currently on our 16th Founders Tour, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Kind Campaign. It has been so surreal to reflect on the work that we have done and the ground that we have covered over the last 10 years. Since 2009, we have personally facilitated more than 575 assemblies in schools across North America and have completed 16 international Kind Campaign Founders Assembly tours. We release new and exciting initiatives each year, such as our 19-week Kind Club Curriculum, Kind Camp, Kind Ambassador Volunteer Program, and Give Kind Initiative. Kind Campaign assemblies take place almost every day of the school year, so we are excited to continue to expand our programming into as many schools as possible.
We are always on the lookout for meaningful partnerships and collaborations, having worked with Kleenex, Bloomingdale's, Kohl's, Hollister, Kendra Scott, The Little Market, Dogeared, The Giving Keys, Keep Collective, Monster High, Mother Denim, and the award-winning television show Breaking Bad to further spread Kind Campaign's messaging and raise funds as a part of our Free to Be Kind Initiative, which allows us to provide our programming free of charge to schools across the globe.
"There will inevitably be obstacles that stand in your way, but as long as you don't let them stop you, you really can change the world with your friends."
Molly Thompson ('09)
What is your mantra or favorite quote?
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." —Mother Teresa