When Tammy Tibbetts, the founder and CEO of my client She's the First, was interviewed by Forbes about how the organization built her brand, she mentioned my storytelling as a key step! Read the full article here.
I was recently featured on NGO Storytelling's Ethics series! We discussed my inclusive filmmaking process, in which I work closely with the subjects of my films from development through post-production. This process allows people to take ownership of their own stories and to create powerful films of which they are proud. Read the interview on NGO Storytelling's blog.
2013 was a truly significant year for my business, and for me personally. This year, I took a giant leap and left my job as a photo editor at The Wall Street Journal to follow my dream of telling positive and uplifting stories full-time. I traveled to Africa for the first time with She's the First, the nonprofit closest to my heart. I was chosen as the Wild Sister of the Year. I continued to shoot for The Wall Street Journal as a freelancer. My short film was chosen for three film festivals. I started working with exciting new clients. And I got engaged to my best friend!
I've been surrounded by such supportive friends and family, been boosted by my freelance community, and received so much positivity from my clients. THANK YOU to everyone who has helped and rallied for me this year. I can't wait to tell more stories of inspiring people in 2014!
Magho (Daughter), the short film I shot and co-directed with Christen Brandt, premiered in NYC on March 21. The film was presented by She's the First. It's since been accepted to three film festivals. We'll be releasing the film to the public in 2014!
Aditi dances at her Raas Garba in Princeton, NJ in May.
I created my second gala video for Coro New York Leadership Center in May, celebrating the impact the organization has on the city.
Charity listens to her mentor during Kisa class in Tanzania. Charity is a She's the First Scholar; I traveled with She's the First to East Africa in September and October to document the lives of their students.
Eli is a She's the First Scholar and recent high school graduate; she hopes to attend college in the US! We shot a video profile of Eli which will be released early 2014; stay tuned!
We made a quick safari stop in Tanzania - so beautiful!
Vianca, left, makes "angry kitten faces" with her fellow first-graders at the Kibera School for Girls in Nairobi, Kenya. Vianca is also a She's the First Scholar.
Jesca, a She's the First Scholar and third-grader at Arlington Academy of Hope in Uganda, presents to her class.
Arlington Academy of Hope in Uganda is a partner of She's the First.
Bess, a She's the First Scholar in Eastern Uganda, with her step-mom and dad. She has the brightest and best smile I've ever seen!!
In Ethiopia, I met Sintayehu, an incredibly inspiring 18-year-old who lives and studies with the Selamta Family Project, and is a She's the First Scholar.
Emuye (right), a She's the First Scholar, poses with her house brother in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Amateur boxers Christina Nicodema v. Stephanie Kent duke it out on Nov. 14 in NYC for Haymakers for Hope, a nonprofit that raises funding for cancer research.
I was chosen to shoot the 2013 New York Community Trust-New York Magazine Nonprofit Excellence Awards in November. The Children's Village, a nonprofit that supports vulnerable children and their families, won top honors.
My friend Rachel Hofstetter launched her book, "Cooking Up a Business: Lessons from Food Lovers Who Turned Their Passion into a Career -- and How You Can, Too."
I met some amazing ladies (and gents!) this year shooting head shots!
Amy Dixon, a visually impaired sommelier and triathlete, gets kisses from her guide dog Elvis at the YMCA at Greenwich in Connecticut in December. This was my favorite freelance editorial assignment of the year, shot for The Wall Street Journal; Amy is training for several championship competitions next year, including the USA Paratriathlon National Championship and the PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championships.
Happy New Year! Bring on a bright 2014!
Y'all, I'm leaping into the unknown, and it feels right. Friday was my last day at The Wall Street Journal; I'm officially an entrepreneur and I'm so excited about this adventure!
I started my career working in news in print and on the web, most recently as a photo editor at The Wall Street Journal and as a multimedia producer at NBC Universal. I loved the access afforded to these major organizations, but found that more often than not, we covered a tragedy but weren't able to circle back to tell the stories of the people and organizations striving to make their communities stronger in the aftermath. I chose to head out on my own to find these stories and support the organizations and small businesses behind them.
I'm passionate about helping nonprofits and small businesses craft their visual voice.
