Hello there 🙂
A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Cartier's PR team, in which I was invited to San Francisco to attend the Women's Initiative Awards. From past experience I knew that press trips with Cartier are fun and fancy. However, I did not know that I was in an experience that would deeply touch me.
When I arrived in an unusually sunny and bland San Francisco, I was introduced to the Women's Initiative program by former award winners and Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier North America. I have learned that the Cartier Women's Initiative is the largest competition in the world in which women entrepreneurs who manage socially-driven businesses are given the opportunity to receive coaching, mentoring and financial support. I am going to surprise you with a few facts to put it in context: Since launching the initiative in 2006, more than 18,000 women have applied, and more than 200 companies from 51 countries have been supported, generating nearly 7,000 jobs across the country World has created world.And not jobs, but jobs that make the planet directly a better place. These companies do awe-inspiring and frankly humiliating work. I heard about finalists who did everything from creating a 911 central emergency system in Kenya to providing employment opportunities for refugees from the Middle East. And it's not that Cartier needs to run this program. I would guess they could sell just as many love bracelets without them. Yet, the company sees tremendous value in helping women around the world. In Abramo's words, "It's very important to us who we are and what we stand for, we're a women-focused company, so it fits very well with our values of brave, forward-thinking women." After hearing the elevator seats of all 21 finalists, I knew that I needed to interview a woman. As you may have guessed, she and her two co-founders have a fashionable product that, however, changes the lives of people with chronic illnesses. I sat in a sunny little corner of the room with Emily Levy to learn more about her story. Levy was not diagnosed for seven years because of chronic neurological Lyme disease. When she finally received the diagnosis, she was told that she needed a long-term IV to pump antibiotics into her heart. How should Levy protect this expensive medical device (known as the PICC line)? She was advised to wear a sock on her arm. Yes, as in a sock for feet. "I was on campus as the girl with the cropped sock on her arm known. I noticed that people treated me differently when they noticed that something was affecting my health, "says Levy. From her experience, she was inspired to found Mighty Well, a company that sells fashion clothes and accessories for people with chronic health problems. "What we're suggesting is a sick girl who started a business with her two best friends," says Levy. "I was in a sisterhood, but not many of my sisters were there for me. It was really my two best friends – now my co-founders Maria del Mar Cortez and Yousef Al-Humaidhi – who helped me take care of myself as I could only take part of the class, could not go to parties and in the morning It was hard to dress. Even if I only cared about the amount of medical supplies and nursing visits in my dorm, they were there for me. "As if this story could not go on, developed from Levy's friendship and business partnership with Al-Humaidhi a romantic relationship and the two were just married last month. When I asked Abrams what was striking about Levy's business, she remarked, "At [just 25 years old]She identified a problem from personal experience and found a way to strengthen others' trust and help them in the process. It's just magical that she put these pieces together to make a wonderful product. "The first product is a PICC armguard with sportswear fabric technology – a stylish and easy-to-maintain solution for the six million people who receive a PICC line every year, including people receiving chemotherapy Mighty Wrap, which conceals infusion lines, extends the Mighty MedPlanner and the Mighty Pack, a backpack for wheelchairs with a hidden, insulated medical compartment. Levy approached the recently released Mighty Pack when I asked her for customer anecdotes. "We are a crazy start-up, and within 24 hours of releasing the backpack, two young women in wheelchairs told us that the product allowed them mobility and that no one was staring at them for medical care with my illness also less than felt and would like to be a face to them and show them that just because you are ill, you do not have to lead a sick life .I am still faced with many health problems and doctor visits, but what me every day motivated, is to mark me in these pictures. " It's clear that Levy's company has a significant impact on their customers. Next, I asked about the impact that the Cartier Women's Initiative had on Levy and her business. In what I learn to be typical Levy fashion, she relies on personal experiences to defend her point of view. "My husband Yousef is from Kuwait, a huge market for Cartier. Many women go to Kuwait as teachers and marry men who meet them there. Unfortunately, many women have traveled there with the goal of finding wealthy husbands. In my case, Yousef and I met at a college in the US, and for a year and a half I did not even know where Kuwait was on a map. "When I went to Kuwait for the second time to marry, I told his family members that I was a finalist for the Cartier Women's Initiative, and they treated me like a businesswoman instead of someone looking for a husband." It was a different kind of respect, because a brand like Cartier was behind Mighty Well. "In fact, Ambramo agrees:" The point is to give these women the recognition and recognition they deserve. " This is the respect and disclosure for a company that not only brings social benefits, but also reflects in many ways the inclusiveness in several ways. On my last question, I asked Levy if she had anything left to add. "Yes," she replied, "I would like to emphasize that my co-founder Maria is here with an H-1B visa. She is originally from the Dominican Republic and we have faced the challenges that are talked about in the media. I think it's so important that we share our story, that I'm a Jewish American, she's a Latina and a Catholic, and Yousef is a Muslim and an Arab. And all three of us have started a social impact company. The world tells us we should not be friends, but I do not think so. " When the interview ended, I got up without a second thought from my chair and then noticed that Emily had difficulties and could not immediately rise from their place. Before that moment, there was no visible evidence that Emily was ill, except for the infusion opening she showed me under her collarbone. Mighty Well often talks about chronic Lyme disease as an invisible disease, and that was for my eye (until then). I helped her up and we moved on quickly from the moment we laughed nervously as we left the room. In retrospect, I should have paused and asked them what that feels like. To have this great interview – here she was honored by Cartier and allowed to be reminded of Who What Wear, a company she loves and follows, sharing the important work of her co-founders – and then, when our conversation ended, being reminded For perhaps the millionth time, her illness can interfere with simple actions such as getting up from a chair. It could have been an opportunity for me to follow in their footsteps and gain a deeper insight into the state that inspired their company. Without speaking in the name of Levy, I can only assume that it did not feel good. By creating Mighty Well, she is part of the solution – a solution that helps the daily reality of people with chronic conditions get a little better, a little better support, and feel a little more self-confident.