March 8th, 2021, marks the first celebration of International Women’s Day worldwide amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic. As the international community struggles to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic, the United Nations has declared this year’s theme of celebration to be "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world." This year’s celebrations acknowledge the unique obstacles posed to gender equality over the last year and the invaluable contributions from women at the front-lines of the crisis. Arts Help is committed to uplifting gender equality efforts and spoke to four trailblazing female leaders about their advice and insight on the contemporary world.      

Women's role in the business world has long been a fight for equal opportunities and equal representation. The percentage of women who occupy C-suite positions is on a slow, uphill trajectory, but Arts Help is not only meeting an equitable quota but shattering it. The executive team is three-quarters woman, and it was not by accident. Co-founders of Arts Help set out to create a team of professionals that believed in the core mandate of "using art as a vehicle for social change." Two years later, the team continues to further the inspirational mission of the Chief Visionary Officer at Arts Help, using their skills to create immense impact to foster environments of inclusivity and progression.

To celebrate International Women's Day, Arts Help's Chief Operating Officer Adiam Gafoo spoke with some inspiring women in business and asked, "what advice would you give young girls of the next generation?"

Negin Baradari, Conscious Lawyer, Luxembourg
Negin Baradari is a lawyer whose impressive career spans Human Design, international affairs, and corporate work. Also serving on the Parliamentary Counsel for Luxembourg and as an esteemed educator, Baradari is championing a multi-disciplinary movement of intentionality, equality, and growth. She has also founded and run Begin with Negin, a wellness community, expertly utilizing technology and online resources to create an invaluable support source.

“You are uniquely wired with your own set of natural strengths, skills and superpowers. Honour your set of original talents and powers by cultivating them on a consistent basis. Stay in your lane and respect others (especially fellow women &  female-identifying individuals) as contemporaries and NOT as competitors.”

Amanda Dorenberg, COMMB President + CEO, Canada
A leader in technology and advertising, Amanda Dorenberg is redefining out-of-home media and data-powered marketing. Dorenberg is the President of COMMB, Canadian Out-of-Home Marketing & Measurement Bureau, and has relentlessly disrupted the age-old industry for the better. Her work has been featured internationally in Forbes Tech, Wired Magazine, Technology Headlines, and other major outlets. Dorenberg has continued to trailblaze in the technology and innovation world and became a nominee of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2019.

“As a leader in the tech and media industry, statistically, I am often reminded I am a rarity. As I reflect on my journey, I feel it's important to always tap into your intuition, own the decisions you make and embrace change and adversity. Today is a significant day to celebrate other women who are paving the path for the next generation of young women. Happy international women's day everyone! #March8”

Pauleanna Reid, Forbes and Business Insider Senior Contributor , Canada
Pauleanna Reid shapes powerful personal narratives and storytelling through her innovative work as a journalist and celebrity ghostwriter. As a Senior Contributor at Forbes and Business Insider, Reid tirelessly uplifts female and Black voices, cultivating an impressive writing portfolio. Her work as a ghostwriter helps refine and shape the narratives of leaders, and Reid regularly shares her expertise through speaking engagements and powerful education platforms.

“The businesswoman I am today has been ten years in the making, and the road to where I am currently has been anything but smooth. I created the job I wanted when it didn't exist. And of course, it was challenging, but I raised my hand, asked for help, and got to work. You're here because you already have something to offer, so don't be afraid to chase your dreams. Success will not arise from playing it safe.”

Melissa Nathan, Hiltzik Strategies, Executive Vice President, USA
As an executive at Hiltzik Strategies, an influential strategic communications and consulting firm, Melissa Nathan has gained impressive experience working with international organizations and global media over the course of her career and continues to use her voice and talents for good. A senior leader and media expert, Nathan shapes images and stories using collaborative methods and innovative strategies.

"Know your worth and demand it. As young women, the world is looking to you to utilize your voices to advocate for yourselves and each other.  It's incredibly important to understand the power you carry and how far your voice can travel, creating much-needed change for others.

Be that fair unwavering voice, work to understand others perspectives that are different to your own and most importantly, be kind in how you talk to yourself."

Sophie Brussaux, France

Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Arts Help, Sophie Brussaux, is vital to the industry intersection between social impact and art. An artist in her own right, Brussaux has dedicated her life to using her platform, her art, and her industry experience to further the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and generally put good into the world. Brussaux’s multidisciplinary career has been featured throughout international media and inspires artists of all backgrounds.

“ 1. Practice daily gratitude so that every opportunity isn’t taken for granted, under-appreciated or overlooked. Gratitude gives you so much perspective and opens so many doors. You will meet other grateful people and have a lot of positive impact together. My biggest blessings came when I turned inwards and felt grateful.

2. Mens sana in corpore sano, take care of your body, primarily because it hosts your soul and mind. Optimizing your body functions also means a healthy mind and boosted self-esteem! I work out every day, especially the days I feel I bit down. I am also careful and listen to my body, so I adapt each workout to my needs.

3. Establish your goals, set priorities for them, and ask yourself if anything that you’re doing is contributing to accomplishing them.

4. Elevate your community so it can nurture individuals. We live in a fragile ecosystem, and everything we do has consequences on others. Let’s be mindful of that when setting our objectives. Empower your human community.

And finally, when you’ve done all this inside work… surround yourself with an amazing team that compliments your skills well. Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Arts Help featured these five female trailblazers highlighting their innovative and glass-ceiling-breaking work over the last few years. During this unprecedented time, their achievement in their respective fields makes these women role models and inspirational figures for the international community. Arts Help is dedicated to supporting gender equality and celebrating and acknowledging female achievement, innovation, and challenges throughout Women’s History Month and beyond.

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