I tell stories with photos and video, working with each organization to form a narrative that defines their mission and inspires their audience. I’ve spent time with cloistered nuns in Peru for Sister Cities International, cheered Special Olympic athletes while filming the World Games in China, and documented mother-daughter relationships in an indigenous Mayan region of Guatemala for Starfish One by One. Last year, I made my first short film, "Magho (Daughter)," with She's the First, a nonprofit that sponsors girls' education worldwide.
My first project as a full-time freelancer starts next week - I'm traveling to East Africa to shoot photos and video for She's the First. We'll be visiting their partner programs in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, and talking to the girls about their schoolwork, their families and their aspirations. We'll meet their mothers and explore the differences developing between their own lives and their daughters' due to education. We'll be blogging at shesthefirst.org/blog, and I'll be tweetingand instagramming as often as the internet connection allows!
Thanks so much to everyone who has watched my films, clicked through my photos, and cheered me on while planning my leap. I can't express how much your support has boosted me and given me the confidence to take this step;
I can't wait to share more powerful, inspiring stories with you.
I'm sitting here stunned by the outpouring of love and positive wishes I've received over the past two weeks because of two extremely exciting pieces of news!
Firstly, and most relevant to the usual content of this blog, I was chosen as the first everWild Sister of the Year by Wild Sister magazine! Wild Sister is an uplifting publication that encourages women to follow their dreams, believe in themselves, and inspire others to do the same. I was nominated by my dear friend Christen Brandt, the Director of International Operations for She's the First. Christen nominated me because of my photo and video work for the girls' education nonprofit, and I'll be using my winnings to visit East Africa with her to document the lives of She's the First scholars there. These young women are the first in their families to attend secondary school, and I'm so thrilled that I'll be able to help them share their stories. That trip is still in the planning stages, and I'll keep you all posted as we solidify the project.
As part of my award, I received membership to the Wild Sister community. I'm particularly excited about getting started with this sisterhood - I think surrounding myself with such strong, creative women will really inspire me as I continue to build my storytelling business. Particularly while working at a daily newspaper and working on so many tragic stories, it's wonderful to become part of a community based on positivity and love. I'll also be a contributor to Wild Sister Magazine about my work with nonprofits worldwide - stay tuned!
The past two weeks have also been incredibly exciting for a much more personal reason; after eight years together, my boyfriend Thomas proposed to me on the college campus where we met. (UNC-Chapel Hill - Let's go, Tar Heels!) I am so incredibly thrilled to be spending the rest of my life with my best friend! I've already started thinking about the wedding, and am now finally starting to understand what all my brides and grooms go through before the big day!
Beth Ely, photographer-extraordinaire and one of my best friends in the world, sneakily shot photos during the proposal:
And so I'm ending this post as I started it: with huge thanks to all my friends and fans who have sent me emails and facebook posts and real-life hugs in the past two weeks. It's been a whirlwind of excitement, and I'm so glad that I'm able to share such great news with all of you!
Wild Sister, an e-magazine about empowerment and inspiring women, has selected me as a finalist for its first Wild Sister of the Year Award! I am beyond excited that my work for nonprofits is being celebrated in this way. But more so, it means so much that Christen Brandt, She's the First's director of international operations, nominated me. I'm so grateful for Christen and She's the First - the organization is not only an amazing client that gives me creative freedom while providing access to AMAZING young women, but Christen has become one of my closest friends. Christen and I have traveled to Guatemala and India together, telling the uplifting stories of the incredible girls we sponsor, and I couldn't ask for a better co-director. She and I are planning our first feature documentary to be shot in East Africa about mother-daughter relationships -- if I win the grand prize, I will use it toward the funding for the film.
The judges will announce the overall winner in July, but I'm also up for the Wild Sister People's Choice Award! I'll keep you all posted on the results!
The United Nations declared October 11 the first International Day of the Girl, with a purpose “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”
She's the First celebrated with a 48-hour leadership summit for our campus leaders, which included an assembly with the Young Women's Leadership School of Brooklyn, a reception with our most influential supporters, and activities from the Hearst Magazines & AOL Headquarters. Campus leaders from across the nation gathered for two days of activities and workshops planned for the students to bond with and learn from one another.