Welcome to The Hivery's monthly Member Spotlight column, where we highlight amazing Hivery members who embody the month’s theme. In light of August’s theme of making an impact, we choose Marti Grimminck, Amy Lipner and Marti Rule (two Martis and an Amy!) to profile as examples of women doing great work in our community.
It was The Hivery’s “We Rise” scholarship back in late 2016 that first attracted Marti Grimminck to the community. She’d been doing work for years as co-founder of International Connector, a social impact consultancy that helps businesses adapt processes and attract Millennials in both the workforce and as customers.
Marti ended up winning the scholarship and has since continued her work with companies, but these days is also excited about a new project—the 2018 re-launch of Your Big Year, a program that funds a year of travel and connection for entrepreneurial youth.
What is Your Big Year?
Your Big Year is a free program that enables a select number of youth to travel around the globe and connect with social impact leaders. Each participant comes away with a better idea for how they want to change the world, and the contacts to back them up. In 2018, we will be focusing on traveling around the U.S. instead of the globe.
Why are you so passionate about youth and travel?
I have an extensive travel background, having studied abroad and lived in several countries, including Australia, where my husband is from. It’s always bothered me that so few young Americans travel; I think it is incredibly important for cross-cultural understanding. I even got my Master's at NYU on the topic of why young Americans don’t travel. I think the more we travel, the more we can empathize with one another.
Lawyer-turned-abortion-access crusader, Amy Lipner, was also first attracted to The Hivery for its “We Rise” scholarship to work on a project to help women access funds for abortions. Her project, Choicestarter, began blossoming in March after Lipner went to a hackathon in San Francisco and worked with volunteer web engineers on creating a custom-built platform.
The idea: to fundraise for abortion access funds across the U.S. Unlike coastal cities like New York and San Francisco which have several non-profits to help women afford abortions, places in the middle of the country do not have these resources readily available. While Planned Parenthood is nationwide, the organization doesn’t always have the funds to subsidize women who are not able to pay in full. State-by-state abortion access funds fill this gap.
What does Choicestarter do, exactly?
We haven’t launched yet, but we are creating a platform to help abortion access funds seek funding from individual donors, kind of like crowdsourcing.
What are your next steps and when are you planning to launch?
We are at a crossroads. We could either become a non-profit or we could be folded under the arm of another non-profit, like the National Network of Abortion Funds. I’m hoping for the latter. The world of abortion rights is tense and scary; it would be so nice to work with an already trusted and established organization. We are having a lot of conversations right now with potential partners and hoping to have a site and platform up and running by the end of the year.
One of our amazing concierges, Marti Rule is also an activist who has been working to empower Marin’s teen girl population for more than a decade. In 2010, she helped organize the first Marin Teen Girl Conference to offer a full day for local girls to chat about everything from sex to body image issues to mental help resources to career opportunities and more.
The conference is now annual, and this year’s event, she says, was the best ever. With more than 250 girls in attendance, they featured speakers such as a local police officer and a break-out session on self-defense. While Marti has been part of the conference for a long time, she is now stepping away a bit and hoping to delve into other passions.
What has been the best part of helping to organize this conference?
I love seeing the local partners that come out to help. It is really amazing how many people want to get involved, from women’s health organizations to local libraries. I also love seeing how the girls are positively impacted. Last year we had a “women in tech” panel, which explained types of jobs available and how to get into tech. I found out later that one of the girls is now going to UC Irvine for computer engineering because of that session.
Now that you aren’t playing as big a part in the conference, what’s next?
I am focused on empowering women in any way that I can. Right now I’m looking into international opportunities to help via microfinance in Africa and support women building businesses relative to things like coffee and chocolate.
Often, women join The Hivery as a way to meet, collaborate, and connect with other amazing women. As you learn more about Hivery members through the blog, on the Community Board, or during Member Spotlight events, we encourage you to reach out when their stories resonate with you. And, when you're at The Hivery, take a moment to introduce yourself to someone you haven't met yet. Ask them, "What are you working on?" Asking that one simple question while pouring a cup of coffee in the kitchen, or stopping to look at the events board, can inspire, connect, and result in some amazing actions and collaborations. The Hivery community is abuzz with so many #womendoingcoolstuff!
By Katie Morell, Editorial Director